When Texas head coach Michael Center sat down in the press room, he asked me what I was going to write.
My response, “that you got beat by a very good team”.
And that was true.
USC was a team on a mission, playing very high-level tennis. Robert Farah and Steve Johnson played some of the best tennis I have seen in awhile. When that happens, and you don’t get it done on the other doubles lines, you are giving up three points.
Kutrovsky and Corrie were just outclassed in singles today. Early I thought Kutrovsky had a chance, especially when Farah was pissed about everything and anything, but he seems to thrive on that.
Corrie never looked in the match. He has struggled ever since his huge win over Shabaz March 15th. Since that time, he has gone 4-9, winning only against OU, OSU, Nebraska and TAMU-CC.
Kellen Damico tried his best to put the Longhorns on his back. He played well at times in doubles to keep it close, then crushed Jaak Poldma in singles. Damico has won his last 12 matches, dating back to March 29th. Back then, he was at his nadir, losing on March 27th at #5 singles at Oklahoma State.
Olivier Sajous gave another tremendous effort and rallied from a set down to get back into the match at #4 singles. He was down a set and a break, but never gave up and my guess is he was going pull it out.
Josh Zavala seemed out of sorts in the beginning at #5. The second set was different and he really took it to Matt Kecki, but after the break Zavala appeared to run out of gas. He was never in the third set, as Kecki made him hit a lot of balls on every point.
A big disappointment was Miguel Reyes Varela’s play at #6. After getting down a quick break, he got his game together, only to fall apart in the tiebreaker. He then faltered late in the second set and would’ve been the clinching match, but he stalled as much as possible with an injury timeout and switching racquets.
I really don’t have a lot to say about this other than UT got beat. Could they have won? Of course, but there is certainly no shame in another final four appearance. Since Baylor’s back-to-back finals appearances, Texas’ run at the NCAAs is the best of any Big XII team.
THE OUTLOOK FOR 2010
The future for Texas should be good. They lose Reyes Varela, who has immense talent, but replaceable. Damico has to put in the work. For Texas to be successful down the road, he must play ahead of Corrie. A healthy and hungry Damico can win at any line. Corrie will struggle up there against the top talent. My guess for how the lineup will be next year is this…
3. Vasil Mladenov
6. David Holiner or Sajous
That lineup has the strength at the top and some great depth at the bottom. If Josh Zavala gets stronger over the summer, he could be unbeatable at #5. Corrie and line 4 is a luxury.
UT will also have to work on their doubles, which was key to their success in 2008. The top two teams can stay the same, but a team of Holiner/Camillone or one of the upperclassmen with Camillone will likely be at line three.
I will work on this over the summer and expend.
If you don’t get my twitter feeds, you should. LOL. I am hoping the next year will be even better on this front. There are already some great feeds to follow, including zoo tennis, Jason Nguyen (UCLA), OSUTennis (Ohio State), vttennis (Va. Tech) and aggietennis1. I have been fortunate to meet most of these folks and that has been a lot of fun.