Monday, July 15, 2013


Congrats to Jason Freeman for steering two more teams to Sectionals and padding his already impressive resumé. Yes, we all know the Hurricanes were heavy favorites. But upsets happen. See Serena, Wimbledon.

The 4.5 Hurricanes pretty much waltzed through the field, dropping only one line over the weekend, to Zach Marnitz, who proved he was the real deal by going 3-0 in the playoffs. Say what you want about Freeman and the Hurricanes, but they dominated despite having no self-rated players, and only used Sydney Jim once, in doubles.

The 4.0 Hurricanes went into the weekend without the services of Ryan Reeves and Bobby Dornbos, (not to mention Chris Babbington) probably two of their top five or six players. Freeman managed to play fourteen players over the weekend, giving playing time to players sixteenth (or lower) on the depth chart. Despite that, the Hurricanes dropped only 3 lines in their 4 matches. While Chris Rossi deserves the MVP award, Brad Beinart deserves honorable mention for his enthusiasm. Every team needs a guy like that.

It was nice to see Old Schoolers Jody Deluca and Allen Teague continue to grind out victories after all these years. The duo was 2-0 on the weekend. The Good-er Guys win the "biggest disappointment" award, going 2-13 in their three matches and matching Teague/Deluca in total wins.

Kim Lequoc had a nice weekend before running into the buzzsaw that is Chris Rossi. Garrett Browne and Dang Huynh were dominant in all three of their doubles matches for the Unicorns, as were Zach Salinas and Diego Cairampoma for Copperfield. In fact, Copperfield won just one other line. Phil Kerig made an appearance in singles?? Wasn't expecting that...

Monday, July 8, 2013

City Playoffs

There's less than a week for trash talk, speculation, accusation and whatever else usually leads up to City Playoffs. The 4.0 festivities begin on Friday evening while 4.5 starts bright and early on Saturday.

One of the underrated facets of captaining is convincing your players to put things aside and commit to playing in the "big" matches. Teams like the Hurricanes which consist of players plucked from all over often lack that bond that other teams have. There are at least three key players in 4.5 whose statuses are a question mark, at least in my mind. Any time a team has stud players who play one match and get written into a default, you have to wonder just how committed that guy is. The Hurricanes have two such players, Sydney Jim and Bryan Taylor, and if Freeman can get them out there, they give the Canes two huge legs up in any match.

While I was under the impression that Zach Marnitz had been cleared for play, his 0.0 under "Find a Rating" is curious. Marnitz played 3 high quality 4.5/5.0 types in the HTA Open in April: Hersh Pise, Bryant Mohns and James Bui, winning 2 of 3 and being extremely competitive in the other one. And that was in April...a kid his age could well have improved since then. That said, I don't think he has enough help to make ETU a true factor to win. Silas will have to help. Bear in mind, 4.5 players and captains, that a Wild Card is always a possibility. Second place is worth fighting for.

The buzz is around the Good-er Guys right now, with many onlookers proclaiming them co-favorites. I'm not totally buying the hype. The Hurricane team made it to the final four in the nation last year with (in my opinion) a much weaker roster. Sure, they haven't shown great strength in singles, but Martinez and Mussenden did just fine last year when asked to play.

Old School...well, they have a win against the Canes as well as a ton of experience. They won't be an easy out.

Admittedly, I often look at things through a Hurricane prism, which hopefully is understandable. In 4.0, when looking at the Canes' flight, I have to wonder: How many players from the other rosters could make Freeman's rotation? Copperfield: Salinas for sure. After that? Solis? Orchard? Westside: Hobbs and Gomes probably. Anyone else? Corey Kruseman may have slipped under some peoples' radars. He was a solid player at Stratford. This team may have some sleepers. For ANS, Madamba, Vargas, Narvarez, Soria and Ye all have wins over current Hurricanes earlier in the year. But the Hurricane summer team will be much stronger than their 40+ team and I don't think ANS has upgraded since then.

The other flight is much more interesting to me. Lakeside is what we thought they were. Singles is the question mark. Kris Jacobs came up big in the 40+ playoffs against Janek, but also struggled with Madamba. Rutherford was overmatched in the playoffs last year. Soto will have to carry a heavy load.

I still don't know exactly what the Unicorns have. Saw Sheldon Henderson hitting on a distant court. Looked powerful. We'll see what he's got this weekend. Paniagua is dangerous. He hasn't been used in singles yet this season. Deshazo, Mohan, Lequoc, H. Nguyen, Q. Nguyen...they've got some pieces to work with.

The Good Guys don't seem to be as strong as last year's team. It will be tough sledding for them. They'll need a clutch performance from the Sandwich Blaster. Sienna is more dangerous than you might think.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Playoff Schedule

The playoff schedule has been released. In 4.5, teams will play two matches on Saturday, July 13th, and one on Sunday. As I'm sure you know, the four teams who qualified are: The Hurricanes, Enter The Unicorn, Old School and Good-er Guys. Players from several teams were out at Memorial Park yesterday readying themselves for the playoffs.Hopefully everyone will have all of their key players available.

In 4.0, Flight One consists of: Ace-N-Spinners, Good Guys, Unicorns and Lakeside. The teams in Flight Two are: Hurricanes, Shock-N-Awe, Westside Warriors and Sienna Plantation. Interestingly, the Hurricanes/Sienna and Ace-N-Spinners/Good Guys were in the same flight in the regular season. I'm not sure if this was an oversight or a change in philosophy. Perhaps the flights may be altered.

The 4.0 schedule has a match on Friday night, two matches on Saturday, and just the Championship match on Sunday.