Hey there tennis fans!
Your Lady Lions were pretty match-busy this week beginning with UCLA on Wednesday which was a tough one no doubt about it. They are a very strong team. However, it was a great match to play because it forced us to raise our level of play and compete our hearts out there to try to play our best out there and reassure this PAC-12 team that we are not going to give up without a fight!
It was my Swiss teammate's birthday this week and our team all went to dinner to celebrate on Friday before our match on Saturday. We went to C&O's which has the most amazing garlic balls you will every try in your life. By the time you're done nibbling on those tasty things, you barely have an appetite for dinner. It's just that good. All in all, we had a great time! The waiters even handed out flyers to the lyrics "That's Amore" where the whole restaurant chimed into sing at one point of the night. It's like we went to Italy for the night.
On Saturday, we faced UCSB which was a nail biter through and through mixed in with a little bad luck. It was the first match we played with the new NCAA format. This includes 6-game pro-sets instead of 8 games for doubles along with no warm up with the opponents and also no full third set for singles play. For the month of February, the NCAA has issued these new rules as a way to shorten the amount of time we are out there on the court because many times, matches drag out to nearly 5-6 hours long which can be straining especially when we have multiple matches to play in a week. During this month, these new rules will be issued as a trial so we will see how it goes for the matches coming up.
The UCSB Gauchos just came up a little more mentally strong than us in the end. After losing a super tight tiebreaker decider for the doubles point, we got ourselves in more tough situations. Laura, Reka, and Miya all went to third set deciding 10-point tiebreaks. Congrats to Laura and Reka who prevailed. Miya fell just short but put up an amazing effort at 1 singles. We lost 3-4.
Superbowl Sunday also meant our 3rd and final match of the week against Cal Poly SLO. They were a very spirited and strategically intelligent team. We barely lost the doubles point once again which is always a bummer going into singles, however it should not get the better of us and I think that is something that all of us need to figure out how to block out and think of their approach to singles as a clean start so they don't hang onto that negative energy. Shout out to Kristine and Laura for great singles wins at 3 and 4. Unfortunately those were our only wins but the other matches were extremely close give or take a few games.
Our team meeting following our match did not consist so much of breaking down individual matches, but rather an overall discussion about how important preparation is for match days. This preparation includes the breakfast we're consuming (nutrition), are we properly fueling our bodies with the right nutrients before we step on the court? Are we eating enough? Are we also mentally prepared for the match? Are other exterior factors (homework, friends, etc.) blocked from our minds so we can just think about the match ahead? All of these factors can have an effect on our overall performances on game day. And Coach Jamie really tried to make us understand how important it is that we are all individually taking care of ourselves before the matches get underway. He reminded us, "There's no "I" in team," but there is "I" in win" and it is our individual responsibilities to do our parts.
This week, we have an away match against CSU Long Beach followed by a home match against CSU Fullerton on Sunday! Wish us luck this week!