UCLA vs. Baylor Match Preview (Final day post)

Hey Bruin Nation,

First, thanks to everyone who checked into the blog today–it was the most “hits” and views this blog has received since last years NCAA Championships. That is extremely exciting for me and more importantly for the team as it definitely means a lot to all the guys (and Coach, too!). Although it is a lot of work to blog from my phone and my computer in my limited free time away from my manager duties, it is immensely rewarding. So thank you!

Anyway, after a long day of preparation, we are finally ready to go; the Bruins and the Bears will go to war tomorrow at noon local time, per say, in what I’m sure will be another epic battle in Waco, TX. These two teams have a pretty storied history where they defeated us in their sole 2004 NCAA Championship before we came back in 2005, again facing Baylor, and winning 4-3 this time for an NCAA Championship. Ironically, or coincidentally, Coach Knoll of Baylor and Coach Martin have their sole NCAA Championships against each other. In addition, both of our programs have had continued success since those incredible years.

Despite the intense battles over the years, there is immense respect between Coach Knoll and Coach Martin–and I think between the players. While it is indeed a rivalry, and by no means am I one to back down from a rivalry match like this, there is undoubtedly respect between what these programs have accomplished in recent years and courtesy when they host us and we host them. That must be stated and I know that both Coaches share their due diligence for each other off the court–both have stated publically, and appropriately, as such.

Yet, tomorrow no doubt the kindess and the respect will wash away–it is going to be a battle like it always has and quite frankly, probably always will between the Bruins and the Bears. Coach Knoll and Coach Martin–two of the utmost competitors–will step on the court with their players ready to kick some butt. I have no doubt about it. And that is what makes college tennis so great; despite the respect, I do not want to lose Baylor and I know they do not want to lose to us. This match might not impact the conference rankings but no doubt there is pride on the line everyone involved. Count me in on that, too. We have lost three of the last four years to Baylor with my lone win coming against them my Freshman year at LATC at home. My last trip–and Amit and Holden were there as well–we lost a close match 4-3 in Waco and Coach Martin told me that they lost two years before that, too. Therefore, we have never beat Baylor at their place…

…and that is why tomorrow matters even more. To come down and lose is not what we want and especially after coming up short against them the last three years. I know our players are pumped to tackle this challenge because it will be a big test for us. Baylor is a tough team, used to their home conditions, well-coached, and will not give us anything–so we need to take it to them. This is also an important match for us too, to see where we stand as a team heading into National Indoors in a few weeks. We are young but we are talented, and this will undoubtedly see how we rank against another top team.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

1) Fire: We must come with a fire, show them that we came to play tomorrow and ready to go to battle; we need to “bring it” early, right out the gate to send a message that it is not going to like recent years–we ain’t going to give them a win. Especially on away matches, it is important to not start slow.

2) The conditions: We must block all of that out…for some of our freshman, it is their first true road match. It might be cold, it might be windy, and their might be a crowd cheering against us. Most likely, all of that will be occurring at the same time. Even more, they aren’t going to “feel” the best in a foreign environment. We cannot let that distract and just go out, play tennis, and focus on playing smart without worrying about the conditions and environment.

3) Teamwork: Again, this is our first away match and the eight guys, Jon (our awesome trainer), and myself (and of course the coaches) are all we are going to have tomorrow. We must pump each other up–on and off the court–and play and cheer for each other. This will be a tough match against a great team and it times like these that an individual sport starts becoming a team effort.

Again, thanks to everyone for following the blog today–I’ll do my best to keep you all updated tomorrow! On a lighter note, I’ll be up late trying to figure out sandwich orders for the team…why does Quizno’s have to be open at 11am on Sundays?! Either way, I’m figuring out how we can best prepare! Oh the life of a manager in all it’s glory, even the most simplest things somehow, end up not being so simple. 🙂

Until tomorrow, Bruin fans, I say goodnight. We are all going to bed dreaming of being that last match, at 3-3, third set, and having the fate of the match rest in our hands. I know I’m dreaming of that and the guys are too. This is what you want as a competitor–playing against a respected and talented opponent, in a foreign place, putting it all on the line. I can’t wait until tomorrow! GO BRUINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Explore posts in the same categories: "On the Road" Update, General News, Match Pre-game

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