|The team at the Farrell's house|
Happy Passover and belated Easter,
This past holiday weekend, our team faced an incredible challenge in coming off of Spring Break and hitting the road to play the two toughest teams (right now) in our conference. It was all focus and excitement as we built up to this trip and there was no disappointment in either the results or how we got them as we beat #37 ranked Linfield 7-2 and pulled off a thrilling win over #31 Lewis and Clark.
In sports, belief is huge when you play someone of equal talent. Our team continues to grow and this weekend all of the things we work so hard at each day in practice, through spending time bonding, and in our goals for how we compete with intensity and sportsmanship each match led to the kind of team belief you need to overcome great opponents.
Saturday we took on Linfield. Always a tough well coached team, they added some serious punch to their lineup with first years at 1,2, 4 and 6! The young cats competed really well scoring a win at #1 singles and #2 doubles. Each of these matches was incredibly well played and while I'm sure we'd like a few opportunities back in dubs, Erin and Tree kept to their game and forced their opponents to play an incredible proset. This year has been a steady uphill climb for Courtney who has overcome illness and lack of playing and practice time to get closer to full strength. Her form is coming as she split sets with the hottest player in the conference this Spring. The best part was playing out in the sun and getting 6 doubles matches so our tandems of Lindsey/Seana, Alex/Jenna G and Jenna D and Allie all added to the fun with great energy and doubles play. This carried into singles where we used all 9 courts and even got a tenth set of play in. On the day, our depth and resolve was tested but came through as we won the match 7-2 and including exhibitions went 14-2! Some highlights were Allie righting the ship after a quick first set loss to roll in 3 sets 1-6,6-1,6-0, Alex, Tree and Maddy sweeping the matches indoors while we battled outside and Morgan playing a player she has had trouble with in the past and clinching a straight sets win.
After the match, the Webster's treated us to an easter egg hunt and the Farrell's (sorry Mike, I mean Katie Farrell) treated us to a fantastic dinner with everyone who was at the match.
Easter Sunday was the showdown between the two remaining undefeated teams in our conference and on their 4 indoor courts, we made a strong start going up 2-1 in doubles. The young Pio's however are tough at every spot and they fought back with 3 wins at #1,#3 and #4 to go up 4-2. At that point, Jenna having been down 0-3 in the first had come back to win 6-4 and was on serve but up in the second. Lindsey was just starting but quickly showed she was in control already up 5-0 in the first set and Erin had a close first set where she struggled to find the right plays dropping it 7-5. So, with three matches on, we needed them all. Jenna finished off an intense second set for a 6-4,6-4 win over the #20 player in the West region to pull us to 3-4 and Lindsey took the first and was cruising in the second, showing poise beyond her years. This left the fate of the match squarely on EBell on court one in front of both teams, the home crowd and a very vocal group of Whitman faithful. Erin embraced the responsibility, settled into her game and was a picture of controlled intensity winning 5-7, 6-3,6-2. Just before the final point, Jenna G had a great win at #7 in a proset and Hanna came back from an early 2-5 deficit at #8 to win there as well!
Everything we do is building for these moments and I'm so thrilled that the team was able to enjoy the battle, empower each other and truly believe that no matter what the score was, our fight would carry the day. With this win, we're in the drivers seat for hosting the conference tournament. We face three teams we've played already and beaten and one we haven't played. But it isn't just who we play that give me great confidence that we can bring the conference tournament back to Walla Walla, but its that we're getting better each week. The schedule is below and if you get the chance to watch any tennis in the next three weeks, I don't think you'll be dissapointed.
It also helps to have an incredible support system and our weekend was not only incredible on court, but it was so fun to stay with the Farrell's and Whittaker's. Katie and Mike's house is like a second home to Jen and I as they are the friends who introduced us and that is where we had our wedding and it was amazing to have them open their home to the team, parents and alums who were there for the matches. It was very fitting that they did it in a team fashion though, as their neighbors Tom and Kit are Whitman alums who hosted part of the team. Appreciation is only the tip of the iceberg to explain what it means to have such great community around us and I speak for the team in saying the biggest thank you to these two amazing families as well as the Greenberg's, Webster's, Gilbert's, Brodeck's and McKelvey's who spent their Easter screaming their lungs out with every tough get and huge winner that got us closer to our goal of winning conference.
Here are some photos from our time in Wilsonville!
|Thanks everyone for making the weekend so special!|
|Maddy and Roddick|
|Our Easter Egg Hunt courtesy of the Webster's|
|Recovering from the matches or the egg hunt?|
Thanks to the everyone for being a part of WhitWomen's Tennis, I'm enjoying every step in this journey.
Saturday April 11th - away doubleheader, at Pacific 9am, at Willamette 3pm
Saturday April 18th - at Pacific Lutheran 1pm
Sunday April 19th - at University of Puget Sound 10am
Friday/Saturday April 24th-25th (location TBD, Walla Walla if we win all our remaining matches) - Northwest Conference Championships