Talented squad edged out by division rival
MAR. 23, BLAZER TENNIS COURTS—The Blair boys' tennis team was sorely disappointed as they failed to end a long streak of losses to Churchill, losing 3-4. The team was, according to Coach David Ngbea, set back by their poor mental game.
Heading into the match-up, Blair expected fierce opposition from a strong Churchill team, led by first singles player Jared Pinsky, who currently owns a national ranking of 20 in the boys' 18s division. Blair first singles player, senior Hailiu Yang, unable to match Pinsky's booming serve and groundstrokes, was often forced to scramble to return shots, eventually losing 6-0 6-1.
Similarly at third singles, senior Eric Su failed to raise the level of his game and make use of his strong serves and angled shots, dropping the match 6-1 6-1. Su attributed the uneven score to inconsistency and his opponent's ability to vary the angle, spin and pace of the ball. "It's hard to find a good rhythm with him," said Su of his opponent.
The third doubles team of sophomore Henry Zhang and junior Tony Chen was the next to lose, with an end score of 6-0 6-3, held back by their own unforced errors. Zhang was displeased with his performance and believed that the team lost the match more than their opponents won it. "What stood out to me was unforced errors everywhere," Zhang said.
But as the raindrops began to eek out of the gray sky and the throng of spectators began to wonder if the dreary match would be postponed, Blair's hopes were lifted. Junior Michael Hsu, at fourth singles, yielded a resounding 6-3 6-2 performance. Aided by his consistent, well-placed serve, Hsu said he played well on the big points and won the pressure games. The second doubles team of seniors Andrew Ding and Kelvin Le combined good teamwork with well-rounded game to dominate 6-1 6-3.
With two matches won, the team's attention turned to the two remaining competitive matches of the day. At first doubles, freshman
Meanwhile, after splitting sets, second singles player, senior Jordan Fein, grew increasingly frustrated as his opponent came to the net more during the final set and his own play became less aggressive. Fein, despite numerous clean, down-the-line winners, was often critical of his own performance throughout the match.
Just minutes after Fein lost a 4-6 6-3 6-1 struggle, Park and Kong won a close 7-6 7-5 match. Ngbea, who had high hopes for the team prior to the match, shared in the team's disappointment with the end result. "I'm not happy about it at all because it's a match that we should've won," Ngbea said.
Though the chance for an undefeated season is now gone, the team will be able to take the lessons of this experience with them for the remainder of the season.
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