Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    GISSA Tennis Championship

    Article by Ms Deb Hodge

    GISSA 2020 Tennis Championships

    Knowing we were only narrowly defeated last year, the Saint Ignatius team were pumped to seek victory at the GISSA Tennis Championships held at the Geelong Lawn Tennis Club on Monday, 24 February. The GISSA tournament had four schools participating: St Ignatius College, Christian College, Geelong Lutheran and Geelong Baptist. Selecting from a pool of 77 capable and very keen students from Years 7-12 was difficult; we were eventually represented by a talented squad of 18 very enthusiastic and skilled players who were divided into Pool A and Pool B. The matches consisted of best of three for the singles and first to 6 for the doubles, except Pool A doubles which was also best of 3. Unfortunately, time was against us in the end and not all matches could be finished. 

    On arrival, our Captains for the day, Year 12 students – Louis Walter and Tom Muir – who have enthusiastically and dependably represented our College for the past six years, gave the team an inspirational pep talk before beginning : "show a positive attitude, try your best, doesn't matter if you lose, have fun, you're representing the school so show great sportsmanship and leave it all out on the court.” Our match in Pool A was against Christian College for the day and it was an excellent spectacle of superb shot-making and commendable sportsmanship.  

    It was such a joy to watch this high standard of tennis. Louis Walter had a marathon singles match of over two hours, going down in a super tie-break in the third set: 5-6, 6-5, 4-10.  His courage and determination to keep fighting until the very last point was inspiring. Likewise, Tom Muir and Ben Reid displayed some impressive serving, cross-court drives and volleying but were unable to secure a victory yet certainly pushed their opposition.  Sam Hines battled it out in a strongly-contested match narrowly going down 6-1, 6-4, as did Alyssa Dickeson who showed much resilience when facing some very precise and aggressive shot power from her opponent. 

    Lachie Dwyer stayed strong and calm during his competitive match and successfully got the upper-hand to take a convincing win: 5-6, 6-3, 6-1. Abbey McPhee had a wonderful tussle and claimed the second set but was unable to get the edge in the third although she played many excellent points: 3-6, 6-4, 1-6.  Kynan Bond played magnificently on the lawn court and ran down every shot to finally claim the win: 6-2, 5-6, 6-3. It was a well-deserved victory!

    In the Pool B games, the competition was tight against the first team, Lutheran College; endurance and consistency were the key. It was the team’s younger Year 7 & 8 players that shone, highlighting smart thinking and much grit in their singles to achieve commendable results. In particular, Bella Gleeson was 4-1 down in her first set and she doggedly fought back, exhibiting impressive consistency to manage a fantastic 6-4, 6-5 result.  Keanu Van Zyl staged a wonderful comeback from 5-6 down in the first set to attain a 5-6, 6-1, 6-2 win. 

    The three Year 7 students, Rory Maye (6-4, 6-1) and Cristiano Amarante (6-4, 6-5), along with Hamish Fanning (8-2) in the second round, showed much poise and composure to rally their way to success and should be congratulated on their debut performance. The doubles matches were up and down and despite many skilful rallies and effective volleying by our players, we were only able to gain one doubles win with Keanu and Rory: 6-3. 

    Tom Bothe, Lachie Verlin, Zac Dwyer and Jack Van Zyl all showed impressive perseverance in their matches yet came across some strong opposition that were just a bit too skilful this time round. The  following matches against Christian College and Baptist College were more wonderful examples of skill, courage and persistence.

    Congratulations go to all players who represented our College in a fantastic spirit, with sportsmanship evident throughout and everyone gracious in both victory and defeat. Our friendly rivals, Christian College, many of whom our players come up against in Saturday competition, provided the usual outstanding, high-quality tennis that has marked our previous clashes. 

    Although we couldn’t quite get over the line, the close battles were a fitting end for Louis and Tom, who should be commended for their commitment to Saint Ignatius tennis over the years. 

    Special thanks to all the parents who came along to support their child and our students; to Zac Kos for sharing the coaching duties and to Andrew Philp for his ongoing promotion of this sport at our College. Finally, to all students for their superb attitude and passion for the game. It was a pleasure to witness your determined efforts and applaud your play. 

    Deb Hodge  Director of Tennis 



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