Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Women's Tennis Kicks Off Home Schedule

Sophomore Elena Strakhova

By Elena Strakhova -Women's Tennis
Jan. 31, 2012 

The women’s tennis team started their dual season campaign with a set of three home matches at the Franklin Athletic Club. It was a long week with three days of high-level competition, three days of hard-working practices and a day-off. This year we have only five girls while we need at least six. That means that each team has a small handicap on us – they automatically win one point due to player shortage. But I would not underestimate our “Outstanding Titan Five!” All of us are talented, hard-working and passionate, and I believe that despite all the small details that are not counting towards our favor, we will do better this year than we did last year.
All three home matches were scheduled to start pretty late (around 7-8pm), so we had plenty of time to “break the sweat” in the morning, rest at noon and have a nice team dinner before the match. It was very nice of our coach to go to the nice restaurants (probably that is the reason why we were fueled with energy for all three matches). We were not able to win any doubles matches against Western, Eastern and Xavier, but every match we were closer than the previous, and we left our best on the court in order to win those doubles. With an unbelievable support from fellow UDM students, Franklin crowd, men’s team and of course parents we were able to compete at a very high level. This year, I feel that we are a team as a whole – we are close not only on court, but off court as well. I enjoy it.
 Yesterday was our first doubleheader match with our men’s and women’s teams against Xavier’s men’s and women’s team. It was a lot of fun, even though the guys took the front courts (as usual :-). But I still enjoy any of the home matches, despite extra pressure from people who are coming to watch you and are expecting you to win. We were very close to taking a doubles point against Xavier – Amanda and I fell 6-8, but still we did not implement our chances. However, Raina and Chloe were even closer than we were as they lost on a tie-breaker, which was twice as impressive. This is only the second time they played together and they have improved so much already. Singles were close, even though the scores did not make that seem so.
We are heading to Ball State this Friday and are hoping to finally bring everything together and convert our desires into victories.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MAC Bites

Senior captain Jason McDonald will part of a number of collegiate laxers to blog all season for LacrossePlayground.com. Here is his first installment.

Jason McDonald - Sr. - #33 - Defense
Lacrosse Blog #1

We ended last season with a bitter taste in our mouths after a loss in the MAAC championship. The feeling following the buzzer signaling the end of the 4th quarter is one that we, as a team, have vowed never to forget. We have prided ourselves since the start of this young program to be “The Hardest Working” team in the country and this year more than any, we’re willing and ready to make that a reality.

Last year had a feeling of awe; we were on a great trip, just enjoying the ride. The idea of a conference postseason was new to us, something that none of us had ever experienced before. Yet, we stuck together and knew what we were playing for - we wanted a championship. Unfortunately the problem with wanting is…you don’t always get it.

This year however we are no longer in the back seat enjoying the ride, we are now in the driver’s seat leading the pack. The entire offseason was spent tirelessly working on what we needed to fix in order to be successful. We have lost players, but gained some new ones; lost a coach and gained two more and we will continuously improve and outwork any opponent we face. That is the ethic that has been instilled in us here at Detroit.

Fall ball like all others is extremely tiring, but crucial to sort out those ready to play in the spring and those in need of more refining. Ours continued as it normally does with grueling days of practice and intense strength and conditioning sessions. We also implemented the “Titan House Cup” which split our team up into six different squads in which we competed in several different sports such as racket ball, flag football, basketball, and even competitive eating. Another team builder was the 8.7-mile run to the famous Spirit of Detroit Statue and Fist as well as the one million push-up promise to raise money and awareness for the Headstrong Foundation.

All the while never losing focus of our ultimate goal, to bring home a championship. We returned to campus January 9th in great spirits ready to get our first day of practice going after being apart for three weeks. Being a senior, I’ve seen the after effects of a long winter break making it very difficult to get back into playing shape in the short time we have until our first game usually in February.

This year however, we look different, more excited and in better shape returning then I have seen in prior years. It’s exciting to see the team come together so quickly after a lengthy break. This year, like last, our first game is in early February against Delaware who had a promising 2011 campaign, followed up by Ohio State next Thursday.

A normal week will consist of practice Monday through Saturday with lifting and conditioning Monday through Thursday. Sprinkle a few individual sessions as well as film and meetings and that is what these past few weeks have consisted of. The hype has been building since we have returned and everyone is excited to kick off our most promising season yet. The physical requirement will start to taper off this week as we prepare for the Blue Hens, but the intensity will continue to rise until Saturday. We are very excited for what lies ahead and we will not disappoint or fall short of our goals. We will continue to work and it will be nice to see how we stack up against a top-tier program right from the start.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welcome to Detroit

Senior David Stabley

By David Stabley - Men's Tennis
Jan. 25, 2011

This past weekend the men’s tennis schedule continued with a road trip to Illinois and back-to-back home matches at the Franklin Athletic Club. It was a long weekend, starting with 12+ total hours of quality time in the van going to and from the Fighting Illini’s home courts. It was an exhausting trip, but the experience of playing a high caliber team like that is well worth it, especially when everyone on our squad competes well and we gain respect of their team. Even though the drive home had a striking resemblance to the climate on Hoth, we were all glad to compete against them. The trip back went by pretty slow and caffeine was utilized in order to make it straight through without stopping for a hotel.

On Saturday we made our way to Franklin to play Duquesne after a less than satisfactory night of sleep. Everyone was tired, but we took a long warm-up and did the best we could to get our bodies ready to go. There’s always a lot of pressure on the first home match of the season and this one was no different. Duquesne is a solid team, and they came out loud in an attempt to swing the momentum in their direction early on. With the help of some rowdy fans (and parents) we fought back and took the doubles point which gave us an early 1-0 lead going into singles. It was a good start, but this team wasn’t going away until the match was over. From the start of singles it was apparent our work was cut out for us. One by one the matches came off until it was tied 3-3 with Mike left to win it for us. It’s an opportunity like this that every college player only dreams of until it actually happens. At that point it’s all about keeping your breathing down and sticking to what has been working. Mike fought through the nerves and outperformed his opponent in the third set to give us the 4-3 win. After rushing the court we celebrated the victory over dinner and got a good night’s sleep for our last match of the weekend against IPFW.

At 11:30am on Sunday we started up with another good warm-up and set our sights on getting another victory on the home courts. After a rough start in doubles, IPFW had the lead going into the singles matches. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but I felt confident in our line-up to still pull out the match. After an annoying amount of drama it came right down to the wire with the score at 3-2 Detroit and two matches left.  Nick and Alex had everyone’s attention as they battled to put us over the edge. It was awesome to see both guys outlast the other team. Nick clinched it to give us the win and Alex pushed to win the last match and put our final score at 5-2, giving us back-to-back wins at our home courts. In the words of Mike, “That’s what I’d call a weekend”.