Head Coach Brandon Stokes
March 19, 2012
I appreciate the readership of this little blog. I apologize for the delay in recent postings. We have been swamped with match play the last couple weeks. The boys played seven matches in 13 days! And they still had all the responsibilities of class attendance, study hall, tutors, exams, projects…you see the picture. It is a privilege to be a student athlete no doubt. But it also takes a tremendous commitment, support network, and an individual strong work ethic and a personal vision that transcends athletics. Our 7 boys have this. They are tough, committed, passionate, and terrific teammates and students.
The past two weeks was a grind coming at weeks nine and 10 of the semester. They did the best they could and have earned this written statement from me on behalf of the FAU athletic department and university:
Thank you for giving your best every day to represent me, FAU, and your family with honor.
We went 5-2 over the span. Not perfect. Wish we had some shots back, but thankful we made the ones we did. We made more than others more often than not. We have come a long way in a short time. We have more opportunities ahead that we must continue to earn. We will do so.
Thanks to all the local fans, family members, and friends who have made this the best home season in terms of vocal support at all our home matches. It is awesome!
February 27, 2012
A fun, tough loss yesterday. That is six years in a row that our match with UCF has been 4-3.
I am witnessing growth by all the boys on our team. We just need more of it and as the coach I obviously want it all now. However, we have perspective and we have a process in place for everyone. We simply keep working on it.
March Madness begins this Saturday for us. We have several home matches in March and all are against GOOD teams. We are going to be tested every match so it is imperative that we treat each match as simply as what it is: one match. Regardless of the result we must take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits and get ready for the next competitive test.
The guys know that the most important match of the season is always the next one.
Note: our home match site will vary in March. Patch Reef Park is not able to accommodate our needs so we will be playing some home matches at Evert’s Tennis Academy and South County Regional Park. Please check our website for details.
February 19, 2012
Magic Bus Road Trip
We drove our magic bus to Jacksonville on Friday. A five-hour road trip is cool with this group of guys. This is our only driving road trip of the spring season. We fly two more times this spring. Road trips create the private memories for us. The matches are public memories but these van rides deepen the bond.
We needed the deeper bond to help us respond positively and with a warrior’s spirit after being taken behind the woodshed by UNF on Saturday. They are good and ripped us. It was an important moment for our team this early in the season. We had extra motivation for Sunday’s match versus Jacksonville University.
We started the match 30 minutes late due to light rain. But then the wind settled in 23 mph sustained and then with 30 mph plus gusts made this tennis match a battle of will more than skill. Our Dirty Birds earned the moniker today.
We made the five-hour trip home battling wind gusts on I-95 along the way but our Dirty Bird energy balanced the magic bus as we returned with stronger spirits than when we left.
January 28, 2012
We finish the month of January with a 2-1 record. More importantly we are improving every match. I encourage all the friends of our Owls to come watch us compete. To all the fans of FAU and tennis get out and root for us. The boys will make you feel good about FAU, the state of American tennis, and yourself.
Today's match against Bethune-Cookman is an example. Our No. 1 doubles rocked the first point and then Sean and Robbie clinched the doubles point 10 minutes later at 2:52 p.m. Our No. 2 team battled themselves and broke to sweep the doubles at 3:09 p.m.
After the post doubles break, Taylor won the first set in 19 minutes to get us momentum. Then Robbie, with the mustache, clinched the first singles point 15 seconds before Taylor at No. 1 singles to give his mates a 3-0 team lead. Will "Rango" Neuner clinched the victory for FAU at 4:38 p.m. at No. 3 singles.
Chris and Boris finished the scoring for us as the boys earned a gritty victory to keep us undefeated at home this season.
We get ready for a tough February schedule that will motivate, test,and show us who were are in our inaugural journey as a Dirty Birds.
October 5, 2011
In the past every blog I do reflects my point of view. I thought it would be more insightful to hear from our young Owls to capture our journey at this point in the semester. Here you go in our own words…
“I feel like we have come a long way these first six weeks. We still have a long ways to go but we have seen improvement. We have created somewhat of an identity to our team. I am excited to keep working hard and to see how much better we can get for spring season.” - Rango Neuner
“These first few weeks have been quite honestly a struggle. But from this struggle I really believe we have grown and improved as a team. We have made a lot of mistakes, however, we have been able to use these mistakes to our advantage. We continue to learn.” - Barbarian Bacha
“Thus far our team identity has really grown. We all have matured mentally in the past six weeks. We have established a place in the pain cave and what it is going to help us win big matches in the future. We are not afraid to go in deep. We are disciplined.” - G-man Betsarakis
“I feel like we are really coming together as a team and improving every day. Mentally we believe now that we can compete with anyone. Our improvement is only going to get better.” - The Rock Dubuque
“I feel like we are learning and coming together as a team. Myself and the team are going to limits that we have not gone to before. The first part of the semester has been successful due to our effort and commitment. We have the potential to be even better. I am looking forward to improving athletically and academically.” - Big Bird Albrecht
September 20, 2011
We were initiated into college tennis together last weekend in Gainesville, Fla. It was a tremendous trip. Our learning curve is steep and we soaked it all in. We have many things to improve because we want and need to. We must! We are in a positive place this early in the semester and season. The boys are learning to organize their weeks and days to maximize their potential academically and athletically. It's an exciting time to be young, smart, talented, committed and unified. We are growing together and it is awesome.
We have one more tournament this month in Tampa. The last time we were there it was a sweet experience for our program. It's a vastly different time now so we must create new memories to make our own.
We measure ourselves based on effort, attitude, and spirit. We made strides last weekend. We have new opportunities this weekend to go deeper into ourselves against the best teams in our state. Let's go do it!