Lost in the excitement of the National Indoors this weekend was perhaps the most significant match of the season so far (as far as post-season implications goes). Three days after losing the Cruz in their season-opener, the Bobcats went into Pomona’s tennis complex and came away with a season-defining victory. A few things to consider:
A) This was Pomona-Pitzer’s first match. As far as I’m concerned, Bates is a 10 to 15 team at least this year, and they underperformed against Cruz in their first match. Everyone underperforms in their first match. I know this was just Bates’ second match, but that first match is an entirely different animal, so let’s cut them some slack.
B) Bates is a matchup nightmare for P-P. Pomona’s strengths are high doubles and high singles. Those happen to be Bates’ strengths as well, but Bates is just stronger. If Bates is stronger where P-P is strong, that just means Bates is a better tennis team, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that P-P won’t be able to beat teams this year.
C) P-P is hurting from graduation more than we had hoped. After Weicherts’ and Sabels’ respective Falls, I had hoped that they would be able to collectively fill the shoes left by Meyer. They certainly can, but nobody is really there to fill the shoes they leave at 2 and 3 at the moment. Nevertheless, P-P always gets better throughout the season.
Those aren’t necessarily excuses for P-P, just things to think about. As far as implications go, this could be disastrous for the Sage Hens. They have plenty more opportunities against Pool C teams, but the loss to Bates could prove pivotal. Case basically just locked down a Pool C spot for themselves, and Cal Lu is looking great. The tournament committee won’t leave at Wash U. If P-P cannot beat Cal Lu, Midd, Bowdoin, or Case (in the Sage-Hen), they could end up on the outside looking in, even with victories over the likes of Mary Wash, Whitman, Redlands, blah blah blah. There’s a lot of tennis to be played, but we saw how much early-season head-to-heads mean at the end of last year. Personally, I think Pool C looks like this right now:
1. Amherst (in all likelihood)
3. Case Western
4. Cal Lu
7. Wash U
Putting that in print is absolutely ludicrous so early in the year, but that’s not good for P-P.
As far as Bates’ match against CMS goes, their match was pretty much a mirror-image of last year. Bates can clearly compete at the top of the singles and doubles lineup against anyone, but the bottom is still a problem. More thoughts from this match:
A) Bates is four deep this year. This is very significant. Did you see what Bates was able to do with three singles players last year? Now that Planche is showing the full benefit of a year of training, they are even more dangerous. It’s too bad the two players coming in next year couldn’t get there early, or we would have a national championship contender on our hands. Regardless, I would say the Bobcats could beat just about anyone on the right day.
B) Dorn probably isn’t the world beater some imagined he would be. This phenomenon happened with Lane and every DI transfer ever. Everyone seems to think they will dominate DIII. Just because Dorn started in the SEC doesn’t make him better than everyone. He’ll be a great #2, I’m sure, but we also need to start giving DIII players a little more credit.
C) Lane is back. I had heard from like four different people that Lane wasn’t playing this year, but we always knew this was a possibility. Once he gets back into form, CMS is going to be scary. CMS is always scary, but can they capitalize on that scariness with a national championship? We will see.