With the Lasers convincing 23-15 win over the Boston Lobsters last night, Springfield has secured a spot in the Western Conference Championship! They’ll play Texas, who guaranteed themselves a playoff berth with a 22-20 win over the New York Sportimes last night; a match that featured a tiebreak Mens Singles win from John McEnroe (NY) over Jim Courier (TEX). The question now is: Who will step-up and take home court advantage for Thursday’s match?
After twelve matches, the Springfield Lasers are 8-4 and host the surging Sacramento Capitals tonight. With last night’s win over the Sportimes, the Texas Wild are 8-5 and have tonight off. The Wild’s final match will be tomorrow in Sacramento (the Lasers opponent tonight).
Honestly, seeing as the Lasers won their only previous meeting this year, its a 4-in-5 chance that the Lasers will host Texas for the Western Conference Final. Here are the four possible scenarios to guarnatee a Lasers home championship match:
- The Lasers win their two final matches
- The Lasers split their last two matches and Texas loses their final match
- The Lasers split their last two matches and Texas wins their final match (Both would have 9-5 records, but because Springfield won their only previous match this season 20-18, the Lasers have the head-to-head advantage)
- The Lasers lose both matches and Texas loses tomorrow (Both would have 8-6 records, but because Springfield won their only previous match this season 20-18, the Lasers have the head-to-head advantage)
To simplify the matter: the Lasers only need to win one of the next two matches to guarantee home-court advantage. For Texas to host the Western Conference Final, there is only one option: Texas must win their final match and hope Springfield loses tonight and tomorrow.
PREVIEW OF TONIGHT’S MATCH IN SPRINGFIELD: Sam Querrey’s been the secret to the Capitals last-season streak, anchoring the team with Mens Singles final-event wins over Orange County’s Steve Johnson Sunday (5-3) and Monday (5-2). He and Mark Knowles have struggled together in Mens Doubles, but Megan Moulton-Levy and Taylor Townsend have picked up the slack, dominating their sets in Womens Doubles. Count on Lasers Coach JL de Jager to get the Mens Singles event out of the way early and most likely end with his late-season strength: Mens Doubles with Jean-Julien Rojer and Rik DeVoest. That decision could be a gamble though, now that Knowles (a 4-time Grand Slam champion) and Querrey have had two matches to work out the kinks.
LAST NIGHT’S MATCH: The victory over the Boston Lobsters was huge for the Springfield Lasers. Not simply because it secured a spot in the playoffs, but because of HOW the Lasers won the match. Throughout the season, the Lasers have struggled in their Singles events. Last night, Rik DeVoest picked-up a Mens Singles win and Alisa Kleybanova delivered her second consecutive convincing Womens Singles win for the team (5-1 over Jill Craybas, 5-2 over Anna-Lena Groenefeld the night before). While Rik and Jean-Julien Rojer continue to dominate the league in Mens Doubles, Vania King lost her mojo skating into the final stretch. Coach de Jager retired her from the Singles event; and after being the best Womens Doubles team in the league for most of the season, she and Kleybanova had lost the event in their previous two matches. Last night, Vania and Alisa rediscovered their form, downing Jill Craybas and Katalin Marosi (5-1). Vania then played Mixed Doubles for the first time this season in the final event of the night. Though she and Rojer lost the set 2-5, they responded to the pressure, winning the first game of overtime and delivering the 23-15 win for the Springfield Lasers.
7/22 – WIN 23-15 over the Boston Lobsters
MS (W) 5-4 DeVoest vs. Weintraub
WD (W) 5-1 King/Kleybanova vs. Craybas/Marosi
MD (W) 5-4 Rojer/DeVoest vs. Butorac/Weintraub
WS (W) 5-1 Kleybanova vs. Craybas
MXD (L) 2-5 Rojer/King vs. Butorac/Marosi
OT (W) 1-0
2013 WORLD TEAM TENNIS STANDINGS
- Springfield Lasers 8-4
- Texas Wild 8-5
- Orange County Breakers 6-7
- Sacramento Capitals 5-7
- Washington Kastles 10-2
- New York Sportimes 4-8
- Boston Lobsters 4-8
- Philadelphia Freedoms 4-8