I see W&L as a non-entity here. They are the hosts and they made the Sweet 16 last year, but I don’t see them as a serious threat. They lost one of their top players to injury and recently lost 6-3 against an unranked Oglethorpe team. NCW wins 5-0 or 5-1. The regional final should be a good one. Both teams aren’t happy about this match, especially Emory, who put together an undefeated D3 season so they could drive 8 hours and take on one of the toughest regional #2 seeds in the tournament. The good thing for the Eagles is I think they match up well against NCW. If you are going to beat Emory, you’ve got to get up in doubles or crack their top 2, and I don’t know if NCW has the capability to do either of those things. It takes a great 3 doubles team to beat Pottish/Egan and combine that with Emory’s top 2 and you have NCW needing to win 5 of the 6 remaining matches.
There’s a reason Emory’s 1 through 3 singles players are 37-0 this season and they will show that this weekend. NC Wes should come in confident because they are a good and dangerous team who could knock off some of the regional top seeds on a good day, but this is the top team in the country we are talking about. You have so little margin for error against Emory, and in the past when NCW has run into a top tier team, it hasn’t been pretty. One thing the Bishops can draw positives from is a 5-3 Sweet 16 match against Emory in 2009 that was very close. NCW will need to play inspired tennis to win this one and they may have to get a little lucky. I think they can take a doubles match and they are competitive at the 3 through 6 spots, but as I’ve said before, being competitive and winning are very different. I’ve talked about Emory’s focus all season and now is when they take it up a notch. I’m taking Emory 5-2 to advance to the Final 8.