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Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Big 12 final Tech def. OSU 4-2

'This is why we play'!

Big 12 is strong. For a while it looked pretty grim for Tech against UT yesterday(Howard Joffe magic), and OSU was also amply tested against BU. And UT edged TCU by 4-3. Only got to watch ONE doubles match, which is an absolute mockery and tragedy lol(no Shankle doubles? No way!), but otherwise, can't complain. UO indoor facility was quite good, as well(along with VU, felt like NTI lol).

Certainly one of the most exciting conferences. Biggest change happened here, probably along with SEC(Alabama won once, and now Vandy reigns, but their depth is impressive right now). Before it was basically UT vs BU, then Howard Joffe era (TAMU), now OSU & Tech two top.

There was a curse for Tech for a while. So close, so far. Now not only they're making the NCAA final site; just won the conference tournament, defeating top talent team like OSU(I deem OSU top 4 talents along with UF, UNC and Pepperdine. VU, not sure about talent, probably more like coach Mac or something lol).

And how! Won 1 & 2 singles, even more impressive considering that they were battling Lushkova and Adamovic, top players in the NATION.
They won without Federici and Jackson, which is damn impressive(those two more probably the most dependable positions for Tech).

And won doubles. Against OSU. Think about that...!

How do I think they won the doubles point? Absolute aggression. Sense of urgency. And of course it was possible because they could execute it. Once again, power prevails.

Attacked 'weak' balls mercilessly, driving strong against the opponent at net; worked like a charm. OSU doubles is very talented; probably one of the best out there. But they lacked that sense of urgency, and when they complacently drove or volleyed, those shots were mercilessly punished by Tech players.

It was rather shocking to see Blanco/Bolsova lose so one-sidedly. Same goes to Babic/Tur Mari, but this OSU team kinda self destructed committing many errors including at net.

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I was shocked to see Desirae greeting me! 'Naturally' hugged(sorry Matt!) each other lol. She's flying to Thailand tomorrow to play ITF, teaming up with Gugu. Wished her safe trip.

Another surprise was finding Kopinski coaching for Tech, maybe that's why they won doubles? :)

Speaking of surprise, was delighted to find Keri coaching for the Tigers at Rome! Did I see her coaching for the team before? Not sure lol. Too bad we didn't greet each other, if I've known I would've sought her out.
Others too, especially Winter Nat. graduates, didn't get to say hi, sorry about that.

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So Lushkova lost both matches, against Shankle and Talaba; Big 12 is no joke. boasts plenty of elite players.

Many top college players are very solid; not like say Lushkova who's a very aggressive flat hitter(when on, definitely one of the best; can produce absolute Beast mode!). Di Lorenzo, Carter, Adamovic, and Talaba as well. T was constantly on the defensive yet returned really well. Her bh was very strong, didn't break down at all, and could attack sharply on that wing. Serve, not bad at all either.I
 So many points were long(if Lushkova can't keep the balls in play, she can't be an elite hitter, no), and many, points ended in her errors.

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"You two"

said this to those talented hitters Maltby and Valentstein when they were together at ITF RSF or something.
Saying again; you two! Haha.

Super impressive today. Adamovic is NCAA MVP, as you all know. Has proven herself as one of the best, defeating top players like Zhao in NCAA team tournament.
Bolsova? #1 player next season. World Junior ranking #4. Routed Davidson with ease at Freeman.

I've always praised their power since their junior years; and they're living up to their potential. As I said before, doing verra well at Tech.
It's like VU's Altick and Colton. They were Blue Chips; these two were 5 stars methinks. Have to give props to Tech coaching staff here.

'Mal & Val'. And they're only sophomores...?!!!

Mal's win is a victory of aggression. Was aggressive to the end. After wasting 2 mps by errors, finished it with pride, driving strong. Serve didn't have too much pace but did make it, probably Adamovic should rue that she didn't attack those more aggressively(but probably that's not her style?). Once the rally went on, she was on the defensive tons of times having to react to Mal's strong drives.

But not only that; applies to both, Mal & Val.

They not only could keep the ball in play, albeit hitting aggressively(so lots of points were long). They could retrieve verra well, too!
 I always thought they were primarily offensively-oriented players.
Now they're also moving and returning so well. Variety, not bad either, like Val's bh slice eliciting B's errors. Mal's net plays were a revelation actually. Some of the shots of the tournament came from her net plays, outplaying Adamovic, no less. Probably a crucial factor in her win, considering that she came up to the net not infrequently after driving aggressively. I thought it was a huge risk against such a good passer like Adamovic, but it paid off handsomely.
Val especially could serve quite well, albeit making some crucial DFs.

These two, have rooms of improvement. Some finishing shots were suspect to say the least, like drive volleys and overheads; what's the use of opening up the court with your power if you can't finish it :p
Can do better, and when they become better, watch out.

After the win Val held Mal up in joy; really nice to see. California Pride? :)

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Defeating Federici is a big deal. Babic made up for her sloppy plays(netting volleys and sending drives long) during doubles by playing aggressively. She'll be back to her original position in #2 next season.

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Dvorak at #5 can be very competitive. Rupert did resist in the 2nd.

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Stresnakova did very well to push Jackson to the limit; in fact was on the brink of winning, no small feat. I've thought their depth could be a problem. You know how they lost to Stanford in the NCAA final. Lost 4-6, and Babic at 2. Blanco is really a good player(as shown in Freeman), so they won't lack depth next season.

Tech is unlike OSU in that NO SENIORS played. That's right, Kiro who was quite a good player, didn't play for the team. What do you think they can accomplish next season?...
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Now. Chatted with that official yesterday about UGA. UGA is not hosting NCAA for a while. And it's a NCAA Mecca. How can I NOT visit there.  Sure all flights and rental cars to Athens are long gone lol, but I can still land at Atlanta and drive 1.5 hrs or something. Definitely worth it, if you consider May birding as well!

The problem is, as usual, funding. None responded to my donation plea for 3 conference tournaments; Now am pleading again :p
Say $500. If 25 people donate $20 each, then it's certainly attainable!  What are you waiting for, click the button on the right, NOW. Don't you want my 'intimate' coverage of the biggest college event? :)

Written at Best Buy and Wal Mart, got tired of poking on my Fire lol.

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Now, should I bird Wichita Mt. Today afternoon before heading to UO, spotted 3 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Indigo Buntings at South Jenkins road. Really that place is gold. Too bad it's restricted. Oklahoma Audubon regularly schedules field trip there, but not during my stay.

Wichita is a haven for the vireos, my nemesis species lol. Yellow throated, Blue headed, White eyed, Red eyed, and the prize find, Black capped Vireo. That Black Capped is restricted to selected places like Wichita Mt. area at Oklahoma, and the adjacent Texas area.

Too far though, takes 1.5 hrs by drive, and it's a toll road as well. We'll see..

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