Saturday, May 12, 2012

ETSU's Sander Gille Day One: Ready for the NCAA Regional

Thursday, May 10

It’s been almost three weeks ago since we won our sixth A-Sun conference title. It’s hard to describe the emotions we felt at that moment. After having such a terrible start of the season, when nearly all hope was lost, we found a way to come together and bounce back. Another championship was the perfect award for such huge team effort, as well as a four-in-a-row goodbye present for all seniors, including Robin Aksér, Jeremy Bonnevalle, and myself. However, this meant that our season was yet to come to an end.

After getting almost a full week off from practice to enjoy the victory, get some rest, and reload the batteries, we all gathered in the Humphrey Center to watch the NCAA Selection Show. It was tough to hide our disappointment when ETSU popped up right under the No. 5-seeded Buckeyes. Realizing that we would have to face a No. 1 seed in the first round, we had still hoped to draw a lower ranked team.

Even though this was a slight setback, we regained our motivation and energy level and started practicing again. Building up consistency, we followed with match situations that were to prepare us for what may become one of the biggest upsets in college tennis history.

After having a final practice session at our home courts, we took on the road to Columbus, OH. It was A seven-hour trip, made by both a 15-passenger van and and one minivan. It was the very first time the entire team travelled, including all of our freshmen. What seemed to be a long drive at first flew by with the endless stories and jokes.

We arrived at our hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott, around 8 p.m., and immediately left for dinner at "Buca Di Beppo." It’s a cozy Italian restaurant that serves huge pasta combos, which can be shared by three people. Nearly every inch of the walls is covered by pictures and frames of Italian dishes, cities in Italy, and even head shots of the Pope. After filling up our stomachs, we all went straight to bed.

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