Sunday, January 10, 2010

Season Preview #6: Pomona-Pitzer

General Team Discussion - A team similar to Denison who has found themselves consistently in the 20-30 range for the past couple years. I think recruiting is the major issue for P-P, they just aren't getting the players of other top D3 schools. I find this a bit odd because of its amazing location and academic reputation. Unless you are Santa Cruz you really can't compete in the top tier without pulling in top recruits. That doesn't mean this isn't a very good team. They have the luxury of playing a very tough schedule so their players are battle tested by the end of the season. Last year they finished 4th in the SCIAC, but had a few flashes of brilliance giving both Tyler and Redlands a hard time. I expect them to edge out Cal Lu this year but they are still a very distant 3rd behind CMS and Redlands. This is overall a very good program and Coach Belletto does an outstanding job with his players. I think they are a long shot for NCAAs and beating Redlands and CMS back to back days to win the conference is nearly impossible. I would expect a finish between 20-25 this season for P-P and I think this will continue until they step up their recruiting.

Where They'll Win - Meyer should be an NCAA Singles Qualifier and can be competitive with the best in the country at the top singles spot. He wasn't in every match last year maybe due to some injury issues so hopefully he can stay healthy. They have other returning starters who could see action in the 2-3-4 spots so they should be fairly strong in the top half of the lineup. Their 2 and 3 doubles also seemed to be strong for most of the year last year so I expect some wins for P-P in the bottom of doubles.

Where They'll Lose - Not sure who is going to fill in at the bottom of the singles lineup so this is a probably weak spot. They have a few freshmen on the roster so seeing one of them in the 5 or 6 spot wouldn't be a surprise. They have yet to come up with a doubles team that can consistently win against tough competition so I would expect 1 doubles to be a position that they rarely win against a brutal schedule. If they can fix this hole at the top of the doubles lineup I think this could potentially turn into a top 20 team.

Schedule Analysis - A big conference match early against Cal Lutheran the weekend of Indoors. They lost this match last year so we will see if they can turn the tables. Another good test in early March against Mary Washington. Another match I'd keep an eye on is a March 20th battle against Whitman. The Squirrels are supposed to be slightly worse than P-P, so this is an out-of-conference match that will really test the Hens. A tough late season match against Redlands should let P-P know how in form they are heading into the SCIAC Tournament.