April 3, 2006 - by
Dear Diary…By Seminole Junior Nicola Slater

April 3, 2006

Road Trip to NC State and Wake Forest: By Nicola Slater


Now in the middle of our conference season the girls, coaches and I head up to North Carolina to face another two tough teams, not surprising considering we are now in the toughest conference in the nation for women’s tennis.


The trip up was probably one of the quietest we have had, so nothing rather exciting happened. We arrived and checked in to the glorious Embassy Suites, but only to leave shortly afterwards for our hit at the North Carolina State indoor courts. Everybody was hitting well, focused and ready for the following day. That night we went to eat at a wonderful Teppanyaki restaurant, basically a Hibachi grill (yes I’m throwing around my useless knowledge again). The name of it (I still am having confusion with) and the letters were funky and I believe the operator told us the true name, Kanki’s or something??? An amusing site to be welcomed by was our chef giving us the tomahawk Seminole chant! In North Carolina no less! Even the shrimp made an effort to be a true Seminole (had to be there moment J) It was a good way to end a long day of traveling and good eats to prepare for our upcoming match.


Saturday morning we headed to the courts and warmed up. Confidence and hopes were high, everybody was playing really well. Sadly it didn’t show in the match. NC State pulled out the two doubles wins after a fight back at 1 and 3, and Whitney and I pulled out the win at 2. Next was the singles, only using four courts, positions 1 through 4 went on. At 3, I tied the match at 1-1, but sadly Ania couldn’t hold out against a tough opponent and shortly after, Taps was done as well. With the score now 3-1, we needed to win all the matches left on court. Alina fought back in her match and took her opponent to a third set, while Suzi and Lisa were the last matches left on court. Alina lost 6-4 in the third and the Wolfpack took the fourth and final point, and the match. Lisa played extremely well and seemed to toy with her opponent as she added a second point to the score for the Noles. NC State won 5-2. It was very disappointing, since it was very much a winnable match, no doubt about it. But we had the next day to focus on now.


Just as the coaches always so truly put it, the great thing about tennis is you get to come back and try again. There is always the next point, another set, another match where you can redeem yourself. So here we were after a 2 hour drive in Winston-Salem, ready to bounce back and compete against Wake Forest. We went out loud and pumped up. Suzi and Ania dominated at number 2 doubles and took the first match for us. After getting down early at #3 doubles, Alina and Taps fought back well but weren’t able to hold out. It was down to Whitney and me…


What to say…we were close, very close, the No. 20 doubles team in the nation and we were right there. The final score was 9-8 (10-8), literally a point difference. Weebs and I certainly had our chances. 6-5 up 30-0, 7-6 and 30-15 with an overhead flying out and we hit it. Then in the tie-break we got our “one chance.” Coach always talks about it and of course I’m all pumped telling Weebs it’s our one chance “we gotta take it!” Usually I want to be the hero and I would go all out on it…BUT something stopped me and before I knew it as that second serve came to my forehand, I had ten different things racing through my head, be disciplined but aggressive, put up the lob to make them play, chip it so it just goes in, go for that hero shot down line, if it comes to my backhand chip angle follow it in…yeah I skied the thing (I missed it). I kind of went for aggression but also played it safe. I was indecisive.That was our one chance. The best teams don’t give you many chances, and rarely give you a second chance. We had a couple of match point saves in the breaker, but not enough as they took the match from us, winning 9-8.


 Giving them a fright in doubles, we went into the singles knowing that we had their attention and tried to take advantage. I was first off and then Alina followed. Taps fought back a little in the second after losing a tight first 7-6 but the Demon Deacons got the win. Lisa pulled the short straw again and had to wait to go on a little after since they only had 5 courts. Ania fought back and took hers into a third but just fell short losing in the super tiebreaker. Lisa was last on as we stood and froze in 40 degrees weather. The Deacons won 7-0.


Overall a disappointing weekend, they are good teams by all means but not anywhere near out of our reach and I’m just ready for us to get that win we deserve. I feel as a team our effort was nowhere near as high as it should and needs to be. But like we say, there is always another one and this weekend, against Clemson and Georgia Tech, you can be assured that we are going to bring it!


Funny moments of the trip, Coach and Oliver had a bet that Oliver could not make it through the entire trip without making a U-turn (he’s not the best with directions). And, well, we all know Oliver thinks he was successful with that task, but it all depends on your perspective about U-turns. Does a U-turn equal three left turns made to avoid a U-turn? It depends who you ask, I guess!


Another moment, Coach and I returned from getting essentials and like a landing dock into the parking place we docked alright–against a wall. That was the back of the Expedition, and yes she made sure she got the front as she edged closer and closer when we parked at Wake Forest, I guess that KIA isn’t quite as big. Coach tends to park into the wall, on the curb and pretty much on what is in front of her. 


And like I mentioned a couple of us (Foley and I) forgetting some essentials… how can two people pack for a roadtrip and forget these items? That’s like packing a lunch and forgetting your sandwich. J


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