Womens Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- May 19, 2021
- COWBOYS: 6
NORTHWEST GUILFORD HIGH SCHOOL: 3
May 19, 2021
12 years I have been coaching. Teams have come, dynamic pairings, epic match ups, individual wins, losses, but never a team victory over the Vikings of NW. Oh yes, the Cowgirls have come close, but never tasted the sweet release of victory…until tonight.
If the readers remember, we played NW previously just shy of 2 weeks ago….Gentel edged Annie on court #2, Nicole extended and won a three set, Both Maggi and Shaini lost 8-10 in the third on both of their court…dubs showed promise, but needed a sweep of all three courts did not materialize….4-5 loss by a mere 3 points.
Coach Davidson (NW Coach) did the Cowgirls the best favor he could have…his ladies re-arranged their order based on their play. This meant all of the Cowgirls (save for Annie) played a different opponent from the first encounter….again, thank you NW.
What did this do? As I explained to the Cowgirls en masse once the victory concluded and the Vikings drove away, this was tabula rasa….a clean slate mentally the ladies were blessed to work with instead of baggage brought crashing back with the introduction and play beginning of the same opponent. Did we take every court as a result? No! This was a gift, not a miracle.
Let’s get to the action.
It was hot out there today. Clearly the hottest day of the season maxing out at 79%. Though tomorrow will edge even higher, today was a match day against a solid and ever quality opponent.
Court 1 – 42 minutes is not that much time, but still one minute longer for Audrey to dismiss NW’s #1 today than the previous #1 at last encounter. Don’t worry reader, I chastised Audrey’s lack of focus in making us wait for the first court victory of the night. ha!
Audrey played well. NW’s #1 had little in her tank to defend against Audrey’s serve and follow up shot. Most points lasted 3 shots or shorter. Though a few rallies topped the gauge at 5 strokes in total, Audrey was able to keep the pressure and cadence of her shots high forcing her opponent to be grateful for the lone game that was ceded to her. Audrey wins 0 and 1.
Court 2 came off next – Annie Vo. The only player to repeat her opponent, Annie jumped to a quick lead and didn’t look back. NW #2 was working through some internal dialogue that never fully manifested itself into a coherent expression of her match play v the Cowgirls just two weeks ago. Annie walked her 0 and 1 with solid serves, good court movement, and excellent ball placement of which the Viking could not answer in kind.
Court 5 Maggi Mugi brought her confidence and shot belief with her on the court today. This coupled with the Vikings serves, shots, and overall play bouncing perfectly into Maggi’s sweet shot stroke zone emboldened her further and she certainly pressed her advantage. The opponent was Mrs. White’s (former Nursing teacher @ SW) daughter Emma. The same stroke that Emma applied and eventually edged Shaini last time on court 6 had little effect on Maggie and her roll to victory. easy peasy lemon squeezy, 6-0, 6-2.
If we could only see the smile beginning to creep across Coaches mask covered face. Coach knew he had the strength to take 2, if not all three dubs courts. Though NW is a quality team, their dubs prep didn’t align well with their singles strength. Just doing the math, at 3 -3, should the Cowgirls drop the last three matches, taking two dubs, a 5-4 Cowgirl Victory would/could result….but first things first….we had more tennis to experience.
Court 3 Tran Nguyen exited the courts next. No, it wasn’t a tick mark in the win column. In short, Tran got carried away with hitting big against an energetic Viking. Yes! hitting big, fast paced shots is akin to a on court high…it just feels good. Unfortunately, this elevated style of play was not helpful in progressing the score in favor of the Cowgirls. Coaches words fell short of the desired effect in turning this tide. Steps were taking, but too little too late and the Vikings took court #3 two and one.
Court 6 proved interesting. A new Viking to the line up facing off against Shaini. Consistent in serve and play, Shaini had her moments and took 3 games in each set from the Viking, but in the end, the Viking proved too much for the Cowgirl. Shaini’s game continues to evolve and better…it is just the style, pace and outlook that proves difficult in getting Shaini to the win. ***WARNING*** Avid readers may remember the last match up against the Vikings and say, Coach, Shaini lost in a tie breaker last time but in two sets this time. What is going on?!?!?!
Well reader, not all play is the same and in turn, not all players have the same stroke, depth, closing ability on key shots. Look back at Maggie’s match up against Emma. Shot for shot Emma had a slight edge of pace and placement, but she hit it right in the “happy range” of Maggi’s forehand and backhand allowing Maggi to, with great success as indicated by the score, utterly destroy her opponent. The less experienced you are, the range from which you can deliver suitable shots is small…only growing as time passes and playing maturity develops. Psychology teachers….think a frontal lobe but specifically for tennis. Shaini’s play did well against the shots that were thrust upon her by her opponent. Why the difference in score this time from last? Shaini’s play initially confounded Emma from the May 6th match pushing it to a third set just as Maggi’s play pushed Emma off the court tonight. Style of play and experience make a huge difference in the outcome of any given match. Apples and oranges make comparisons harder to judge. Just trust coach that Shaini played well and continues to grow as a player and her play is evident of the evolution of shots as her playing experience grows.
Court 4….It should take no one by surprise the longest match of the night and season thus far belonged to Nicole. I think she has extended time as a mod on her matches. We may need to check on the exact legality of this mod in extra curricular activities instead of strictly academics, but I swear I have the paperwork to prove it. The signature looks like Suess, but apparently this person is a Dr. I hear he is published too.
Nicole’s journey began a bit bumpy. trying to hit out on the ball, her opponent (previous #1 from the May 6th NW encounter) did not hit a consistently deep ball resulting in Nicole reaching, pushing causing the ball to sail long time after time. Mentally down, Nicole’s goal shrank. Fearful of going long, her shots went from elegant to short and truncated, but this didn’t help all too much. She clawed and scraped, but lost 3-6 in the first. If tennis sets trended on social media, Nicole would have lost followers at this point….but did you hear the music change? There is a drum beat with it too….I think a come back is about to reveal itself!
3-2 Vikings broken
3-3 Nicole holds
4-3 NW broken again
4-4 serves exchanged
In truth, the heat and length of the match took its first few punches. NW #4 was fading. Clearly tired. Heat? lack of conditioning? voodoo doll/poppit doing its job? Well, yes on the first two….Witchcraft is expressly prohibited in the lasted USTA rule book so a definitive no on the third.
Again in the third set with time nearing two hours in length, NW #4’s tank looked below “E”. Playing, but more defensive, near the middle, not her corners that had brought her fortune in the first, shots fading shorter, less focused, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 6-1, 7-1, 7-2, 8-2, 8-3, 9-3, 9-4, and with one more shot in the net, NW cedes Court 4 in a long match of attrition. Apparently conditioning does matter in tennis. This bullet point will go into Coach’s words to live by book he will self publish when her retires.
3-6, 6-4, 10-3
Cowgirls up 4-2 after singles. Yes, we had this.
Audrey and Nicole on court 1
Annie and Tran on Court 2
Maggi and Shaini on Court 3
Still resting after such a long match, Nicole and Audrey didn’t go out until courts 2 and 3 were almost halfway complete.
Court 2 dubs – Annie and Tran could do little wrong in the opening exchange of games. Did I say exchange? Correction, Annie and Tran jumped to a 5-1 lead with solid serving and keeping the ball in play. Though the play was good, it was consistent, more so than that of their NW opponents. Bullet point #2…keep the ball in play and in the court…points will result.
Seriously, Annie and Tran played the ball and their opponents in a logical, straightforward match with little fanfare. NW mounted a small coup but were held in check and the rest of the match finished on serve. Both teams played from the baseline and in the game of attrition and consistency, I will put my money on the Cowgirls every time. 8-4.
Maggi and Shaini once more faced off against a bigger hitting, harder serving, net dominating duo from NW. Losing 4-8 the first time the Cowgirls played the Vikings, they had an uphill battle ahead of them. Nervous at first, but quickly getting their footing, serves were held through the first 4 games until one of the Cowgirls lost serve. Not good. Down 1-3, Viking hold, 1-4.
Cowgirls hold 2-4
Cowgirls break 4-5
we hold 5-5
and then the NW girls decided to run to the net. Truly our Achilles heel on court 3 dubs. Without an adequate lob in their limited toolbox of shots, the passing shots not longer connecting, pressure now mounting and rushed shots resulting….7-8, 7-9 loss in the match.
No, not a win, but stellar play from the Cowgirls almost toppling and making a perfect dubs sweep of the NW Vikings. To their credit, the Vikings did wonderful changing the game and pushing their advantage into a win.
Audrey and Nicole on court 1 held court. Not saying they were a ruling class above all others, no! Just that they held court over the two NW players opposing them. Dropping only two games in the process, the Cowgirls dominated most shots with great serves from Audrey and Nicole acting like a wall at the net and backboard from the baseline. Easy win, 8-2.
Dubs resulted in a 2-1 increase for the Cowgirls as they beat Northwest 6-3 in non conference tennis action.
After losing in a tight 4-5 match just two weeks ago, the Cowgirls turned their fortunes and defeated the Vikings of NW 6-3….as noted by coach, this is the first victory Cowgirls have experienced over the ever-talented Vikings in 12 yrs.
Audrey Serb (SW) over Olivia Greeson (NW) 6-0, 6-1
Annie Vo (SW) over Kate Gentel (NW) 6-0, 6-1
Lori Brown (NW) over Tran Nguyen (SW) 6-2, 6-1
Nicole Sopala (SW) over Alina Younus (NW) 3-6, 6-4, 10-4
Maggi Mugi (SW) over Emma White (NW) 6-0, 6-2
Addison Bryant (NW) over Shaini Lal (SW) 6-3, 6-3
Cowgirls up 4-2 after singles
Serb/Sopala (SW) over Gentel/Brown (NW) 8-2
Vo/Nguyen (SW) over Gleason/ Elizabeth Greene (NW) 8-4
Katerina Villeran/White (NW) over mugi/Lal (SW) 9-7
The Vikings fall to 3-5 on the season.
The Cowgirls rise to 5-3 overall, 2-1 in conference.
The Cowgirls rest until Monday and host Mt Tabor for the second time at home.
Goodnight Cowboy Nation. Thank you for reading.