Today is the day. We've been waiting all year for a 2nd crack at our rivals, this time for the league title. (As I've said before, we win again and we claim a tie for it, but even if we lose our last two -- we won't -- we'd still have the tiebreaker over them)
Turns out, we probably won the league title in 2019 too but nobody tracks this stuff anywhere so I'm not sure (I do know we won the district title and were state finalists, though.)
Today's lineup is our strongest of the year. The best players on this team are their first doubles team, the defending state champs in doubles who are juniors like my best players. My top two (including our 2nd best player who hasn't played all year) told me yesterday they want to play 1st doubles mostly because playing singles would be 'boring and not worth it.'
It does make things more complicated for us, lineup wise, because the guaranteed two wins they'd provide otherwise would have been nice. But I'm playing the long game and it's much better to keep these two engaged than to worry about silly things, because winning a state title with them next year becomes a million times easier than without them.
(No 2. was 3rd in the state as a sophomore. My No. 1 lost in the quarters because she managed to be unseeded in the state tournament, since their last coach didn't know how the HS tournament seeding system worked and the coaches let him do it to himself.)
Anyway, today's lineup is
1st singles - my junior who transferred from prep school and has been a shining star for us all year. She's undefeated at 1 singles (and 2 singles) but she hasn't played anyone this good all year. I think she has a puncher's chance at beating this girl.
2nd singles - This is a loss probably, I put a freshman here who I want to grow into a singles player and she's grown a lot. With those players teaming up to play doubles, I don't have anyone here who would win explicitly, so it felt like it made sense to elevate her. It's not a reach at all.
3rd singles - My last player here won in straight sets. I imagine the girl playing here should be able to slug her way to a victory. She's one of the sophomore starlets.
4th singles - The girl playing 2nd today played this team at 4th singles last time and lost, but it was her 1st ever singles match. The girl they play here is a pusher and I think my sophomore I'm playing here should be a stronger opponent for her.
1st doubles - Our power club vs. theirs. We should win and if we don't, we're doomed. But seriously, it shouldn't be anything besides a straight set victory for my girls. They're just too good and together, it's gonna be gross.
2nd doubles - This is my senior paired with a sophomore. This match should be winnable for them, the senior is our 3rd best player hands down.
3rd doubles - We won this last time, this time my team that played 1st doubles have fallen to 3rd doubles this time. This should be a walkover for them
4th doubles - This team (a duo of sophomores) who have already beat this team in their first pairing together, they should wreck today.
This lineup is built for a 6-2 victory, but I'll settle for a 5-3. If my first singles girl wins, we're going to roll today and it could be a 7-0 victory.
What's the worst case scenario? Losing all the singles and winning only 3 of the doubles. That would make pairing two instant wins together a big mistake. Last time, we won 1st singles/3rd singles, 3rd & 4th doubles and then 2nd singles was a 3-setter loss.
We've won every kind of way this year, but this team is stacked and they're experienced. The nice thing about this site is that they have 7 courts, so we're going to be done a lot quicker than normal. I've been gearing up for this match all season, so I'm hoping that we tackle the last task.