Brandywine championship well earned

Published 9:55 pm Monday, October 14, 2013

Pictured here are the Division 4 Regional flight champions for Brandywine. (Leader photo/Provided)

Pictured here are the Division 4 Regional flight champions for Brandywine. (Leader photo/Provided)

The Division 4 Regional championship won by the Brandywine tennis team Friday at Paw Paw was the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication.

While the Bobcats felt there was a chance to win the championship, Brandywine coach David Sidenbender knew his squad would have to play as well as it possibly could if it wanted to make history.

The end result was the Bobcats did just that and captured the school’s first district championship by a single point over host Paw Paw.

“We thought we had a chance to win it Friday, but we had to concentrate on two other goals: 1. each flight needed to worry about the match they are playing nothing else; and 2. and then qualify for state,” Sidenbender said. “Once that was accomplished, then we could really think about and go after the overall championship. Every guy did a great job of that today. We earned points at every flight. And when we got to the flight championships, we knew we had to get at least four champs to have a chance to win.

“Tanner (Bourdon) won the first at three, then Chance (Smith) at two, so with three and four doubles playing, if we got those it would be done. Those two flights were incredible today. At four doubles Austin (Balos) and Mark (Conrad) struggled early, but really stuck together and turned around a first set, and 4-0 deficit to win in three sets, which set the stage for three doubles. Cole (Searles and Matt (Vaughn) fought through a great match and prevailed in a three-set tie break to win the regional.”

Friday’s championship capped a seven-year process for Sidenbender.

“When I look back to when I started coaching tennis, seven years ago, it is hard to believe where we were and where we are at. It’s because of the players and their hard work and the help of coaches (Rich Robbins and Jake Fiero,) who volunteer their time to make sure we are as prepared as possible to be successful,” Sidenbender said. “We have two seniors – Michael Robbins and Kyle Duncan – who have really been great leaders and have experienced the struggles early to this accomplishment. All the flights played hard, and never gave up and I am so proud of their effort across the board.

One of the keys to the Bobcats’ championship wasn’t one of its four champions, but a double team that earned just two points. But when you are counting every point toward a title, Alec DeJonge and Kyle Duncan came up big.

“The improvement we have seen at one doubles with Alec and Kyle was so instrumental in our success too,” Sidenbender said. “They are playing so good right now.”

Brandywine hopes to make a little more history this weekend when it competes at the Division 4 state finals being held in Grand Blanc and Holly.