By Matt Antonic
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first match of the day didn’t turn out the way Club TStreet hoped. But it was noon on Saturday at the Triple Crown NIT, and the team realized there was still plenty of time to turn things around in their Power Pool.
It managed to do so against Texas-based Club Madfrog, winning in straight sets (25-23), (25-19).
TStreet, based out of Irvine, California, was firmly in control of both sets, and consistently had Madfrog scrambling defensively. After the morning loss, the team’s frustration helped motivate it and bring the players together. Coach Mike Murphy said he was impressed with the improvement in his team’s discipline since the initial loss.
“We started having better postures and body language,” Murphy said. “We noticed that the first match we played was the first match of the season, and we should have won it, but it’s early in the tournament and I think we have a great shot to medal and win.”
Elyse Stowell echoed her coach, and added that TStreet is on a mission to prove itself at this tournament.
“We talked about this, the game before we had some rough points, and they’d get ahead and we wouldn’t be doing well, but we talked about it and decided that we all need to come together shake it off,” Stowell said.
TStreet didn’t have nearly as much trouble in the second set, jumping out to a 10-6 lead. Each time Madfrog tried to make a run, TStreet snuffed it out, thanks to an extremely organized effort on defense. A Madfrog rally managed to cut the TStreet lead to 18-17, but that would be as close as they would get.
“I think we were a little bit more disciplined,” Murphy said. “Most of the time it’s about us regaining and reasserting ourselves in control of the match. I felt like at any moment we could have been on top of that team.”
Only a handful of TStreet mishaps on serves kept Madfrog in the second set, but the pressure applied by a well-organized TStreet was too much to overcome. It was just the second match of the season for TStreet, which has been practicing for almost three months. The team appears to have finally knocked the rust off.
“At any given point and really you’ve got six assignments and so it’s a lot on the kids,” Murphy said. “They’re good at what they do and they’ve got great minds, and I have high expectations for these kids.”