The Big Boy Sectionals is in the books. While most of Dallas is disappointed with greater aspirations than a sectionals weekend away in... Dallas, we actually had a team advance to Nationals. T-Bar Bartzen advanced to the big dance with the big boys. Since they are the only team to live up to the lofty Dallas expectations, I will start with them.
5.0+ T-Bar-Bartzen defeated Dallas-West (aka Fort Worth) 2-1. They won two third set tiebreaks at line 1S and 1D with line 2D about to head into a Tiebreak. It doesn't get much tighter. Both lines dropped their first set but rallied to win. Bartzen has been a force at 5.0 for a long time and it is good to see him advance. This team has several players that were national runner-ups a few years ago. They even have a 6.0 on the roster.
4.5 This level turned out unexpected. The presumptive heavy favorite, SETX, defeated Rossouw and troops 3-2. SETX won a tight 3rd set breaker at 3 Doubles. I know Marc felt pretty good when he swept singles as everything was close. Greenhill gave all they had but ran into a 4.5 team with a strong flavor of Division 1. SETX went ahead to advance to the Semis.
Reiman's JCC Wild Dallas team did advance to the final. In the semis, they defeated usually mighty Houston to face Austin who just took down the mighty SETX/Lamar U team. While they had a good run, it was not meant to be and the Austin team that defeated Lamar U was a little too much. Austin's Line 1&2 Dubs dominated some very good Dallas players. Reiman's 1 singles lost a third set breaker and Austin wins with a 3-2.
I am definitely pulling for Texas to win but I will not wear a Keep Austin Weird shirt in support.
4.0 This was suppose to belong to our city. After hearing about how great we were, I was sure Dallas would represent here. First, Wild Dallas rolled through their flight dropping only 110 games when the second closest team at sectionals dropped 143 games in flight. Wild Dallas draws usually good but not great Austin. Things looked good when Line 1 Singles and 3 Doubles won easily. Up 2-0, things looked like the finals were an inevitability. Unfortunately, we need 3 lines to win. Austin flipped their singles line to avoid Rivera and he pulled off an upset over the Futures Playing 4.0 and self professed former Indian top 45 player, Valaparia. Still, Wild Dallas had their 3.5 ringer who had been laying waste to the field. He made a lineup change and they lost in 3 sets. His other players that had been dominating got upset also. I sincerely believe they were 1 tiebreak away from nationals.
Sisk's Dallas team started with the usual pushover from Houston (aka NOHO). Yet, NOHO surprised them with a 4-1 upset. This was an ominous warning as NOHO went on to win this flight. In hindsight, this should have served notice that this perennial sectionals participants but usual non-factors were there to play. This was the toughest flight by far! There was Dallas and Wild Houston and NOHO wins this flight while dropping the second fewest games in flight. In the semis, the after-thought NOHO defeats Wild Austin needing a third set breaker at line three to emerge. NOHO then defeats Austin 3-2 with another third set breaker at 3 doubles.
Congratulations to NOHO. Represent at Nationals!
Good Luck to all Texas Teams. As we all know, Texas typically fares well at Nationals and I don't expect any less this year. I think Austin 4.5 has the best chance to bring home a title but I will be pulling for them all across the board.