Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Look at 4.0

I'll be the first to admit that I know even less about 4.0 than I do about 4.5. However, I'll take a quick look at the flights and give you my two cents worth (and that may be generous).

Flight One

In my view this is clearly the toughest flight. Bob Somabut's Wild Dallas team is always a powerhouse, and they may not have shown everything they have in the Dallas City Championships. Chris Featherstone has been a singles stud, and Jimmy Fenn has been capable (though I would think they have something better). Rumor had it that Craig Weymer was a ringer, but he's yet to show that. Brouer, Robinson and all the doubles veterans are still there for Dallas. Ft. Worth may be the team to beat in 4.0 this year. Jeremy Munz destroyed Featherstone three and oh in a tournament earlier this year. Lopez/Wynn just waltzed through the latest major zone. Damion Bell and Ryan Reid have had sectionals success. This team will be tough. Our own Noho team will have its work cut out for it. Veterans Rick Malone, Miguel Pinto, Craig Littlefield and my college table tennis arch rival Mike Szatny help Noho field a capable squad. San Antonio Wild will be a huge hurdle for anyone. Armando Abney has the best resume of all players at 4.0 Sectionals. He went three sets with Omon at 4.5 sectionals in 2005 and beat Davinder Toor 6-1, 6-1 in 2006. He's cocky and feisty and crafty...unless he's slowed down considerably in the years since I've seen him (he's no spring chicken), he should be VERY tough to beat. Abney has a bunch of capable teammates that make this team EXTREMELY dangerous. I believe James Murray is ranked 2 in the state in 4.0 singles. Captain Spadoni has been to Nationals before and has his eyes firmly set upon Las Vegas.

Flight Two

Lifetime Fitness, the Dallas champs, has been dominating the major zones lately. Brandon Myers won two consecutive singles titles and Eddie Hill, former starting guard for the Washington St. basketball team, is a rapidly improving athlete who just won the most recent major zone. The rest of the team is solid, and they should be favored to win this flight. To me, the Austin champs are not as strong as they have been in years past. Their best player is probably Clark Peterson, who's very good and has a dangerous forehand and an awkward looking backhand that manages to get the job done. On paper, the team seems to lack strength and depth and I don't think they can compete with Dallas. Lubbock made it to Nationals last year, but Mel Mcree and Joe Schaunaman are gone and the current team is not at the same level. Wild Waco is awful. This looks like a very easy bracket for Dallas.

Flight Three

The Hurricanes are extremely vulnerable this year. Despite that, the roster is very talented..similar to Branch's 4.5 team in that there don't appear to be any superstars, but quality players throughout. Nobody on the team has shown himself to be of the strength of the two singles guys (Narajos, Martinez) from last year, and without singles automatics getting through Sectionals is just about impossible. They start out with a tough San Antonio squad (big serving Angelos Leiloglou, Hunter Wagner and many others) right off the bat, and then play a SETX team with some quality players (Morris, Pham, Shanks, McCoy, etc.). Midland always brings a solid team to Dallas and this team looks at least as good as previous teams. It will be tough sledding to emerge from this bracket.

Flight Four

SAP has a chance to win this bracket. Bill Sanders' Waco team is also tough...they've got everyone back from last year's quality team but will need to get top dawg James Westbrook up there on Friday this year as the team is much weaker without him. Despite the hurdles SAP will have its chances and probably be favored against Waco. To me Grego is the key. If he can turn it up another notch without the prospect of disqualification hanging over his head (I don't believe the computer will be run at Sectionals) and Osorio takes care of business at two singles, the doubles can hold their own. NETX has a solid team, but only 11 players and 9 4.0 players. Mark Mercer and William Bratcher have major zone doubles titles to their name. Alex Tyra and Bratcher gave Foster and Inting all they could handle in Tri-Level. This team's doubles is solid. Do they have any singles strength? Sexton looks solid...Mercer beat Jeff Fidone in straight sets but that would weaken the dubs. We'll see what they put out there. Don't know much about San Angelo but they're supposed to be tough.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

4.5 Sectionals Thumbnail Sketches

Sectionals is just a coupla' weeks away, so let's have an early look at how the flights are shaping up. Nice to see some folks from other cities putting their two cents worth in. It's all in good fun and a little trash talk makes things even more interesting. Sorry..I did this hurriedly. There may be even more misspellings, errors and bad grammar than usual!!!

Flight One


Rusty Branch has again assembled a solid squad that will be favored to take their flight. He's doing it the old fashioned way this time. No "ringers", no self-rated players, no youngsters (I believe the youngest guy is 34). What he does have is a solid lineup with no holes. It was just twelve months ago when Eugene Davis was fighting for his life to put away Ricardo Martinez and secure a 4.0 win for his Springpark squad. He squeaked through and in no way did I think he'd be the top singles guy on a Branch team just a year later. That result was deceptive however: Davis had played singles in every match in the heat and was probably not at his freshest, and Martinez has proven to be a capable (though not elite) 4.5 singles player. Still, it will be a step up for Davis this year. The rest of the roster is filled with guys who've been to Sectionals a half dozen times. Brent James will be a really solid singles guy. Rusty himself can still play singles. I like Rusty, by the way...he once paid me a backhanded compliment after dismantling me two and three at Sectionals one year: "You're better than you look." I'll take any compliment I can get. Kern/Slezak, Huffman/Wescoup, Rusty, Donnie Pollard, Paul Kiron, Herget, Sumrow...they're all here and the doubles will be solid across the board.

Houston Wild

Hasker is good enough to have a spot on the roster of any team up in Dallas, and would start for almost all of them. The kid loves challenges and will get them if teams go straight up against the Deucebags....and why wouldn't they? The rest of the roster is filled with players who are unproven at this level. James Bui was amazing for the Deucebags in city playoffs, but he doesn't have what I call a "Sectionals-level" win under his belt all season. His best win is probably against Quack Bui or Simon Jim. The competition will be two notches tougher than Quack or Flad Patterson were. But Dat is talented and will have a chance to make his mark in Dallas. I watch some of the Deucebags doubles guys and I'm not wowed. All of them have some strengths, but the weaknesses seem a bit more pronounced than some of the players on the elite teams in Dallas. Guys with big games, like Trey Dugas, will have to be "on" for things to go well for this team. We saw earlier in the year when Tran and Trey beat Odion and Sumrall that it CAN happen, but it will be hard to string enough of those together to make this team a factor.


I don't know squat about these guys. The only thing I remember is that Shannon Burdett was on the Amarillo 4.5 team that went to Nationals, I believe that was back in '97 or '98. That's the team that was defaulting lines and yet still winning until they flew some people in for the semis/finals on Sunday. They've got only seven 4.5 rated players on their roster this year and I would be surprised if they do any damage at all. But every year there are unknowns who emerge...

Corpus Christi

These guys just keep coming back and back every year. They ought to just book their hotels now for 2010. Through the years they've had pretty good success, too, making it to Sunday on more than one occasion, if my memory is correct. A respected 4.5 observer told me that he's picking this team to make it to Sunday, as the wild card. I think this is based on his feeling that they may "fatten up" on Amarillo and the Deucebags, but he also told me there is a guy or two on the Corpus team that should not be underestimated. Little can be learned from the regular season in some of these cities. I think Peter Marsalek is a new player who will add a spark to this team and had some good wins against them last season, including one against the much-discussed Maingot. Marcos Villareal is back and he will help. Elizondo, Elizondo, Shandy, Cone, Whitehurst...they're all here, all another year older, but will be good enough to be favored in their matchups against Amarillo and Houston Wild.

Flight Two


Love him or hate him, it all starts with Chad Case. Just take a look at his results from 2007 when Mike Davis' crew made it to the National semis. Eleven absolute blowout wins in state until Odion took a set from him in the state finals. Then three more destructions at Nationals until he lost in the semis. Until someone takes him down he has to be considered the top 4.5 in the state, but he'll certainly have a target on his back. From what I understand he's a quicker version of Ted Pumma, with loopier groundstrokes. There appears to be a gaping hole at number two singles, at least based on their two matches with Old School, however, Lemke is a capable singles player. Rumor has it that Jones is their second best player, and he snuck in his second match against the Howitzers, so he's eligible. Rockey could play there if necessary, I imagine. If Creel doesn't make the trip the doubles will be weakened, but Schlotterback, Bowman, Seidensticker, Allen, et al are all capable doubles guys.

San Antonio

I watched some of the San Antonio team play last year at Sectionals and they were not that strong in singles, having to use Vince Giordanelli and other non-elites in key matches. They lost Louis Strawn from that team but have added Hilderbrand and Doyal among others. Doyal made the semis of a recent major zone in Open, straight setted the much discussed and DQ'd Burke Marold in another major zone, bageled Brett Sticker, etc. He will be a tough out. San Antonio seems to have the edge over everyone in the flight at line two singles. Clearly, John Trautmann will/can be used in singles as well. I don't see the doubles depth/strength on this team that seems to be present on some of the other teams. Arringdale/Miller are decent, but will be underdogs to many teams in Dallas. James Regmund did not get his two matches in.


Waco shocked some people last year (including yours truly), and may again have the chance to sneak up on some people. They may still be trying to solidify their roster (are they ever gonna' play their league?) and are reportedly trying to add some out-of-towners. That may be problematic, but time will tell. Luedtke and Rivera are still there, Mike Doty is a solid veteran. Andy Price has a doubles win earlier this year against Max Dunaev. Zane Martindale...who is he? Chris Fernandez? Another guy with no record. I haven't had time to Google these guys, but unknowns would worry me, but I'm sure Mike Miller and Mike Davis will know everything about these guys come August.


Quite a flight huh? Vernon and Mills will be a solid doubles combination, but this roster doesn't appear to have the strength of some others. I know they have a young singles guy that may surprise, and Abshire is feisty. Hunckler has been a solid performer in the past but is not having his best year. Dupelchin is decent. Anderson has Sectionals experience. But this team does not have the talent to advance out of this killer bracket.

Flight 3


They dominated locally and do have the talent to win the whole thing. My first question would be: Is David B. making the trip? Sure, they've got a ton of guys who can play singles: Omon, Odion, Ted P., even Sumrall showed he's a quality player in straight setting Steve Phan. But one extra stud can make a huge difference and can even further strengthen the doubles lineup. The depth here is ridiculous. It was less than twelve months ago when Andres Ballesteros and David Huffman were the deciding match sending their team to Nationals. Now I'm wondering if they'll even get on the court. Playing time will be at a premium. John Day has returned from injury and I would think he and Burrmann will be a partnership once again if Day is at full strength. Will they be vulnerable after the layoff...has Burrmann lost a step in the few years since I last played him? Based on what I've seen he doesn't appear to have faltered at all. Tim Green will be in the lineup, and I'd have to think that Sumrall and Tam have more than earned a spot. Lombardi is solid. Will the 3M's: Morgan, Martinez and Morton, find their way onto the court? How about Phong Regent?

Fort Worth

I have to admit I haven't looked at this team closely at all this year. Jerry Pham has been around forever and will find his way into the singles lineup at some point. Rob Hurley has been playing singles, but lost to former Houstonian Eric Bedient, who's pretty good but not "Sectionals-level". Darrell McCallum is one of the funkiest doubles guys in the state, but last year really looked like he'd lost a step and gone down a notch. Mark McHenry is a great guy and has really turned himself into a doubles player over the last 7 or 8 years. Robert Barrie will again be tough in singles...he straight setted Justin Huffman and Alejandro Sanchez last year. Cocanougher (Sr.) can still play. Are there any unknowns set to emerge from this roster? If not, I don't see this team being a big factor.

NE Texas

Chris Leach is back, for the umpteenth time. Mark Michaelson is on the team...he and partner Gary Bowles had a win against Green and Benzon earlier this year (neither of the Northeast Texans cracked a smile the entire match) but Bowles is not on the Tyler team for Sectionals. Jason Gound will capably man one singles spot. Serge Figueroa has been around forever and will find his way into the doubles lineup. Shannon Strickland and Bill Tankersley will play...but this team seems weak to me. The more I look at this bracket the more I think that the Hurricanes will be able to use a lot of the guys on their roster. (If I were captain, of course, I'd be scared shitless of all of these guys, but from the outside looking in they don't look at all fearsome).


Okay, here's where it gets fun. We've all heard about the McMurray connection. Several of the players on the Abilene team are playing at the college level. Adam Cherry has shown himself to be dangerous in recent major zones. Trance Rosenquist and Ed Leija have some good stuff on their resumes. This team is dangerous. They're only 10 men deep, including our own Smitty, but the 4.5 format does not put a premium on depth. Chris Bumann was clearly easing up, I would think, in his second match at the qualifying tournament. We'll see how good McMurray's number one is in a coupla' weeks.

I'll give my "picks" at a later date, but clearly the Austin-San Antonio match is the one to watch. Houston-Abilene could be fun, too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Copperfield and SAP

I'll keep this short 'cuz I'm in a bad mood. Copperfield's 4.0 team was clutch, winning all three doubles lines in third set breakers, including one over a pathetic Dwyer/Lo tandem. Tomorrow will be interesting as potentially three teams could still end up at Sectionals from that division.

SAP pulled out their match...Chris Towle can provide the details, but I believe it was 3-2. Chancellor's beat Lost Forest 4-1 and is in the driver's and they're in. Sienna won their match as well, though I don't have any details...check tennis link as the scores may already be in there.

Deucebags/Kingwood match was looking tight as I left. The battle of the Buis (Dat and Quack) might decide the match. That one should be a good one.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Sorry...don't want to derail discussion of last night's matches, but we've got some good stuff coming up tomorrow.

4.0 Matches

Copperfield vs. Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are not the juggernaut I thought they might be. Powerhouse teams sweep the singles with regularity, and this team has not shown that ability against top flight competition. They faltered in both Sienna matches as well as their first playoff match. Copperfield's singles appear solid but unspectacular. If Copperfield manages to split the singles, I rate them a favorite to win. Freeman will have to get Inting into the lineup...will he make his league singles debut or will he anchor the doubles lineup?

Chancellor's vs. Lost Forest

Lost Forest should be little more than a speed bump for Chancellor's on their way to a huge match with the Hurricanes on Sunday. Danny Do has been a huge addition for the Ace Kings. Lost Forest lacks the talent to take out Chancellor's but can make a few lines interesting. Getting Ace Melchor in the lineup will help.

Bear Creek vs. Sienna

Both of these teams are still in the hunt, despite losing their first match. A win here, preferably by a sizeable margin, is a necessity. I think my understanding of the disqualification rules is sorely lacking, so perhaps someone can educate me if possible. According to tennis link Dolsberry was disqualified but his match has not been awarded to Bear Creek. Why is this? It could potentially make a huge difference when all is said and done. I'll be interested to see what lineup Sienna puts out there for this one.

SAP vs. Lakeside

This is the headliner, with the winner holding a huge edge for a Sectionals berth. Grego was impressive for SAP last Thursday. Will Castellano or Urbina move into Dolsberry's singles slot?
I expect Towle/Urban and Kray/Sontag will again be out there for SAP. Will Osorio grind out a win in the heat? We'll see if the Dolsberry DQ makes the difference...this one should be close.

4.5 Matches

Kingwood vs. Deucebags

A big match for Alain's team, and somewhat meaningless for Kingwood. You might see Chantz or Hai or Phi in the singles lineup here. All are capable playes who might want to get some playoff action in the singles. In theory, Kingwood is still in the hunt, and could potentially benefit from the Hurricanes having clinched by the time they meet them at the end of the weekend. Still, I expect Kingwood will work some folks into the lineup here. The Deucebags doubles were not impressive last night and wll need to be better if they expect to advance.

Ssshhhwings vs. Black Sheep

A big match for the Black Sheep. Captain Ristau has been unpredictable with his lineups, and has made some effective moves. Alzate has shown that Tommy doesn't need to put his two "big guns" in singles. Patterson continues to be solid for Rothe, though he hasn't beaten any heavyweights. Carpenter vs. Bradley would be a headliner. As a total aside...what happened to Justin Benoit this year?

Hurricanes vs. Copperfield

Freeman/Benzon's crew has a lot of leeway in this one. Robins/Letan will provide a nice match for somebody, but I would expect some people to get worked into the Hurricane lineup in this one. Might we see some "score managing"? With mid-year ratings out, NTRP's are on everyone's mind right now. I'll be the first to admit I'd avoid dealing a blowout if I were ever in position to deal one...but with my strokes a blowout win is never a possibility.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Early Action

I stopped by just for the beginning of the evening. League legends were abound: Jimmy Kilshaw, Allen Teague, Red Benzon, Phong Regent, Cheryl and Diana and so many others who have been mainstays of league tennis for years.

The singles matchups:

Hasker v. Omon
Pumma v. Daniel Morales
Carpenter v. Holmes
Patterson v. Lubrano
Hansen v. Q. Bui
Rios v. Alzate

Doubles Matchup (line 1 at 7)

Phan/Phan v. Ristau/Dimitrijevic
Odion/Burrmann v. Dugas/Dugas
Robins/Letan v. Rothe/Giordanelli

Omon and Hasker were on serve when I left, as was the Phan/Phan doubles match. Didn't get any other scores.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid Year Ratings are out....

Mid year ratings are out.

Have fun with them.

Sorry for being so short, first post from phone.

Friday, July 10, 2009

No Secrets

I like the 4.5 playoffs this year. They're least while every team is still in the hunt.

This Thursday the 4.5's will be the only male division playing, and the matchups will all be familiar ones as division rivals will be squaring off in the playoffs.

Kingwood Crush vs. Westside Black Sheep

Kingwood swept the season series 2-0, both by a 3-2 count. Kingwood absolutely dominated in the doubles, taking five out of the six lines, while the Black Sheep took 3 out of 4 singles. Lacy and Phan split their two matchups and Bradley crushed Rios and squeaked past Quack Bui. Both teams have their backs to the walls after losing their first match in citywides. It's do or die time. It was nice to see Minh Phan playing on Thursday...he helps Kingwood's chances.

Copperfield Lobsters vs. MPTC - Ssshhhwings

Copperfield didn't use Holmes in the first matchup, but swept Ssshhhwings' vaunted doubles teams to earn the victory without a singles win. Lindloff surprised Bergmann in that matchup. In the season finale Bergmann retired to Lindloff, which may(?) explain his absence from the lineup the other night. Neil Carpenter dealt Sam Holmes his only loss in that one and Ssshhhwings' doubles rebounded well, albeit against a weaker Copperfield lineup. ***Edit*** Ssshhhwings are 1-0, while Copperfield is 0-1 in the playoffs

LLTC - Hurricanes 4.5 vs. MPTC - Deucebags

These teams should know each other backward and forward by now. This will be their fourth meeting of the year. The series was extremely competitive. The 'Canes won two of three, but only won 8 lines to the Deucebags 7. If, as I expect, the Hurricanes roll through the playoffs, then every line taken from them along the way can become crucial. Aadrian Hasker has the game to beat anyone in 4.5, but there are probably 4 Hurricanes (Dibua, Dibua, Pumma, David B.) who have the capability to beat him on a given day. Bui will be an underdog to any of those four or even to Green if he sneaks into the singles lineup. Anyone who can guess at Alain's doubles lineup is a better man than I am. I admit that I thought he made a mistake sitting out Jannuzzi last week, but Tran knows his team best and his team came through with two doubles wins to keep them among the favorites for that #2 spot.

P.S. I sent out an invite to Betsie to report on goings-on in the women's divisions. I know there is some interest out there and I'd love if she, or someone else, would take me up on my offer to report on Citywide/Sectionals in the women's divisions.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LLTC Impressions

The Hurricane 4.5 team won easily. Odion, to be honest, looked a bit off to me. It's a credit to him that he was able to win without playing his best. Ted Pumma destroyed Sean Lacy, as I suspected he would. I think he was fired up with all the talk of him being weak against serve and volleyers.

Possibly the most surprising thing was seeing Ted Bradley playing doubles. I'm not sure the strategy was sound, in effect "diluting" his talent with Chad Shaw. That's not a knock on Shaw, but I think Bradley alone gives you a better chance of taking a line. I guess the strategy was to hope for Lacy and Alzate to sweep the singles and Bradley to take a doubles line????? Anyway, the Black Sheep lost 5-0 and now have a lot of ground to make up if they want that second slot. They're an extreme longshot at this point.

I haven't been on the phone this evening so I've not heard results from elsewhere. The Hurricane 4.0 team was very unimpressive tonight, struggling mightily in their 4-1 win over Lost Forest. A performance like that will not get it done in either of their next two matches.

SAP won 3-2 over much-discussed Sienna. For me, the match of the night out there was a "meaningless" one, which could end up being meaningful if things break a certain way. Fifty-something Doug Whitehead fought off cramps in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours and beat tournament stalwart Roger Osorio in a third set breaker. Osorio is younger and looks fit, but also cramped on the last point, having to go to his left hand on the last shot of the match due to hand cramps. Just wait 'til the heat of the weekend daytime matches, boys....

In other news, I've heard that the Lakeside 4.0 team won 4-1 in a close match, and that Chancellor's pulled out some third set breakers in winning 3-2 over Copperfield. I haven't talked to anyone in the other 4.5 matches...hope someone will fill us in.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Citywide Championships - Week One

I thought I'd take a look at the first week's matchups. Captains have some interesting decisions to make. Those who have their weakest opponent first must decide whether they can risk "working some people in" despite the risk. The round robin nature of the 4.5 playoff will allow for more leeway.

I have talked earlier about all captains playing 'til the end, no matter what the standings say. I'd also like to add that I would hope we don't see any collusion, whereby a team with things wrapped up lays down for a buddy or loads up on a buddy's rival. I just wanna' see the two best teams make it to Dallas.

4.0 Matchups

Lakeside at Bear Creek - A great matchup right out of the gate. Lakeside has some quality veteran doubles guys and a couple of new singles guys. As usual, veteran captains will unleash their surprises during the postseason. Won't be surprised if Spoor has a few tricks up his sleeve. Bear Creek has waltzed through the regular season but I admit I'm not a true believer. They'll win me over if they take this one, but I'm expecting a surprising (to some) home loss.

Sienna at SAP - SAP has some quality players: Grego, Sontag, Kray, Osorio and Towle just to name a few. Sienna has received a ton of attention for a second place team, but their showing in the playoffs last year proved they're not to be taken lightly. I wonder about their singles, however. I'm not sure it's top notch. This one's too tough to call, but I'll lean slightly to Sienna based on past history.

Copperfield at Chancellor's - Chancellor's hasn't gotten much "pub" this year despite coming off a sectionals trip. The team squeaked through the playoffs last year, but has lost Dutchover, Hao Nguyen and Henagan from that team. Do the additions of De la Torre, Do, Melancon and Ruiz make up for it? I think they're slightly weaker this season and the competition is tougher. Copperfield is a real sleeper. They've got a bunch of guys who've got good resumes, some at higher levels or in tournaments or age groups. Are the fast indoor courts a big advantage for Chancellor's? I'll be curious to see if Lance Loken adjusts his lineup as a result. I'm going against my gut and picking Chancellor's to squeak one out.

Lost Forest at Hurricanes - I'm sure you've heard the term "bulletin board material". Gulp. My objective opinion is that Lost Forest may be on the lower level of 4.0 playoff teams. Captain Freeman has been playing a lot of games with the Hurricane roster, and I doubt we'll see the real deal in this one, though certainly it will be a quality lineup. Ace Melchor has a win over John Grego this season but I can't see the Hackers putting a dent in the Hurricane singles lineup unless the 'Canes use their second tier players. Hurricanes win easily.

4.5 Matchups

Deucebags at Copperfield - Hasker vs. Holmes in the battle of skinny young lefties. Bergmann v. Bui. Edge in both matchups to the D-bags. We may have some guesswork going on here. Do you swap the singles if you're Salinas? Do you swap yours expecting a swap if you're Tran? Not sure how a Bui/Holmes matchup would end up, but Copperfield NEEDS to split the singles if at all possible. Tran has been a bit scattered with his doubles lineups this year...I don't have a clue what he'll throw out there on Thursday, but I would think he can take at least one line. Robins and Letan will be tough to beat though. I'm picking the D-bags 3-2.

Black Sheep at Hurricanes - The singles matches should be barnburners. But where does the doubles line come from for Black Sheep? Can Hansen and someone squeak out a line 3 win? Alzate and someone? If I'm on the bench on Thursday I'll be checking out these singles matches for sure. Loved watching Lacy attack relentlessly last year in his playoff singles match. His matches are entertaining. Still haven't seen Bradley but a knowledgable guy told me I should have had him ranked ahead of Phoummarath. We may find out on Thursday. 'Canes 4-1.

Ssshhhwings at Crush - The schedule is set up for the Crush and Hurricanes to be the grand finale, but there are many obstacles in the way. I could see Carpenter taking a singles win for Rothe's team, but don't see them sweeping. One at the most. Crush's doubles are solid, but Shwings will not be pushovers by any means. I see the doubles being tight, but Kingwood coming out with a 3-2 victory.

Let your opinion be heard. Talk some trash, and then back it up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A look at Citywides in 4.5

Well, it looks as though the Deucebags have effectively closed the book on the 4.5 regular season and we can begin to look at the playoffs, which begin in just a week. Here are the six teams and a quick look at what I feel might be a plausible lineup for them in the playoffs. Bear in mind that I have absolutely no clue about the best lineup on my own team, so these are obviously sheer speculation.


The prohibitive favorites. Nobody else in the playoff has the firepower to stay with them, although obviously "on any given Sunday..." They will have the luxury of using some of their great depth if they jump out to a good start in their first couple of matches.

Singles: Omon, Odion

Doubles: David B/Green, Burrmann/Lombardi?, Sumrall/Tam

This leaves out Phoummarath, who obviously would be moved in if one of the Dibuas slides into doubles, perhaps in place of Lombardi? I don't think the 'Canes will need to worry about their best lineup until Dallas, however.


They're solid in the singles, but will have to be totally on their game to take two doubles lines against these playoff teams.

Singles: Hasker, D.Bui

Doubles: Tran/Jannuzzi, Dugas/Dugas, Diep/M. Morales

Again, I'm just taking a stab at most of this stuff.


They're loaded with playoff veterans and should not be underestimated. (These teams are in no particular order, btw) How will Phan fare (no pun) in the heat? Which Quack Bui will show up? Can Minh/Chantz shake their postseason blues?

Singles: Phan, Bui

Doubles: Vu/Huynh, Minh/Chantz, M. Phan/Pekar?

Santiago, Kilshaw and Rios may work their way in there as well

West Side Black Sheep

They've become a fixture in the playoffs and have given some teams a scare or two, but have yet to have a breakthrough win. Will this be the year? Do they have any singles depth beyond Bradley and Lacy if necessary?

Singles: Bradley, Lacy

Doubles: Hansen/Dimitrijevic, Alzate, Ristau, Teague/Shaw

Bear in mind that this same doubles lineup was basically non-competitive in their last matchup with Kingwood. They may not have the doubles firepower to compete.


The feel-good story of the year, surprising me by doing so well without Kudrick. They had some playoff jitters last year and really SHOULD have come in second. We'll see if they get over the hump this time around.

Singles: Holmes, Bergmann

Doubles: Robins/Letan, Mazaltov/Lubrano, Thrower/Rawls

I have no idea how good Mazaltov is, but this lineup looks like it'll have its work cut out for it. Can't see them sweeping the singles against anyone's top two. Begmann has been average at best this year.


Peter Rothe somehow seems to be a "love him or hate him" type of guy. I'm in the first category, he was always fun to deal with when I was with the Mob Squad. He's been chasing after that Sectionals berth for years, and this year it really appears to be wide open. He'll need some iron-man performances out of Neil Carpenter. Not sure how much juice he still has in the tank, but Ssshhhwing will need every ounce of it.

Singles: Carpenter, Ramirez

Doubles: Rothe/Judson, Lindloff/Kim, Hall/Weinholtz

Unlike some other teams, this one has a lot of interchangeable parts. I won't be surprised if their lineup changes each time. Lindloff and Patterson have both been effective this year in singles as well, and may shoulder some of that load, though they'll be underdogs against most of the first line singles guys in city playoffs.

At this point I still don't have a pick for second place. Hard to go against Kingwood's experience though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wild Cards

Per Diana/HTA website: The Wild Cards for Sectionals have been determined. In the Men's Leagues, Houston received a Wild Card only in the 4.0 division. Houston's ladies received wild cards in 3.5 and 4.0.

Of course, there are occasions where teams drop out of Sectionals or where leagues don't "make", etc., in which case some slots may open up. (Anyone remember the Mob Squad fiasco from last year????)

However, at this time it puts even more of a premium on each and every match during city playoffs. In the 4.5 division, unfortunately, we will see some teams basically eliminated after their first two matches. I'm sure the captains and players will be classy enough to continue to play hard even if they're "out of it".