Womens Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 23, 2021
- COWBOYS: 1
BISHOP MCGUINNESS CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL: 8
Sept 23, 2021
Cowgirls host the Lady Villains of Bishop McGuiness High School (BMHS)
Medicine doesn’t taste good. And if the grape or cherry flavors really masked the bitter/cringy taste of the Tylenol or Robitussin, honestly, there would be more closest drinkers beginning at age 4 continuing to adulthood. The same is true for testing. We like fluff. We like situations that are quick to learn and easy to continue. We like small setbacks because they give us pause, but on the next go, without changing much, we want to pass that next level and continue on. We don’t like losing without some small cloud with a silver lining…in short, we like redemption with minimal sacrifice.
By playing a team twice….let me start over. By playing quality teams twice, they become benchmarks to acknowledge the growth achieved. Without this testing, we grow to be self-deluded in our playing assumptions and styles. Over test and your team grows weary of the futile struggle. Test too little, growth is left unchecked and pruning hurts.
Bishop McGuiness is a Quality team. Currently ranked #2 overall in the state in their class, Coach decided this was the non-conference benchmark he would use to better understand Cowgirl Tennis growth midseason.
The first time the Cowgirls played BMHS early in the season, it wasn’t much of a match. Heat was up, delay was called, though only singles were played, it was enough to develop a full wishlist of improvements Coach needed to address to ready the team for conference play after losing 1-5. Both Coach and the teams got to work. Now right over halfway through the season, we played them again. These were the results:
Everyone played someone different. BMHS’s lineup had changed. As the reader is aware, so too for the Cowgirls #3/4.
Save for the top two courts, the first set was not indicative of the growth Coach knew was present for the Cowgirls.
Audrey, having won the first time we hosted now played the BMHS state qualifier from last year. An entirely different game. Whereas Audrey likes power and corners mixed with off pace and drop shots, Bishops girl hits loopy slower paced magic mixed with excellent footwork. Yes. This was going to be interesting. Audrey began intense…going after shots, hard serves delivered, pushing her play. Her opponent sat back and played her loopy game, tracked down most everything Audrey had to offer, and bided her time. Score? …on serve. Score calling drama ensued…three points lost, Audrey now down, battled back, broke in turn, back on serve once more. 3-4, 4-4, 5-4.
Bishop holds, 5-5. Intense play, 6-5. Lines painted and Bishop calls two out in a row. Confidence shaken, Audrey’s play pulls back to make sure shots go in….Loooooooooooooooong rallies ensure. Advantage Bishop… 6-6, into a tie breaker.
Down 2-5 in the tiebreaker, Audrey can’t sustain a foothold. Top of the net grabbing at Audrey’s shots, baselines shrinking- stealing away inches from available length causing shots to go out, loopy shots from both sides…Audrey’s game reduce in power and scope.
Audrey needs three solid points to take the first set and ease the stress on coach….and net tape grabs another ball for its collective count.
6-7, 5-7 first set to Bishop.
The second set didn’t redeem Audrey’s shots nor demeanor. Loopy McLoopy, again, a good hitter with great footwork tracked it all down. With Audrey’s main weapon essentially negated, Audrey was forced to play the patience game and keep the ball in play, trying to drop shot from the baseline (a hard thing to do), hit higher to cause the ball to bounce higher and further back to try to take the Lady Villain out of her element….it worked for a while. 2-1 on serve was the limit then. Bishop took Audrey out of her game and mindset. 6-7(5-7), 2-6. Santa, All I want for Christmas is patience.
Tran, essentially crush by the girl Audrey played in the writing above the first time Cowgirls hosted BMHS, now played the former #1 player. Tall, hard hitting, punishing serves, in short, another quality player.
Tran impressed no one in her first 3 games going 0-3. Deciding that was quite enough, she held and broke the Lady Villain. Now 2-3 and back on serve, Tran played Tran. Coach warned her not to play Tran + today…that would cause too much uncertainty in her own game while playing into the hands of her opponent.
3-3, 3-4, 4-4, 4-5, 5-5, 6-5
A tiebreaker at 6-6!
Tran redirected the Bishop’s play into shots requiring her opponent to run and in doing so, not set up for shots reducing the efficacy of the shot selection.
Though close, Tran came out ahead 7-6(7-5). She was not out of the woods yet.
Tran continued to battle. These two remained on serve throughout the second set until 5-6. Bishop’s player pushing hard, she connects with three shots in a row. Tran figuratively stumbles in her approach shots. 7-5 Bishop’s favor.
Splitting sets, they head into a third set tiebreaker.
Bishop’s player playing conservatively, and in turn, hitting shorter. Honestly, this was unchartered territory for Tran. She has played net, she is very good at baseline rally, but approach shots….this was her downfall. Bishop continued hitting tentative shorties, required Tran to move up, trying to press the point, Tran went to Tran + mode…the shot goes long.
Another …..hits the net.
Another …..she makes successful contact and over, but Bishop was already running to the far side of the court. Bishop’s player hits it into the open court for a winner. Tran was pushing too much. Due to the rules, Coach cannot bring her over and “chat” during a tiebreaker. Tran was on her own.
Down 2-6 on the race to 10, Tran covers, but the shorties were her undoing. Tran fought well, pushing her opponent farther that she had been pushed to date, but she came up short. 7-6(7-5), 5-7, 0-1(5-10).
Well played Tran. We will work on the approach shots.
Not to belittle their efforts, but the first sets for the rest of the Cowgirls…well, there wasn’t much to write about, but the second sets. Coach found the improvement in what he was looking for.
Lauren, again, on a new court playing a new girl, finally began to get her forehand in. Moving better in the second than the first helped as well. We will work on footwork to the ball and range of hitting from the forehand. 3-6 in the second.
Grace went up early in the second after finding her path. Allie, her opponent was super nice…just like Grace! Allie just came back into Bishop’s lineup last week after an injury. This injury didn’t seem to slow her down and in turn, help improve the overall depth of the Bishop line-up down at 5 and 6. Correct! This did not spell good news for the Cowgirls.
Up as much as 4-2, Allie lengthened her play and all but stopped her errors. Multiple deuce and close games ensued. 4-6 in the second set.
Anna simply played a wall. Remember Anna is a Freshy. A talented freshy playing in the top six, but a freshy nonetheless. The same goes for Grace, but Grace has three year of life beneath her stylish belt.
Tennis is not Pong. Rather, tennis is a 4-dimensional game…go with me on this. X, Y, and Z axis, but woven together by the element of “Time” to make 4. You can be there at the right moment in time, but if the hitting coordinates (and racquet speed, vector, string contact…etc) aren’t enough, an error. Swing perfectly but miss the timing, an error.
All competitive beginners have a very defined hitting range. The make it easy to visualize, think of a vertical number scale from 0-100. Beginners can’t hit balls too low to the ground nor can they take on the very high ones. So, from our scale, a beginner’s range for optimal hitting would fall between 30-50. The more experience you have, the more you can bend the knees and get lower, the more you can hit the lower shots with gusto. Likewise, the upper end of the scale becomes doable with the more time, exposure, practice, and match play you have against that type of hitter. Even thinking of Audrey in Today’s match. Though she could hit those high flying loopy balls, the effectiveness of those returns was greatly reduced since she has spent her time developing other aspects of her game. This is why Kate and Grace alike have been so successful this year….they hit a higher ball that takes their opponents out of their games and forces them to play ineffective ball…when they try to pull it down and go for power, they oftentimes hit it out, net, just plain ole ineffectively because of their weakness at that vertical range.
Anna, though growing in leaps and bounds concerning her core shots, has never played that hard of a hitter with spin that bounces the ball that high. This took her out of her game and as such, made it almost impossible for her to hit effectively. Coach, didn’t you tell her to back up and let gravity do its thing? Yes. But then we are looking at increasing the power to overcome the distance lost by backing up, else, Anna begins hitting shorter allowing for a stronger player to come in off of that shorter ball and better make use of court angles to draw Anna off court into ill-advised shots.
Frankly, that was the match. Anna fought, but it is hard to wage war against a bigger foe when all you have is a pen knife. If only Jason Bourne was younger and born a female…and lived in Southwest’s district….and played tennis. Either he or Bruce Lee if the “English educator crowd” didn’t like Robert Ludlum’s fictional offerings.
Kate’s second set saw improvement too. Kate began playing Kate’s game. Her opponent began playing Kate’s game. Again, the height factor of hitting the ball out of one’s range affects every player. Keeping the action close and the score closer, Kate finally falters on serve at 5-5 allowing the Lady Villain the advantage and ultimately the game.
Dubs brought other revelations and lists to work on as well as clarity as to conference choices, singles or dubs for a few of the ladies.
Tran and Grace were simply over powered by a very cohesive 1/2 combo from Bishop.
Lauren out of dubs and Kate in for court 3. Kate and Rachael Dee had a good game with multiple games at or near deuce. Much better baseline play and net play from both than in previous runs, but it wasn’t enough. Bishop is simply stronger across the board than our girls could overcome.
The one win the Cowgirls turned was on dubs court #2. Audrey, miffed by singles play, partnered with Anna where both ladies shined. Aggrssive at the net and purposeful in their approach and baseline play, they were able to mitigate the combined strength of Bishop’s 3/4 breaking them twice in their 8-4 win.
Again, yucky medicine, but in part, the original wish list has been fulfilled. The Cowgirls did play heads and shoulders better than last time and a new wishlist of things to work on was written.
We begin once more sorting and marking off the list items in practice today.
Cowgirls remain 4-5 in conference and drop to 5-7 overall.
They travel to Southeast Monday, Host Cornerstone Tuesday, and Hop on the Magic Bus once more to Grimsley on Wednesday.
Good luck Cowgirls!
Lourdes Lopez (B) over Audrey Serb (SW) 7-6(5), 6-2
Lindsay Bergeron (B) over Tran Nguyen (SW) 6-7(5),7-5,1-0(10-5)
Izzy Ross (B) over Lauren Harris (SW) 6-0,6-3
Allie Dennen(B) over Grace Parsons(SW) 6-0,6-4
Nina Holton(B) over Anna McGinnis (SW) 6-1,6-0
Adelaide Jernigan (B) over Kate Cherry(Sw) 6-0,7-5
Lopez/Bergelin(B) over Nguyen/Parsons(SW) 8-0
Serb/McGinnis(SW) over Ross/Dennen(B) 8-4
Holton/Caroline Gregory(B) over Cherry/Rachael Dee (Sw) 8-3
Cowgirls fall 1-8 against a very talented and deep team from BMHS
Cowgirls remain 4-5 in conference and drop to 5-7 overall.