In Big West women's tennis there has been an "arms race" going on the last couple of years. The top 2 teams in Long Beach & UC Irvine have been recruiting better players in order to beat each other. This has caused teams 3-9 to also find better players in order to keep up and not get blown out and embarrassed by LB & UCI. The result is that the Big West is stronger and deeper than it has ever been. As someone who's been following college tennis for a long time I would even rank the Big West for women's tennis right now as the 7th strongest conference among all the conferences based the 5 Big West teams (LB,UCI,CSUN,Cal Poly,UCSB) with the caliber to be ranked.
Another reason for the rise of the conference is the Big West has many good, long tenured coaches in UCI, LB, CSUN, Cal Poly & UCSB that actually get their players to improve. Pacific's coach has the shortest tenure among the BW coaches at 6 years with the school.
One side effect of the rise of the Big West and also rise of WCC is that more top California players have remained in the state. This has helped shut down pipelines that have led from California to the universities of Washington, Oregon and Arizona that were running maybe a decade ago.
When the CSUN & Cal Poly coaches learn how to work the rankings to get an at large-berth, easiest way by beating 4+ teams ranked in the 50-75 range, then I see the Big West in the near future being able to send as many as 4 teams to the NCAA tournament.
The more NCAA berths the Big West gets and the more BW teams get nationally ranked the more top recruits will flock to the BW seeing it's a place where you can play tough competition and have a chance of making the NCAAs.
UCI's recruiting better than ever before. I see them possibly cracking the top 20 in the next 2-5 years. The higher a team ranking the more acceptable it is for top recruits to go there. With UCI leading the way the more top recruits the Big West nets the more acceptable it is for lesser recruits and future top recruits to follow their peers into the Big West. I see women's tennis being the 2nd strongest sport for the Big West behind baseball.
Apr 30th, 2008, 09:24 AM
In women's tennis the most important games to win in my opinion are the Out Of Conference (OOC) games against ranked teams that a team realistically has a chance to win. So for CSUN as an example the most important games to win were not against Long Beach State & UC Irvine but against #62 Rice, #64 Minnesota & #69 Furman, all losses. I will explain.
The way the computer rankings generally work in women's tennis is like this. If you beat 2 ranked teams (top 75) you will most likely get ranked yourself around 65-75. If you beat 4 ranked teams you will most likely get ranked in the top 45. Being ranked in the top 45 at year's end is significant because that is usually the cut-off point for receiving a guaranteed NCAA at-large berth. UCI & LB, talent wise, are top 30 teams. It would be easier for CSUN to beat 4 teams ranked in the 50-75 range and get an NCAA at-large berth than beating talent wise, 2 top 30 teams back to back in the Big West Tournament for the automatic bid.
In a tough conference like the Big West, the easiest road to the NCAAs is through an at-large berth rather than the automatic berth. That's why CSUN's losses to Rice, Furman and especially Minnesota were very disappointing. If CSUN had beaten these 3 ranked teams combined with their victory against #74 Yale, CSUN may have been ranked high enough to receive an NCAA at-large berth regardless of the Big West Tournament outcome.
CSUN Coach Victor has done a great job this year worthy of being Big West Coach of the Year, but he seems to not comprehend how important winning OOC games against ranked teams are. Against Furman & Rice the coach sat out #3 singles player Sandra Kukla, a sin, in favor of letting the bench get some play. Not playing at full strength against any ranked caliber team is a huge mistake. Kukla could have made the difference in helping the Matadors beat Furman & Rice. Maybe the coach thought he could play the bench because it was OOC and it didn't affect the Big West standings. If so the coach could use some pointers in how to get an at-large berth. I wouldn't be surprised if the coach was uninformed about this since CSUN hasn't been ranked high enough to even think about an at-large berth. But in the near future if CSUN gets better to the point they get ranked in the top 45 and the coach researches & analysizes what goes into receiving an at-large berth he will learn about the OOC games against ranked teams being the most important.
CSUN & Cal Poly's bad OOC losses to ranked teams really hurt the Big West this year. Cal Poly lost to #56 Utah & #48 Oregon with a score of 3-4, both teams they could have beaten. For example lets say Cal Poly had beaten Oregon, where the deciding point was a 7-6 lost in the 3rd set at #2 singles where Cal Poly had won the 1st set. Combined with their win against #37 Washington State, Cal Poly would have 2 ranked wins and would be ranked right now. CSUN who beat Cal Poly, combined with their win against ranked Yale would have 2 ranked wins and also be ranked today. UCI who beat both CSUN & Cal Poly would have added 2 more ranked victories to the 3 they have now, making it 5 and ranking them high enough to receive an at-large berth. LB who also beat CSUN & Cal Poly would also have 2 more ranked wins to add to the 4 they have now making it 6. This can possibly get LB ranked in the top 30 instead of top 45. Being ranked 30 instead of 45 is the difference in getting a NCAA 1st round opponent you're ranked higher than versus one that is ranked higher than you. So if Cal Poly had just beaten Oregon the Big West could possibly have had 2 locks for at-large berths. As it is now LB would have to lose in the conference tournament for the Big West to get 2 teams into the NCAAs.
May 2nd, 2008, 07:54 AM
In the past the NCAA would select the participants for men's & women's individual singles and doubles NCAA tennis championships based solely on rankings. For singles the top 64 ranked players would go and for doubles the top 32 ranked teams. This year they have gone to a new system awarding automatic qualifiers.
Automatic qualification into the Division I singles championships will be awarded to any conference with one or more eligible singles players ranked in the ITA Top 125 for eligible/entered singles players.
Automatic qualification into the Division I doubles championships will be awarded to any conference with one or more eligible doubles teams ranked in the ITA Top 60 for eligible/entered doubles teams.
This essentially takes 10 spots away which would traditionally go to the football schools and gives them to mid-major conferences. I think that's fair. Then again the mid-major selections will probably be paired up against the top 8 seeds with little chance of advancing.
The Big West has already benefited by sending 2 singles players and 1 doubles team into the NCAA individual championships that would not have gone otherwise.
Congrats to the following:
#82 Hanah Grady - Long Beach State
#46 Brittany Blalock/ Stefi Wong - Cal Poly
#123 Victor Lamm - UC Irvine
I hope individual auto qualifiers will boost Big West recruiting. In the past you had a better chance making the NCAA singles playing #4 for a top team like UCLA because of strength of schedule, then playing #1 at a BW school. Now it's reversed. You have little chance of making it into the NCAA singles playing #4 at UCLA but have a good chance while playing #1 for a LB or UCI.
The BW selling point to a borderline blue chip recruit can now be you can go to the Big West and have a chance to make it into the NCAA singles all 4 years. On the other hand if you go to UCLA/ USC you'll have to fight your way into the top 3 singles lineup there and maybe only during your junior or senior years make it into the NCAA singles.
May 28th, 2008, 08:34 PM
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
1. Suzie Matzenauer
2. Brittany Blalock
3. Steffi Wong
4. Whitney Eves *
5. Maria Malec
6. Diane Filip
7. Shannon Brady
8. Amy Markoff *
WO1 Jocelyn Davis
Jul 21st, 2008, 06:00 PM
Congrats to freshman Julie Luzar of Long Beach State for winning the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Summer Circuit event at Ventura Community College.
To be fair Luzar got big breaks when Andrea Remynse-UCLA & Logan Hansen-Stanford pulled out because of sickness & injury. But Luzar still defeated 3 good players in Michelle Sulahian-Michigan, Michelle Murphy-UCSB/Michigan St. & Mele Iongi-New Mexico offer.
Luzar wins ITA Ventura article (http://longbeachstate.cstv.com/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/071708aaa.html)
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:27 PM
I would never write off your south OC team... still have a vacant spot.
Cal Poly just moved to pre-season favorite status. The NW transfer plays # 2 for them and pushes their entire upper class filled ladder down. A great place to be starting the season.
CSUN improved finally (they get 4 'no GPA questions asked int'l kids and just got huge funding bump from President decreed student fee) and UCSB definitely improved if the int'l girls pan out but they, like CP, may be the deepest teams at 4-6.
Could be change is a coming... for roster and support reasons given the current state of the CA economy.
Posted by killR4hand on 9/8/2008, 12:39 am,
It's only going to get better, because UCI is going down.
To be honest Dodgerdarin that OC school lost 3 of 6 starters to graduation including Nos. 1 & 2 singles. It may be a rebuilding year for them. Imagine LB losing Grady, Bengson & Weeks all at once.
1. CSUN adds 2 "top 3 singles caliber" international players.
2. UCSB adds 2 top 3 singles caliber international players & a transfer from Michigan State.
3. CPSLO adds a top 3 singles caliber transfer from Northwestern.
The 3 teams above look to be the ones to challenge LB for the Big West title this year. No need to worry about that OC school who may end up finishing 5th this year.
Sep 8th, 2008, 08:23 PM
Form congrats on your 1st post.
I can tell you didn't use your real name when filling out the registration form. :lol:
Thanks for giving me referral credit by the way. :yeah:
If you don't mind I will respond to your post above under a new thread.
No need to keep the answers short in this forum. Elaborate all you want.
Plus might want to check out the other forums on this site!