Emory. Let’s see; there are a lot of ways to cover this one. Psych! I could have sworn that Pottish was out of eligibility, but any conversation of this year’s Emory team has to start with Pottish and Goodwin. Emory has the two best players in the country, and it’s almost like they start every single match up 2-0, and, as an opponent, it must be intimidating knowing you have to win 5 of the 7 remaining spots to win. Last year, it went a step further when they had Egan, who nearly went undefeated at #3 singles. Throw in Pottish/Egan at #3 doubles, and that is formidable no matter who fills out the rest of the lineup. The rhetoric on this team has always been that they are extremely arrogant. While they certainly deserve to be confident, I wonder if this attitude is holding them back, because they haven’t won the National Championship that they think they deserve for the past five seasons. If they’re going to pull it off this year, they’re going to need more than Pottish and Goodwin. Fortunately, they have a big roster full of talented players, and we never know when one of them is going to make the leap into D3 stardom.
Where They’ll Win
This one’s easy. They will win at #1 and 2 singles, and if they insist on playing Pottish at #3 doubles, they will win there too. I know Pottish doesn’t hit that hard, but his passing shots are ridiculous, he’s deadly when you give him a target, and he’s so match tough that anyone he plays at #3 doubles is completely outmatched. In the past, people have said that their doubles teams are vulnerable, but they also return Humphreys, which means they can keep the experienced doubles team of Goodwin/Humphreys that beat Amherst’s #1 in the national championship match, so #1 doubles has to be a strong point as well. Beyond that, they return Szczurek, which will give them a very strong #3.
Where They’ll Lose
If anyone’s going to beat Emory, they’re going to have to take advantage of the bottom half of their lineup. They lost both their #5 and #6 singles players, along with Egan, so theoretically, they will be vulnerable at numbers 4-6. The problem with that is that they have four extra 4-stars and several other players with a couple years of college practice under their belts waiting in the wings, so it’s not like they’re filling out these positions with scrubs. In fact, they’re considerably deeper than any team outside the top 10 (or maybe even top 5), but the unpleasant truth is: if you’re going to beat Emory, you need to win 2 out of 3 doubles and dominate the bottom half of the singles lineup. Good luck.
Emory has pretty much the exact same schedule as last year: Indoors, Stag-Hen, Johns Hopkins, UAA’s, NCAA’s. The field for the Indoors is phenomenal, but, honestly, they will probably ease by the Gusties and the winner of Kenyon/P-P (even though Pomona gave them a run at the Stag-Hen last year, I think experience would give Emory a huge edge if they were to play at Indoors). They will most likely play Wash U in the finals–unless UCSC can bring back some of that 2010 magic– and I just don’t think the Bears can hang with Emory this year. The Stag-Hen will probably give them a rematch with CMS, which is a match I’m really looking forward to. I have to believe that Settles’ squad will be fired up after last year’s match, and it could be a preview of a potential NCAA semifinal match. As the d3tennis blogger pointed out, the match against JHU will be huge, but it’s more important for the Bluejays as a measuring stick/proving ground than it is for Emory.
Past events are the best predictor of future events, right? Emory will win Indoors, the Stag-Hen, and UAA’s. Then, they will fall in a heartbreaking match in the semifinals to a hungry Claremont team, and the deflated Emory team will follow it up with a lackluster loss in the 3rd/4th place match. Pottish will win the individual national championship, and someone else will help him out by taking Goodwin out in the quarters.