“Always Be Closing” match #11 vs. Four Seasons “Nice Aces”

This was as close as it gets. Seriously. Jeez!!!!!

The last time we played against the “Nice Aces”, we lost on all of their damp and musty Har-Tru courts. And the only court that was not a blow-out was singles (thanks, Lorraine!). It was a super tough match against very strong players on all courts. The things that were different this time were that there were NO uneven scores, the courts were our nice hard fast ones and that they did not sweep us. It’s nice to play at home, that is for sure. Although the “Nice Aces” are a strong team and are currently only 1 individual win away from the top spot in the flight… they are always pleasant to play with and a nice group of women.

I played against Christiane, who also plays and wins a good number of 3.5 matches. She is a seasoned singles player and wins most of her matches at both levels. I knew this would be a tough match from the get go. Christiane won the first game, but I took over pretty quickly and won the next 3 in a row. It was neck and neck from then forward. I was able to keep a step in front and won the first set, 6-4. She started very strong in the second set and I completely lost all power in my forehand. I was pushing the ball and knew I was playing too tentatively. But I just couldn’t find my mojo. I was down 5-2, but I never quit…. I managed to recover to 5-5 , but she closed it. So, we went to a 3rd set tie-break… I was up, she was up, she won…. 4-6, 7-5, 1-0.

D1: Caroline / Randa
Caroline and Randa played against the two captains, Sandra and Rosemary. Sandra is a solid and strong player with pace and she is great at net. Rosemary was the weaker of the two and Caroline and Randa focused on her. Her pace is slower but she clearly likes to lob. However, it can be tricky to play against a pair that has such different types of games. Caroline and Randa managed to keep it tight in the first set and went to a set tie-break. Although they took the first set, Caroline says “I think nerves got in our way” as the second set had too many errors and they let the second set slip by. Annoyed by the set loss but determined to not give up, Caroline and Randa know how to close… it ain’t over ’till it’s over. They went back to “bounce/hit” and won the 3rd set tie-break: Final winning score for Caroline and Randa: 7-6, 2-6, 1-0.

D2: Dana / Eva
Dana and Eva came out blazing with an incredible first set! Eva had cat-like reflexes at the net and Dana’s consistent and strong strokes were too much for the soft hitters (Kathryn and Heather) to play against. The first set went by like lighting with a big margin win for for Dana and Eva. However, the second set became a little harder to find pace on their strokes and one of their opponents “came alive” at the net. The opponents resorted to calling a ball “out” even before it landed, but Eva and Dana were making way too many errors to hold the set. So…. right… you guessed it… this court ALSO went to a 3rd set tie-break! But Eva and Dana held firm and their opponents got annoyed. Kathryn and Heather could use a little mental toughness training. Ha ha ha! Dana and Eva won the 3rd set tie-break for a final score of 6-2, 4-6, 1-0.

D3: Kerry / Tracy
Tracy and Kerry were a good match up and played well, particularly the first set. It was a competitive set and Tracy and Kerry stayed in front to win it by a break. In the second set their opponents (Andrea and Nicole) used their lobbing skills to turn things around and change the pace of play. Tracy and Kerry made more unforced errors and the second set was closed out by their opponents on top. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!!! Right!!!!! Here we go again!!!! ANOTHER 3RD SET TIE-BREAK! JEEZ!!!!! Kerry and Tracy played a solid match but the lobs got the best of them. We lost this court 4-6, 6-3, 1-0.

So….. we went to 3rd set tie-breaks on ALL courts. Won on two, lost on two. We were even on sets. So, we count games. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do the math. We won 41 games. “Nice Aces” won 43. They take home the “W”.

But what a great match! 3rd set tie-breaks on ALL courts!

Top spot is Kings Hwy. “Shake and Serve”, which we beat in our last meeting! (They have 30 individual wins).
Second spot is todays opponents, Four Seasons “Nice Aces”, which we only lost to them by TWO games! (They have 29 individual wins).
We are tied with Four Seasons “Slam Sisters”. (Both teams have 22 individual wins).

Don’t give up!
Don’t feel defeated by a first set loss!
Don’t lose focus in a second set that is slipping away!
Fight for every game!
We are only 7 individual games behind the Districts qualifiers!

I am so proud of all our teammates today!
Thanks for playing!!!!!!

On a side note…..
in reflection of our match today and thinking of the mindfulness training that I have been working on….
todays’ match was a great example of how and when to use it, on all courts. I am a constant work in progress. There were many moments in my match today (particularly when I was down 5-2 in the second set) that I was able to draw from my mental work and recover to 5-5. My opponent beat me but I did not fail myself on mental toughness. I hope that you can all find some time to discover the benefits of the mindfulness and mental toughness that INTENSITY has to offer through Coach Nikola. I know exactly what I did right in my match today, exactly what I did wrong, how it made me feel, and how to move forward with it all. My mindfulness makes each match (win or lose) a learning experience which I take to my next match. My growth makes me a stronger player each time I step on court. I hope the same for each of my teammates as I would love to grow with each and every one of you.

See you on the courts!