Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday-Thursday Thoughts

An action packed week with many blockbuster matches, however most of them lacked the drama that I expected. Starting Tuesday, CLU continued their undefeated season with an expected win against Trinity (CT). Giuffrida lost his first match of the season but it didn't matter as the Kingsmen collected a 6-3 win. Whitman traveled to Redlands and looked to continue their hot streak after their win against Pomona-Pitzer. The Squirrels were looking like a top 15 team for a while there but Redlands beat them badly. The Bulldogs got a win and kept their NCAA hopes alive. They have a good chance to knock off Cruz tomorrow. CMS took care of Bowdoin on Tuesday night but it was a good fight by the Polar Bears. In the biggest match of the day, Cruz tried to rebound from their loss against CLU, but they got crushed by an excellent Middlebury team who will be #1 in the country next week. Cruz was just in over their heads and I see them most likely moving back to #5 in the country when the next rankings come out. I think the Slugs just played 3 great matches at Indoors and they weren't able to keep up that level once there were expectations. It's easier to play when you have nothing to lose and this certainly showed for the Slugs. They have to be careful that they take care of business against Redlands tomorrow.

Midd took care of Redlands easily and they rested two starters in singles. Chicago picked up a win against a ranked W&L team in a 6-3 win that enhanced their NCAA resume. Kalamazoo looked great early in the season but they were subdued by a much better Hopkins team. JHU established themselves as a top 10 team in this match and it was never close. I think the Blue Jays will just get better as the season progresses. Despite Oscar Pena being injured, Bowdoin picked up a much needed win against their rival Trinity (CT). Bowdoin won 2 of 3 very close doubles matches and this proved to be the difference, as well as Sullivan's unexpected win over Feldman at #1. I thought Trinity could take the top 4 singles spots but Sullivan's win saved his team. Bowdoin had a decent California trip with the only blemish being their blowout loss against Trinity (TX). I think Bowdoin will need to beat one of the NESCAC top 3 if they want to make the tournament this year because I think Chicago may edge them by a little bit. I'll be interested to see if UChi is ahead of Bowdoin in next week's rankings.

Thursday brought the most surprising result as well as the best match. To begin, Chicago traveled to Mary Washington and beat the Eagles fairly comfortably. I thought this could be a potential upset, but the Maroons did well never to let the Eagles into the match. Cruz traveled to Claremont for their annual clash with CMS. CMS dominated start to finish and singles was just an absolute blowout. They made Cruz look like a team that was 20 in the country rather than 1. What we do know is that CMS will play CLU for the top seed in the SCIAC tournament and potentially the right to host the West Regional. Cruz has now lost 3 of 4 and needs to regroup. They don't have another D3 match until NCAAs so they really need to train hard if they want to get out of their region. In the best match of the week, NC Wesleyan upset Williams after a doubles sweep. The match came down to 1 singles and NCW was able to pull it out, even after losing 5 first sets in singles. Williams now has their back against the wall and they need wins against Bowdoin and Trinity (CT) if they want to make the tournament. I see them moving back to #12 in the rankings next week and they may have played their way out of hosting a regional. NCW gets to relax for the rest of their season until they meet CNU in the conference final. A great win for the Bishops, they are dangerous going forward.