Southwest Guilford High School
Womens Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 20, 2022
- COWBOYS: 4
RJ REYNOLDS HIGH SCHOOL: 5
Cowgirls fall narrowly to a quality RJR W Tennis team 4-5 in non-conf tennis action
It was a great night for tennis.
No, we didn’t win, but we were chomping at the bit to do so at 4-5 with an excellent look on court 5 with Betsy and not too far away with Lauren’s play.
For the courts that won, they were quality wins…no puff pastries for the Cowgirls tonight. For those courts that lost, a lesson and a direction as to what we need to work on in practice and the off-season. This isn’t just Coach being nice…the Cowgirls held their own in each game even though the total game score looks askew.
Let’s get to the details.
Did Coach tell you we were playing on Clay? For anyone with prior experience to these writings and the general game of tennis, the Cowgirls have never faced off against an opponent on clay (soft courts). The learning curve was extremely short for tonight’s tennis action.
Audrey played strong. Her Opponent, Ms. May fought admirably. Though both sides had good points, Audrey’s footwork made the real difference…that and her experience on other clay courts. Gliding to the ball and skidding to a stop while positioning herself and racquet just so allowed her to overcome May’s homecourt experience. The rallies were big and fast…but as with most of the matches this season, Audrey was simply stronger, faster, and overall better in most all regards of the match. At the end of the day, Footwork, pace of shot and her ability to keep the ball in sealed the deal for her opponent. 1 and 1.
Lauren at #3, played extremely well. Her movements were of Lauren from old while her hitting didn’t devolve into a slugfest into the net. She kept her composure, moved well, and extended out most of her points to 6+ shots back and forth with several extending longer. She kept the pressure on. Her serves were looking good tonight, but consistency spelled the end of the breakthrough runs she had in both sets. The Lady Demon was able to handle the harder shots drilled across the net with well enough effect to keep Lauren back and the rallies going. Shot attrition and consistency. Loss 2 and 3.
About Anna? Oh, she is still playing. We will get back to her later.
Rachael ran against an experienced clay court player with a set of two tricks to keep her opponents at bay. Hit short and cover the net. It worked. Clay courts, for the uninitiated, stop or halt the ball, making for a slower play and less bounce. Add a touch of backspin, the ball can stop cold with even lower bounce. Ms. Kim had practiced this approach many times this season as any observer could tell. Not risking the baseline rally, Ms. Kim took the first set, though the points were long and Rachael battled strong, the Cowgirl couldn’t anticipate Ms. Kim’s shots well enough to force the game points the other way. So too for the second set as Rachael would continue to run, hit, chip, but ultimately fall 2 and 1 to the Lady Demon.
Anna is still playing.
Oh look! Betsy is still playing too!
Jada is a relative newbie to tennis. Though covering a wonderful amount since her decision to play, we established several items she will need in the seasons to come.
1/ a lob.
2/ a drop shot
3a/ of serve
3b/ of shot
Her opponent hit big and deep. Jada countered with the deeper shots and managed to extend most points, but she ran afoul of the clay courts, their bounce and the difficulty of covering the distance when having to run down balls. Unable to get inside the baseline for too many shots greatly hindered the Cowgirl from hitting wide and seizing control of play. We learn. We grow. We play better tomorrow. Loss 1 and 1.
Yep, both Anna and Betsy are still playing.
Betsy played some of the longest points she has ever played. Though beginning with traditional strokes, the Lady Demon found little success in her planned methods and began to lift the ball more and pushing Betsy deeper. For the most part, Betsy kept pace with the Lady Demon. Hitting good long strokes in a game of attrition, both sides held their serves throughout the first set until Betsy’s last serve…deuce twice, Betsy faltered ever so slightly, and the Lady Demon came up with the first set advantage.
Back into the fray they both went. The Lady Demon continuing her high-flying hits and Betsy countering them nicely. Once more, the second set continued on serve until 4-5 and by the narrowest of margins, she took the advantage and broke Betsy’s serve. Unfortunately, this gave the Lady Demon the second set and subsequent win. 5-7, 4-6.
Anna felt out her opponent and began playing her game. Her opponent, though experienced on clay, seems more the novice than Anna. The points were long and the shots fast with depth. Anna was playing a much bigger game now than just earlier this season. With confidence high, serves and shots landed in forcing the Lady Demon to play more defensive. Tied at 3 all, Anna held, broke, and held again for the first set.
Not to be outdone, the Lady Demon generated her own 2nd set bump. Taking the lead with her first service game in the second, these two battled longer and harder than in the first. 12, 13, 14 shot rallies were the norm throughout the second set. Still on serve, and over an hour later, Anna holds against the Lady Demon. 5-5. Countering the Lady Demon’s serve through another series of long rallies…clearly the fatigue was settling in on both sides, but luckily for the Cowgirl, more so on theirs. A break once more. 6-5. And even a longer game, with the Lady Demon and Anna slugging it out, back and forth across the net and into corners yet unexplored by many other players, tied at 30 all, Anna keeps the ball in play with shots as only she can develop…pushing, pushing, corners again and again, baseline touches, shorter balls….and an error in the net from her opponent. 40-30. One more serve, play, rally, rally, rally, and the Lady Demon hits the 15th ball long earning Anna the victory 6-3, 7-5 in an incredible show of tennis fortitude.
The Cowgirls were down 2-4 after singles. In the race to 5 total wins, they would need to sweep ALL three dubs courts.
Kudos to Anna and Betsy, having played out their opponents to near exhaustion, the RJR coach subbed in another set of players for the #2 dubs spot.
Anna and Betsy? They are well versed in long matches. Though tired, they were in no way as physically defeated as their counterparts.
Audrey and Anna court 1
Rachael and Betsy court 2
Jada and Caroline Church court 3
With a renewed sense of vigor and urgency, the Lady Demons quickly jumped ahead on all three dubs courts. Catching their breath, the #1 Cowgirls of Audrey and Anna begin their climb. Though broken in the first service game, the Cowgirls held and even broke back to draw even at 3 all. And that was all she wrote for the Lady Demons #1 dubs. Audrey and Anna held or broke through the rest of the pro-set. Yes, the Lady Demons challenged them through an impressive barrage of at speed passing shots, lobs, solid net play and the like….but tonight is was the Cowgirls time to shine on court 1. 8-3
Rachael and Betsy were facing a 0-3 deficit. Gaining their footing they held their serve to make it 1-3. But the Lady Demons simply piled it on more and let the faucets flow. Close in all game points, but never enough to halt the forward momentum of their opponents, Court 2 falls 1-8 in spirited play. In short, the Demons hit a better, more consistent ball.
Also, down from the get go was Jada and Church. Let’s pick up the action at 1-3. Though not in the top six these two Demons were well versed in the play and nuances of doubles. Their communication was strong. Their movement was fluid. Their hitting, a bit better than the Cowgirls. 1-3 became 1-4….2-4….2-5….2-6.
Coach knows! He checked his official binder for “How to win at Doubles” and no where did it say let the opponents get ahead 2-6 before mounting a comeback….well it looks like there will be an addendum to this section of Coach’s book.
Over the next 8 games, the Cowgirls began really playing. Letting the Lady Demons hold their serve only once in those games, shots from the Cowgirls began to ring true. They lifted it better to avoid the net Demon, extended their shots down the line or began placing their shots better and better extending out the rallies and almost shocking the Demons into standing still. Once fluid, the opponents had nothing to poach so the Cowgirls were able to control all but one of the games until the end of the match. 6-7,7-7, 8-7, and on serve for the win, the Cowgirls defeated a by and large much bigger hitting opponent than themselves. Taking the advantage away by hitting it wider, the ever impressive down the line shots, as well as developing a beautiful lift over the net player force the baseline player to move and cover was key to their success.
Though not enough to win the match for the Cowgirls, the play exhibited tonight was some of the best this season. The Cowgirls are peaking at the right time. So too for many of the teams in our conference Coach imagines, but this reflection is about the Cowgirls, not them.
Kudos to the Cowgirls. Coach will repeat the opening lines of the write up tonight…
For the courts that won, they were quality wins…no puff pastries for the Cowgirls tonight. For those courts that lost, a lesson and a direction as to what we need to work on in practice and the off-season.
Good luck to the Cowgirls in the rest of their season.
Northern Guilford comes to SW for the Wednesday afternoon conference match. Beginning at 5pm….maybe the reader would like to come watch for a spell????
Free admission if you mention you are a fan of the writings. There will be no quizzes…just say it to get in free!
Hope to see you there.
Wednesday’s are Picture with Coach day. Bring a cell phone and capture a selfie with Coach. Post on social Media for free admission to the remaining tennis matches and as a one time bonus, the Conference Tourney Oct 11-12th…where? At SW courts. This will not happen again for the foreseeable future so plan now!
SW hosts Northern Guilford on Wednesday for a conference match beginning at 5pm.