We just returned from the hot and humid east coast. Holly and I had a strong showing in Brooklyn, but still did not manage to pull off any upsets. We played much better individually and as a team in Brooklyn. It was a good rebound from a sketchy, disappointing Chicago.
Brooklyn was great with the exception of the sand. We were constantly pulling up sharp pieces of glass and debris. Within the first 10 minutes of practicing, I had already cut my toe for the first of several times.
I spent the week leading up to the tournament in New Jersey visiting with my friends at Aurora Fitness Centers. As always, Vito and the crew welcomed me and my traveling companions, Jeff Nygaard and John Mayer. Vito served as our taxi service as well. It was fun spending time with such genuinely nice people.
The crew then became my most loyal fans sporting "Angie Akers" T-shirts and all! It was great. I also had some family members there that thoroughly enjoyed all the action.
Our first match on Friday was against the 25th seeds, Guerra/Ruen. We came out strong, played well, and won in 2 sets. Our next match was against the 24th seed who upset the 9th seed. I had the blocking game of my life! I started the match out with 4 blocks in the first 7 points of the match. I rounded out the day with 10 blocks in 2 matches. That was a huge improvement from the previous tournaments. The 2 wins secured us in 9th place and we were done for the day.
Saturday morning we faced May/Walsh. We fared much better this time than the last time we played them. We lost 17-21, 16-21, but we did some very good things in that match. That was our first loss, so we still had a chance to fight our way back.
In the contenders bracket, we faced Pavley/Polzin to get to 7th. We were leading most of the first set and had a 19-17 lead before I completely blew it. I admit I got nervous for some reason and tightened up. It was stupid and we ended up losing the first set. I pulled it together and relaxed and we were much better in the next 2 sets. We pulled away at the beginning and never looked back. We won 19-21, 21-14, 15-9.
Our next match was against Mason/Kropp to get to 5th. By this time of the day, it was super windy. We were on an outer court where the wind was very gusty. Serving and ball control were a huge factor in this match. We did a good job of controlling our side and we won in 2 sets, 21-17, 21-16. That was it for Saturday.
Sunday morning, we faced Turner/Wacholder to get to the semis. Although we played pretty well at times, we gave up too many streaks of points. Still there was a lot to learn from the match and we were happy that we bounced back from the disappointments of Chicago.
We had a great week of practice back in California and now we are all set to go in Long Beach starting this Friday. I will be sure to let you know how it goes!
All my best,