The game started off slow. Phillips served first, quickly stealing the lead. Baldygo quickly shot back. Before long it was 20-12, Phillips. Match point was served by Baldygo. A quick serve, but a quicker return by Phillips. 21-12, Phillips won this round.
Ping pong is taken seriously in Apollo House. Jeff Phillips and Zach Baldygo can often be found facing off in the first floor lobby. The evening of Oct. 4 was no different.
In the second round, Phillips won the toss up, but Baldygo scored the first point. The score quickly tied at 3-3. It remained close, Phillips taking the lead at 8-7, but Baldygo took it back, 13-10. Quick serves were rallied by Phillips, who turned the score in his favor at 15-14.
Unfortunately for Baldygo, his early lead seemed to fail him as the tide turned to 20-16, Phillips. As Zach served the match point, Phillips scored, winning his second round of the night.
Baldygo won the face off of the third round, quickly leading to a 4-4 tie. Baldygo saved a trick shot, and Phillips, not expecting it, found himself on the losing end of 7-5. He quickly revived his playing, pulling another tie out of his belt at 10-10. His sudden improvement seemed to hit Baldygo hard, as he began to fall behind, 15-10.
Baldygo pulled himself out of his slump, however, pulling up his score, but not quite enough. Match point stood 20-16 Phillips, with Baldygo serving. He pulled another point, making the score 20-17, but Phillips defeated him soon after.
Match 4 started with Baldygo serving first, and the two were off to an even start once again, going from 3-1 Phillips, to 5-4 Baldygo, to 10-9 Phillips.
Phillips started to lead, and the crowd could see Baldygo’s confidence falling. 16-11 Phillips.
A speedy volley and Baldygo began to regain his confidence, pulling the score to 18-15. Baldygo messed up his own shot though, giving Phillips a chance at the match point.
Baldygo served, and Phillips deflected it, taking the 4th match.
Mike Calabro joined in, challenging Baldygo and taking the first serve. They quickly tied it, 6-6.
Baldygo took the lead 10-7 when Calabro asked for a time-out, taking a word of advice from his coach, the previous winner, Phillips. Unfortunately for Calabro, the coaching seemed ineffective, as Baldygo kept the lead, 14-9. Calabro began to catch up, 16-15 Baldygo.
Match point was served by Calabro at 20-15. He managed to gain 5 more points, destroying the match point. At 21-21 the crowd could feel the stress. The two seemed very evenly matched.
The final score ended 25-23, Baldygo winning.
Baldygo started the face off on their second match, taking the lead at 5-2. Calabro tied it up with 9s.
With both of them showing off their impressive volleying skills, Baldygo took the lead, 15-11. Calabro took his time out from the game, getting words of wisdom from his coach, Phillips.
“Score ten points” the player and part-time coach told him.
It seemed to help, as they brought the score up to 18-18. Calabro defeated Baldygo, 21-18. The three-game match was down to a tie-breaker.
The final face off was taken by Baldygo, who proclaimed “no mercy” before scoring the first 5 points.
Calabro took another time-out, but it didn’t seem to do much good, as the score hit 7-0. Calabro stole another point at 8-1.
Baldygo started to fall off his lead as the score hit 9-7 Baldygo. Calabro turned the tide, earning a 10-9 lead before tying at 11s. Baldygo pulled up on another lead, 15-13.
“So many mental mistakes,” said Baldygo as the score tied at 15s. “I’m playing for pure pride here.”
20-19, Calabro leading, but Baldygo tied it up again. After many missed serves, the score tied at 25s.
Calabro served the final hit, Baldygo winning the game and set, 27-25.