Womens Varsity Tennis
|Southwest Guilford High School||1|
|Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School||5|
August 19, 2021
It was warm today…though the county gave permission, weather permitting, to begin as early as 4:30 or 5, the heat didn’t let up until closer to 6 tonight.
Luckily, coach had the foresight to push the match to 6pm to begin with.
Bishop McGuiness. The Lady Villains are good. During pre-season, Coach calls upon Bishop and select other teams to play in his scrimmage invitational. It is a huge event with at least 60 people in attendance. Clearly it is no Grand Slam audience, but for a great night of worry-free tennis, socializing…6 feet away…with the ladies playing those of equal caliber….yes, it is a winner in my book.
But this was match week and no longer just a scrimmage. These matches counted….and both teams played to their upmost.
I would love to say the new team surprised the established guard and narrowly edged them on the critical courts…which is all of them…and the Cowgirls walked away with joy in their hearts and a song on their lips, but it wasn’t the case.
On average, the Lady Villains have had 3-5 years of play and practice at the club or private coaching each. To put this into contrast, Grace, SW’s #3, has only come out for tennis this season with very limited mom/daughter hitting during covid. But verily I say unto you, the Cowgirls played extremely well tonight. So, Coach will simply cover what the Cowgirls learned from tonight’s match.
We begin first with Kate Cherry. Kate is not what you would call an intense player. She is wonderful, kind, and though a Ginger, only sips the souls of others if they are really, really bad people and then, only with their permission. I know! Playing a bigger hitting, and unfortunately, a slightly more consistent player, Kate was able to:
- Continue to develop a more intentional hit.
- Instead of floaters off the forehand and backhands, Kate’s shots had direction and pretty good depth.
- From the first set to the second, Kate closed off her stance even more to hit her shots down the line, closer to the line than she was comfortable with and added to her game tally by stretching her opponent across more of the court.
- Kate was able to secure 4 games in in total by implementing this new aspect of her game. Well done Kate!
Anna McGinnis, court 5. She secured 3 games in her play. Anna was able to:
- from the first set to the second:
- find her shots quickly
- hit with a confidence knowing where the shot would go (the inverse of this is hitting while praying hard it just go in and pray even harder the opponent would hit into the net)
- moved well and began to anticipate the shots from her opponent
- and lastly, began to hit longer and longer rallies
While on the courts during a match, it is hard to be self-aware enough amidst the shots, line calls, and stress of regular play, but Anna is developing this trait very early in her SW playing career. Yes, this is a good thing.
Lauren Harris, court 4, ran into a wall. No, her driving may be suspect, but I am only referring to her play tonight. Her opponent hit with a loopy forehand and backhand that rolled a bit and bounced higher than Lauren’s preferred hitting zone. Warning! Math Analogy: Algebra students, though well versed in the Pythagorean theorem, may (will) find it hard to transition from Math 1 straight into AP Calc. Math 3 would be hard and in fact, Math 2, without the benefit of time and practice, would also be difficult. This is what it is like playing against a player 1-2+ yrs your playing senior with more tools in their toolkit than you have answers. Lauren simply could not brand the incoming shots with her flair and panache as such she could against shots more in her hitting range of depth, speed, and bounce height. Lauren was able to:
- Anticipate the bounce and move toward the ball effectively
- as the pace and ball height allowed, pull her opponent into a three shot crosscourt, down the line, cross court and find her mark.
- gain experience hitting higher balls from a loopy shot player
We keep plugging the holes and expanding out games as fast as we can during season!
Murphy! If it was so hot, why did you make the ladies play 2 out of 3 v a 8 game pro-set today?
Because an 8 game pro set doesn’t adequately allow time for reflection and possible unveiling of a different game plan to counteract the current trend. Two sets, by design, has a break between the sets and as your playing maturity grows and you become more cognizant of your tennis surroundings, you pick up clues of where your opponent may be lacking, and in turn, can mount a resurgence given enough time and execution of plan.
Grace Parsons, court 3, though a senior, a newbie in match play, did well. She was totally out paced in the first set. Her opponent hit better, deeper, (nice) spin shots that launched up near the top of Grace’s effective hitting range. This coupled with the opponents court coverage, effectively meant Grace had little to gain a fingerhold in the 1st set. But Grace and Coach had a plan. Grace learned:
- How to shorten her back swing to counter the faster pace of the ball
- find a balance of racket face elevation in her shots
- defend against the fast shot and allow it to rebound to open court
- take her opponent out of her hitting zone and make her play Grace’s slower game
Grace fought but did not earn a game in the first set, and a whopping 4 games in the second, with several looks into taking the Lady Villain deeper still and several chances of turning the last two games in her favor. Though it didn’t work out that way, Grace was elated with the traction she and coach devised and more importantly, Grace executed to a “t”. She is doing great thus far.
Tran Nguyen, court 2, had her hands full. The Lady Villain was a state qualifier last season and showed why she made it so far in the tournament v Tran. There was little Tran could do to hold the Villain back. But again, let us focus on what Tran gained from tonight’s match up:
- Betting on Matches in bad – see Pete Rose
- Blue Gatorade tastes better than Orange
- poorly executed slices do not serve their intended purpose
- the toss is critical while serving
- and 4 years of playing and lessons apparently mean something to a game
Seriously, Tran was able to secure 4 games in the match. She fought for each and everyone of those games. It takes not only focus on mind but also execution of will putting 4 points together to secure those games. Ken Jennings can be beat in a trivial pursuit game, but only if the category is chosen very carefully. Unfortunately for Tran, this female tennis playing version of Mr Jennings had most of the answers tonight.
Audrey Serb, court 1. After blistering the Lady Villain #1 Ms. Bergelin near 0 and 0 last season coach pondered how much better could these two get in the off season? Well the answer for Audrey is, much better. Never letting Ms Bergelin a reprieve in the first set, Audrey took the reigns from the opening serve and only faulting once deep in the second set when a large elephant ran through the middle parking lot narrowly missing all of the cars and vanished just as quickly as it appeared leaving not trail of devastation. Or it could have been a brain puff (kinda like a fart, but I do not think we should write fart for the entire school staff to read….a bit immature). Honestly, regardless of what it was, Audrey relinquished a serve to her opponent before closing the door with a comforting click of the latch walking away with a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Audrey worked on her drop shots, bringing the Lady Villain close, forcing a poor shot, and then punishing her opponent for making an error. She continued to work out the kinks of a developing serve (tres bonne) and lastly, learned not to stand on an ant hill of small fire ants with socks and Birkenstocks on. Audrey learned this last night at HPC…but since I didn’t write about it then, it carried over into a wonderful lesson learned for tonight
Singles 1-5, the victory goes to Bishop McGuinness.
The Cowgirls were not able to finish out the doubles due to a rain cloud (little black rain cloud Pooh Bear corrected me) that came over and wouldn’t move on. The slow, steady, light rain soaked in just enough without signs of leaving that the coaches decided to shake on a match well played and head to their respective homes. Though clearing up both from the rain stoppage and the radiant heat of the courts 30 minutes later, most everyone had cleared the courts opting for a late snack/dinner, shower and bed.
The Cowgirls even up at 1-1 on the season.
They travel to Page on Monday….yes, the first day of school. I will need to spring them early from class (sorry 4th block affected teachers!).
Audrey Serb (SW) over Lindsay Bergelin (BM) 6-0, 6-1
Lourdes Lopez (BM) over Tran Nguyen (SW) 6-2, 6-2
Izzy Ross (BM) over Grace Parsons (SW) 6-0, 6-4
Nina Holton (BM) over Lauren Harris (SW) 6-0, 6-1
Adelaide Jernigan (BM) over Anna McGinnis (SW) 6-1, 6-2
Caroline Gregory (BM) over Kate Church (SW) 6-2, 6-2
BMHS over the Cowgirls 5-1
Cowgirls draw even at 1 and 1 on the season