Womens Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Aug 25, 2021
- COWBOYS: 6
WESTERN GUILFORD HIGH SCHOOL: 0
August 25, 2021
“The air was oppressive even in the early morning hour, hot with the scorching promise of a noon of glaring blue sky and pitiless bronze sun.”
- Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
…and added to that, the southern swell of August humidity pushed the Wet Bulb Test ever higher. Hovering above the magical 90 mark which demarcates where athletic participation outside can occur, the WBT seemed not to budge from near 3 O’clock to when our travels brought us to the 21 year old courts of Western Guilford. Still too hot to remain safely outside, we disembarked the bus, set out cooler and team area, and headed into the main lobby of Western…and we remained there for 2 hrs 15.
Why so long? Oh, if your memory of southern weather and its repercussions has left you, extreme heat can cause storms to brew as the warm, humid air rises to meet cooler air, causing….
Sorry, you seemed to have fallen asleep. Let’s skip the chart and moisture cycles and say heat and lightening caused over an hour delay in our start.
6:32 we make it to the courts, announce the players, pair off the flighted levels, let then warm up on their own so the first ball of the match dropped at 6:45.
There is always an uneasy adjustment much like stepping into a dark room as the door closes behind you or for gentlemen, cold water as it near our speedos…I think you understand it from the first descriptor. The first 2/3 games are a period of feeling out the opponent. Will they hit well? Did my serve abandon me completely in the night? What is a forehand? I can only imagine the internal dialogue the ladies have knowing what runs through my mind before a match. Slow and steady is often the course the ladies decide upon.
And across the board the ladies began. Coach knew the relative strength of his ladies after seeing them battle well v Page on Monday. He had little concern with the top 2 matches, but 3-5 often play a bit more mirror (reflective of what the opponent can play) while Kate plays…well, Kate’s game. Think Tortoise and the Hare, but prettier with vibrant flowing red locks. Slow and Steady…with a few kickers that seem to surprise Kate at times.
Tran went immediately on a roll. #2 from western seemed blindsided. Up 5-0 in no time at all, the Lady Hornet questioned a call after Tran called it in. Tran allowed the call to stand. The Lady hornet didn’t seem pleased. Play continued. Possible slightly rattled by her opponents stance or simply from a brief elevation in her opponent’s play, Tran couldn’t convert two breaks from the Hornet’s serve. Winning her own and playing tightly shot for shot with her opponent, Tran found her chance in the 6th game, breaking the girl’s serve and resolve. 6-0, 6-2. A textbook win for Tran.
By the time Tran was up 5-0 on her opponent, the rest of the team had only played 3 games. The points across all courts were longer, much longer than anticipated. Reminding me of what we did to Page on Monday, though coming up short, the play was intense through EVERY point played.
Tough loses make you either humble or bitter. Tough wins make you extremely grateful. Grace Parsons, after having lost a tough third set to Mrs. Cook’s daughter, Mallory of HPC and nearly clawing her way back into the match 2nd set v Page (4-6 from down 0-4), needed a win, she needed to feel her efforts could return a victory.
Her match was tight. Any serves broken were given back the next game throughout the match. Though Grace’s serve was looking good, her play floated up and ran in lock step with her opponent’s ability to hit the ball. Longer balls, both had. Errant shorter balls, check. Higher floating shots that made rallies long and thus began that gnawing in Coach’s belly from an ulcer yet to be discovered, yeah, this match had that too.
Up 6-5 Grace couldn’t convert the break opportunity. Into a tiebreaker we go.
Coach hates trends like this
And finally, her opponent faltered, hitting the ball into the net after another long rally. 7-5, Grace secures the first set. 7-6 (5). (5) referring to 7-5 in the tiebreak.
Wow. OK, Coach needed to walk away and breathe for a bit.
Lauren, ct 4. Her shots were not as forced as they were on Monday. There was an ease in her play. This more so relaxed Lauren continued to work through some demons as her play improved over the course of the first set. Serves more consistent, forehand top spin increasing…up 4-2, Coach moved on down.
Freshy Anna clearly had the better court movement of the court 5 ladies, but her opponent was no slouch, running down most shots and again, drawing out the points into longer hitting rallies. Up 3-2, Anna seemed in control of her match.
Fiery ginger Kate was everywhere on her court. The normal #6 WG player was out due to a leg twisty, rotator, ACL, ankle type injury. [Though it might appear so, Coach has never attended medical school] Ms. Scott, another ginger moved up to play her spot. As so with all ThunderDome Matches, when two Gingers enter, only one can leave……victorious. Luckily the seniors didn’t wear white tonight. It was going to get ugly.
Taking nearly as long as her ct 3 senior teammate, Kate’s first set nearly ended in tragedy. Battling back and forth throughout the set, though up 4-3, Kate dropped her serve giving the go ahead to Ms Scott 4-5. Bringing it back 5 all, the WG ging held serve to take it to 5-6. Now neither of these wonderful players have had much experience in their life with tiebreakers. Ms Scott declared her victory in the first set and immediately found her coach at the fence to tell him of her fortune. This was to be her first set win of her tennis career. Not hearing the score, Coach walked over to the fence and noticing Kate’s walk, inquired of the game score. After being told that WG had won the first set, he inquired as to the score. “6-5 her,” Kate said. Pause. Reader, in set play, a player must win by 2 games. So in short, the set wasn’t over. Ms Scott’s coach had also told her the same thing Coach was telling Kate….so there was a chance! With Ms Scott’s win prematurely declared and now redacted, Kate was able to even up the score at 6 all. Into a tiebreak we go!
2-1…sound familiar, no?
3-1 sweet glory, please!
7-5, at last!
Kate’s first set was only eclipsed in length by Grace’s first set and forming of the galaxy. 7-6, (5).
Tran chilling and supporting her teammates, Let’s turn the writing to Audrey. Playing last’s season minor nemesis, though winning all three times she played Ms Henley, the last time was in conditions much like tonight….hot, muggy, though the sun had begun its decent well beyond its peak, it felt like last years conference tournament.
Winning her first serve, Ms Henley fought and secured not only her serve, but came out with bigger shots and pushed Audrey ….for a time. Time enough to take a break in serve and had Audrey looking up at a 1-2 deficit. Then Audrey sparked. Breaking and winning to shut out the Lady Hornet 6-2 in the first, Audrey compassion allowed ????? nope, rather Ms Henley’s strength was only enough to earn one of her service games in the second as Audrey closed the door on another opportunity for the Lady Hornet.
Audrey walked away a winner, 6-2, 6-1 against a consistent, tough hitting opponent.
Courts 3-6 were still playing.
A storm could had parked nearly above the school threatening its might with very small and sporadic droplets and an increasing wind. The radar didn’t look good but knowing the weather for Thursday was much the same, the Cowgirls persevered.
Grace, now deep in her second set, was simply trading shots with her opponent. I cannot say the shots were the best ones coach had seen, but they were over the net and in….somewhat….from both sides. The game of Pong comes to mind. Though her serve was good through the first set, Coach could tell her shoulder was aching a bit. Play on Grace! Play on! 4-3.
Lauren, having won her first set 6-2, was facing tougher balls from the Lady Hornet. Even on serves at 3-3, Lauren couldn’t push past her own hitting and her opponent’s knack for good court movement coupled with an adequate stroke and shot back over the net. Then something clicked in Lauren. Instead of trying to draw her opponent out to the side with a crosscourt forehand, Lauren began to hit her forehand straight down the middle. Though not preferred, the topspin seemed to be clicking much better (like Coach and Lauren had practiced just yesterday!). Pushing her opponent back, the WG Player could do little when her footwork began to fail. Side to side was good but backing up was not a skillset she had developed yet. Lauren controlled the rest of her match taking both her serves and one of her opponent’s to a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
Anna had won the first 6-2. Her opponent, now warmed up shot wise, played Anna hard. Even longer points, good movement from both sides and good ball movement too from both forcing each other to cover the court. Coach was tired just watching. But in the end, Anna’s consistency and footwork prevailed, 6-2, 6-4.
By the time Coach had gotten back to Kate’s court (Ginger Royale), Kate was down 0-4. The impending imposion of Ms Scott had not occurred after her first set loss and in fact, had seem to occur to our beloved Kate. Finding an opportunity, Kate fought back, holding, breaking, holding to 3-4. Not able to break. 3-5. Desperate to hold her own but with an inconsistent game and pop’n Ms Scott on the other side of the net, Ms Scott finally wins her first set of her tennis career with eyes on the prize of a match victory in the third set tiebreaker. 3-6.
Looking down the set of 4 courts, Grace was still busy in the 2nd set holding off her opponent.
Kate and Ms Scott enter into their 3rd set tiebreaker.
And with that, Ms Scott’s coveted dream of securing her first win of her career was dashed. Kate, our ginger, had fought the good fight and came out victorious. 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-5 (or just (5)). Kate was exhausted. And with her victory, she had secured the win for the Cowgirls before dubs play.
All eyes were on court three. Grace, though a similar means as Kate, had lost her serve making it 4-5. Needing to hold so as not to trip into the third set, she gains one point…two points…but cannot sustain it as her opponent wins the second set. 4-6.
The third set now looming, so too the storm a brewing and the clouds continuing to gather as the lights illuminating the courts chased away the encroaching darkness.
Frustrated with her own play, coach had a word and helped refocus the 1st yr player. She still had the legs to run. She had the shots if they could work. Her shoulder was bothering her more. Grace needed this for her own psyche. Though the match was secured, Grace wanted to play well.
Wanting to break away from the intensity for a few points, Coach walked over and watch solid play from the exhibition courts of Betsy, Evie, Rifqa and Caroline. These will be next year’s starter pool.
Where were we? That’s right! Grace Parsons. What is the score? What is the score? No one knows on the sidelines. 3 all they offer, but they don’t know. Crap! A changeover! Did I miss something important? No great cheers or moans of disappointment from the players, “Grace, what is the score?” coach asked as she sipped water. Oh yeah, it was still shirt sticking to your body humid and hot. Honestly reader, as plus size coach, this is not as sexy as you might imagine, well, coach’s wife of 27 year may disagree…..nope. She doesn’t think that is appealing at all.
8-3, Let’s go! An Ace!
Grace Parsons secures her first varsity win of the season, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 10-5
*denotes long rallies
The Cowgirls sweep the Lady hornets 6-0 in Singles play.
Grace walked off the court after 2hr 11 mins playing, the longest match of anyone this season. Let’s not make this a habit Grace.
With the clock ticking 4 mins ‘til 9pm, the Coaches agreed dubs were not needed this evening. Players were tired, no, rephrase that, near exhausted. Having secured the match Coach intended to push the line-up forward to rest the top players and give a chance of play for those out of the top 6 should WG’s coach insist. Graciously he did not. Dubs averted, a short bus ride home to follow. The ladies to ready themselves for tomorrow, complete their HW, continue to study respectively for AP World and AP Bio…those teachers! Maybe coach can speak with them to lighten the burden, and weekly quizzes?!?!?! Come on! Isn’t there an athlete waiver from HW, responsibility? Academics? No?! ug!
Thank you for reading. This one was lengthy, but the battles are always real on the courts. Congrats again the ladies. The Cowgirls draw even at 1-1 in conference play and 2-2 overall.
A rest day tomorrow should the weather cause a heat delay. Shooting for a Friday practice and possible Sat am opt practice to ready for Monday h v Northern. Come out to see the ladies. We have a start time of 5 barring weather. Until I write again….