I haven’t specifically recapped matches in a while, and with only two big matches happening last weekend I figured it’s about time for me to get back on the horse. I want to go in depth on these ones since I’ve missed recapping a few of each of the teams recent matches. After reading some comments, it has come to my attention that my grammar has been sub-par…Well I have something to say. I, Tim Tebow, I mean D3Central would like to sincerely apologize to the D3blogger nation for my poor grammar. But, I can promise, a lot of good will come from this. You will never see any blogger in the entire country write as hard as I will write the rest of the season, and you will never see a blogger write with as good of grammar as I will the rest of the season, and you will never see a blogger push the other bloggers as hard as I will the rest of the season. God Bless. (Thanks Tim, for letting me borrow that—–such a good guy)
#29 Whitewater-6 def #30 Chicago-3
We weren’t sure what to expect from Chicago because their only real test had come against Kenyon early in the semester, which they lost 9-0. Other than that, the Maroons had been taking care of business against a number of less-talented teams. They felt confident coming in, where as the Warhawks were still reeling from their unforeseeable collapse against P-P. However, the slate was wiped clean when this match started and the Hawks showed their resiliency picking up the relatively comfortable win.
Doubles went precisely as I called it. 1 and 2 went the Warhawks way and the Maroons took 3, giving Whitewater its first doubles lead against a ranked team all year. This must have been huge for their confidence into singles especially knowing how talented Chicago is at each position.
I was a little off in my singles predictions, but overall I’m pretty happy with my expectations. I said 1 singles would be a swing match and Sabada played brilliantly to beat Shklyar 3 and 4. He will move up a spot in the regional rankings with this win. Bhargava continued his solid play and Balkin continues to struggle 3 and 3 for the ‘Roons here. McGlashen must have been pissed off at me from my previous comments and played fantastic tennis to beat a very talented Crawford 2 and 4. This was the biggest surprise match for me. Huge win for the Hawks at this spot and I feel this was the straw that broke the camels back in this match. Humphreys continues to play solid beating the always tough Golovin 4 and 4, and as I predicted Osborne made quick work of Harrison at 6. The match of the day was between Bayliss (not surprising) and Zhang at 5 where Bayliss was able to pull it out in a super. Another great win for the Hawks at 5 and very important for Bayliss after his heartbreaking loss to Wei.
Overall, solid win for the Warhawks. They really needed this one. The only real matches left for them are against Kzoo and Coe (Elmhurst too if you really wanna nit-pick) all of which they should win “fairly” easily. They will likely be confident and under the radar heading into NCAA’s, exactly where they like to be. As for Chicago, this is not a great sign. We thought maybe they were a bad matchup against Kenyon, and were still a dangerous threat, maybe severely overrated…but that doesn’t look to be the case. They show some real weakness at the moment. 1 doubles was fairly close but I don’t know if they can beat GAC or Wash U. 2 Doubles got handled by Balkin and Bayliss, which really surprised me. Also, number 6 looks like a huge weak spot right now. They might be starting down 0-3 against GAC and Wash U this weekend before they even start. All is not lost, however, 3 doubles is playing well, Sabada and Bhargava are stepping it up, and Zhang is playing good ball. If Crawford can be more consistent they will still test teams moving forward, but I don’t know if they have enough to pull off a big upset right now.
#2 Kenyon-6 def #13 Case Western-3
Hey, hey! A score prediction correct for me. I called a 6-3 Lords win here and things went relatively as expected. I admit it…I wasn’t perfect, but close enough for me.
Seriously though, who can predict what the hell Case will do with their lineup. I can’t figure it out that’s for sure. I don’t even attempt to guess, really. Spartans paired Healey/Howe at 1, Gerber/Krimbill at 2, and Brunsting/Solove at 3, for the first time since they played Redlands on spring break. In my opinion this is their best three teams but they continue to change it up and keep me guessing. The Lords have also messed around with the doubles lineup all year and it may have cost them the doubles lead here. Raz/Geier played 1 and were handled by a very good team from the Spartans 8-4. Then Burgin/Williams (what would seem to be a great combo) got rolled 8-1. Luckily for them, Ye/Heerboth withstood a match point and edged out 3 doubles in a breaker (9-7). Had that have gone the Spartans way singles would have been even more interesting…
This is why I couldn’t pick Case to upset the Mighty Lords. If you can’t get them high, it’s gonna be tough as hell to get them low. Having said that, the Spartans battled pretty admirably: sending 1, 2, 3 and 5 singles to three-setters, but were only able to capitalize at 5 (with Klawitter over Rosensteel). This is really where the lineup jumble has been frustrating and impossible to predict…Healey plays 4 and losses 0 and 0 (albeit CJ Williams who can dismantle people), Klawitter wins at 5, and Smith plays a close one with Huber (who seems to have stolen the 6 spot). No Reinbold in this one most likely because Healey has been playing so well recently, but this really demonstrates the lack of consistency from this singles lineup. Krimbill is continuing to grow taking Burgin to 3 sets, but Burgin’s experience was key here. Raz beats Drougas in one of the best scorelines 6-0, 1-6, 6-1, which to me means…Raz probably let his foot off the gas a bit. As good as Drougas is, if Raz is playing like he’s capable he probably shouldn’t be dropping a set 6-1 after winning 6-0. Finally, Heerboth takes out Gerber in a quality 3-set match. Heerboth has been in that situation more times than I can even keep track of, so I’m sure he feels quite at home in the 3rd.
When all is said and done, this match was pretty damn close. Five close singles matches, four 3-setters, and a tiebreak at #3 doubles. All but one of those criteria went the Spartans way and that’s why Kenyon sits at #2 in the nation and Case is #13: The Lords know how to win. They’ve beaten everyone but CMS and have had to grind out a number of victories this year, so you can add this to the list. Questions still loom for Kenyon and need to be answered soon, however. Like, can they figure out a doubles lineup? I think they have the pieces they’re just misplaced. Also, Rosensteel is finally showing a kink in the Lords armor, but I wouldn’t worry too much. The Spartans can’t help but wonder, what if? What if they got the 3-0 lead? What if they got a couple more of those 3-setters? It’s a tough loss, and I’m sure they’re disappointed. I hope they don’t hang their heads too much, because they showed some great signs in the wake of defeat. First, I think they have to know their best doubles lineup now, and this was it. Second, Krimbill is developing into a solid 1 and Drougas and Gerber are capable of being solid 2 and 3. Next, Klawitter is playing well again, which will be key for them moving forward because they need a better 4. Finally, they have great depth with Healey, Reinbold, and Smith, but they need to figure out which one can perform consistently before it’s too late…Great match though, man.
BONUS: #2 Kenyon-9 def Denison-0
Not much to say here so I’m going to keep it brief. Just wanted to point out Kenyon’s doubles lineup: 1. Raz/Williams 2. Burgin/Stiles 3. Ye/Heerboth. They won easily at all three positions which is a great sign for them. Not a very impressive showing from Denison as Kenyon rested Williams and Rosensteel and still won fairly easily. I expected more from Denison in doubles, honestly. Oh and by the way, I’m officially in Wade Heerboth’s head haha. Dude goes 3-set (again!) 6-4, 0-6, 6-4. Too funny. Great win, but it’s nice to get a laugh in now and then.