by Fredric Hinkle
TASR Austin Major Preview
Texas is beginning to put itself on the map with more Premier Players. This event will feature nine Premier Players and will be nearly entirely Mash-Up teams. There are also a handful of overpowering servers scattered around the field, which will make for a crazy bracket and danger lurking in every round.
The Top Texas Team has been Elysium(Cornelius/Childs), narrowly edging out ArcAngel(Rizk/Hinkle) in Waco and then taking care of Kyle&Co(Hinkle/Marshall) in Wylie. This time, Logan Cornelius plays with graduating Baylor President Chris Guerra, an Advanced player, and Brian Childs plays with his father, a novice. It’s hard to see either of these teams finding the podium with nine of Texas’ twelve premier players in the field.
Sets on the Beach(David Louis & Colton Mowry)
Cream and Curry II: The Two Servers(Fredric Hinkle & Rahul Murthy)
Funky Fresh(Luke Marshall & Ben Landes)
There is no denying the skill of advanced player Colton Mowry. His previous weakness of serving has been recently remedied with the addition of a new cut serve. David and Colton will be the best setting team in the tournament. If they serve return cleanly then they should have enough defensive breaks to do well. David is known for his clutch serves late in games, and has saved Grant many times in events with desperate closing aces.
Rahul Murthy, coming off of his first visit to premier, will be looking to win his first tournament ever. He made premier in Lancaster but lost in the finals and fell short with Fredric against Grant Laughlin in College Sectionals. A Major win will qualify him for LoneStar and cap an absolutely meteoric rise since his start only six months prior.
Ben Landes makes his Texas debut with Aggie President Luke Marshall. The only question will be whether Landes can serve receive some of the powerhouse servers in this field. Marshall has strong matchup knowledge against all other top players in the field, and will have to guide Landes through this maze of serve receive. If Landes receiving is clean enough, they’ll win lots of games by pure defensive ability. Both players are mainly known as defenders; they’ll look to play every point in search of defensive breaks.
Big Boys(Grant Laughlin & Seth Pittman)
Free Ballin(Luke Mowry & Dylan Keen)
WySpike Big Yikes(Matthew Burrows & Jerm)
Rim Inspectors(Nick Rushing & Josh Weinbach)
The big fellas, Grant and Seth, are looking to outdo Grant and Hornacek as the most powerful team to play the game. They’ll hit the ball very hard and very far all day. If Grant heats up from 6 feet, look to see them in the middle of the podium.
Dylan and Luke could do anything. They both have strong defensive instincts, but have frequently lacked consistency. It will be a challenge for them to keep their confidence up, but If Dylan is landing his big lefty cut serve, this could be a long day for them.
Huge props to Matthew for making premier. He wasted no time as he got on stream and promptly began acing Zorio and Buckman in Advanced Finals at Dallas. Matthew has developed into a power serve and quality defensive support player on Synergy. However, Big Yikes(Matthew&Jerm) have historically struggled in Texas tournaments, never finishing better than T-5. Will this day be different?
Rushing’s legend is spreading in Texas. Nick Rushing(TAMU commit) is one of the top High School Prospects in America. He features a cannon for a serve and solid fundamentals as a foundation. Can he redeem himself after getting stunned in Houston at finals of High School Texas Nationals? Weinbach will have to dig deep to find valuable serve receives late in this bracket.
The People’s EyeBrow(Jake Bumguardner & JT Thomas)
Church Bois(Matt Cole & AJ Hutchison)
B&B Phenoms(Brandon Lindvall & Brayden Bickford)
Jake had rough draws in previous events, but he and JT are both quality advanced players. It will be exciting to see if they can upset someone to make a big move up the Texas Top 100.
Matt and JT are back from Baylor and practicing more than ever. He and AJ have played together before and are excited to come out to show what they’ve been working on. This could be another big move up the Texas Top 100.
The High Schoolers, B&B Phenoms, led Magnolia to 3rd at High School Texas Nationals, dropping narrowly to Nick Rushing. Bickford(UT commit) has gone home and worked tirelessly on his serve, while Brandon(SMU commit) has poured himself into defense. The two might be playing more than anyone else in Texas this summer. Fueled by an extreme competitive drive, they’ll look to push established Texas teams in the future.
Fredric and Rahul just won’t be broken enough and will win handily.
David and Colton should cruise into second, as they are complete players and should handle the serves of others.
Dylan and Luke have the firepower to upset some of the other premier teams, and I think they’ll put it all together this weekend.
Logan has a way of bringing out the best in everyone he plays with, and I don’t see him missing the semis.
Look for a post tournament review of semis and finals featuring stats.
Editors Note: Rahul Murthy & Matthew Burrows have the opportunity to receive an offer to sign with LoneStar with a top 3 finish in this tournament. Signing with LoneStar would come with a $100 signing bonus, and up to $100 in season incentives, along with the LoneStar Arm Band.