Back on the Grind
It's been a challenging start, but the men of Slug tennis are clearly on their journey of becoming a championship team.
The season opened with a match against the Div 1 Cal Poly Mustangs at Seascape Sports Club in Aptos at the Seascape Sports Club. The day featured tough match-ups up and down the lineup, and despite bringing home only 2 wins our players showed some strong play. Special nods to doubles partners Erich Koenig and Sam Rodgers who defeated Alex Sonesson and Jordan Kepler in a close match of 9-8. It was a hard won victory and demonstrated the chemistry between these two players. Sam Rodgers once again proved himself a valuable member of the team when he defeated Sebastion Bell for the Slugs only singles win as well. Look for him to be a major player in this year's championship run. Soph Erich Koenig had five match points against his strong Swedish opponent before falling 14-12 in the breaker for the third set. Sophomore Erik Rosner also played well in his exhibition match and defeated Kyle Jackson 6-1,6-4.
Although their performances did not lead to a victory, a shout out is needed for Parker Larsen and Brian Pybas. Parker faced off against longtime friend and former Aptos High teammate Jordan Kepler, and fought hard in the second set to a 6-2, 7-5 finish. Off the courts the two joked around and posed for photos together. You can read more about this in the Santa Cruz Sentinel's piece on it. Copy and paste this link http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/sports/ci_17172498
Pybas on the other hand played well against one of the nation's top Div 1 players, Andre Dome. He battled over every point, and lost by the close score of 6-4, 6-4.
The match yesterday against the Santa Clara Broncos continued to push the guys towards a higher level of competition, with many players performing well despite eventual losses. Doubles partners Erik Rosner and Ian Stanley defeated Santa Clara's Kyle Dandan and Kyohhei Kamono 8-5. This young doubles team is showing real maturity and will be an asset to the team.
Parker Larsen pushed Blue Chip Freshman opponent John Lamble to three sets in a hell of a match, before losing 6-7, 6-1, 1-0. This was a strong effort, and demonstrates Parker's resolve.
We will continue to push ourselves in practice as we prepare for the SAP alumni and supporter event on Feb 9th, and of course the ITA National Indoors on Feb 18th-19th.
Reflecting on the performance of the team in these two matches, I am pleased with the way that this young team is maturing. The veterans are stepping up to fill leadership roles, and the new additions to the team are putting in some solid work to get better. I am very excited about the chemistry between teammates, and the attitude of the guys coming off these two losses. Playing these tough Div 1 teams early in the season really gives us a chance to test ourselves at a high level of play and identify areas for improvement. Moving forward we have a lot to work on, but I am confident that we will mature as the season progresses. The Slugs have a knack for comebacks and I fully expect great things from this group.
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