April 26, 2012

Slugs vs Kingsmen: A Demonstration to Remember

On April 22nd the UCSC Men's tennis team took on #6 Nationally ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsmen. After a season of huge wins and tough losses the Slugs knew that this, our last home match this late in the season, was as important as it gets. The west region is packed with tough teams this year, and as we get closer to NCAA play come May, matches like this hold a huge amount of weight. At 9:45 we met…

Slugs vs Kingsmen:
The match started in our team meeting annex with a room full of familiar faces. The current Slugs, alumni Kellen Ali-Christie and Mark Vartabedian, and sports psychologist Dr. Jerry Lynch, all gathered and voiced appreciations going into this day of battle. It was a great start setting the tone, appreciation for what an opportunity we had in front of us that morning.
The Kingsmen struck first with an 8-3 victory at #1 doubles. Hats off to the top regionally ranked team of Nick Ballou and Ray Worley. They played too tough against Slugs Parker Larsen and Erich Koenig. The Slugs didn't hesitate in coming right back with commanding wins at #2 and #3 doubles 8-4 and 8-3. Ian Stanley and Erik Rosner played big and clean, with their connection and support visibly apparent from start to finish. I am extremely impressed with how far Ian and Riza have come on many levels. Devin and Eli played one of the best matches I've seen all year at #3 doubles. Both these teams have always had the potential to play a high level of doubles, what made them so tough that day was that they simply didn't miss balls on top of big play.
Going into the singles the Slugs were confident but knew the battle was far from over. The Slugs came out swinging winning the first sets at five of the six singles matches. First off was a loss by Parker Larsen to a very tough Ray Worley. Having a tough day Parker didn't hesitate to cheer and support his teammates immediately after, the score was 2-2. First off was a win by Erich Koenig (with AC Matt Seeberger on court) at #2 singles to put the Slugs up 3-2. Erich played an almost perfect first set. Fighting an injury throughout the second set, Erich's determination and composure showed as he served out the match. Next off was Erick Rosner with a 6-3, 7-6 victory at #5 singles. Erik, going through many ups and downs this season, came out and competed like a champ on this day. Watching many members of this team bounce back in the face of adversity is something I have been so proud of this season.
To clinch the match Bryce Bettwy (with AC Brian Pybas on court) took down his match with a 7-6, 6-2 victory. Bryce has been one of our most solid spots all season, and kept it going as he took the match home for the slugs. Next up was a huge win by Devin Nerenberg at #1 singles against on of the top players in the country Nick Ballou. The match was bloody; Devin's persistency and determination took him past the finish line. Last off was a win by Andre Halabi at #4 singles. Andre refused to back down for a second and showed what determination and being stubborn, in a good way, really means. By the time every other match had finished Andre was just starting the second set. His message was clear, " I will stay out here all day if I have to..." It was too much for his opponent that morning/afternoon/early evening.
With a 7-2 victory over a very tough opponent, the Slugs are picking up steam heading into the final stretch for this 2012 season. I am extremely proud of how this team continues to come together; we will bring everything we have till the last ball is hit. Special thanks to Brian and Matt for continuing to do an amazing job of coaching these your men. Also to all the current slugs not currently in our starting lineup a special thanks. Everyone is contributing to how this season is coming together; it is and always will be a team effort.
Today the Slugs leave for the Annual Ojai Tournament with the best teams in the region. Match play will begin tomorrow with finals being played on Sunday. To Stay updated with results please go the tournament homepage at: http://ojaitourney.org/Thanks again for all the continued support,