Coach’s Update from Master’U

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Photo source: Hayley Carter’s Twitter timeline

The following was written by Greg Patton, Head Men’s Coach at Boise State University and  8-time coach of the US Master’U Team. There is also an ongoing blog of the event posted on USTA’s website here. Go USA!

Our Collegiate version of the Davis Cup is now up and running.  The USA team of three elite women and three elite men’s collegiate players are getting some rest and relaxation before we start our semifinal match against the always dangerous and incredibly hungry German team tomorrow at the Master’s U BNP Paribas in Lille, France.

Today, we defeated a tenacious Irish team 6-1. In a nutshell, this team competition is a all day marathon match which consists of 4 singles (2 women’s matches and 2 men’s singles matches), followed by women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles.

We started our matches at 10am when Hayley Carter (University of North Carolina) played a flawless match against her Irish opponent (who ironically plays for Notre Dame). Next up was the physical and intense victory by Strong Kirchheimer (of Northwestern) over his Irish opponent (Texas Tech player) in a match that was reminiscent of a laser tag game. They were firing missiles at each other and Strong had too much fire power.  Our women’s #1 Francesca Di Lorenzo (Ohio State) was a maestro in her dominating victory which put us up 3-0. Tom Fawcett (Stanford) wrapped up the team victory at #1 singles.

Our doubles followed, and I must admit, we were all ecstatic with our women’s doubles team’s victory by Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara (UCLA). The Irish men’s doubles team came out fearlessly to upset our two cannons of Chris Eubanks/ Tom Fawcett, but our team ended on a great note, with our mixed doubles win of Francesca Di Lorenzo and Strong Kirchheimer.

Special Kudos to Coach Melissa Schaub (Ohio State)  who in her rookie year as one of the coaches, has been absolutely phenomenal

Box Scores
#2 women’s singles   Hayley Carter (USA) defeated Jane Fennelly (Ireland)  6-0, 6-1
#2 men’s singles       Strong Kirchheimer (USA) defeated  Bjorn Thompson (Ireland) 6-3,6-2
#1 women’s singles   Francesca Di Lorenza (USA) defeated Amy Bowtell (Ireland) 6-1, 6-2
#1 men’s singles       Tom Fawcett (USA) defeated Simon Carr (Ireland) 6-3, 6-3
Women’s doubles       Carter/ Ena Shibahara (USA) defeated Fennelly/Curran (Ireland) 8-1
Men’s doubles           Carr/Thompson (Ireland) defeated  Chris Eubanks/Fawcet (USA) 8-2
Mixed doubles         Di Lorenza/Kirschheimer (USA) defeated Curran/OSullivan (Ireland) 8-3

As you can imagine, it is one long day of tennis from dawn to dusk. In addition to it being a long distance run, it can get pretty chilly in the Indoor Facility here in Lille.

The best part of the trip though is how the team is bonding immediately. It is one of the trade marks of the tournament for the American team. Our six players immediately embrace the team aspect and it is vividly apparent that they are playing for something bigger then themselves. The ultimate goal in addition to winning our 7th championship in the past 8 years, is to provide an experience that will resonate to motivate them to realize their talents and to come out of this tournament a better player.

Today (Saturday) we play Germany (who defeated 4th seeded Belgium). We always have finger biting thrillers with the talented Germans.  Last year, they had several match points against Mackenzie McDonald and Austin Smith in the Men’s doubles, but somehow our men fought off team match points to win and put our Mixed Doubles team in the drivers seat to clinch the match which was tied at 3-3.

The star of that match was our veteran Tom Fawcett and his partner Brooke Austin (from University of Florida) who sealed the victory and put us in position to capture the International championship the next day against the French team.

Our tentative lineup for the match against the Germans will be: (in order of match play starting at 10am French time:

#2 women’s singles   Ena Shibahara (UCLA)
#2 men’s singles        Strong Kirchheimer (Northwestern)
#1 women’s singles   Francesca (Di Lo) Di Lorenzo   (Ohio State)
#1 men’s singles        Chris Eubanks (Georgia Tech)

Women’s Doubles      Hayley Carter (Un North Carolina)/Ena Shibahara (UCLA)
Men’s Doubles            Chris Eubanks (Ga Tech)/ Tom Fawcett (Northwestern)
Mixed Doubles            Hayley Carter (Un North Carolina)/ Tom Fawcett (Stanford)

The link to live scoring and the tournament is:

master-u-bnpparibas.com

The USA has won 6 out of the past 7 championships and possesses a 21-1 record since 2009

Go USA!

Yesterday’s blog   http://www.usta.com/College-Tennis/2016_masteru_blog_hoping_to_continue_the_usas_legacy/

One Comment on “Coach’s Update from Master’U”

  1. Coach Patton’s write-up of the semifinal victory over Germany:

    Do you want Awe and Wonder in your life? Do you want an all day dawn to past dusk thriller reality show played out in living color before your very eyes? Do you want to climb out of what seems a horrific hole that has no escape route and survive? Do you want to live at a State of Heightened ‘Being Witnessing the Best and the Brightest of our American collegiate stars fighting for their teammates, their country in the premiere International Collegiate Team Tournament? Then you need to be with the USA National Collegiate Team at the Masters’ U BNP Paribas Championships in Lille, France.

    We have just arrived back to the hotel after an utter barn burning, heart thumping, blood pressure rising tennis extravaganza. Just let me say that our 5-2 team semifinal victory over our nemesis the German National team doesn’t tell the story of the courage, enthusiasm, and complete abandonment of trusting their talents in tennis.

    In a nutshell, the experienced German team (who we barely defeated 4-3 last year) was biting at the chomp to defeat us and keep out firing.The tournament has seven matches played in a row. It is a marathon, or to some teams seems like a death walk.

    We dropped the first two matches: Ena Shibahara at #2 women’s singles (3-6, 1-6) and Strong Kirchheimer at #2 men’s singles (7-5, 1-6, 6-3. Now all the Germans have to do is win two out of the next five matches left. That is a tall order since we had our #1 women’s player (Francesca Di Lorenza) played like a woman possessed. She won in straight sets (6-3, 6-3) to put a halt to the German steam roller and assure the USA team that at least our doubles teams will get to play for our lives and a shot at the Finals.. She was followed on the court by her teammate, the long, tall, Cool Breeze Chris Eubanks at #1 men’s singles who faced a German tennis machine. There are some people who don’t believe in miracles, but if you saw the courage and shot making of Chris, you would think that miracles happen every day. He was down a set, and spent the rest of the match climbing back up that slippery, steep mountain of a match. He lost the first set 4-6, then turned the tide by fighting off the German’s onslaught to win the 2nd set 6-3. The 3rd set was a see saw escapade of matching wits, and spectacular tennis shot making. There was a lot at stake for both teams. If the Germans win, they lead 3-1 (and only one match away from upsetting the Americans). If Chris can weather the storm of the German we are tied 2-2 going into the three doubles matches (women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles). The 3rd set for Chris ends up in a tie breaker for all the marbles.

    And the German takes a fierce and fiery lead by going up 5-1 in the tiebreaker. Only two points away from clinching what could be an insurmountable lead to get into the team finals tomorrow.
    But!! Wait!! The Cool Breeze Eubanks from Georgia Tech is not to be denied. With the German serving at 5-1 it seems that Chris is in mortal trouble, but he brings out his divine talent to win 6 straight earth shattering points to take the victory! 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) and hold the large French crowd spellbound. Did this really happen? Sure as Heck did, and the proof was the American team rejoicing with hugs and shouts on the center court.

    Now the score is tied and our American women’s doubles team (Hayley Carter/Ena Shibahara) has caught the contagious American confidence and easily dispatches the Germans 6-1, 6-1. Then we are up against the determined German doubles team who is trying to halt our path to the Championship match.

    After the American team of Chris Eubanks and Tom Fawcett win the first set 6-3, they hit a major bump in the road as the Germans completely dominate winning 6-3 in the 2nd set. It is down to a 10 point tiebreaker and the Americans are struck by bolts of lighting, courage and heavenly doubles play to take the doubles match by a 10-2 tiebreak victory. The win is sealed! Our mixed doubles teamk (Hayley Carter and Tom Fawcett) takes the court and wins 8-1 in the dead rubber match.
    Whew!!!

    I was trying to be brief, but my enthusiasm got the best of me. Big shot out to Melissa Schaub my fellow national coach (from Ohio State) who was instrumental in our team fighting back for this big semifinal win.

    We go at it again tomorrow morning as we play Russia in pursuit of our 7th Championship in the past 8 years.

    Go USA!

    Over and Out from weary and blissfully elated Coach Patton

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