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...
Well the above title essentially speaks for itself. The CACC Championship stays in the trophy case here in Bronxville as the women won their third championship in as many years since joining this conference.
In the semifinal match, the ladies defeated Holy Family 5-0. Clearly, this is a one sided score but this was actually a long match. In fact, the match at #1 doubles was a two hour affair that we eventually won in a tiebreaker 9-8. The Holy Family team really came to play and was not going to simply let us have the match without working. Luckily, the ladies were well prepared and were hungry to move on to the finals versus Goldey Beacom College.
The final match was a bit more complicated for sure. The team was pretty confident as we had defeated GBC earlier in the season 6-3. However, GBC was without two of their starting players in their top six that day and thus would be stronger this time around. The coaching staff knew that the doubles would be vital today and we were really hoping for a 3-0 sweep. We were well aware that Goldey has some tough singles players and that it would be difficult to dominate there. Luck was on our side and again we achieved our goal of winning all three matches. Once again, the number #1 match was a marathon which lasted close to two hours that we again won in a tiebreaker 9-8. Big props to Yuliya and Clara for their toughness. With the 3-0 lead and the subsequent confidence, we split the next four singles matches and won the match 5-2.
I am really glad that the CACC Championships were played last weekend and not this weekend as it is easier to blow the leaves off of the courts than to shovel snow off of them. Who knows what Coach Stroble would say about that...
I am really proud of the ladies for what they accomplished this year. Clearly, they were placed in a tough position with the former coach abandoning the program after the start of the season and without notice. Also, it was not easy for them to play an entire season without any new players or any reserve players while also adjusting to a new coaching staff with a new philosophy. We really stressed the importance of the doubles and focused much of our practice time in that area. As a result, the team rewarded us with a cumulative 29-1 dual match record in doubles.
When I first was approached with the idea of getting involved with the women's team, I was a little uncertain of what would be to come. However, I thought that Coach Neil deserved a little help. I am really proud of what Neil did for this program and these young women, He stepped up and provided the team with the experience that they deserved. I really think that he did a remarkable job and should be considered for the regional coach of the year for his efforts.
I believe that the future is bright for the Clipper ladies as I have witnessed tremendous improvement with the players. There will also be help on the way with new members in January. It is not quite as easy to recruit for the women but I will apply painstaking effort to build this team into a nationally recognized program. I am not sure what my involvement will be beyond recruiting but let's see.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Oct. 21, 2011) – Concordia College will be looking for its third consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Women's Tennis Championship, as the 2011 tournament gets underway this weekend. The tournament will be hosted by the Clippers on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23. Concordia will face No. 4 Holy Family University Saturday at 10:00 am, while No. 2 Chestnut Hill College will meet No. 3 Goldey-Beacom College. Sunday's championship match is slated for noon.
The Clippers enter the tournament having never lost a conference match since joining the league three years ago, going 8-0 each season. The Clippers have won the last two CACC Tournament crowns, including a 5-0 victory over Goldey-Beacom en route to an appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament Quarterfinals last season. Concordia will be led by junior Yuliya Plevako, who compiled a 7-1 record at both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles this season. Plevako was a first team All-Conference pick for the first time in her career after being selected to the second team the past two seasons. The Clippers also feature three second team All-Conference picks in seniors Clara Catanzano and Juliana Frey and junior Ana S.O Mendes. The trio combined to go 20-4 in singles play in the regular-season.
Chestnut Hill (13-2, 7-1 CACC) will be making its second appearance in the tournament and claimed the No. 2 spot. The Griffins fell to Concordia in last season's opening round as the No. 4 seed. Five Griffins posted at least ten individual victories this season. Atop the order is junior first team All-Conference performer, Nastia Shcherbakova, who went was 13-2 at number one singles. Her record was matched at number four singles by freshman Morgan Oechsle, who was an honorable mention All-CACC pick. Junior second team All-CACC selection, Maria Parapouras, led the team with a 14-1 record at number three singles. Sophomore Kelly Dennis claimed an 11-4 record at number two singles and was named to the All-CACC second team. Shcherbakova and Dennis teamed for an 11-4 standing at number one doubles.
Goldey-Beacom (6-2, 6-2 CACC) will be looking for its first-ever CACC title after falling to Concordia in the championship match two years in a row. The No. 3 seed Lightning will be led by the 2011 CACC Player and Rookie of the Year, freshman Stephanie Puentes, who went 7-1 at No. 1 singles. Four of her teammates were selected to the All-Conference team, including second teamers Melanie Bonomo and Marina Sales. Filipa Correia and Blanca Sancho were both Honorable Mention picks. Chestnut Hill and Goldey-Beacom will meet in the opening round Saturday at 1:00 pm, just five days after the Griffins pulled out an exciting 5-4 victory over the Lightning to conclude the regular-season.
Holy Family (9-6, 5-3 CACC) will serve as the fourth seed and will be led by juniors Juliana Victoria and Jin Querubin, who were both named to the All-Conference first team. This season, the duo teamed at number one doubles to register a perfect 8-0 record in conference competition. In three seasons together, they are 43-9 overall at No. 1 doubles. In singles action, Querubin finished conference play with a 7-1 record. She is currently 10-1 overall at second singles and 10-4 in all dual matches. Victoria posted a 6-2 mark in CACC action at the No. 1 spot. The Tigers have qualified for the CACC Tournament each year since its inception in 2005, and won titles in 2006 and 2007. Concordia and Holy Family met once this season in conference action, with the Clippers earning a 7-2 win back on Sept. 10.
The championship match is schedule for Sunday at noon at Concordia. The full tournament schedule is below.
2011 CACC Tennis Championships
Semi-Finals – Saturday, Oct. 22 (at Concordia)
#1 Concordia vs. #4 Holy Family – 10:00 am
#2 Chestnut Hill vs. #3 Goldey-Beacom – 1:00 pm
Saturday, Oct. 23 (at Concordia)
I am sorry to report that we had a short day at the courts this morning as Dani lost handily to Lucas Jovita 6-0, 6-2. Dani simply could not find his opponents weakness today enough to get the job done. We certainly wish Lucas good luck in the superbowl later today and tomorrow. I enjoyed meeting up with Rollins coach Ron Bohrnstedt, who is a nice man, a smart coach and clearly a good recruiter. I look forward to perhaps seeing him again in the spring.
That being said, Dani did have a great run to the final and should be ranked #2 in the fall rankings released in November. This was certainly a confidence booster for Dani and also an eye-opener in terms of areas to improve for the future.
We have a late afternoon flight back to NY but we are actively trying to move up our departure time so as to arrive home earlier. Either way, I hope to get to the Hungry Owl for a good last Mobile meal before the flight.
Back to Bronxville. I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Good news to report folks. Dani Piludu has won again today 6-4, 6-3 defeating #2 seed and 15th ranked Hans Hach and has advanced to the Final of the ITA/NCAA D2 Singles National Championship. He will face off against Lucas Jovita of Rollins tomorrow at 8:30am.
Dani looked a bit more comfortable today and was very solid from the baseline. He really moved well and played tremendous defense. He was able to frustrate a very tough player in Hach which is no easy task. Dani's trip to the final is the third appearance for a Clipper in the last five years beginning with Alex Grubin's run to the championship in 2007. Andrey Boldarev was a finalist in 2009.
After the match we enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Brick Pit which is a smokehouse/BBQ establishment that some of you may have seen on the popular show Man vs. Food. Well today it was Coach Dan vs. Food as I cleaned my plate of pulled pork, coleslaw and baked beans in record time. Coach Neil really enjoyed his meal as well licking his plate clean. Dani had the ribs and should be fortified for his match tomorrow.
The real fun came after the meal as I asked to be let into the smokehouse and was granted the opportunity by the smokemaster to see "Big Red". We had so much fun and hope to continue our tour of local eateries with the Hungry Owl up next.
After a short snooze, we will be off to the hotel fitness room to work off the calories. I know that coach Neil will certainly be looking to release some stress. We stopped by the local Vitamin Shoppe and encountered a naturopathic doctor / iridologist who was offering a free consultation. An iridologist is someone who boasts an ability to determine what is wrong with you by examining your eyes. I insisted that Neil indulge the gentleman. The good doctor revealed that any and all of GNT's symptoms were a result of increased anxiety in life and that for only $180 he would prescribe the proper treatment for rectification and a return to good health. I also received a consultation and was told that I was a "brick" and that there was nothing he could do as I was so healthy. Clearly he is unable to get a reading of my cholesterol levels by looking at my eyes.
Well, here ends the essay. I look forward to more good eating and more winning on the court.
After a sluggish start, a bit of a slow middle, and a so-so finish, Dani wins his quarterfinal match 7-5, 6-1 over Vlad Catlan of Bluefield State. Dani seemed to be fighting his nerves a little out there and simply was not able to get comfortable on the court. As a result, we watched a serious pushing match. Now don't get me wrong, Dani can push his brains out as if we were on the slow red clay at Roland Garros but he will certainly need a more attacking style if he would like to further advance in the tournament. Next up today is Hans Hach of ACU, a player who broke the hearts of Clipper fans in Las Vegas last spring defeating Andrey Boldarev in three sets coming from 1-4 down in the third to win the dual match 5-4. Lets see if I can get Dani a little better warm up and some confidence this morning.
I will try to do a little better on Twitter today so as to keep you up to date.
Also, I look forward to a visit to the Brick Pit for lunch. I enjoyed the Wintzell's Oyster House last night and their fried pickles. It is nice to have some good meal choices here as we have received some ideas from Man vs. Food.
Such an important event but a strange place to have it. Yes Clipper tennis fans, we have traveled in a small group "back down to Mobile" (Alabama) for the ITA National Small College tournament as Dani Piludu will represent the region in the singles draw.
We took off yesterday after an hour or so wait on the tarmac courtesy of our friends at Delta airlines and LaGuardia airport while on an airplane sporting a sub 60 degree temperature...not to mention the somewhat overly friendly male flight attendant. We did arrive safely in Atlanta and then on to Mobile after a short walk to change terminals. I wish I had some extra time in Atlanta as my old childhood friend is hospitalized in the Atlanta area with a recent cranky appendix removal. In any case, I hope he is on he mend.
After a quick repast at Panera Bread, it was off to the hotel to check in, change into tennis whites and then off to the event site just 10 minutes away. This is the first time we have traveled to this event with only a singles player which means that yours truly is responsible for hitting with Dani for his warm up. I have not been hitting so much and am not moving so swiftly around the court. I can only hope that Dani is finding the hitting at least somewhat beneficial. I may be the first person ever to consider seeking a trainer at the event even before it officially started.
I am up earlier than the others as usual but soon I will provide my own version of a wake-up call to the fellas so that we can ready ourselves and head down to the complimentary breakfast buffet. Dani's match time is 10:30am. I will certainly report the result as the match concludes or you can follow along with me on twitter.
Feel-free to send your well-wishes to Dani here in the comment section of this post or send a shout-out on Facebook. I know he would appreciate the support. I think he has a real shot to win this tournament but it will not be easy as there are several capable entrants.
You really could not ask for a better performance from the boys this past weekend at the Hofstra Invitational. Click here for the results.
Playing improved doubles Dani and Geza took the championship defeating a team from Temple University in the final. The singles turned out to be more of a "Concordia Invitational" when all was said and done. In both "A" and "B" flights, all semifinalists were Clippers with Dani, Benas, David and Tomasz in the "A" and Mark, Andreas, Geza, and Ricardo in the "B". As a result, we did not play the remaining matches at the Hofstra site. However, playing through to the consolation championship match and winning the "B" draw was Jason Quintana.
Not a bad way to finish the team component to the fall season and certainly something positive to build on for the spring. Of course, we will head down to Mobile, Alabama Wednesday, 10/12 for the ITA National Small College Championships. Dani is the 3rd seed in the singles draw and has a solid chance to make a name for himself on the national scene. I will certainly keep you up to date but don't hesitate to follow along as well.
I've been thinking a lot lately about on-court tennis behavior. Seems like, much similar to regular everyday interaction, many folks, probably including myself, seem to have very colorful responses to anger. One duty that I do not enjoy as a coach is the enforcing of the ITA point-penalty system.
Tennis is certainly a fun game but can also be a very frustrating game. Seemingly, in addition, the better one gets, the more frustrating the game becomes. Who knows why...
However, that being said, it seems like everything in life is creating frustration. I mean, holy bacon lettuce and tomato, just the other day I encountered an angry motorist who showed me their middle finger as a result of their own driving error. I had some nerve not recklessly running a red light so that the finger-displayer in the car behind me could also do the same. Now, perhaps the road-rager was feverishly on his way to the hospital with his pregnant wife (although I didn't see anyone else in his car) or was trying to escape a chasing member of some organized crime faction or had his gas pedal accidentally stuck to the floor. In any case, I didn't deserve or earn the dreaded middle finger display I don't think. So why did I get the gesture?
I often wonder why it is so satisfying to launch a tennis racquet into a net or fence or to smash the frame onto the court surface breaking it into many smaller pieces or to shout curse words as loud as possible in a language of one's choice, often in more than one. The problem here is not simply that we play a "gentleman's game" but also that the ITA, which is the governing body of college tennis, as well as all other governing bodies, forbid such behavior. Nevertheless, the behavior continues for sure. As an aside, I must say however, that I still laugh out loud when I think about the time 20 years ago when I was playing a match at the somewhat pretentious Bronxville Field Club and my opponent and friend, George MacGovern, launched his Wilson Pro Staff out of the back courts and into a high branched tree, never to return to the ground. Who knows, it may still be in that tree serving as some some sort of nest for a tennis-loving squirrel or bird.
What makes me chuckle is how most players guilty of violating said code are always surprised and regularly upset to have the code of conduct enforced. What comes after enforcement, which is usually done reluctantly by most coaches or officials and especially me, is the list of justifications that is similar in length to a toddlers Christmas list:
1. "Everybody else is doing it."
2. "It slipped out of my hand."
3. "I have Tourette Syndrome."
4. "I said "ship" or "truck" or..."
Too bad we can't all just yell out the phrase "curse words" like former Clipper of the 1970's Paul Schulze who is also the father of former Clipper of the 2000's Josh Schulze. Incidentally, Josh didn't really take after his dad in this area.
I often remember instances while I was in school (which seemed like forever), when I would remark to a friend that a given teacher gave me a "B" or "D" or some other grade. In reality, 99% of the time, the teacher did not "give me" said grade but I received the grade that I achieved or earned. (I say 99% because there was that time when an absent-minded math teacher at a small Lutheran college in Bronxville, NY with a great tennis team, lost my independent study, take-home exam and failed me...which was later reversed by the way, but I digress...) This is quite the same as the enforcing of the tennis code of conduct. Players "earn" their penalty, coaches or officials don't "give" it to them.
Of course the best case scenario would be to avoid these inappropriate responses to frustration and anger. Much easier said than done though.
Truth be told, I was no angel on the court. My players would say that I still am not. I guess I just accept responsibility for things a little better these days. I hope that my current players figure this out a littler earlier than I did.
Your new look Clippers took to the courts yesterday (10/1), the first day of my birth month in case you were wondering, and defeated NCAA III #14 Bowdoin College 8-1 (click here for the boxscore). It was a decent start to the dual match slate but I am pretty sure that we will be greatly improved in the spring for the championship season.
Essentially, we are trying some different combinations for the doubles teams in an attempt to find 3 or even 4 cohesive units. In a relatively short period of time we have been able to improve our doubles significantly but we are not even close to where we need to be if we want to compete once again for the #1 regional ranking and also for the NCAA II Championship. Luckily, much can be accomplished between now and May. That being said, we were able to take 2 of the 3 doubles matches in yesterday's match.
We swept all 6 singles matches including the debuts of our 3 freshman starters. Specifically, I am really impressed with Mark Mozer. I think he will be a tremendous addition to our roster and a really tough out anywhere in the lineup. Of course, I have no rock solid idea of what the lineup will be in the spring and have a sneaking suspicion it will be nothing similar to what we sent out there versus Bowdoin.
I did get a chuckle out of something the Bowdoin coach said yesterday. Coach Smith, who is a first year coach for the Polar Bears, and seemingly a really nice young man, suggested to me that our team was "pretty down" this year, meaning that we were quite a bit weaker than last year. I can only assume that he expected to be beaten 9-0 rather than 8-1 and in more convincing fashion. I love these kind of remarks, remarks that I am careful not to make to other coaches, because they fuel my fire to improve the team. I am not sure exactly what we will be in the spring but as of right now this is my team and a team that I believe will be even better than last year. Mark it down!
We will travel to Hofstra University for the Hofstra Invitational next weekend featuring Temple University, NJIT and of course, host Hofstra. This experience will further provide the coaching staff with information about the new players and give our team a chance to practice the doubles. I hope that the Northeast weather allows the 3 day event to occur without interruption.
In any case, I am pleased to have the opportunity to share our happenings with you. I also suggest that you join this site and become a member/fan. You can sign up under the "FANS" heading down along the right hand side of this blog just above the NCAA logo.
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