Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Thoughts

I'm going to share a few thoughts mostly about Cruz-Whitman but I'll also touch on the Kenyon and Chicago matches to begin.

We've seen Chicago a good bit this season and this result was fairly in line with their first few matches. I found one thing a bit odd about this match. Granted, I don't know UIC's team at all since it is comprised of mostly foreigners, but Chicago won the spots in singles where they are supposed to be weak, and lost where they are supposed to be strong. The question was how much Alexander and Pawa would add to the team and they certainly made great strides with a win this weekend. However those two did drop the deciding doubles point. I'm assuming UIC is the quality of a team ranked about 10-12 in D3 judging by the scores of the match. Chicago's 5 and 6 need to win, or at least pick up their play if they want to have any shot at Wash U.

Kenyon played a tough Toledo team who's actually in a rebuilding year shown by their 7-0 loss to Xavier. I may be mistaken, but I believe Toledo typically flirts with the top 75 in D1. Kenyon hung around in doubles, but the Greenberg/Vandenberg combo lost another tiebreak (the first was to Amherst), and Kenyon surrendered the all important doubles point. My favorite Kenyon doubles team won their match comfortably. Kenyon's singles after their top 2 just aren't strong enough for them to be down 2-1 in doubles. If they aren't up in doubles in the semis of Indoors against Cruz or CMU, they are going to have a tough time winning. They switched up their singles lineup a bit from the fall. Greenberg lost a close one to what I assume was a very strong player and Piskacek came down from 5-0 in the 3rd to win. Vandenberg surprised me with a win at 3, and Polster should be one of the best in the country at 5. Overall, a pretty good performance from Kenyon, but they need to improve if they want a taste of the Final 4.

Saturday afternoon I said to myself that the Cruz-Whitman match had upset written all over it. Everything was perfect. An outdoor team coming indoors, having to deal with a hungry team who's under-appreciated playing in front of a big crowd. I even thought Whitman matched up well against the Slugs with Solomon being able to compete at the top. I also told myself I just didn't think Whitman could do it. I expected a 5-4 or 6-3. I stubbornly ignored the two team's box scores from the Lewis-Clark matches and said that Whitman would just play better. I think Whitman should be slightly disappointed with the result, but more importantly I think Cruz sent a message to the rest of the country. I read Coach Northam's blog praising his team, but I'm not praising my team when my star doubles combo blows a 7-5 lead to give Cruz the lead and more importantly turn the momentum of the match. If you are playing a better team than you, you have to take every chance you get and Whitman didn't do that. They got very unlucky with a Moshevich injury, I think they needed him to have a chance. As is they they pretty much got steamrolled in singles, winning only 2 sets. In those first 4 matches, I think they need 2 first sets to give themselves belief and they got 0. The Slugs were simply too good and frankly I'm impressed with their singles performance. If I'm the rest of the country, this is not the match I want to see from Cruz because they announced they are for real this year. Granted, Carnegie Mellon 1st rd of Indoors will just be a completely different level of talent than Whitman, but I am buying stock in Santa Cruz after this weekend.