Friday, January 15, 2010

Season Preview #10: Skidmore

General Team Discussion - Skidmore emerged on the national scene only last year. They were a borderline ranked team in 2008, and in 2009 they were consistently in the 20-25 range. I definitely think this is a program on the rise since they have stepped up their recruiting significantly in the past few years. A Sweet 16 finish last year established Skidmore on the national scene and I'm thinking they may be here for a while. I'm not all that familiar with this team since they are fairly new to the national scene, but I definitely see potential here. I think they have to step up their competition a bit and maybe play some more East coast mid-atlantic teams, just so their players get a taste of top competition on a regular basis. They have a potential NCAA Singles Qualifier in Girardin at the top who had a good junior career. They will almost certainly win their conference giving them an NCAA berth but I think they are a few years away from being a threat to a top seed in their region. I would expect a similar year to last year for Skidmore.

Where They'll Win - #1 singles is probably their strongest spot and they seem to also be strong in the 4-5 singles range. I doubt they have anyone who can win at 2 and 3 singles against top 20 teams. Their #1 doubles team was also fairly strong last year and I would expect a repeat performance. Their schedule is fairly lopsided so I would expect them to dominate the majority of their matches in the spots I listed but they will probably struggle against the really tough teams on their schedule.

Where They'll Lose - I don't think they have much in the way of a strong middle of the lineup. 2 and 3 singles are spots I would expect them to lose if they played teams comparable to them. Also, depth in doubles is a question mark for me. Once they get into NCAA competition, I would expect their doubles to falter most likely.

Schedule Analysis - Only four big matches on their schedule. During their California trip, they play Pomona-Pitzer, Redlands and CMS. I think they will struggle to even win matches against the second two, but the match against P-P is probably the best gauge of how good Skidmore is. I would consider these two fairly evenly matched teams. They play Williams at home and this match will tell us if they have developed throughout the season. CMS and Williams are similar in strength so we will see if Skidmore is up to the challenge on their home courts. They should win the Liberty League title easily.