Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekend Recap: April 2-4

7 matches of note took place over the past three days which I'll discuss in this post. I'll provide a few thoughts on each of the results.

Bowdoin took out MIT 6-3 on Friday in a fairly competitive match. Both of Bowdoin's doubles victories were extremely close and if even one of those goes MIT's way, things could have been very interesting. I've heard Pena is done for the season and I don't know if it's true or not, but that certainly hurts Bowdoin. MIT is a tricky team with good depth that could pose problems for some higher ranked teams. I believe they deserve their top 30 ranking and this is certainly a team to watch in upcoming years. Bowdoin enters NESCAC play on a high note and if the tournament started tomorrow, they would be in. They really have to play their way out of it and I think that will be tough. Things are looking bright for the Polar Bears.

Rhodes was a sleeper coming into this year and we saw that they could play with the best in the country when they split singles in a 6-3 loss to Kenyon. Their doubles needs improvement and this showed once again today in a 6-3 loss to the 16th ranked Trinity (TX) Tigers. Trinity was able to win #1 and #2 doubles 8-0 and complete the sweep with an 8-6 at 3. Rhodes won 4 first sets to stay in the match but Trinity proved to be too strong at the top of the lineup. I think Rhodes could pose a potential threat to DePauw and Trinity in the conference tournament if they can improve doubles. They can play with the best in the country in singles but they can't afford to be down 2-1 or 3-0 every match.

I think Hampden-Sydney just gets pumped up to play Washington & Lee. They got trounced at home by Salisbury in a match that was never close. I expected Salisbury to win, but not like this. HSC is all about beating W&L and that's good, but they need to produce against other teams as well. Obviously they are a strong team, but this result certainly didn't show it. Salisbury reinforced their #14 national ranking in this match and they are playing great tennis heading into their Wednesday clash with Mary Washington.

I was quite surprised when Redlands jumped on top of CMS in doubles because I think this is a real strength for the Stags. Even with the 2-1 lead, I had a feeling CMS would win comfortably. I've referred to this many times before, but Redlands isn't a complete team this year. They don't have the top of the lineup and they also aren't winning with their depth, so there's just no way for them to compete with the teams they normally are competitive with. A tough year for the Bulldogs, but give credit to CMS who played great singles. They see Cal Lu in a week in what will be an absolute war. I expect a great match next Saturday from both teams, but CMS needs to watch themselves in doubles after their Saturday performance.

Vassar was undefeated going into their match at home against Trinity (CT) on Saturday although they hadn't faced a real test yet. Trinity (CT) is a strong team and they proved to have a little too much firepower in singles. This was a much needed win for Trinity (CT) who is still looking to jump Bowdoin and Chicago for an NCAA tournament spot. I like this result for both teams, but the thing that jumps out to me is that Trinity (CT) is still struggling in doubles. They aren't going to beat a Williams or Bowdoin if they keep losing doubles because those teams can match their firepower in singles. Vassar proved they are a good team who can knock off a top 15 opponent on the right day. They have a shot at Williams this upcoming weekend so we will see how they do.

I'm just as guilty as everyone else, but I'm pretty sure the majority has been wrong in the weekly poll almost every time. We had 57-41 in favor of Johns Hopkins as a prediction for Saturday. Not only did Hopkins lose, they didn't win a match. I read that Kenyon was down 7-4 at #3 dubs and came back to win and when this happened, the match was over because we knew Greenberg was getting a win. Hopkins has the ability to come back being down 2-1, but not 3-0. This was Kenyon's first big win of the spring and they did it in very convincing fashion. If they play like that every match, they can beat anyone in the country. We knew Hopkins had tough back-to-back matches and after I saw this result I was sure they would bounce back on Sunday.

Carnegie has been struggling with doubles over and over and they decided it was finally time for a change. Despite only flipping two of their players, it worked and they came out and swept Hopkins in three close matches to go up 3-0. Hopkins won 4 of 6 singles against CMU at Indoors, so I thought it was still a possibility that JHU could win. CMU played just as well in singles highlighted by a win at #1 singles to take the match 7-2. They proved that they too can beat anyone in the country on the right day and they deserve to be in the top 10. If they keep up the good doubles, they will be very tough to beat. Hopkins just had a rough weekend and needs to regroup. I think they will only drop to #10 so they are still in line to be a top seed in their region for NCAAs. What they can't afford is another loss to a team ranked below them and I have no doubt this is still an excellent team.