A Junior’s Perspectives on the Millman Lob

Dear SESRA Members:

Please find below an excellent writeup by Mr. Erik Wang of the Westminster Squash Team. Erik is a talented squash player, who, earlier than most, saw his share of lob serves, on court with Trey Paris and then witnessing the skill and deception of one of the great masters of squash, Mr. Richard Millman. Read his exciting and insightful perspective on the Southeastern Regional Skill Level Championships.

by Erik Wang, Westminster 8th grader and member of Westminster Varsity Squash Team

February 20, 2017

This past weekend, I participated in the annual 2017 Muffley & Associates Southeastern Skill Level Championships at the Windy Hill Athletic Club, hosted by Tom Rumpler. I competed in the 4.0 and 4.5 skill levels, and I am quite proud to say that I managed to take the 4.0 title after a tough five-game battle with Sameer Sinha in the semi-finals, and a four-game battle against Dube Sandeep in the finals.

In the 4.5 draw, I made it to the quarter-finals after losing to Trey Paris. However, this was not without value as I learned a valuable lesson about lob serves, and lobs in general. He was able to completely throw me off my entire game with a simple lob to start, and from there on out in the rally, because my return was so weak and loose, he would just finish me with a sharp drop. Even during the match, I had realized that I just needed to get past his serves, but I was not able to. The morning after the match, I was lucky enough to watch Trey play Keith Clemens in another five-game thriller. The first thing I noticed about the rallies was that Keith was able to return Trey’s serves with power and accuracy, which is something that I realize I need to work on. I also had the privilege of watching Richard Millman play against Vishan Patel in the 5.5 semi-finals, and I was absolutely astonished at how precise and sublime Mr. Millman’s lob serves were. Vishan is obviously much more skilled than me, and it was shocking at how quickly he was disbanded by Mr. Millman’s serves. His serves just seemed to float up, barely miss the red line, and then drop in at a seemingly-vertical angle. I truly understand the importance and the tactical advantage that the lob-serve boasts; it completely kills the pace from a return, and can also force a loose shot. Mr. Millman dominated the first two games, but in the third, Vishan had noticeably changed his strategy. After getting past the serve, Vishan was able to use his power for a hard drive, or to hit quick drops, but Mr. Millman still took the third in a close 11-9 game. I watched Mr. Millman play at the last DragonDoc’s tournament, and I noticed how he changed his serves with two different opponents. When he played a junior, he used his lob serve, but when he played another adult, he used a regular and more powerful serve. I don’t know why, but I suppose that the lob serve may be more effective against younger players because of inexperience. In conclusion, this recent tournament has been a great experience; hanging out with my fellow Westminster team-mates, meeting helpful and experienced adult players, watching and learning from intense matches, and most importantly, competing, have all made this weekend great.

Results:

3.5: Daniel Pare d. Neil Poddar 9, 4,

5

4.0: Erik Wang d. Dube Sandeep (14),

4, 9, 8

4.5: Alex Rankin d. Keith Clemens 12,

(2), (5), 7, 15

5.0: Aaron Luque d. Richard Raptopoulos

(7), 6, 8, 10

5.5: Richard Millman d. Richard Raptopoulos

(6), (8), 7, 4, 8

About Erik:

Hello, my name is Erik Wang, and I have played squash for around two years, with the exquisite coaching of Tom Rumpler and Rob Wilkins. I am in the eighth grade at the Westminster Schools, but I am applying to both Phillips Academy Andover and Phillips Exeter Academy for the ninth grade. I plan on, but obviously not even close to set, studying economics and aerospace engineering (perhaps a double major?), and pursuing a path of investment banking or private equity out of college. I would love to then start an aerospace manufacturer and transport company, along with a multitude of other ideas that I have.