Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Rise... and Fall!

Ugh - t'was an awesome week last week and a lousy week this week. I'm still trying to figure out why but no obvious answers come to mind, so I think I'm just going to chalk it up to "one of those things" and move on.

Anyway - last Monday, my APA 9-ball team shot lights-out and swept our opponents 5-0 and point-wise 70 to 30. My match was actually the closest one of the night, with me winning by a single ball for a 12-8 win. That win propelled us from 5th place in the division standings to 1st. My Monday night team is a solid team - we've been together for over a year now and are gelling very well. Being in 5th place in the division was  unusual for us; we finished last season in 1st and generally hang out in the top three spots.

Then... Wednesday... my APA 8-ball team (the one in which I recently took over as captain), ALSO won 5-0! Prior to the match, we were in 2nd place in the division by a couple of points and the team we were up against was the 1st place team... so the win gave us the lead in the division by a decent margin. It was a fantastic night - we all shot incredibly well - there was just no touching us. It was our put up for the fourth match and I put up our best player, a SL 7, more-or-less expecting them to match their best player up with him. They didn't. Being down 3-0 at that point, I guess they decided to mix things up a bit and put up a very solid (probably somewhat underrated) SL 4 hoping he could manage to pick off two games in the resulting 5-2 race. It was actually a smart move, but it didn't work out for them. Our 7 shut him down with solid play (with a heavy dose of defense) and won in 5 straight games.

The second part of their mismatch strategy meant that I'd be matched up against their best player. He was undefeated so far in the season... solidly in first place in the division's "Top Gun" rankings... and really a good shooter overall. Prior to that night, I'd never played him head-to-head but watched him play several times (obviously, the same went for him). He won the lag and broke dry. It was a so-so break - not really open, but not too bad. I nearly ran out. Getting shape on my last ball was a significant challenge, there was a fairly small window that I had to get to, but I nailed the position with a decent angle to break out 8-ball. Then... I missed the shot on the 6... rattled it in the corner pocket. I lost focus, probably thinking too much about the breakout (which I nailed) and not enough about the shot itself. Luckily, I got the table back before too much damage was done and was able to finish it off for the win... starting things off 1-0 with a decent "yeah, I'm here to play" statement. We then traded some games back and forth and I ended up winning before he could get to the hill. Very nice way to cap off a great night!

Then... THIS week. My Monday night team had a bye, so nothing to report there. Then, absolute disaster struck on Wednesday night, and we lost 0-5! WTF!? Our opponents were a solid team, but I wouldn't say any better than the team we played the previous week. It just seemed nothing was working for any of us. Yuck. Luckily, we were in first by a decent margin and the team that beat us was down far enough in the standings that they couldn't overtake us. Depending on how the other teams did, we might still be in first... or at least not too far out. A good wakeup call, and it came at a relatively harmless time... it wasn't during playoffs or a tournament or anything, and there's plenty of season left in which to recover.

I'm wondering if the Monday night bye was a factor? There's a lot of player overlap between the Monday night and Wednesday night teams. Maybe that broke our stride a bit.

On to next week!

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