Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Recap

3 matches that I'm going to discuss plus a few other results of note. Cal Lutheran vs. Pomona-Pitzer was cancelled due to weather and a new date has not been picked for the match. Not a ton of key matches this weekend, but a few results worth mentioning. Chicago beat Gustavus 6-3 after falling behind 2-1 in doubles. The Maroons were able to pull out 2 come from behind 3-set singles wins to avoid the upset. Chicago still does have a fighting spirit and life when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA tournament. This morning, the same Gustavus team lost 6-3 to DePauw, winning 2 singles matches at the bottom of the lineup as well as 1st doubles. If I'm Gustavus, I have to be fairly happy with the fact that I played 2 top 20 teams pretty tough given how far the Gusties fell last year. With Carleton get smoked by Whitewater, I have to call GAC the favorite in the MIAC right now. The Gusties actually play Whitewater in 2 weeks and this will be a big match for them. As I expected, Chicago and DePauw had nearly identical results this weekend. The Tigers meet the Maroons on March 22 in an absolutely massive match with the loser being at a big disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for NCAAs.

Skidmore found their 2009 form and beat Vassar 7-2 in a fairly routine victory. If Skidmore keeps up the good work, they could be quite dangerous in May. However, Vassar will now want revenge in the conference tournament so this just adds more fuel to the fire in what should be a great conference final. The biggest match of the weekend had Kenyon defeating Carnegie Mellon 6-3 in a tight match. It's time to give credit where credit is due and say that Kenyon is playing great tennis so far and is definitely the most pleasant surprise for the month of February. The Lords have beaten 2 top 20 teams and there's no reason they will stop here. With the team they have, they are really playing well and this win should put them at 7 or 8 in the next ITA rankings. They are getting contributions from everywhere as Burgin looks to be one of the best #2's in the country and the Polster/Williams team is playing like they are top 10 in the nation in doubles. The Lords next tests will be in California where they will have a match against Whitman and potential matches with CMS and Trinity (TX). I said this before the year started, if Thielke can put this team in the Final 8, he deserves Coach of the Year. The way they are playing right now, this is a definite possibility. Looking at the other side of the match, this is far from a bad loss from CMU because they are still in great position and should be single digits in the rankings, but I'm now questioning my statement about them being as good as last year which I made last weekend. They first need to concern themselves with making the tournament, but they should be more concerned about getting a top seed in the regional. The good news is they may get to see Kenyon again in the GLCA final if they both make it. One thing that disappoints me is that I dubbed Bobby Mactaggart one of my Players to Watch, and he is almost single-handedly doing in his team right now. He's won 10 games in 4 singles matches and is 0-4 in doubles in D3 competition. I said that CMU won't get anywhere without him and I stick to that. Along with Ray Worley, he's not doing what he needs to be doing. Seems like Wichlin, Polster, Frey and Egan all got my message though, because they've had good starts to the spring.

Two other results of note from Case Western. They knocked off both Whitewater and Kalamazoo and should find themselves in the top 30 if not the top 25 in the next ITA rankings. Coach Wojtkowski is running a fantastic program in Cleveland and the Spartans are on the rise. This makes things very interesting in the UAA as there are now 6 probable ranked teams. Life is hard for CMU and Chicago as one of them will have to take on a fiery Case team and the other will have to take on the host Brandeis in the conference tournament 1st round. I could easily see an upset in 1 of those 2 matches and an NCAA berth could be on the line as well. Case isn't in action again until GLCAs, which I don't believe they've played before. They could enter as the 4th or 5th seed and see Denison in the quarters which would be interesting.