Friday, May 30, 2008

No details...

No details on any of these matches. I got these scores second hand from a knowledgable source and thougtht I'd pass them along.

Mob Squad defaulted line 3 dubs but still beat Sugar Creek 3-2. Burmann and Day dominated again.

Copperfield squeaked past the Jedi Knights, who, I believe, also defaulted a line.

Hurricanes, 4.0 and 4.5 both won, though perhaps not in the smashing fashion they're accustomed to.

Lost Forest 5.0 demolished the Met 3-0 behind newcomer Alim Mambetov, who beat Amit Garg. Arun Nanjappa played doubles, but their line was not competitive.

Craig Bobo's 5.0 team beat Allen Teague's. Tor Krosby had a nice win for Teague, taking down Alex Beaux, who had straight setted him earlier in the year. Bobo and Huffman clinched the match with a win over Deluca/Ballesteros.

The Yutts beat Lost Forest 4-1. St. Thomas HS star Carter Axelsen is a bright spot on the Lost Forest 4.5 team.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

This Week's Stuff

There's a huge match in 5.0 this week as the Met plays host to Lost Forest. The Met still has a slight lead in the division standings, but Lost Forest's roster continues to improve and they have to be considered the favorite to win the guaranteed slot at Sectionals. Hernan continues to add talent. Last week saw the addition of Edwin Donoso, and more additions are always a possibility. Even with a loss tonight, it's still a possibility that the Met could get a second slot at Sectionals in 5.0.

As usual, there's a dearth of interesting matchups in 4.5. The three huge matchups of the season (Kingwood-Hurricanes) are at the back end of the schedule, but the truly meaningful matches are those that will help decide the second place spots and will earn teams a trip to the playoffs. I misread the schedule last week: THIS week features the matchup between Copperfield and The Jedi Knights. Both teams are solid all around but lack a truly dominant singles player to help them get a guaranteed win. That means this matchup should come down to the wire. Another 3-2 score is quite likely. I've not heard anything about John Kudrick's health...I know he was prepared to get back on the court a few weeks back but reinjured himself while "cross-training".

A stronger Sugar Creek probably needs to sweep all of their matches and will have their hands full with the Mob Squad tonight. However, Ken Douds has singles strength with Jason Cooney's return and the addition of collegian Samir Chiali.

In 4.0, Chancellor's seems to play a one loss team each week, and consistently swats them away like flies. Willow Fork was last week's victim, and this week they will play 4-1 Village Place. Chancellor's has surrendured just 3 lines all year, so the likelihood of their losing 3 tonight is very slim. Chancellor's and JCC are both undefeated with just three lines dropped on the season. They will match up next week in a match that will be good preparation for the level of play at city playoffs.

In Division III the top two teams match up as SAP tries to take down the Sienna Topspinners. Sienna spanked SAO 4-1 in their first matchup and would seem to be the underdog. SAP's Aaron Greene may be the best 3.5 rated player in the city. With a win over Eddie Perdomo earlier this year, he'd be an interesting choice for the singles spot.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Early Results

It's early, so there are not many results in yet. I have been incommunicado so I haven't heard much news, but here's a quick update:

None of the "interesting" matches in 4.0 have reported yet. As expected, the Hurricanes blew out the Acers and SAP crushed Sugar Creek.

In 4.5 two of the heavyweights have reported their scores. WestSide continued to roll on, beating the Ball Busters 4-1. The most intersting score, to me, was Sean Lacy absolutely destroying Garret Pittenger. Lacy is now 3-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles and has not surrendured a set. His best win was 7-6, 6-3 over David McMullan. Opposing captains who've not seen Lacy play have got to be wondering just how good he is.

The Mob Squad had a surprising shutout win over Ssshhhwing. Herb Morton made his first appearance, but was not tested as Peter Rothe came down with an injury. Aadrian Hasker won his first match at #1 singles and Minh Phan and Tam Pham spoiled the Giordanelli brothers Houston USTA league debut.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Week

It’s another fairly slow week this week. Is it just me, or are there fewer interesting matchups this year?

In the 5.0 division division leader the Met plays an Old School team that appeared to be giving them trouble when rain interrupted their first matchup a few weeks ago. Old School has Eliot Lopez on their roster and may provide a test for a Met team that has looked vulnerable lately. The other 5.0 matchup features a resurgent Lost Forest team facing Craig Bobo’s team filled with solid 4.5 players.

I quickly glanced at the 4.5 schedule and didn’t see much of interest. Ssshhhwing plays the Mob Squad again. Their first meeting came down to the wire as the Mob squeaked out a 3-2 win on the strength of a tight one at number one doubles. Both teams have added a player or two since then, but the Mob still appears stronger in the singles and weaker in the doubles.

Copperfield and the Jedi Knights butt heads again as well. Copperfield has one loss and the Knights have two, so it’s do or die for Jim Patton’s club. The first meeting was 3-2 Copperfield, with one line defaulted by the Knights.

In 4.0 several matches have playoff implications as teams jockey for the second place spot in their division. The second place Smokers, fresh off a victory over Rice, now take on a veteran Royal Oaks team with 2 losses. Royal Oaks has been thin in singles, and probably will not have enough to beat a scrappy Smokers bunch.

Unbeaten Chancellor’s takes on a 3-1 Willow Fork team that appears weaker than its record. The Prairie Dogs were crushed in their matchup with other division power JCC and appear to be too weak to challenge Chancellor’s.

Lastly, first place Copperfield takes on Lost Forest’s talented two loss team, The Hackers. The Hackers have several familiar names on their team with 4.5 experience, but have their hands full with a deep Copperheads squad.

Also, in the Noho league, there's a big matchup as Kris Knutson's team travels down to Bay Area to take on Red Benzon's team. Both teams are capable of fielding solid lineups...we'll see what kind of turnout they get on a holiday weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rain comin'...???

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday. With the NCAA division II tennis tournament taking place at Memorial Park and possible weather delays, I'm not sure how matches there will be affected. Regardless, this week is devoid of many intriguing matchups.

The 5.0 division has just one match scheduled. Craig Bobo's Memorial Park team faces a Met squad that seems to be on the ropes lately. The match will be played indoors. The Met should have enough talent to right the ship this week.

In 4.5 there's really only one match that features legitimate playoff contenders features the Yutts and Ssshhhwings. Neither team has that much strength in the singles. A slimmer Peter Rothe ventured onto the singles court last week and had a comfortable win, but using him in singles will weaken the doubles. I feel like Ssshhhwing is a bit stronger in the doubles, but if James Bui and Daniel Morales can play well, the Yutts could have a chance in the singles. Still, I'll pick Ssshhhwings in a tight one.

In 4.0 there's a battle for second place and a probable playoff berth from Division as SAP plays the Rolido Boys. SAP has added doubles superstar Jason Urtis, fresh off a weekend of intense fitness training at the ping pong table. The Rolido Boys have a talented big guy in Michael Martinez. He and Greg Moran have been a virtual lock at line one doubles, so SAP may have to take 3 of the other four lines.

Rice is just 1-2, but showed last week in their loss to the Hurricanes that they do still have some talent on that roster. They match up with the second place Smokers in a do-or-die battle.

Unofficially, it looks as though the playoff formats will be the same as last year.

In other news, the NOHO league is now in full swing. Red Benzon's team finished up their match with Jimmy Kilshaw's crew last night and pulled out a 3-2 win as Kilshaw had to default line 3 doubles. Juan Lopez, who I've been told was once a Chilean Davis cupper, won a hard fought match with Red Benzon. Jody Deluca crushed Chantz Chanthanalay at one singles and Walter Fortenberry and Carter Ullrich surprisingly drubbed Alan Teague and David Huffman. Craig Bobo and and Ben Whitsett continued to show they are an elite 4.5 team in an easy win over Huynh and Kilshaw.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playoff format?

We still haven't heard anything about the playoff format for city playoffs this year. I think that the 3.5 and 4.0 divisional playoffs last year worked out well, as everybody got a few matches in and I think the best teams managed to advance to Sectionals where they represented Houston well.

There was a lot of dissatisfaction with the 4.5 playoffs last year, but I'm not sure there will be any change to the format this time around. As you may remember, last year there were six teams in the 4.5 playoffs. The teams were split into two three team divisions, played round robin, and the winners advanced. There are a couple of problems with 3 team round robins, though. The biggest one, I think, is that you only get to play two matches. As a captain I've always tried my best to win and advance to Sectionals, but also feel that it is only right to get all of the players who contributed to our season into the playoffs. Some of these guys would show up to practice every week, fill in for someone at the last minute on Thursday night, always be available and cause no headaches for me. (Believe me, those types are few and far between) Having three matches afforded me more of an opportunity to get them into a match. I know I myself am not a "starting lineup" caliber player on my 4.5 team (probably not on any team), but sometimes I think it's only right that I get a chance to play in the playoffs.

Anyway, having two matches makes every match even more crucial. Having a three way tie in a division is certainly very possible, so the results of your first match don't allow you to relax in any way in the second one. Unfortunately, there is a court crunch for city playoffs, and other formats require more total matches and more courts, so a better solution is not as easy as you might think. Any ideas?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Week Four results

The 5.0 race tightened up last night as the Met lost to a revitalized Lost Forest team. Ricardo Rivas didn't do well in the singles, but the Lost Forest doubles were strong as Hernan was able to get Otis Sadler and Bryan Taylor into the lineup. With the Met apparently struggling in last week's rain-shortened contest, it's quite possible that Lost Forest is now the team to beat in 5.0.

In 4.5, the battle between Division III co-leaders Yutts and Mob Squad was as close as many predicted. As usual, the Mob was strong in the singles, as Steve Phan and Aadrian Hasker straight-setted James Bui and Daniel Morales, respectively. Lines one and three doubles both went to a third set, and the Yutts were stronger in both tie-breakers. Alain Tran/Miguel Morales beat Red Benzon/Nikki Lieu and Khang Quach/Andy Diep beat Minh Nguyen and Tam Pham. Line two doubles was a fairly comfortable win for Thang Pham and Alex Chang as they beat the Dugas brothers. The Yutts have been practicing and playing consistently, and their doubles improvement this season reflects it.

The other division leaders in 4.5 kept rolling along. Both Kingwood and the Met breezed past their opponents. The Met bested an overmatched Lakeside Estates team while Kingwood shut out a competent Westside bunch who gave them a bit of trouble in their earlier meeting. Brandon Burris played one singles for Kingwood and his three set win over Hal Hale would seem to indicate he may have trouble with the toughest guys in the league. Much ballyhooed Stephen Valentine rolled in his league debut as Gary Armstrong's partner. The Met beat a Lakeside Estates team that should have stuck to 4.0. Jason Freeman got his first 4.5 league win at line 3 doubles for the Met, pairing up with crafty veteran Charlie Smith.

The other headline 4.5 match of the night featured Westside against always-tough Jedi Knights. The Knights brought out a solid lineup. Ryan Cooper returned but was unable to take down Humberto Alzate. At line one, youngster Samuel Holmes beat Murray Fonseca of the Black Sheep. Westside's line one doubles team again proved itself a formidable force: Dimitrijevic and P. Hansen beat Ted Erck and Dan Courson in three, providing the margin of victory for the Black Sheep in their 3-2 win. Westside has a huge leg up in it's quest to win the division.

In 4.0, there was one big match between Copperfield and Bear Creek. Unfortunately, I've not heard any news on the outcome. In the other three divisions, the top teams continue to roll. Chancellor's had a test against the WSTC Phoenix. Chancellor's won 4-1, but four of the five matches went 3 sets. Jonathan Hao-Nguyen, who has played for Rice in recent years, continues to dominate for Chancellors. He's dropped just six games in 3 league matches as he and Jerry Pham breezed at 3 doubles. Mark Berglund won the only line for the Phoenix

Sienna's Toppspinners again won 5-0. They've met little resistance thus far. Will they be tested enough to withstand the rigors of city playoffs? The Hurricanes have also had an easy time of it thus far. They dropped their first line last night as the Rice team brought out a solid lineup. Harold Graham and Brian Arellano won for Rice. Reef Merhi was solid for the Hurricanes in a competitive line one singles match. Alex Montes also won with Jerome Meyer in his first appearance for the Hurricanes this season. Freeman will have some interesting options for the playoffs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Week Four

Play resumes this week after most of last week's schedule was rained out.

There's a big match in the 5.0 league this week as the Met takes on Lost Forest. Hernan Guevara and his crew had ruled the 5.0 league for years before being unseated last year. Lost Forest got a late start this year and pretty much defaulted the first week against the Met when they fielded a lineup including a 4.0 player at line one singles. This week, his roster is much stronger, with players like Robert Bickmore and former Longhorn Otis Sadler now dotting the roster. The Met has had little trouble in their first three matches, and a win this week will pretty much seal the deal for them.

In 4.5 there's a good matchup in Divsion III as the Yutts and Mob Squad square off to break a tie atop the standings. The Yutts lost singles stalwarts Tor Krosby and Rich Ryu from a team that went 3-6 last year. This year, Alain Tran has got them playing better doubles, and many people are predicting they will knock off the once-mighty Mob Squad this week. The Mob Squad has a plethora of singles options. Steve Phan, Ted Phoummarath and Aadrian Hasker have all shown the ability to win in the singles spots, but the doubles has been very spotty. The Yutts have a chance to sweep the doubles.

In Division II, West Side has been destroying the competition. This week they'll play playoff veterans Jedi Knights, who have been a bit weaker thus far this year. Still, with a win Thursday the Knights will keep their season alive. Last week West Side's number one doubles team of Peter Hansen and Milos Dimitrijevic had a huge win over John Kudrick and David Kent and Murray Fonseca continued to win at number one singles. The Black Sheep's doubles will definitely be tested against the Knights this week. Will Samuel Holmes be able to take a singles line for the Knights?

In 4.0 Division I the two 3-0 teams, Bear Creek and the Copperheads, will break their first place tie this week. Sidney O'Pry is undefeated at singles for the Copperheads and may face tournament veteran Juan Pacheco for Bear Creek. I look for the Copperheads to pull out a victory. In Division II, heavy favorites Chancellor's takes on a decent WSTC Phoenix team, who has some competent doubles players like Walt Murray who may give Chancellor's its first test.

In Division III, the Top Spinners already seem to have a stranglehold on the top spot. SAP and the Over Hitters both try to stay alive in the standings in their matchup this week. Similarly, Division IV is a runaway, with the Hurricanes still not having dropped a set on the season. They play a Rice team that appears to have seen better days.