Sunday, May 13, 2012

ETSU Senior Sander Gille's Final Report from Columbus

Saturday, May 12
GAME DAY!! Just like yesterday, our day begins at 8.30 with some breakfast. Even though we will be getting lunch around 11, it is important that we get some food in our bodies early, and start being active. 

For the next two hours, we are just hanging out in the hotel, mentally preparing for our match in the afternoon. We are following the live stats of Notre Dame vs. Vanderbilt to get a clear idea when to head out to the courts. After a not so tasty "Subway", we found the Commodores fighting the Irish to the bone. Their match would go to a third set in the deciding match, which caused our match to be moved back by 45 minutes. 

We warmed up on the reserve 4 courts during the end of their match. After hearing the familiar celebration roars, it was time to shine for the Bucs. We had worked for this moment all season long, and a lack of motivation was way out of order. Coach's energizing and motivating words rose over the top, and even one of our freshman, Ricardo, took the word at the dinner table last night. Words such as talent, confidence, belief, trust, support, and unity set the tone of his speech. If hearing these things out of the mouth of a freshman, who has only been with us since January, does not give you goose bumps, you shouldn't call yourself an athlete. 

Players were introduced per team in alphabetical order before taking on the courts for doubles. Music boosting out of the stadium speakers, and a loud, energizing crowd only added up to the adrenaline running through our veins. Having early break points on number 2, Robin and me being a break up (twice) against the #1 team in the nation, and staying on serve on number 3, showed that the Bucs had come to fight. 

Unfortunately, more missed game and break points caused us to lose the doubles point. Nonetheless, we had experienced with our own eyes that they were not superior to us! We created our own opportunities, but did not manage to capitalize. 

Moving into singles with even more belief, we held our ground on each court. However, one break on every court was enough for the Buckeyes to win all six first sets. Their individual level was not much higher than ours, but the speed, consistency, and continuity of their game took the upper hand.

Throughout my four years in college, I have played against several top 10 teams, and I can honestly say that no other team has impressed me as much as Ohio State did. They ended up taking the second set on number 2, 4, and 5 to clinch the victory. However, we could leave the court with our heads held high. We gave them all we had, and they had to battle for every point on each court.

Once more, we have shown our ability to play with the best teams in the nation, and proven our potential for the upcoming years. I think it was vital for our returning players to have this experience, and realize they are as good as anyone else. I hope they work hard during the summer to be ready to keep the winning tradition going, and go even further than second round in the NCAA tournament.

When we got back to the hotel after the match, I fell asleep right away. The match and overall circumstances had completely worn me out. At 8.30 p.m., we went for dinner at Logan's Roadhouse for our very last team dinner of the year. After enjoying our steaks, the seniors went for some drinks at Applebee's to "celebrate" the end of our college careers and watch the Nuggets/Lakers game.

Sunday, May 13
This morning we set course back to Johnson City for the very last time. Maybe the weather reflects some of our feelings that it's all over, as it has been pouring for hours. These four years have surely been the best of my life, and I can not imagine how much I will miss being on this team. However, I will keep in touch with each one of my teammates, and I wish them all the best. I am ready to move on, and look forward to what the future holds for me...

1 comment:

  1. Very well written Sandy boy! Thanks for sharing your experiences with everyone and making the buc fans feel closer to the team. Best wishes for the future. I'm proud of you buddy. Dale!!!


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