Monday, September 14, 2009

4.5 Preseason Outlook

Hey everybody,

The 4.5 division is a little slow going so I thought I would open up the discussion with some predictions. We still have one more week of scrimmages before the actual season starts and I have to say, three flights makes this league much less exciting. It really does make the fall seem like an inferior league with only 6 official matches in two of the three flights.

4.5 A

By far the toughest flight in my opinion. This is the only flight that I actually see coming down to the last week to determine playoff teams.

Collin County--A few new faces but I would assume they will still be anchored by Henson and Hixson at line 1. Sean Bay's tournament experience should start to pay off and I expect this team to be slightly improved over last season.

High Point/Bazan--The blogmaster has not really improved his team over last season but I think his main focus is helping his players get as much match experience as possible to succeed at the 4.0 level. A couple of strong singles players but not in the same league as the other top teams.

Oak Creek/Feldman--The defending champions of last fall will look to repeat. I think the only team with a smaller roster than mine. Zero new players but should have the same strength with Durten, Viktorin, Stein, Feldman, and Thompson all contributing. Where's the Buffalo?

T Bar M--Very similar to the roster that ended up in the Flight of Death last season. This flight is a little easier. Will be interesting to see if T Bar will continue to use JD in big matches despite his poor record. Russ is back from 5.0 with Colby, Jehan, and Doug all looking to play key roles.

Greenhill--No additions from last season but no defectors either. Only key missing from this team is that lock at line 1 doubles. Griggs and Howard are very solid at singles but doubles let them down most of the season. If dubs can improve, this team will be very hard to beat.

Springpark--This team has lost two of its best players from last season in my opinion and didn't bring in anybody to replace them. I look for a drop in performance with everybody else trying to pick up the slack.

Brookhaven/Ludwig--Only 3 or 4 legitimate 4.5 players will make this team an easy out for opponents. Unless they have somebody I don't know about, singles will be a real struggle for them every week. Mark can play everybody close but besides that, I don't know who the singles players are?

High Point/Somabut--I actually think this team will surprise some people and finish in the top half of its flight. I don't see them competing with the top teams in singles but I expect competitive matches all season in dubs. However, there's also always the possibility of score management???

Order of Finish:

1. T Bar M
2. Oak Creek
3. Greenhill
4. Somabut
5. Collin County
6. Bazan
7. Springpark
8. Brookhaven

4.5 B

This flight seems pretty set but surprises can happen. Not sure from whom though.

Oak Creek/Bovermann--Solid players all around the roster but no real impact players except for maybe Thadius. I expect them to be tough in every match but inconsistent lineups have hurt them in the past.

Royal Oaks/Rothwell--Another roster smaller than mine. The loss of Molina and Andrus will really hurt this team's chances to advance through the playoffs but John always seems to find somebody to fill in the gaps. Greg Zachary is also MIA. Always interesting to see how the roster fills out with them.

DFW Hilton--Doubles has steadily improved on this team over the last few seasons. The return of Huffman also gives them an almost guaranteed win every week. If Hamish returns from last season, they could have a very strong 1-2 punch at singles.

Northwood--This captain doesn't know what he's doing but I suspect a couple of more roster additions before the season begins. Loss of McCord and Fair to 5.0 will really hurt but Hawkins, Young, Xu, Wells, Mason, and, dare I say Noel, are all coming off solid seasons and will look to continue that trend.

LB Houston/Ratana--A couple of new players this season (Tom how could you?) should help this team but the departure of Forrest and Mark can't help their cause. I really like Ken and he deserves to have a successful team and if he plays like he did against me in the Brookhaven dubs final, he should win every week. Still too many 4.0s to make a serious run though it seems.

Oak Creek/Juhn--A couple of new players but mostly the same roster from seasons past. Frank is always good for several wins and this team has shown the ability to beat other strong teams in the past (i.e. High Point last season). Look for them to be in contention.

Lifetime--Another team of 4.0 bumpups. I don't think they will do quite as well as Bob's 4.5 team (let the hate mail begin). I see a former Branch player on the roster though with a very limited match history and Dante, Forrest, and Johan have all shown they can do well at the 4.5 level.

Order of Finish:

1. Northwood (I wasn't going to do it but I have to)
2. Royal Oaks
3. Bovermann
4. Juhn
5. Lifetime
6. DFW
7. LB Houston

4.5 C

Another flight that is strong at the top but not quite as much depth as Flight A. Familiar teams will vie for the top position.

Hackberry--Strong doubles players highlight this team and the addition of Andrew Pretty (presumably in singles) will help them. Although I have to say, if his results are as I think they will be, expect a protest from somebody.

Oak Creek/Herget(Branch)--A new captain but roster is roughly the same minus the 5.0s. Outside of Slezak and Braswell though, the absence of Kiron, Branch, Kern, and Wesley James (who could still join right?) will make this team far less of a threat than last season. But it's just the fall right?

Brookhaven--Very strong team that retained Carl, David Hall, Ramos and Laselle who anchored their team last season. Hard to imagine them not returning to the playoffs.

High Point--So much for the loss of Phy hurting them? No Dustin yet either (is he 5.0?) but Rudy Peters joining the roster of other strong players from last season should make this team a force in the fall. Lineup decisions will be key for this team with so many players who can play singles or doubles.

The Lakes--Oberg and Pollock are the strengths of this team again but I'm not sure where the other wins will come from against the top teams. Singles players seem to be missing from the roster too unless more additions are to come.

T Bar/Snow--23 players on this roster for only 6 matches. That averages to about 2 matches per player. Not worth it for me. A lot of solid players but a lot of weak ones too. Best lineup can be competitive with most teams in doubles but singles will be a struggle.

LB Houston/Baird--A few people have laughed at me when I said to watch out for this team but I feel like a few ringers will emerge off of this roster. Still need a couple of more role players to fill a lineup but I expect strength at the top of this lineup.

Order of Finish:

1. Brookhaven
2. High Point
3. Oak Creek
4. Lakes
5. Hackberry
6. LB Houston
7. T Bar

Playoff Teams:

T Bar, Northwood, Brookhaven, High Point, Royal Oaks, Feldman

High Point over Brookhaven in the finals.


  1. Is this where I am supposed to say Lifetime beats HP Somabut in the finals? :0 ha ha!!!

    Is it okay to shit talk the middle of the pack? Watch out all you sub 4.5 teams...

  2. I don't expect it from you, rather from an anonymous Lifetimer. Jk. I don't want to give your team any bulletin board material when you play us.

    Good luck this season.

  3. How can you mention Lifetime/Hill and not mention Hill.

    Now that he is out of 4.0 let's make a concerted effort not to use the "E" word on these 4.5 streams. He is not good enough at this level to be mentioned.

    I do think Lifetime will be much better than people think possible. they have a team of guys that work hard and play a lot of tennis.

  4. Flight C looks tougher than A. Heck, you have Collin County finishing 5th in A - they went winless in the spring.

    Agree w/ playoff teams except replace OC Feld w/ Greenhill. That roster looks like weekly defaults.

    Surely Team DBU can finish a little higher than 6th in Flight C.

    Go Team Eddie!

  5. You can't help but mention Eddie. Everyone knows how dominant I am. I'll rule 4.5 just like I did 4.0. My team win it all just like I did in... Umm wait what I meant to say is...Oh screw it! My tennis career is over!

  6. LTF actually did win it all in Dallas. City Champs... Sectional Chumps

  7. It does look like too small of a roster for Feldman but I'm sure he will add a few more players. The only way Greenhill can beat them is by sweeping singles though.

  8. Although a bit of a different Feldman team now, the last time Feldman played Greenhill, Greenhill won without sweeping singles. So who knows what might happen. It is the fall after all.

  9. how do u get in the playoffs?

    flight winners only?

  10. top 2 teams from each flight

  11. There have been several conversations in the past about this subject, unfortunately it kind of dies out. When I come out and play …I want a good competitive match. It’s very frustrating to invest the time on the weekend to play a team that is made up of mostly 4.0 players. I would really like to see the DTA enforce their 51% plus rule. In looking at the rosters within the three flights, there are three 4.5 teams that are made up of mostly 4.0 players. They are: 1) LB Houston / Ratana (note: Last season, Ratana team won only one match, the last match of the season), 2) Brookhaven / Ludwig and 3) HighPoint / Somabut. This is crazy and really sucks! I just hope these teams came prove themselves. It they can’t win at least 50% of their matches, they need to stay at the 4.0 level in the spring.

  12. I kind of have to agree but I know Jane does mention the 50% rule when the season starts but you are right I guess you have to enforce it everyone once in a while. I have tried my best in my first two teams to meet our exceed that rule. Bob's team makes sense though because of the move up/split up rule. Possibly a winning % rule or competitive % rule could move a team down or keep them in a league.

  13. There are lots of teams that are made up of all 4.5's that don't win 50% of their matches. Should they get kicked out of the league as well?

  14. What about a rule for Branch's team that says only 49% of the players can be above 4.5?

  15. I don't mind quality players who are "high performers" at their current level (i.e. winning 70+ % of their matches) playing up. These people are trying to improve their game and can usually offer a competitive match to typical person playing 1 flight up.

    However, there seem to be too many "ego heads" that are really not "high performers" at their current level who choose to play up and rarely provide competitive matches at the higher level.

    Why do they do it??

    Probably so they can tell their Mom and other uninformed friends how great they are at tennis...all the while true tennis players know that these ego heads are fakers and laugh behind their back.

    So if you are playing up ask yourself these questions:

    1. Am I really an upper level / dominate kind of player at my current level?

    2. If you answered yes to question 1, go and review your win/loss record on TennisLink and see if your ego was talking as it answered question 1. And don't forget to make sure that when you calculate your win/loss ratio that you look at your "wins" and make sure it was against a player AT YOUR USTA LEVEL. Wins against people playing up don't count.

    3. If you answered yes to question 1 and you have a win percentage of 70% or more against players AT YOUR LEVEL, then you are probably ready to play up...IF YOU WANT TO...which takes us to question 4.

    4. If you play up, are you REALLY prepared to get bumped to that level permanently?? Are you prepared to put in the work to continue to get better? Are you young enough that your physical abilities (speed, endurance, power, etc.) aren't going to diminish soon after your get bumped...meaning you will struggle to be competitive at your new level...making it "not fun" for you or your competition.

    So there you have it...a 4 question decision process. Take the quiz and see if you made the right decision in playing up...

    ...or are you one of the fakers that people are laughing at behind your back???

  16. I would like to see the win loss record for Mr. Awesome 4.5 guy.

  17. I don't think anybody would move up under his criteria.

  18. looks like 2 fakers responded so far :)

  19. I actually thought that was a pretty interesting 4 step questionnaire and I think I went thru that process about 4 weeks ago when I decided not to play up this season. My game was a little off and i didnt want to put in the time right now to get up to the 4.5 level so I have opted to just play 4.0.

    Good point by an anon, just when I was thinking about getting rid of you guys again, you redeemed yourself. I think you should post your name.

  20. Your right about the following teams - LB Houston / Ratana, Brookhaven / Ludwig and HighPoint / Somabut. The majority of the players on all three teams are 4.0 players. This sucks! History has shown that a team with the majority of the players trying to play up, results in a very poor record. Just ask Mr. Ratana.

  21. Cary, what you don't realize is that you are already playing up when you play at 4.0.

  22. Lifetime will make the playoffs in their first season at 4.5. Write that in stone!!!

  23. You are right Cary, I will post my name.

    J. Sisk

  24. Very funny. :) At one time I did think that but after three failed appeal attempts me and the USTA have agreed I am a 4.0 who will have a good record this year so I can pass the questionaire and play up next season.

  25. I like Cary's team for the week one upset of Feldman!

  26. The difference between a 4.5 team which is below 50% wins and a 4.0 team playing up, is the competitive matches. My team is usually 50/50 or lower, but we loss to the top teams 3/2 or some 4/1, but most matches are close, no blow outs. If your not having close matches at 4.5, stay in 4.0 and play 4.5 tournaments or find some pratice 4.5 matches to raise the level of your game. I'm not trying to say 4.0 players suck or anything like that. There are a lot of 4.0 guys who can play and win in 4.5, but on average, they don't.

  27. What are keith and i faking exactly?

  28. I predict that Nancy's team will win the fall league. And I am never wrong.

  29. That's pretty scary since I didn't even predict that for once.

  30. Corey - it is sad that you now answer to a post where the only name mentioned is "Nancy", not your actual name.

  31. You've obviously not been reading the blogs for very long!

  32. I have embraced the hate. I've been called a lot worse on this blog.

  33. Nancy, good to see you now embrace the hate as well, we were begining to worry about you only embracing Sisk. Thats a bad visual!

  34. Nice not to see anyone whining (yet?) about how unfair their flight is this season.

  35. So, what's the story here? Do all 4.5 teams get eight total matches?

    Correct me if I'm wrong:

    Flight A gets a scrimmage on 9/13 and seven official matches with no bye weeks from 9/20 through 11/1. Flights B and C get scrimmages on 9/13 and 9/20 and six official matches with one bye from 9/27 through 11/8.

  36. there are more 4.5s that are really 4.0s compared to 4.0s playing up

  37. I hope Northwood loses to Royal Oaks this weekend.


  39. What's up with Zachary leaving RO? In fact, it looks like several players have decided to move around this season.

  40. Lifetime beats LBH 4-1 this week. Noel is nuts if he thinks LTF will finish worse than 2nd place in that flight.

    Any doubters????

  41. LB Houston/Baird is going to surprise quite a few teams in their flight this year. Lot's of young kids that call you sir on that team.

  42. I didn't even realize until now that there have actually been real 4.5 matches played. I guess I'm officially off the Somabut 4.5 bandwagon. Zachary is a curious move, and then he played singles???? Don't really understand that. Greg, did you move to Plano or what?

    Surprisingly close win for T Bar. JD's team tennis struggles continue.

  43. Defections:

    Greg wanted to start his own dynasty at HP ala Lebron James. And Royal Oaks recently fired their longtime hamburger chef.

    Marty F got in a huge fight w/ his brother Todd over who was the better left handed player in the family. He left for Lakes and they don't speak anymore. Word is Marty has a bounty on Todd if these teams ever play.

    Buffalo left for the Branch team amid ageism allegations after Feldman insitituted an under 70 rule this fall.

    Did I miss any defections?

  44. Justin Huffman and Rudy Peters from OC-Branch, Dante Edwards, more?

  45. Huffman and Peters - These two have such a bad attitude that only Branch (aka Pat Riley) could keep them from smashing their racquet over their partner's head w/ each missed shot. With the temporary abduction of Branch to 5.0, everyone agreed they should go terrorize other teams this fall.

    Edwards - He left to go play for Eddie Hill at LT. You'll notice the last name Edwards is very similar to Eddie. Eddie felt that the more Eddie he had on his team, the more likely they were to win the fall. More Eddie is always a good thing.

  46. Also F. Fuelle, and J. Valacis (sp)... now lifetimers.

  47. it is John Vacalis and he is very good. More Eddie is not good!!!

  48. Hey can we get a preview of this weeks matches???? Too bad Cary is such a bad player... He will never get to 4.5 and because of that we are left to Noel who does not update the 4.5 streams. Come on Noel. Just write 2 sentences on each Flights match-ups and let us comment. You don't need to write a book like you did on this stream. thanks.

  49. Wanted: 4.5 Blogger

  50. In two weeks, there have been 50 comments. I don't think the blog is clamoring for a 4.5 preview. You can look up the matchups and give your comments can't you? I'm working 60-hour weeks including a 12-hour day today.

  51. LB Houston beat Brookhaven.

  52. Lifetime Beat LB Houston Rantana 3-2 in a tight one.

  53. Surprising win by Northhood over Royal Oaks.

  54. Lakes beat us (Highpoint) easy 4-1 in windy condition. I'm protesting the Pollick-Oberg team, seen them too much they are 5.0

  55. That was a horrible lineup for brookhaven. I will post a recap once more scores are posted.

  56. Don't be laughing at that the Not Ratana LB Houston team. That team has talent. Most of them don't even need to shave yet.

    Hurry up and post the next thread NANCY! :0!!!!!!!!

    I look forward to the lifetimer shit talking this week. Never be able to back it up, but it will be fun to read.

    I will get lifetimer started with the trash talking.

    Make sure to bring your nicest dress Nancy, we have a dress code around here.