(By Sally Moyland)
Since there was a severe pandemic outburst in Taiwan, I came back to the USA and managed to compete in the U15/U19 team trials. My flight back stateside was a few weeks before the competition.
This tournament was held at ICC, which was in Milpitas, CA. It was close to home for me, so everything was much more convenient than for the players that came in from the east coast. Still, things were rough, as I had a small case of jet lag and wasn’t very used to the playing environment.
I didn’t feel I was doing well during the first day of competition at ICC. Things weren’t going really smooth, and I could feel myself being out of the zone. I ended up losing a match on my first day of competition to a tough competitor, and my ranking became second in the U19 first stage round robin. Luckily for me, I got a second chance as there was a losers’ bracket. It would just be a little more tiring because of the extra two matches I would have to play and win to advance to the U19 top twelve.
I didn’t sign up for any rating events because the format for everything was in round robins. With two trials events, I would already be very exhausted. With the given format for the girls’ U15 and U19, I played a total of twenty seven matches – winning twenty three and losing four.
From the first day on, all the matches were difficult. It was especially challenging for me because of the style difference between players in the States as compared to Taiwan. Players in Taiwan might have a better short game, or at least play more of the short game. Players in the USA focus and play more of the long game and have strong rallies.
Though the matches were still tough, I gradually improved and played better each day. In the semi-finals of the U19, there were twelve players total. This was split into two groups, and each group had six players. The top four players of each group would advance to the U19 final round. Out of the five matches, I won three and lost two. In the end, I advanced with a slight advantage. Though the competition format was round robin, they didn’t want players playing the same people over and over again. For the final round, all the players would “carry over” the results from three matches they played in the semi-final round. That meant that even though the final round had a total of eight players, each player would only play another four matches. I won my last four matches and out of the seven matches that counted in the final round, won six. With this, I managed to finish second in the U19 trials and earn a spot on the U19 Nationals team.
The U15 trials was very similar to the U19 trials in terms of format. All of the stages were played using a round robin. The only difference was that there wasn’t a second stage/losers’ bracket because there were a different amount of players in the U15. Instead of nine groups of four, as in U19, the U15 was split into six groups of five. The top two players in each group directly went to the semi-finals. The format after that was the same as the U19 trials. Out of the thirteen matches I played in the U15 trial, I ended up losing one match. Though I lost two games to three in that match, tactically I found it hard to get any good shots off. My opponent was determined on her shots and had good speed and placement. Not only was it that I couldn’t find a breakthrough tactically, mentally I felt controlled. However, this kind of mental situation only happened to me in two matches. It was something that could occur when I got too loose or a bit distracted. Even with this loss, the U15 competition was definitely successful for me and I learned a lot.
I played a lot of matches in the U19/U15, and acquired some new skills and also learned how to deal with certain challenging situations. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the great support that I received. I want to thank my coach, my parents, and Bowmar Sports for their sponsorship of me. Thank you all so much. Time for a small break, and then back at it! Looking forward to the Nationals in Las Vegas!
Stay “In The Loop” with Butterfly professional table tennis equipment, table tennis news, table tennis technology, tournament results, and We Are Butterfly players, coaches, clubs and more.