Friday, March 30, 2007

UVA deserves their advance billing/Preview of the Ned Weld Spring Trip to California

UVA finally arrives and shows why they deserved their advance billing!

Several weeks ago, you may recall that UVA had to postpone our match, as the majority of their team had come down with the flu. Last week, a healthy Virginia team came to Harvard, and showed us why they were worth waiting for, and why they were ranked #3 in the country. We had the privilege of competing against #2 nationally Sondev Devarrman, who showed Chris Clayton where he would have to take his game to compete with him in the future. Devarrman glides effortlessly around the court, never hitting harder than necessary, and threading the needle on passing shots when the situation demanded it. He has the “ups” of a great basketball player, and “Gumby-like” retrievals (younger readers, try Google again).

In doubles, playing with Treat Huey, the #15 player in the country, the Cavalier duo was indeed a treat to watch. Kumar and Valkin gave them no respect from the beginning. The Crimson duo broke right away and held to take a quick 2-0 lead. But the UVA team has it all, and gradually settled down to tie the score and then move ahead to capture the win. At #2, Nguyen and Burke also played some great tennis, extending their opponents to 6-6, but UVA's experience again proved the difference for an 8-6 decision. But #3 refused to let UVA sweep. Denenberg and freshman Mike Hayes combined for some excellent shot-making and timely reaction volleys to stymie UVA's #3 team and grab a big win.

While UVA's experience and depth were too much for us at #1 (Clayton v. Devarrman) and #6 (Gareth Doran), we played extremely well at positions #1-4. Nguyen, in some of best tennis he has played so far this season, stayed even with #15 Huey throughout each set until the end, when the latter's firepower forced a service break. Valkin took his opponent at #5 to 7-5,7-5. Denenberg stretched his opponent to the limit, losing 7-6, 7-6, and outplaying him for a large portion of the match. A resurgent Kumar's play again brought a solid win at #4, where his solid play, big serving, and more focused attack proved too much for highly-touted freshman Houston Barrick.

The First Annual Ned Weld Spring Trip:
Here we are in beautiful Northern California, getting ready for a quartet of very competitive matches. Tomorrow we'll play the University of Pacific in Danville at the Blackhawk Country Club at 1pm (weather permitting - some rain forecast). On Wednesday, we'll square off against Stanford in Taube Stadium, the site of last year's NCAA Championships. Then off to Fresno that night for a 5pm Thursday night match against Fresno State. Fresno has long been considered a tough place to visit, as the town comes out in force and awards FSU with great home crowd partisanship. It should be great training for upcoming partisan Ivy matches! Then Saturday, our last day, we'll line up against Santa Clara. In our only other meeting with the Santa Clara Broncos about 7 years ago, we were beaten. We'll try to stay in the saddle this time!

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