It’s been one week…
Yes, I am stealing from a Barenaked Ladies song, but I believe it is apropos. It was a week ago that a couple of Texas teams experienced what can be termed as Black Friday. Of course Baylor doesn’t feel that way, but please don’t interrupt my drama.
That song also came on my headphones this evening first when I pressed shuffle before I started to workout. I believe in fate.
I haven’t been able to write about what happened for a variety of reasons, including a lack of knowledge, information and desire. Every day for a week, I have thought of how I would evaluate the two matches, but have not been able to pull the trigger and actually commit anything to paper.
I now think I am ready. Like I said, it’s been one week.
Let me preface this by saying this will come from the point of view of a fan who followed along online from 1000 miles away. I have no inside knowledge and have not spoken to anyone involved. And away we go…
I’ll go ahead and give you the background starting with Thursday night. My brother was in town, visiting from California with his wife and kids. They usually come in once a year and drove up from our parents’ house in San Antonio for the afternoon and evening. My oldest immediately started feeling bad and we thought he was starting to get sick. Of course he does and I sleep no more than 90 minutes at a time for the entire night.
Friday comes and I am doggedly tired and staying at home with my son for the morning. I venture to work in the afternoon but can barely see straight. I get home and my younger son starts to get sick. Good times. Strep throat all around. When the Baylor-Texas A&M match moves indoors, I follow along with the scores for a bit.
The Aggies take the doubles point and I think that it’s on for them to beat the Bears for the 3rd time this season. I decide to relax and catch up on Friday Night Lights. I speed through the past week’s episode and am about to start the recent one when I check my computer.
Baylor is crushing the Aggies in singles. It is not even close. They have won four first sets in decisive fashion. I am stunned. I know Texas A&M wasn’t real excited to have to play Baylor, and you kind of expect a competitive match, but for the Bears to blow them out like this is unreal.
I get this weird feeling in my stomach, but return to the FNL viewing.
After a segment or two, I check and Baylor has finished off the Aggies. Baylor wins 1-2, 3-3, 1-2 and 2-1 at 1, 2, 5 and 6, respectively. Stunning, absolutely stunning. Yes, it is a minor shock that Baylor wins, but the fact that the Aggies couldn’t get anything going across the board is just plain unbelievable.
How do you get your rear end handed to you like that to end the season? It sure gives you a lot to chew on for eight months? You have a great team returning next fall if everyone comes back, but will they? It just leaves a ton of questions before the next season.
Texas and Oklahoma are in the doubles point and it looks like it might be close.
I finish watching FNL and Texas has won the doubles point over OU, but only the first four singles matches are on for some reason (we find out later that the last two courts were still wet from the earlier rains). Texas is up at 1, but trailing at 2 and 3, with 4 being tight.
I am not there, but it just doesn’t feel right. A team like Texas, ranked #3 and having played well all season, should take control of the matches early and kill the momentum, but just isn’t. To me, it seemed like they let the Sooners (and the crowd) get into the match. When that happens, you give a team hope and they fight even harder.
The last two matches do get on, but form holds in the first four and OU takes a surprising 3-2 lead, forcing Teas to play from behind.
Now I am exhausted, but I cannot possibly go to sleep now. It is too far into it. Also every half hour or so, I need to go down and comfort a sick kid.
For awhile it looks like Texas might pull it out, as Mladenov wins the first set. Josh Zavala takes forever to rally and win his first set and the Longhorns are in this. Mladenov gets down a break in the second, but comes back to even the match. He eventually loses the set in a tiebreak.
He gets down a break in the third also, but rallies again, winning three-straight games to take a 5-4 lead. At the same time, Zavala has a match point in the second set, but cannot capitalize, eventually losing the set and forcing a third.
By this point it is past 12:30 a.m. in Austin and I am trying to sleep on my keyboard, waking up every few minutes to check the score. I also have the video on for the match at line six.
Mladenov can’t find the range, losing the last three games and the match.
I tweet the result and head straight to bed. I don’t even turn off the computer. I am too tired.
Whereas the Baylor-A&M result was surprising to me, but plausible, this one is completely outer-worldly. For the Longhorns to give this match away they did after the season they had is a crime. I don’t really want to take anything away from OU. They executed in the singles and just took that match away. Texas is a better team, top-to-bottom, but on this night they were taken to the woodshed.
Dimi was great as he has been all year.
I can understand Corrie losing. That is a tough match-up that can go either way.
Damico’s effort was horrid. To lose like that is unacceptable. Like I stated earlier, I have no information on what happened or if he were injured, but that just cannot happen. The second set lasted maybe 20 minutes, if my calculations were correct.
Jean Andersen blowing a 5-2 first set lead, then the match is not what you need either. He didn’t look good against Minnesota in the second round after being the Big 12 tournament MVP. Not the way to compete.
I feel sorry for Zavala. He should’ve closed that thing out. If he does, you never know how that would’ve affected the momentum at line six. Or if he actually got on when the others did and had a chance to keep the pressure on by winning earlier.
Last year, prior to the tournament, I made the statement that Texas needed to prove themselves at the tournament before I could evaluate their season. They of course had a great run to the semifinals before falling to USC and everyone was happy.
This year I wonder what they think of their season?
Yes, the regular season and Big 12 Tournament were about as good as you can ask for, but to have such a monumental collapse in the round of 16 pretty much negates those good feelings and leaves and empty feeling of what could’ve been.
The draw was there. Heck, even Florida had lost to UGA. You had two teams that had only reached the quarters of their conference tournaments ahead of you.
As with the Aggies, there will be a lot of soul searching before the next season starts for the Longhorns. They lose Kutrovsky and Zavala, two guys that have been solid as rocks for the couple of years. They will be tough to replace.
I am tired of rambling. OU and Baylor outplayed and outcompeted (sounds like coach-speak) their opponents. Congrats to them. I knew Baylor had it in them all year, I just had not seen it against their Big 12 opponents yet.
I want to go on more about my selections prior to the tournament, but will wait for another time and leave you with the title of the next song on BNL’s album Stunt, “It’s all been done.”