Big XII Championship Review

OK, I think I can go ahead and pat myself on the back for my picks, suggesting that Baylor would win in a sweep, but my reasoning on the men’s side may have been a bit off. Congrats to the Bears or Bars. (google will only translate to German)

Let’s start with the women. In the first round, I actually missed a few. I was excited that Tech beat OU in a mild upset. That is good for the Red Raiders. The other one I missed was K-State dumping Nebraska. After trashing the Wildcats and their coaching staff, they came out and actually won a match. Oh well.

In the quarterfinals, everything went in form. K-State’s run ended, as did most of the other matches, quite uneventfully. The semifinals is where things got good. Baylor destroyed Colorado as expected, but the UT-A&M match was another instant classic.

Texas A&M is playing some great doubles and again took the doubles point from the Longhorns. It was a bit harder this time, going to a tiebreaker in the final match. Texas responded winning at #1 and #2 singles, to give the Longhorns a slight 2-1 lead. The teams then swapped matches at #4 and #5, leaving the score at 3-2, Texas.

Interestingly enough, both teams have a player named Stephanie Davidson (Davison). Both were on the court and both were fighting it out in three-set matches, UT’s at #3, A&M’s at #6. The match at #3 singles was back and forth in the third set, while TAMU’s Stephanie Davidson started off hot against Sarah Lancaster at #6, jumping out 5-0 in the final set.

Lancaster is a fighter, though, and held on as long as she could before bowing out 6-3, and dead-locking the match at 3-3.

So it was down to Anna Blagodarova and UT’s Davison for the deciding point. Davison jumped out early, eventually nabbing a 4-2 lead, but Blagodarova, despite cramping, fought back. She even broke Davison and was serving for the match at 6-5, but couldn’t hang on and the Longhorn Davison prevailed, 7-4 in the tiebreaker.

The Championship was fairly anticlimactic. Texas was exhausted, but got lucky with a brief rain delay. The teams then agreed to play the singles first. Baylor won the first four matches off the court, just as Sarah Lancaster won at #6, giving the Bears a 4-1 win and the title.

The men’s side went exactly as I predicted. A&M upset Tech and Texas held off A&M. Then Baylor upset Texas even without Lars Poershke.

A&M’s win over Tech was great for the Aggies. Kayvon Karimi actually won a big match. Heck they swept Nos. 3-6 singles, as Krajicek and Matt Bain rolled and Chirico won the huge decisive match. They don’t even get to that point unless Kayvon win his match. It was his first won in a match that mattered (he won at Nebraska a few weeks back) this spring and only his second win of the spring (2-11). On the other hand, the guy he beat was a whopping 19-1 before that match.

Texas came out strong against A&M and dominated from the get-go. The Longhorns were obviously thinking about how they let the Aggies almost get them at home the weekend before.

In the Championship match, I had gone with Baylor, saying that if Damico was not 100%, the Bears would win. Well, it appears that Damico may have been fine, but the rest of the team was a bit off, especially his coach.

Center is a great guy and coach, but his personal rivalry with Matt Knoll I think effected his judgment and subsequent line-up.

As a head coach playing Baylor, you know there will be something squirrelly about the line-up. Knoll plays match-ups and tries to get every advantage he can think of. Center tries to do much of the same and really got outfoxed on this one.

Texas was the favorite heading into this. They had defeated the Bears pretty handily a little over a week ago. Add to this that Poershke was sitting out injured. First, Center should have never agreed to play the singles first. They would dominate the doubles and have the momentum. Next, it behooves me why he jacked with his line-up. Baylor was a man down already, no need to help them out. Just have confidence in your players and play the darn match.

Well, it gets to be 3-2 Baylor and who is on the court, but the only two Texans in the line-ups, Jordan Rux and Josh Zavala. Rux rallied to win in three, rendering the doubles moot and giving the title to Baylor.

Now we wait for Tuesday when the NCAA draws are announced.

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