Thursday, March 6, 2008

Preseason thoughts 4.0-4.5

4.0 Preseason look

It is hard to think that Bob Somabut’s team won’t repeat as champs since all they lost was Kris Endress. Kris is a great player but with new additions from past championship teams they will be just fine. They do lack ringers at singles but their depth at doubles is mind boggling. The legendary Chad Carlquist and his forehand could be playing line #3 doubles. Brouer and Robinson have signed on as well as Jarad Kemp. Scary. Brand new Blumberg also playing 4.5, how good is this guy, my guess REALLY good.

So for the rest of us we will be fighting for the chance at the wild card to Sectionals or be hopeful that the favorite will slip up. Both Brookhaven regular playoff Brookhaven teams (Bartlett/Pearlman) should be in the mix although their lack of singles play will leave them vulnerable to some close regular season matches. Bartlett is best suited to make a run with Buford and if Pearlman can get Rhodes signed up again they will have a shot.

The obvious second favorite is Springpark/Walters who went to sectionals last Spring and did well in the Fall and added ringer Eugene Davis. They are built much like Somabut’s team with great doubles players and solid singles players but no guarantee, as good as Walters, Pearson and Wildberger are they are not guarantees at line 1 singles.

But then again who is really?

The Lakes didn’t lose any players from the Fall playoff team and actually gained back Mike Richardson who is a tough singles player. John Arnette’s Greenhill team looks to be strong once again and tries to return to Sectionals again.

Past those teams there are others than can make a run like Helterbran’s team, Canyon Creek/Heflin, Stonebridge, Garland, Lifetime and High Point/Harrison and my own High Point/Bazan rosters are pretty good as so it will be interested to see which teams make it to the playoffs. I really think there is pretty good depth in this level so I expect the QT tourney as well as the City tourney to be very competitive.

4.5 Preseason look

Hmmm. Should we just pencil in Branch’s team to Sectionals now or what? I wish them the best though I know the Houston and Austin teams are gearing up to compete for that National trip again so I hope Dallas can do well.

Corey Noel promised good things this season after a good showing in the Fall playoffs, nearly beating Branch’s team. Beyond Branch’s group the other Oak Creek teams (Bovermann, Feldman) usually do well too and I noticed Jimmy Walker’s move to the DFW team which will make them a threat at least a little bit. Kirby Martin has collected the best of High Point for a solid looking team.

So although there are less teams I think the regular season will be very competitive and we will see if by the end of the season it is just a replay of Branch's team marching on or if someone will step up and give them a real scare.


  1. My pick for 4.0 is Somabut and Springpark to get to sectionals. Springpark created a monster team and they should be the team to beat. Charles Rasor and Eugene are 2 quality ringers they have and signing Sweeney, Wildberger only improves their doubles from last season.

    4.5 - Watch out for team HP/Martin, Kirby has put together a strong team and they will suprise a lot of teams with their ringer, Phy Pham.Heard Noel recruited some college players to his team and his team should be a threat too! My prediction has to be team branch, they have to much talent and experience on that team.

  2. It will be interesting to see scores from Rasor and Davis in the regular season. Springpark has to be careful after losing Tor Erickson via DQ at sectionals last year. It is a good thing they have depth because those two will be on the DQ bubble the entire season and if they land in a good flight they might have a tough go of it.

  3. Anonymous had some great insight! Maybe he is on my team? lol I would like somone on the famous Branch team to give us some insight there. I will tell you a funny story: I was at Twin Creeks in Allen, and I saw a bunch of guys showing up for what I knew had to be a team practice. And when I finished my match I thought I only saw 7 guys so I asked them if they needed an 8th, and it turns out I just didn't see the 8th guy. Then I asked them if they were a 4.5 senior division team, and they said no, they were 4.5 regular division, but one chimed in that he could see how I thought they were seniors. Turns out that was Rusty and his team. ha! So while some are older I am sure they are wiley veterans and have proven over and over why they deserve the #1 seeding. It will be an interesting season.
    Spring Park 4.0 will def be a strong challenger, they also have Mitch McGowan, who 5 years ago was 4 and 1 at the 5.0 level! I think that puts him at 4.0 "ringer" status. - Kirb

  4. Me, Kirby, and others are trying to stop the Branch streak of dominance. It is an uphill battle though.

  5. Thanks for the info on Mcgowan, I saw his stats from previous years. I am curious if when you self rate after the 3 year layoff and take the test does the computer say something to you like, are you comfortable being a sandbagger? click yes for 4.0, no for 4.5 and above.

    I find it interested Walters seems so willing to walk the tightrope after having such a harsh DQ at sectionals. I wasn't there but I heard he went ballistic when Tor got DQ'ed, so it will be interesting to see the reaction when one of the 3 ringers on this squad get kicked out.

  6. Kirby, I have seen them at City championships and you are right they are not a bunch of college guys except for a few young guys. I have to give it up to Branch and that group to keep it together that long with essentially the same group of guys with a few add-ins every so often. I am trying to create that same longevity at 4.0 and it seems his players get that league is a long process and if you don't enjoy that process and you will go insane trying to win every season/match and just get burnt out.

  7. FLIGHTS HAVE BEEN POSTED FOR 3.5-4.5. 4.0 has four flights, which means only 7 matches, I don't get this at all. Why not an 10-11 match season. Is that gone forever?

    I drew the Springpark team in my flight so I guess I better get to work on my team.

  8. If there are fewer matches and more pools then more teams should make the playoffs. If so, that would be a little more exciting. I would think the top 2 teams from each pool would make the Dallas playoffs. Does anyone have any insight into this?

  9. I am not sure I have searched but I don't see in recent Dallas league history that we have had 4 flights. If each 1st place team automatically goes to the DCC as normal plus Somabut's WC team that is 5 teams which is the norm. So I guess you could take the 8 2nd and 3rd place teams from each flight and have them play in two (RED/BLUE) flights with the winners playing each other on Sunday for the right to play the next weekend. I guess it wouldn't be too bad because then a QT team would be guaranteed 3 matches in the playoffs. I think that would be the best format because I am not a huge fan of the single elimnation bracket style playoff.
    That would leave you with 6 teams in the DCC which would be five matches and I guess as long as all played Friday night it would be feasible. I guess we will see once our schedules come out. Maybe some Houstonites have some insight since they have monster size leagues down there.

  10. 4.5 Prediction
    1st Oak Creek/Branch
    2nd Oak Creek/Feldman
    3rd Greenhill

    1st Brookhaven
    2nd Village
    3rd Oak Creek/Boverman

    City Champ- Oak Creek/Branch
    Wild Card- Brookhaven

  11. You can't get credit for accurate predictions if you are anonymous.

  12. I predict both my teams will go to sectionals. No pressure Corey!!


  13. I agree with that prediction.

  14. Keith I think you have good odds especially if we get wild cards for Dallas again. Someone was thinking that wasn't guaranteed but I thought as long as our registration numbers were good then that would hold true. I hope so because I would love to grab one of those spots as well.

  15. Let's have some Houston MZ talk. The 4.0 singles and doubles draws are huge. I've never heard of most of the seeded players.

  16. Yep I am excited about how many Dallas players are headed down there to play. I wish I could be there but I haven't played in almost two weeks so I will stay home and practice:

    Foad, Tim Newman, Mark Carter and James Murray should do well. Donald Allen who did well last week in Dallas could make a run. Eddie Hill is fit enough but is he consistent enough in a big field like this? Nguyen and Dutchover have seeds which should help them but I don't see them making it to the later rounds.

    JD will be there and Corey Noel got a 7 seed which should help. Good luck Corey! Sarosh who is constantly hated upon I expect to do very well I think he had to manage a lot of scores before nationals and once he got to 4.0 nats he didn't lose a match, scary.

    4.0 dubs
    Voss/Newman as a 2 seed and the 3 seed is Brouer/Robinson and Martin/Nguyen are seeded 5th. Wow that is 1/2 Somabut's team seeded in the top there. They should all do well. Thanks god I didn't pull you all in our spring flight.

    I hope Dallas can bring home some points from Houston. Let them know who will be winning in August.

  17. Thanks Cary. I have a increasingly irritating wrist problem I'm dealing with so I may not head down there after all. I also have a pretty tough draw, as expected in Houston. Hopefully I can get healthy and play well. Good luck to Keith and Steven. Also, Congratulations to John Sisk and Dan Vandefifer for winning the 3.5 doubles at Brookhaven this weekend. Perhaps they could be added to your super team roster?

  18. Sarosh is playing Chris Leach right? Leach played 5.0 last year and did fairly well so that will be a tough win.

  19. corey-

    I think you have a good shot to the round of 16. You can take Morales...your slice will give his heavy western some serious trouble. Solis is tough, but if you are playing well you can beat him.

  20. Cary...Are you going to do a write-up for the Houston MZ? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  21. I played against John Sisk and Dan Vandefifer and they played really well. We (Molina & Moore) just got out played. John's serve was on fire. Which set up Dan for an easy kill shot.

    Good job John and Dan.


  22. Leach-

    Did your boys from NETX beat Dibua and Armstrong in tri-level or whatever the bet was? I heard that NETX won the thing so I assume those guys did real well.

  23. "would love to hear my thoughts on the Houston MZ" uhhhh... Since I have played all of four tourneys in 8 years I don't think I should comment.

    Maybe I need to hire a tournament writer. The pay isn't great, ok there isn't any pay. :(

  24. Um, nope. Netx won the thing, but I lost a buck. Dibua and Armstrong strummed half of my pick and went undefeated.

  25. Ahhh. So technically you did not lose a buck then! Who were your guys and did they play any matches together?

  26. Alright, 50 cents then. Gary Bowles and Mark Michaelson. Both are tough 4.5 players with college backgrounds. Michaelson is probably the best 4.5/5.0 doubles guy around Netx. He only showed up to play the final........

  27. Corey,
    Thanks for your positive reinforcement of my game. It goes back six memorable years. I met some great guys this last weekend at Brookhaven. Dan and I were offered to play for a second team in Fort Worth, which I would do if I weren't captain of the Garland team. I do not need anyone's vote to be on an all-star team. My success with Team Tennis, Ultimate Tennis, and your tri-level team is vote enough for me. To have a 35-5 regular season record takes more effort than three guys mentioned in a blog, including Ben Oberto. Pete Howk, Dan Vandififer, and I are a tough team to beat in any combination. I like not being mentioned in the midst of this blog. There is some good info, but a lot of meaningless info as well. I still challenge Jeromi and Carey against you and I anytime, anywhere, and show how weak I really am. I am just 3.5 with a great 4.5 making a great 8.0 against two 4.0's making an 8.0. So it is obvious, to pick on the 3.5. I welcome this anytime.Any doubles team is as strong as the weakest player. It should be an easy win for them, right?!!

    Enrique, it was great playing against you. Thank you for your comment. I am still waiting for your call.

    Big John

  28. Sisk throwing down challenges, I watched you and Corey the other day. uhhh, not impressed. :) I don't know if Jeromi and I can coordinate a good time so I may have to get a new partner (Trae? Joel Pickett?), Jeromi is headed off on military assignment in a month or so and I am working two jobs and busy talking smack on the blog so unfortunately my tennis time is limited right now outside of team practices.(and finding new players since you guys keep taking all my guys) I know you guys like Sundays but that is my one free day but we will play sometime, don't worry. I am not leaving Dallas anytime soon.

    35-5 huh. Impressive, I never pay much attention to my stats but more looking for quality wins and I hope to grab a few this upcoming season. Corey has some quality wins for sure that are impressive like his double breadstick v. Walker in the Fall playoffs.

    I am looking forward to playing Springpark and Stonebridge because getting a win against some of those guys would be memorable since they are tough players.

  29. Carey,

    I have many days that aren't impressive, but don't we all?!!!
    We don't have to play on Sunday. I'm available any evening during the week. Just communicate, and let me know. We'll get it in. Your 1-6 record is not impressive. Remember to pick on me since I am the 3.5.

    Big John

  30. We'll pick on both of you and crush you. :)

    Yep 1-6, I was trying to pull a Garland :) and become a 3.5 again but it didn't work, you will have to give me some lessons on that.

    I actually played well in the Fall since I was nursing a strained calf most all of the season.

    Maybe a better comparision would be our sectional record Sisk: 0-2 Bazan 2-1 with my only loss the the eventual champs of the weekend in a close match.

  31. Excuses, excuses! Everybody plays with an ailment. :) 1-6 is more embarrassing than 0-2! If you think you can crush us, put your money where your mouth is! If you are trying to pull a Garland, you are far from a 35-5 record. You could be my line 4 doubles...maybe!My team would be too difficult for you to make. See you at 2 p.m. Saturday at or doubles....pick your poison! :)

  32. Congratulations to Stephen and Keith for winning the 4.0 doubles in a major zone this weekend in Houston. Congratulations also to Corey for winning his first two rounds in singles in Houston this weekend also.

    We'll see you guys this Sunday at Fair Oaks at 2:00.


  33. Mitch McGowan, who 5 years ago was 4 and 1 at the 5.0 level!

    Not sure how he will stay at 4.0 when the rules state you can not rate lower than .5 rating from your last rating. This would be an easy grievance to file and win with DTA or TTA. Unless there is some medical condition this is pretty blatant.

    Oh yeah 4.5 should be tough with Branch and probably Brookhaven or T-BAR M

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. ok taking a second look at 4.5 Divisions:
    Greenhill Stoner will be very good with depth.
    Branch has 2 younger guys in Jeremy Stone and Clint Sumrow.
    Feldman once he adds some more players will be a tough match-up for anyone.

    Martin could be interesting with the Pham Brothers.

    I must be honest I do not see any super teams in Group B. Looks like a battle between Noel, Harlee, and Modic

  36. new ar_hacker,

    I was just introduced to this blog not too log ago and have found it very interesting.

    Just for your information and please feel free to check it out yourself. Just because one Mitch McGowan played 5.0 tennis does not mean he was a 5.0 or even rated a 5.0. His last rating was as a 4.5. If you look at his record from 2002 he went 2 - 8 at 5.0 (when he was playing all the time and with a 5.0 partner) and the only wins he had where against two 4.5's also playing 5.0.

    The USTA has established the rules individuals are supposed to abide by when they self rate and put a high priority on previous competitive experience (i.e college). I know Mitch and he is 38 year old beer drinking guy who plays twice a month if he is lucky and played high school tennis with absolutely no college tennis.

    How is that not a 4.0?

  37. thanks ar hacker, don't think a lot of us aren't curious to watch Davis and McGowan very closely. I was trying to find that rule about the 0.5 drop, it makes sense but I couldn't track it down.

    McGowan was listed as 5.0 rated on his mixed team and the team before that. My guess is he is a mid range 4.5 and his teammates post before is probably accurate that he doesn't play that often (probably given tennis lessons if I had to guess).

    We will see. He did play open dubs and make it to the finals at the Berry Creek Open.

    I love how his teammate says he only beat 4.5 players, hmmm if you can win at the 4.5 level should you really be starting over again at 4.0??? Just because you drink a lot doesn't lower your rating, in fact at times it could raise your level of play, as long as it isn't cheap beer.

  38. Springpark said: "Just because one Mitch McGowan played 5.0 tennis does not mean he was a 5.0 or even rated a 5.0. His last rating was as a 4.5"

  39. I do not know Mitch McGowen; I havenever seen him play. Yet, when I look at his results... I would guess he is ringer material. It was not that long ago that he did pretty well in 5.0.

    In 2003, he went 4-1 in 5.0 Mens League; he went 2-1 in a Men's Open tournament... this year.

    I suspect he will be a really strong 4.0.

  40. I think it's important to take into consideration the whole player, and not just the ranking. From Mitch's Peace Corps work in Cambodia to his wonderful landscape designs, and the immense pleasure that he has brought those within his presence, he seems like the consummate addition to our 4.0 league.

    His winning smile and pathetic serve and backhand should be fun to pick on. He drinks draft beer from his own keg, and shares with other players quite generously. Most of his victories have occurred just because of the pity caused by trying to watch his overweight gasping feeble body attempting to run.

  41. Ok - I have to know who just posted this last post. That my friend was funny. Sounds like a solid 4.0 player to me.

  42. Count on it, Mr. McKinney, Uncle Mitch will at least elicit a smile or two on the court.

  43. As long as he shares that keg of his afterwards, its all good with me

  44. Right now, it's about 3/4 full of Miller Genuine Draft, set at 35 degrees farenheit.

    I'll talk to him and make sure he saves you a good 2 litres.

  45. Alright I hope we get you all as a home match if you are offering free beer. I will invite our entire roster and my friends too.