Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sectionals 4.0 Preview

Houston will be well represented up in Dallas this season, particularly in the 4.0 division.

The Hurricanes have been placed in Flight I, as have some of their buddies on the NOHO squad. With the temperatures well into the triple figures on the hard courts, singles depth will be paramount, particularly in 4.0 where the flights are larger and more matches are played. The Hurricanes have an abundance of options: Ahmed, Janek, Kern, Goldberg and Knutson are all among the top 4.0 singles players around. Ahmend and Janek will probably not play doubles, but the other three and De Los Santos, Veilleux, Patton, Tran-Park and Wood will see considerable action.

Noho will not pose much of a threat to the Hurricanes. Leiker has a win over Janek but was humbled in their last matchup. Ken Weber may be the other singles option for NOHO, who have been weakened by some of their strongest players playing for Houston.

San Antonio will be the first matchup for the Hurricanes. They finished their regular season 16-0 and despite an absence of "big names" they should not be taken lightly. They may be the second strongest team in the flight. The Hurricanes can afford to use their strongest singles players and still not be too weakened for their second match on Friday.

The Hurricanes are a strong favorite to win their division. Corpus Christi and Southeast Texas (despite the presence of Jason Reid, who has won matches at Sectionals in 4.5 in previous years, and strong doubles player and Hurricane Kelly Shanks) should provide little resistance. A key for the Hurricanes will be keeping Sarosh fresh so that he will be able to play two tough matches on Sunday if necessary.

Rice also has a chance to make it to Sunday. Could we see yet another Rice/Hurricanes battle up in Dallas? If so, Rice will have to get through a division that includes the Dallas city champ. Luckily, it doesn't appear that this Dallas team is a juggernaut. Big city teams are always dangerous, but this appears to be a year where the talent was well-dispersed in the Metroplex, so this Dallas team is definitely not unbeatable. Team captain Bob Somabut often plays himself in singles, and I think he would be an underdog against the two Rice singles guys.

The big question with the Rice team is its singles depth. Quack Bui and Wade Karel have been stalwarts in singles this year...and though they're both in good shape it will be tough to play them in two tough singles matches on Friday and Saturday (and Sunday if necessary). Harold Graham is no spring chicken, but may be capable of stepping into the singles lineup for a match. John Swartley has not been used in singles in the USTA season, but I think that he MUST contribute in singles in Dallas if Rice is to advance to Sunday.

Bill Sanders, who captained Waco to a National championship last year, is back with an undefeated Waco team and is in Flight IV. On paper his team appears to be a notch or two below last year's team (no John Arvesen this time around), but keep an eye out for them anyway.


  1. There will be a Hurricane this weekend at Sectionals so please prepare for a severe 4.0 Domination by the Houston Team.

  2. My predicitons:
    Jason's team should skate through the 4.0's like he did at 3.5. No other team out there has the strength and depth that he does. It's his to win if his players don't choke, get hurt or heat stroke. That's an awesome accomplishment (2 teams to Nationals in the same year) - especially since I didn't see a whole lot of whining about your team being out of level.

    I think there's a 40% chance of the Hangovers being around on Sunday. Funny thing is I think if they manage to make it to Sunday they're chances increase to about a 55% chance of winning. GOOD LUCK!!! Would love to make the trip to Tucson with you guys again. I don't think Kingwood will make it out of their pool.

    My women will have a cake walk out of the main pool (shouldn't lose more than 2 lines if that) going into the finals against either Dallas or Austin (probalby Austin). They've got to play each other Sunday morning. The higher the red the better for us. Both teams only have 2 reliable singles players. We've got 6-8 solid singles players and none of them will have played more than 1 singles match before the finals. I'd say it's ours to win or lose giving us about an 85-90% chance of winning. Hope I didn't jinx us.

  3. Good luck to your team in Dallas Betsie!!!!

    Hopefully we'll all be in position to cheer each other on on Sunday at High Point :)

  4. Jason, the blogging will start getting meaner when your team enters the 4.5 ranks. But, enjoy the glory while you can. Good job last weekend. Impressive performance.

    See ya on Sunday.

  5. Betsie sounds like a weatherperson. Haven't you ever heard that 42% of all statistics are made up?

  6. But, I thought that was only 70% of the time. All, I know is the last time the heat was as I as it is expected to be this weekend was in 2001. Thought my shoes were gonna melt on the court. When it's that hot, it's all about depth (especially at singles). Jason's team will definitely benefit. I think Kingwood will suffer. Hangovers can hang as long as they're able to split singles.

    Perfect example of when the captain makes a difference. Knowing what the other team has. When you can rest your better singles player and save them for the tougher matches.

  7. So is Burkhardt a better captain than Kilshaw? Where's the singles depth on Hangovers? Rios looked like he was going to die against Cooney and it wasn't even hot. Deluca can't beat anyone in Dallas. Green can only beat up on tournament scrubs. Do they have any singles plaers?