INDOORS? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN INDOORS!
(Just insert indoors everytime you hear “badges”)
All I keep hearing about is indoors. Blah blah blah indoors. Well I’ve had enough! Let’s take our NE minds off of Indoors and refocus them where they should always be, ranked NE tennis.
Heck of a way to start the season for the Whittier Poets (wait, Whittier isn’t a ranked NE team?) After each regional writer ranked the Poets lower than their ITA ranking and each writer ranked the Bobcats ahead of their ITA ranking, Coach Belletto goes and pulls off the 5-4 debut win. The full box score can be found here: http://www.wcpoets.com/sports/mten/2013-14/files/bc-wc.htm. The match came down to Konstantinov and Berg at #1 singles. Apparently Berg was cramping, but I have to give all the credit to Konstantinov (I need a nickname here, who can help me out? DK?). Both players showed they will be tough outs all year long at #1 no matter the competition. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a match Bates would’ve had a better shot of winning if it were played in March or April. I know I should be giving all of the credit to Whittier, but I’m the NE writer so I’m gonna focus on the disappointment of the Bobcats. They’ll have to rebound quickly as they will play (on paper is) a tougher Pomona team on Thursday.
As for Brandeis’ season debut, the Judges pulled out two wins although the final outcome of the match was never in doubt. Hopefully Brandeis will take some momentum into the rest of their Cali trip. On the other side, the fact that the Judges were able to win 2 matches probably should be seen as troubling for the Bulldogs. The box score can be found here http://goredlands.com/sports/mten/2013-14/files/bu-urm.htm, but the lines to look at are #1 doubles (which wasn’t even close) and #5 singles because that’s where the Judges got their points. I’m not kidding, PLEASE go back to that link and take a look at the score at #5. Lubarsky 21-19 in the super after playing two tiebreak sets, absolutely incredible! While I expected a little more from the Bulldogs (especially Lipscomb at #1 dubs), this was a nice way for Redlands to start their season before they head off for the deepest Indoors field this decade. Brandeis will continue their trip with two matches against unranked opponents so they will not be previewed. 21-19 in the super has to be considered the match of the spring so far, even if the team score was 7-1 at the time.
Enough recapping, let’s look ahead to the future! N.B.: All times listed are EST.
#23Bates @ #17Pomona, 7pm
Can Bates recover? Frankly it’s that simple. They took a hard loss on Monday and they NEED this win in order to stay positive about their Pool C chances. I’m going to wait and analyze Bates’ lineup until after their Cali swing is done, but their lineup was certainly “interesting”. This will be Pomona’s season debut, so I can’t predict any matchups yet. However, if Berg is healthy, and Bates needs him to be, Bates will probably be favored at 1 doubles. Pomona will almost certainly be favored at 2&3 dubs, which means that Bates will need 4 out of 6 singles spots. The most likely places for wins are #1, #2, and #4, though Lee had a nice win at #6 the other day. Bates needs to continue winning at the bottom of the lineup to show me that they have any chance of competing with the NESCAC elite, all of whom are significantly deeper than the Bobcats. I see this match being tight, no Belletto magic this time, but this time a stronger opponent. Much as I hate to go out of region, I’m taking a Pomona 5-4 win that is not quite as close as the score.
Bentley @ #26MIT, 4pm
The Engineers get their season started on Friday afternoon when they take on cross-town Bentley. This should be the least exciting match of the weekend, and for that reason I’m expecting nothing less than an MIT route. It’s always fun to see the last names that MIT trots out, and if any of them are more than one syllable I’m going to be disappointed. No sets dropped here, MIT blanks Bentley, 9-0.
Vassar at #28Mary Washington, 9am
Vassar is just not the same team without the Guzicks. They also seem foolish enough to schedule two ranked teams in the same day. Who do they think they are, Amherst? Mary Wash is coming off a good win against Stevens and should have little to no trouble with the Brewers. Mary Wash’s doubles looked a little suspect, but they should be deep enough to do just fine here. Eagles, 8-1.
#23Bates @ #2CMS, 1pm
No matter if or how Bates fares against Pomona, whether they rebound nicely or continue to spiral down the Pool C ladder, they do not have a chance at Claremont. I know it, you know it, the other writers know it, B5 winners know it. CMS is far and away the most talented team in the country. It’s going to take a lot more firepower than whatever the Bobcats have left in their arsenal to take down the Stags. That being said, the match of the day should be #1 doubles. I believe Berg&Planche are one of the strongest teams in the region, but they’ll be going up against arguably the best team in the country. Wood&Dorn are very solid but they do have their off days and they played Bates to an 8-6 decision last year. I’m going with a mini upset here and saying Bates takes the point at #1 doubles. However, if Bates’ lineup stays the same from Monday’s match, I don’t see any position after #1 doubles where the Bobcats will be 50/50 let alone favored. If Berg is healthy, his match against Wood could be entertaining; if Planche is dropping a straight set match to Schommer than he’s going to be a serious underdog against Dorn. Then again, Marino or Butts could easily be playing #2 on Saturday and no one would bat an eye. I can’t even explain how big of a favorite CMS will be towards the bottom of the lineup 1 point in doubles is all Bates will muster, Stags 8-1.
Vassar vs #20NC Wes @Mary Washington, 3pm
Thought we were done with the Brewers? NO SIR! They will play their 2nd ranked team within 6 hours on Saturday afternoon. This match should go no better than the first. While it will be interesting to see what International players NCW has brought in this year, my guess is they will have an easy time with an already defeated Vassar team. NCW sends Vassar to its 2nd defeat in the same day, this time in a sweep. Bishops 9-0.
Babson @ #27Stevens, 1pm
Stevens will need to win this match to hold onto its national ranking. While I don’t think they’ll lose, this match could very easily be closer than expected. Babson has a couple of guys at the top who are capable (Perez, Vu, and Thylen) but they have an extreme lack of depth. Unfortunately for the Beavers, Stevens is just a better version of Babson. They too lack depth, but they are stronger at the top positions than Babson. I think there will be a lot of close matches, but I’m taking the Ducks 7-2.
As the DIII tennis world recovers from “Indoors” (yuck), I’ll write up a recap piece from this week where I analyze what we learned from each team in their 1st week of play. Good luck to everybody this weekend, and remember that there is more going on in the world of DIII tennis than just some silly tournament in a bubble!