This past weekend, the 3.0 men led by Bob Benner (not Bob Bender) out of Oak Creek, fought hard but fell shy a line to get out of their bracket.
Men’s 3.5 led by Bob Bender, and his 2nd back-to-back appearance, couldn’t handle the heat that comes out of the Caribbean. They make it to the semi’s on Sunday, but lose to the Caribbean, claiming 3rd place. Still a nice showing.
Houston’s 4.0 team that waltzed through Somabut’s and Arcaria’s team in Sectionals, get stumped in the finals by the Pacific Northwest, losing 2 of 3 super tie-breakers in the Finals match. They take 2nd place and make a great placing.
At 5.0, Austin’s team makes the Finals, losing a 3rd set tie-breaker in the Finals to Southern. They proudly take 2nd place.
So looking to this weekend, Dallas is in a flight with Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Florida. Here’s the breakdown.
NorCal - NorCal has the most extensive play going undefeated in a flight of 10 teams. They also had to fight through 4 flights in District play and then a flight of 4 for Sectionals. They play out of Chabot Community College, and included on their roster is the college's head coach, Rick Morris. A few of their players like Jake Pawid and Phil Wan are listed on the college’s website as a member of their men’s team. Looks like Cesar Hernandez may have played minor league baseball. It appears this team is a bunch of 20 year old ringers. While youth has its advantages physically, that is not always the case with mental toughness.
While impressive and going undefeated all season, they were 0-4 in 3rd set breakers in District, and just 4 of 10 (40%) in 3rd set breakers throughout the entire post season. Compare this with our mighty Dallas team who were 5 for 6 in City, and 3 for 5 in Sectionals for a combined post season 8 of 11 or 73% conversion rate. My guess is if it goes into breakers, Dallas pulls them out.
PacificNW – Their team is named “Code Violation” so that has to make you wonder. Their regular season play was not as extensive, nor was their post season. They had one match to play to make it to Sectionals, and then only 2 matches in their flight at Sectionals, then the final. It's not always the case, but usually when a team doesn’t have many teams to play to become Sectional winners, they tend to be a bit weaker than the rest. They were 5 for 7 (71%) in breakers, but I have a feeling their competition may not be as tight as Norcal or Dallas. Hopefully most of their "4.5" level players were playing for their 4.0 team that edged out Houston.
Florida – They were in a flight with one other team and played them 5 times. If I lived in there, I would want my money back. Their Region was comprised of their own team and one other, of which for the playoffs, they played each other twice. (And you think we have it bad here in Dallas and Texas??!!!) Their Sectionals was at least a little bit better with 2 flights of 4 teams. They were 4 for 5 (80%) in their breakers throughout Sectionals, with a lot of 3-2 match wins. With not much regular season or post season on-court competition than the other teams have had, I think they finish at the bottom of the flight.
Based on paper, my guess is NorCal will be the team to give Dallas the toughest fight. As I said before, while they may be a squad of young college players, our team has, shall we say, “wisdom” and better court sense to get them through the breakers.
Well I would love to break down the other flights, but the World Series is about to start. I’m sure Pickett has already done all the homework anyhow. If not, you owe me one.
We’re counting on you to bring the hardware back home to Texas – no pressure guys. I’m sure you can do it !! Have fun, and best of luck !!