Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Regional Preview: CMS

I have a vision for D3 tennis that someday all the regionals will have equally distributed strength. But until that day comes, we have #3, #4, #6 and #22 in the country in a 4-team region. I thought that it may be possible for Whitman to avoid this region because UT-Tyler may get sent here. This didn't happen and unfortunately for Whitman they have to take on the host Stags in the 1st round. If they play flawless doubles, I think it's possible they could get a match but I'm going with CMS in a fairly close 5-0. Whitman is no pushover and as I said a few weeks ago, they could give some of the lower top seeds trouble. The Stags are too tough on their home court and should advance to the regional final. The other regional semi is a rematch of the regular season and a match that one should be seeing in the Final 8, not the round of 32. Both of these teams are interesting cases. Cruz had pretty much no expectations on their shoulders entering this year and they end up winning Indoors. They are #1 in the country and have a stretch where they lost 5-4, 8-1, 8-1 to CLU, CMS and Midd. They followed it up by beating Whitman and Redlands, but after this stretch of matches, no one took them seriously anymore as a national title contender. Pybas won Ojai, but some top competition was missing. I would be surprised if Cruz doesn't come out swinging in their 1st round match, especially since they know CLU swept them in doubles during the regular season. If you remember the Indoors final, Cruz swept Wash U in doubles losing only 11 games. They have that potential to just turn it on and they will need it this weekend.

CLU is also an interesting case. They were the talk of the country from Mid-February until the end of March, but since then we haven't heard from them. Giuffrida looked like one of the best players in the country but he recently lost to the #5 from CMS. They have a 7-2 win against Amherst as well as several other great wins, but they were all over a month ago. I don't know what to make of this team right now but I also think they will be ready to play. They've lost to CMS twice on their home court but the important thing for both teams is to focus on their first round. It's quite hard to predict who's going to win this round of 32 match. If I had to guess, I'll go with CLU just because I think their chances at the top 2 singles spots. Take 1 doubles, and the top 2 singles spots as the most important lines in this match. Whoever gets 2 of those 3 will win.

CLU beat Amherst 7-2. Amherst beat CMS 6-3. Amherst also just lost to Williams at home. I think most of the country is automatically putting the Stags in the Final 8, and I think that is a poor assumption. They are my favorite to win this region, but they are going to have to come up with some great tennis to do it. They beat CLU 6-3 twice and both of them were at home. They also absolutely dominated Cruz at home winning all 6 singles in straights. I don't think CMS will lose, but if they come out and have a bad day in doubles, it can happen. Their middle of the lineup is really solid and I think those 3 through 5 guys as well as 2 and 3 doubles propel them to victory in this region. I think both CLU and Cruz would have to sweep doubles to win.