Connor, Andrea, and Amanda all went to Orlando for the Tennis State Championship matches. On Monday at 11:00am, they played against Gulf Breeze in the quarter finals. The doubles matches were very close and PV won line two but lost line one. With the format of the match, the team needs to win 4 of 7 of the matches to move on and with the teams splitting the doubles matches, that meant that they'd need to win 3 of the 5 singles matches.
Connor's match started off pretty rocky and he had trouble with his second serve and had lost some of his confidence with his backhand. Although his opponent was a fairly good player, many of the points that Connor lost were because of errors. Connor lost the first set 2-6 and was losing the second set 1-2 when it started raining and they had to stop. They waited around for a while, but it continued to rain and they didn't play any more that day.
Connor's team was in bad shape at that point, and it was difficult for Connor to sleep peacefully knowing that he'd have to continue his match the next day and that he had a hole to dig out of. The match continued on Tuesday, and as other matches wrapped up it became apparent that the fate of the team hinged on Connor's match. If he lost, their team's chances ended. If he won, they'd move on to the semi-finals. Connor played better on Tuesday and he managed to win the second set 6-4. They had a 10 point tiebreaker to decide the match and it was a close thing at a few moments. It was tied 6-6 and then Connor steadily pulled away and won it 10-7.
It was an exciting moment for Connor, and for everyone there. I can't imagine the pressure he had during the match because everyone else on his team had finished their matches and were watching him. Additionally, many of the parents from the girl's team had wandered over, as well as people from the opponent's team. He had a lot of eyes on him and he rose to the occasion and played well. Win or lose, we would have been proud of him for turning the match around and making it competitive, but it was an awesome moment for him to get a victory that was so important to the team. Some of his teammates ran out on to the court afterwards to congratulate him and one of the moms was recording the moment and sent it to Andrea afterwards.
I wasn't able to watch it live, but Amanda had been texting me updates throughout the day and especially for the tiebreaker. My heart was beating so fast as the match came to an end, I can't imagine how tense it was for everyone there. Amanda called me on Facetime so I was able to congratulate Connor after his match.
Because of all the rain delays, his team had to hurry and get ready for their next match against Wiregrass. The format of the match still consisted of 7 matches, but due to the rain delay the format was different to speed things up. The doubles matches were one set to 8 with no-ad and singles were sets to 4 with no-ad as well. Unfortunately, both of the doubles matches went to Wiregrass, so PV had to win 4 of the 5 singles matches to move on, and that proved to be too difficult. Connor won his first set, but was down in the second set when the match was called. Wiregrass won the 4 matches required to move on, so Connor's match was completed.
Overall, the experience was one that Connor is likely to remember, and I'm thankful that Andrea and Amanda both were able to go and support him and be there. Although his team didn't win the State Championship, they had a strong team and did well to get as far as they did. Wiregrass ended up winning their next match and were the Class 3A Champions.
Andrea got a cute pic with Connor and also took a picture of Connor with one of his coaches, Coach Jim, who has been a calming influence for Connor and who always watches his matches and helps him stay positive.
Connor's tennis season has come to an end, and he improved a lot this past year and got a lot of experience. We're hopeful they'll make it to States again next year and maybe they'll even do better. Great job Connor!
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