Follow the happenings of an animated college tennis coach and his teams in their pursuit of an NCAA National Tennis Championship. It is always the impressive trophy that is displayed for all to admire that gets the attention, but it is the journey to claiming that trophy, the relationships built, the people served and the memories created, that live forever...and what I hope you will find interesting...
I always liked watching O.J. Simpson play football, act in the Naked Gun movies, and run through airports during rent-a-car commercials. Although I also think that he is a murderer, I really like one of his quotes that is listed along the sidebar of my blog.
"The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start to the top."
Recently, I have been thinking quite a bit about some other points that have a similar subject matter:
1. What is happening TO you is really BECAUSE OF you.
2. Sometimes, the one who opens the wound is the healer.
Andrey struggled in his quarterfinal match versus an inferior opponent as he had a fair amount of trouble finding his strokes and the good mental focus. However, he was able to advance over Shikar Kapur of Bluefield State 5-7, 7-5, 6-1. Ultimately, Andrey's fitness and skill were able to turn the match midway through the second set and he never looked back.
Of course, we all know that we will need better tennis from Andrey if we are to advance deeper into the singles and doubles. This event (click here for draws) brings many of the top collegiate players in the country to Mobile, and to win, you must be at your best.
More good news as we defeated Rockhurst in the doubles quarterfinal 6-3, 6-2. We were pretty comfortable all the way through this one but really started to click at about 2-2 in the second set. The coaching staff was really earning their big salaries today and the players were playing much better doubles at the end of the match. BUT, would this carry over to the second doubles match of the day (semifinal) versus powerhouse Valdosta State?
The answer is essentially yes! The guys, in fact, played even better. Of course, the opponents were stronger as well so they needed to do so. We grabbed the first set 7-6 with a tie-breaker that impressed everyone watching. Jumping out to a 6-0 lead, we captured the breaker 7-2. The second set went VSU's way 6-2 which set up a 10 point super-breaker for a trip to the final. A few costly misses and some untimely double faults led to our demise and a berth in the third place match. I was happy with the effort and the improvement for sure. It looks like we are on our way to better things. However, there can be a fine line between winning and losing in tennis and we will need to get better and be able to win close matches like this one if we expect to return to the National Final 4 and beyond.
Next up today will be Andrey's semifinal match versus Eudaldo Bonet of Armstrong Atlantic at 10:30 local time followed by Andrey and Daniele playing doubles at 3pm versus ACU.
Lets hope today is a big day for Clipper tennis and we get some nice wins. I would sure like to return to my hotel room, coaches nachos, the one-ply toilet paper, and the 62 degree room temperature undefeated for the day.
5am start...kinda early for my taste! Parkway closed for paving...detour. No easy pass and traffic so arrived late for flight...learned that you must get to airport at least 45 mins before flight or else your bags do not get on flight. Rental car company has no cars available...they know how to take the reservation but not how to hold the reservation...and that really is the most important part of the reservation, the holding.
Well that was fun now wasn't it. In any case we arrived safely in Mobile, AL and checked in to the hotel. After some serious bargaining, we were able to claim two suites...not too shabby indeed. Much love to Nicole for setting us up tight.
We were over to the tournament site for check in and a brief practice. It is always a pleasure to catch up with some old friends/coaches as well.
We attended the banquet, which in my opinion, gets worse every year. Always a pleasure to talk with Ola and Yuliya from the women's team. A quick stop at the Fresh Market and now back to the suite. Gotta make it an early night as Andrey plays singles at 8:30am. In addition, we have doubles matches at 1pm and 5pm. I hope to report some wins tomorrow.
After a long weekend of tennis for players and coaches alike, your Clipper netmen were able to capture 4 of the 6 flights (1 of 2 doubles and 3 of 4 singles). For complete results in draw format click here.
It was a pretty good showing for the team however certain areas needing improvement showed themselves for sure. We really ask, expect and demand that the players give their best each and every time they take the court. We need this type of effort because each day is a day to improve and an opportunity to build for a championship. There were simply a few too many mental mistakes for my taste but I am still proud of the guys and their effort.
We will be off to Mobile, Alabama early Wednesday morning for the ITA National Small College Championships. Andrey will be playing singles and Andrey and Daniele will compete in the doubles. It will be nice to play versus the top players in the division and to see where we are in the scheme of things at this point. Also it is a good chance to further get to know the players and enjoy their company.
It was essentially a good day at Stony Brook as we advanced to the semis in 9 of 13 possible positions. All doubles teams advanced as well as 5 of 9 singles entrants. (Click here to view results in draw format)
There were several bright spots and a few disappointments for sure. The competition is somewhat weaker than I expected as NYIT is a first year team and Middlebury elected to bring the bottom of their lineup, which I think is a bad coaching move and also unfair to the other teams looking for good competition. Of course, all you can do is beat the player on the other side of the net.
We have a young team again with many first year players. Some are still learning the Concordia philosophy and what is being asked of them by the coaching staff. All in all a good day of tennis and we still have a chance to win 5 of the 6 flights.
It's an early morning for Coach Dano. First, I am off to Bon Appetit to pick up the team breakfast order, which I know John will have ready on time, and next heading to Stony Brook for a full day of tennis.
Hope to do well. I will post the draws or a link to them when they become available.
The team has turned its attention to the Stony Brook Invitational which is this weekend. We will be competing with 7 other schools representing several divisions. Others attending are NCAA D1: Stony Brook of course, Hofstra, Bryant and Sacred Heart...NCAA D2: NYIT...NCAA D3 Middlebury (2010 D3 National Champions)and Bowdoin.
I expect a long weekend as there is much tennis to be played. The format has 4 singles flights and 2 doubles flights. The first two rounds will feature 8 game pro-sets in singles and doubles with no-ad scoring. The semis and finals will be 2 out of 3 sets with a super-breaker for the third for singles and still 8 game pro-sets for the doubles.
I believe that we should do very well and and of course the goal is to win all 6 flights! In addition, this will be solid preparation for Andrey and Daniele as the ITA Small College Nationals are next week in Alabama.
With any luck we will have good weather for the weekend.
I got involved with Concordia Tennis as a way to honor my parents who were both professors and coaches at the college back in the 1960's and also to give back to the program that provided so much for me.
I started with a dream of taking a team to the National "Sweet 16". However, once we got there and I saw what it took to win a National Championship, it looked possible and that became my goal. I thought for a long time that I must have one. However, over time, I realized that it is more important to focus on building champions rather than winning championships and that relationships are far more important than achievements. Thus, a stronger purpose became clear. I am here to love, serve, care for and lead my teams...
"I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters, and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others he has placed in my path." - Ben Stein
"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy." - Arthur Ashe
“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it.” - Knute Rockne
“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today.” - Lou Holtz
"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." - Vince Lombardi
"The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break." - John Madden
"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
"Success is a journey, not a destination." - Arthur Ashe
"Champions keep playing until they get it right." - Billie Jean King
"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play." - Mike Singletary
"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden
"The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start to the top." - O.J. Simpson
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - John Wooden
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
"If you want to be good, focus on making yourself better. If you want to be great, focus on making yourself and your team better." - Jon Gordon