Monday, September 20, 2010

Senior Sectionals - Nationals, Finally

Sectionals had not been kind to the Houston teams this year. It had been a rare shutout (sue me, but I don’t count Combo or Tri-Level), even for Freeman, Benzon, and Hollis (taking her customary year off). Until this past weekend that is, at Senior Sectionals in Tyler. Both 4.5 teams and the men’s 4.0 team took the titles and are headed to Nationals in Palm Springs (Rancho Mirage) in October. Congratulations to all, and thanks for salvaging a bit of Houston pride!

The men’s 4.5 team, captained by Jimmy Kilshaw, won the title on lines, after finishing with an identical 3-1 record to NETX, to whom they lost 2-1 in the head-to-head match. Say what you like about the old geezers, but it was high-quality tennis. Maybe not quite up there with Adult Sectionals, but every bit as good as city playoffs. There’s something gratifying about seeing a 50-something guy who can still bounce backhand overheads over the fence. Tom Courson, Mark Willingham, and Louie Aro all went 3-0. Juan Lopez was a remarkable 4-0.

The 4.5 women, captained by Rox Ann Schanzenbach, didn’t drop a match in pool play, nor did they drop a set in defeating Dallas in the final. Carol St. Clair was the big gun, playing all five matches and going 4-0 (not counting a retired match) without losing so much as a set. Sue Bramlette and Mary Morgan were close behind at 4-1.

The 4.0 men, captained by Ron Fisher and Mike Spoor and featuring two members of the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame (Fisher and Paul Christian), beat an extremely tough and balanced Austin team 3-0 in the final, winning all three lines in third-set tiebreakers. In pool play they beat defending national champion Fort Worth 2-1, with the lone loss a retired match once the victory was clinched. Nick Stephens and Tim Purcell went 4-0, and might have been joined in that record by Jim Wooten and Steve Smith had it not been for retired matches.

Which brings us to the subject of third-set tiebreakers – as always, it comes down to these. The 4.5 men were 6-1. The 4.5 women were 2-1. The 4.0 men were 6-0. This is what wins matches at this level. Hating them is self-defeating. Practice them – these teams do.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sectionals this week

The year's most important tournament is being held this weekend in San Antonio as players vie for the top eight and inclusion in the Masters Championship.

Numerous Houstonians are seeded, including the top two seeds in the 5.0 division: Tim Green and Omon Dibua. Jason Gound and Greg Medford are two intriguing floaters in the draw.

In 4.5, Ed McCool is the top seed, with David Guy #4, Herb Morton at #6, Brian Goldberg #11 and Greg Schmucker coming in as the twelfth seed. Mario Gloria and Daniel Cambon are two of the more dangerous floaters in the draw.

Matt Drake heads the list of Houston area players seeded in the 4.0 draw, coming in at #4. Kris Knutson, fresh off another tournament victory in Beaumont this past weekend, is #5 and considered the favorite by many. Israel Bacon got the ninth seed, Carlos Quijano is tenth and Gregory Brown is number 13. Former Cy-Ridge Ram standout Tommy Do makes his 4.0 debut as well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

In Case you Missed the fight.....

In case you missed the fight in the match last night, here you go.

Fast forward to about 1 minute for the money shot.