20
Feb
12

Women’s Match vs Occidental Tigers

The Bobcats dual match season traditionally kicks off with a spring trip to play some of the best teams in the country. This year is no different as the Bobcats traveled across the country to Las Angeles, California for a week of matches. After training hard in the off season the women finally got to showcase their talents in the season’s first match against the Occidental Tigers.

The Tigers are a strong team top to bottom, and had won their first two matches coming into their match up with the Cats. It was 70 and sunny, no wind, and pretty much perfect conditions for a tennis match. The Bobcats huddled up one last time before the match and there was a wave of energy in the circle, we were well prepared, and ready to battle.

Play started with doubles and Erika Blauth and Kristen Doerer started the Cats out on the right foot. Having a year of experience as partners showed, as they moved well off each others shots and closed the net tight. There were some early nerves, but they quickly went away as Erika hit laser forehands and Kristen poached relentlessly at the net. They won 8-1 at #2 doubles. Jacqui Holmes and Lucy Brennan gave the Bobcats their second point with the 8-3 victory. However, the score is not indicative of how close the match was. There were a lot of long deuce games and we won a majority of the big points. The difference in the match was the Cats ability to slow things down when they felt momentum change, and to stick with solid doubles tactics, i.e. pounding the service line cross court, and constantly looking to attack anything weak coming through the middle. At #1 Meg Anderson and Ele Mandzhukova lost a tough 8-5 match. Both teams played well but the Bobcats targets were just off, and though they made a lot of great moves and played aggressively, they just missed on a number of shots. The Tigers deserve credit for hanging tough and never giving anything away.

In singles Ele got some vengeance at #1. She played a very tough opponent but Ele was disciplined and set up points well. Ele’s heavy ground strokes set her up well to move forward, and she played very strategically in her 6-3 6-3 win. At #3 Jacqui Holmes figured out a winning game plan from the get-go and mixed in short chips with heavy deep balls. She kept her Tiger opponent on her heels most of the match and emerged victorious 6-0 6-1. First-year Audrey Grauer won her first dual match and coincidentally the 5th point, sealing the match for the Bobcats! She played a strong baseliner but Audrey was too consistent and used her forehand to dictate play. She overcame a slow start in the second set by hitting more aggressively and it made the difference in her 6-2 6-3 win. At #4 Erika Blauth won 6-3 6-3 in a match much closer than the score. Both players loved to bang the ball, but Erika made the right adjustments in the big games and just gutted it out on the big points. The Bobcats came up short at #2 and #6, but the Tigers are a strong team and their players earned those wins.

 

Overall it was a great way to start the season. It was our first match of the year and we did a great job adjusting to playing outside and competing in a real match setting. We will be travelling up to Santa Cruz tomorrow to continue training and cheer on the men’s team as they play the Slugs on Tuesday.

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