Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Team Preview #12: Trinity (TX)

Bobby Cocanougher and Cory Kowal

Coach: Russell McMindes, 2nd Season
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Conference: SCAC
2008 Ranking: 11
2009 Ranking: 15
2010 Ranking: 10
2011 Projected: 4

I've taken a little bit of heat for putting Trinity at #4 in my preseason rankings. I really like this team and I think they have national championship potential. There's one big reason for that and it's their doubles. Against just about anyone in the country except Amherst, the Tigers will be the favorite on paper at all 3 doubles spots. They've got the clear best doubles team in the country in Cocanougher/Kowal and they have probably the best #2 doubles team in the country in Delafuente/Frey. I don't know who it will be yet, but they will also have an excellent #3 doubles team. That being said, being the favorite and actually sweeping doubles are 2 very different propositions. This brings me to the problem with Trinity's team this year. If they don't get ahead in doubles by at least a 2-1 score, they are in very big trouble against any team in the top 10. They shouldn't put extra pressure on themselves, but doubles is more important for them versus any other team in the country because I don't think the singles talent is there. Their NCAA quarterfinal against CMS is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. They were up 2-1 after dubs and ended up losing 5-2. They need to figure out some way to avoid this. The reason I've moved them up so much is because they have their entire team back plus 2 new freshmen who are potential starters. This will add much needed depth to their singles lineup and allow them to have 8 potential starters in singles. I really like their on-court attitude and intensity, but that energy helps more in doubles than singles. They really need to play as a team and somehow find those 2 or 3 wins in singles. If this happens, big things will follow. I expect a lot out of the Tigers, but I don't expect them to start well. I'm interested to see what they do with their lineup against Cruz at Indoors. I'f I'm McMindes, I take advantage of Cocanougher's fall win and use him as the sacrificial lamb against a pretty much untouchable Pybas. I let Frey take his chances against Koenig at 2. I'm predicting an easy win for Cruz against Trinity in the first round of Indoors, but things will get better from there. They play one of the most difficult schedules in the country and they will be tested all season long. They should have a shot at Emory at the Stag-Hen, they play Amherst out in California, and then they host their quad with Cruz, CMS and Wash U. By the time the quad rolls around, I expect them to be in top form and I think they should go at least 2-1 if not 3-0. They shouldn't get overconfident in the conference final against a tricky DePauw team. This team is a lock for the top 10, they should be in the top 8 and they have Final 4 potential. We know their doubles is great, but this team only goes as far as their singles takes them.