Columbus Day Weekend Recap

A busy Columbus Day Weekend in and out of the NE

A busy Columbus Day Weekend in and out of the NE

Columbus Day Weekend in the Northeast

Before the fall season has gone and we are left grasping for a bit more tennis in the cold winter months, I’m pleased to recap the three most important things that happened to the Northeast this past weekend! The first most important thing happened all the way down in sunny Florida as the Middlebury doubles team won the DIII national ITA. Not to brag or anything, but I correctly predicted that the doubles team of Palmer Campbell & Brantner Jones would finish 2nd in the New England ITA. After Garner took out Fife/Fritz (taking out his regional champion(s) for the 2nd year in a row) the Midd boys went down to Florida to represent New England. Not only did they impress, but they won the whole damn thing, showed our region’s supremacy, and made me 100% right (ask D3 West). In winning the DIII National ITA, they gained entry into the Super Bowl, where they impressed again, making it all the way to the finals. A great weekend for PC/BJ.

The second most important thing to happen to the northeast tennis world this weekend, took place in D3 Atlantic South’s backyard. Amherst (with Fritz) went down and stole a couple of wins from the top teams not named Emory in the A-South. Herst took out a Tanner-less Hopkins team 5-4, and followed it up with a 5-4 escape of the CMU Tartans. You can make all the excuses you want: Hopkins didn’t have their #1, Alla was exhausted from winning ITA’s, both teams had players abroad, fall matches don’t matter as much, blah blah blah. All I know is that Garner did not make the same mistake twice two years in a row; he played his guys in the fall and they rewarded him for it. Now, I’m not proclaiming that Amherst has just laid claim to the best team in the country not named CMS, but I am saying that they won’t have to climb up from #19 in the country at the start of this spring.

This brings us to the 3rd most important thing that went down this weekend, and the only one that actually took place in the Northeast. Bates hosted its annual fall tournament over the past weekend, and it went pretty much as expected. Middlebury won most of the flights, Amherst’s B-team still managed to do surprisingly well, Skidmore doubles had a couple of good results, and for the most part Bates, Bowdoin, Brandies, Colby, Trinity, and Tufts were left wanting. As has become my thing, I’ll break the tournament down into flights and talk a little bit about each one. You can find the full results from the tournament here:

http://athletics.bates.edu/sports/mten/2013-14/files/Wallach_Invitational_Day_Two_Results.pdf

 

A FLIGHT SINGLES

Winner: Alex Johnston (Midd)

Bad news for the rest of the Northeast as Alex Johnston seems to be finding his stride. I’ve heard reports that he was hurt, I’ve heard reports that he was out of shape, I’ve heard reports that he’s actually 33 years old, but all I know is that if he’s winning matches (and fit enough to play 8 matches in two days) then Amherst and Williams better take note. If Jono can keep this up, I believe Midd is the team to beat in the NESCAC.

Runner up: Teddy Fitzgibbons (Midd)

Nice bounceback tournament for Fitzgibbons. After he was upset in the 1st round at ITAs, taking out the Brandeis #1, Colby #1, and Midd #5 is a nice way to show the fans that his Middlebury Invitational A flight win was no fluke. The Bone Saw is another key to the Middlebury quest for the NESCAC crown.

Things to note: Ryan Granoff (Brandeis), Bates/Bowdoin Singles

Great tournament for Granoff, beating Tang (Amherst) and playing Johnston close in the semis. Brandeis has a lot of young talent, and could be next year’s Wesleyan with another good recruiting class. On a different note, what happened to Bates and Bowdoin’s singles guys? Bates was without Berg (their only real shot to make it far in the A draw), Planche, and Ellis. Planche hasn’t played at all this fall, but Berg/Ellis weren’t in the doubles either. As for Bowdoin, King lost in the 1st round, but notably absent were Savage, Wolstencraft, Bragg, and Lord. Hopefully most of them are abroad, but Savage played earlier this fall. Let’s just hope he’s not seriously hurt.

Song that sums up the flight: theme from Two and a Half Men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZJQlddwuvY). Change every “Men” to “Midd” and you sum up the A flight singles. Two men in the finals and a ½ man in the semifinalist Mountifield. Kinda catchy.

B FLIGHT SINGLES

Winner: Chris Dale (Amherst)

Dale rolled his way to the B flight title, never dropping a set and taking the final 0&1. Honestly, this was no surprise. Dale played 5 for Amherst last year, and 6 the year before. The real surprise was the fact that Dale was even playing in this tournament and not with Garner eeking out wins at Hopkins and CMU. I don’t believe that Reindell or Revzin will stay ahead of Dale in the lineup, but I have been wrong before.

Runner up: Rutendo Matingo (Trinity)

Nice way to end the fall for the Trinity freshman, making a run to the finals. But it was how he did it that was more impressive. Mr. Matingo won all of his matches on the way to the finals in supers, and two of them were 11-9. Perhaps we have a new Captain Clutch growing in Hartford.

Things to note: Parity (7 supers)

Wow, 7 supers means there were a lot of close matches, which hopefully means we’ll be seeing some battles between #’s 4-6 come spring season!

Song that sums up the flight:  Clarity, Zedd (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Q7GISatW0)

You know clarity, picture the exact opposite of that (The Harold and Kumar reference is far too vulgar for some of our readers, but check it out on your own time). We learned absolutely nothing from this flight. Midd was missing 2 of their top 3, Amherst was missing (arguably) their entire top 8 guys. Bates was without their top 3, Tufts #1 wasn’t playing, Trinity has two of their top 4 abroad, Skidmore was without two of their top 3, and Bowdoin didn’t have 4 of their top 6 players (side note, rumor has it that Lord is not on the team anymore. Can this be confirmed or denied? We don’t need to get into reasoning, just a simple answer from a credible source would be nice). I’m not devaluing this tournament because there were still a number of guys who will be playing in their team’s lineups this year as well as some very stiff competition. However, the fact each team is missing so many top guys doesn’t hurt the A flight too much (most teams still have some top players playing) but it takes the value of the B flight (and each subsequent flight) down a notch.

C FLIGHT SINGLES

Winner: Allen Jackson (Midd)

Very impressive weekend for Mr. Jackson, not dropping a set along the way to two separate flight wins. Just throw Allen into the mix for Midd’s 6. We’ll get to this in the team preview…

Runner up: Vlad Murad (Colby)

I won’t lie, I had never heard of Vlad until this weekend. He’s a Romanian recruit, and it looks like he’s going to make a difference for the Mules. That makes two different Romanian recruits to two different Maine schools in the past two years. Weird, huh? Let’s see if Vlad contributes more to the Mules than his countryman has to Bates.

Things to note: Play-In match?

Sometimes I wonder how Coaches make the draws for these tournaments. There was one play-in match, and it was between two of (in my opinion) the three or four most talented players in the draw. The same could be said for different flights (King vs Tang in the A). Not harping on the Coaches, merely curious.

Song that sums up the flight: Good Time, Alan Jackson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpW8kjDFZPE)

A “good time” was had by a different Allen Jackson, as the younger Mr. Jackson had a perfect 8-0 weekend.

D FLIGHT SINGLES

Winner: Carlos DeBracamonte (Amherst)

I believe this is two years in a row for DeBracamonte taking home the D flight singles trophy. He CRUISED through the D draw, never dropping more than 3 games in a set. Last year I believed that the Floridian was far too good to be playing D flight for Amherst’s B team, and I still do. He has the potential to move up in the lineup, and let’s hope he works hard enough to earn it.

Runner up: Phillip Qu (Amherst)

Good wins for Qu over Reifler (Trinity) and Welch (Midd), and no shame losing to the defending champion. Overall just a good D draw for the Jeffs.

Things to note: The bottom of Amherst’s B-team is better than the bottom of you’re A-Team.

This just goes to show you that even though Amherst keeps 79 guys on their team, it’s because they all can play tennis. The bottom of Amherst’s B team cruised through this tournament. And for all those nay-sayers who don’t understand why a player would rather play 14 for Amherst than have a shot for 6 somewhere else, let me just say that the education ain’t half bad.

Song that sums up the flight: theme from the A-Team (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrK0rZj6pes) Can’t you just imagine Amherst’s numbers 9-16 jumping out of a white van dressed like Mr. T, and then still beating most teams around the country?

A FLIGHT DOUBLES

Winner: Sherpa/Tong (Skidmore)

Great comeback win for the team from Skidmore. This is a somewhat new team for Skidmore, as Tong played with Green-Sanderson and Sherpa usually plays with Hoblitzell. Not sure why Alec and Kit weren’t playing, but this just shows what a good doubles program Skidmore is turning into.

Runner up: Lebovitz/Johnston (Midd)

Johnston’s results just keep getting better. This pair got revenge on the Bates team that beat them at Middlebury early in the fall, and they got revenge in a big way in their 8-3 semifinal win. If this team keeps improving then it turns Midd’s dubs into the best in the NESCAC.

Things to note: 2 Bates semifinalists

Finally something positive for the Bobcats. They were without their top dubs team, but they still managed to send two teams into the semis. Two losses (and none too close) exposed them for what they really were, but Bates has a history of great top doubles teams, so Coach Gastonguay must be doing something right.

Song that sums up the flight: Redemption Song, Bob Marley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNkr86zZaP4) According to the Midd tennis twitter, Jono/Lebo were up a break for most of the match and had at least 1 match point. Apparently Sherpa was on the other side of this type of finals a couple of years back. He lost to a Bates team after blowing a lead and having match points in a breaker. Redemption for Sherpa, and a trophy for the Thoroughbreds.

B FLIGHT DOUBLES

Winner: Jackson/Fitzgibbons (Midd)

Is this the 4th Midd doubles team? If so, dayum! I know it was only the B Flight at Bates, and I know that most teams had top players missing, but a tournament win from a team that might not even be in the lineup speaks volumes about the rest of Midd’s team. This team might challenge Mountifield/Smolyar for the Midd’s 3rd dubs spot.

Runner up: Arnaboldi/Arnaboldi (Amherst)

Usually brothers doubles teams are reserved for Vasser (Guzicks, Jasos, etc,), but as a sports sap I’m excited anytime I get to see a family team. How cool must it be to play and succeed with a family member! These bros beat a fellow Amherst team and two Middlebury teams on their way to the finals. Not too shabby!

Things to note: Brothers doubles team!

No explanation necessary

Song that sums up the flight: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, orig. The Hollies, covered by Neil Diamond (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usZtSl8mX08).

As a New England guy I (of course) have a special place for anything Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline at Fenway=pure gold). This one goes out to the Arnaboldis. On a somewhat related but totally important side note, how awesome was the Sox game on Sunday night?!?!


Keep checking the site over the coming weeks. All 5 of us will be putting out team previews as often as we can!

  14 comments for “Columbus Day Weekend Recap

  1. Anonymous
    November 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Berg and Ellis are playing The Dick Vitale Intercollegiate Classice Nov 8-10.

  2. Anonymous
    October 18, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Not sure why the writer of this article seems to believe that Johnston is back to his form. He’s had a very subpar Fall losing to Carpenter first round at Midd, straight set loss to Harron, who I’m sure is a great player, at the ITA. This A flight, quite honest, was a very, very weak flight. Fitzgibbons is a great player in the NE, but besides that Johnston didn’t beat anyone really. Fritz, Yaraghi, Loutsenko, Trinka, Michelli, Harron, etc. all weren’t in the draw. I think you have to at the very best place Johnston at 3 right now going into the spring, which mind you, can be a great thing for Midd. He’ll eventually find his stride and can provide incredible depth at 3 and probably will move up in the lineup, but Jones and Campbell seem to be a great 1, 2 the way they’re playing right now.

    PS, doesn’t the fact that Fitzgibbons was the 1 seed and Johnston was the 4 seed mean Hansen submitted Fitzgibbons as his 1 and Johnston as his 2 for this tourney?

    • D3 Northeast
      October 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Didn’t say he was all the way back to his form, merely meant to imply that he was “finding his stride”. While the seeding at Bates may have shown that Teddy was a higher seed than Jono, that point is now irrelevant. Jono 4&3 over the Bonesaw, and a continuing upward trend (loss to Carpenter, winning two rounds before losing to Lil’ Weiss at the ITA, winning the “weak” A flight at Bates) through the fall is enough for me to believe Johnston has re-established himself as a top 3 player in Midd’s lineup. As long as the trend continues, and he gets back into shape there’s no reason for me to believe that he won’t continue to move up the Panther lineup

      • Gary Gentile
        October 19, 2013 at 7:09 am

        1&4 not 3&4 over Bonesaw–who played 5 last year, until he was dropped from the single lineup for NESCAC tournament and NCAAs–no wins vs. Williams or Amherst in the last two years will do that to you.

        Putting Fitzgibbons above Johnston in the seeding was to motivate Johnston, Frons and Mountifield. Hansen is a coaching legend for a reason.

      • Anonymous
        October 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

        Jono beat Bone Saw 1 and 3. By spring time I expect that score to be closer to 1 and 1. Bone Saw has always done well in the fall, but has yet to prove that he can beat the top guys when Midd needs him to. Jono will be in better shape in the spring and has proven he is clutch (ex: beating tufts 1 7-6 in the third to save Midds season last year).

  3. Gary Gentile
    October 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    You have to figure Hansen plays some combination of Johnston, Jones and Campbell, at 1,2,3.

    If you look at the quality of wins so far this season you could argue: It’s Jones, Campbell and then Johnston. Jones’s over Fitz in 3 could have easily been the finals of the ITA. Amazing return to form from the Midd Invitational. Campbell won Midd B flight and semi-finaled at the ITA, but benefited from good draws at both. Johnston lost to Harron first round at the ITA, at Bates he beat three 3* and had too much power for Fitzgibbons. Hansen will make sure he’s still not 25lbs overweight by Spring. At 2 or 3 he might not lose all season. These are the top 3. If Fitzgibbons could have handled Johnston’s power…

    4,5,6 will be about competitive advantage vs. other lineups, ie. match ups.
    Fitzgibbons had great wins at the Midd Invitational: Tekedzhiev, Jones, and Glickman. At Bates? Three wins: a close match vs. a teammate who played 6 last year, a 3* and a 1*. Is he the guy that won the Midd Invitational or the player that was knocked out of the lineup last Spring for Mountifield and Frons?

    Mountifield has beaten three 4* so far: Wong, Revzin and Distasio of Georgetown (Brown tournament). Big improvement since last year.

    Frons has beaten 4*s: Zhang, Wong, and Einbinder . Plus Nordahl (5*) from Dartmouth (at Brown). Another improved guy.

    Jackson at Bates beat two 2*, a 1* and Murad for the first wins of the season. Improved from last year yes, especially it seems in doubles.

    Bruchmiller has only played Bates, picked up one singles win. What kind of shape will he be in by Spring?

    You have to like Midd’s chances if Lebovitz/Johnston are really back in form and with Campbell/Jones playing top notch doubles. On the singles side, they need Campbell to show his improvement into the Spring against the top D3 competition. If Jones and Johnston regain All American singles form, then Midd could go all the way.

  4. Joe Siman
    October 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Allen Jackson is the dark horse of mens d3 tennis. I sat down with the kid and talked with him about his training this summer. He played for four hours a day and worked out for an hour every day as well. All of this when most college students were taking a break from tennis. He barely lost to Hunter Koontz, a top d1 ranked player for Virginia Tech, 7-5 in the third after being up 5-2 in the final set this summer in an ita event. His moment will come soon and I see him playing 2 or 3 this year for Middlebury after he gets the chance to prove himself in dual matches. He will be an integral part of the team that I predict to win the 2014 d3 national championship. While Alex Johnston will hold the number 1 spot, he has a chance at playing line 2 if he keeps up his work ethic. He is a late bloomer and I could also see him ending up at around 6-3 that could be all he needs to get to the next level. He has put on 30 pounds of muscle in the past year so weight gain should not be a problem for him. After a disappointing freshman year, he is looking to become one of the top players on his team. Keep an eye on this young buck as he embarks on his path to tennis prestige.

    • Northeast Tennis
      October 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Gotta be a reason he was in C flight for Mid this weekend, even with Jones and Palmer at ITAs. Sometimes one tournament win sparks a player and if his work ethic is what you claim it is, he should be more motivated.

      In my opinion, Bowdoin and Skidmore are the two dark-horses of the NE. Bowdoin as a post mentioned had nowhere near their A team at Bates and they have people abroad. They clearly have a very, very valid no 1 at Trinka who won a match at small colleges and was unfortunate to lose two three setters, he can clearly beat anyone in the NE as well as anyone in the nation. They’re as deep as anyone in the NE as well.

      Skidmore in my opinion is quite an interesting team who clearly had a ton of options in doubles. They swept doubles against Kenyon who was 1 in the nation last year with Alec out. Sherpa and Tong won the flight here, Loutsenko/Knight won a match at small colleges, even Steerman and Epstein who are their 4 team according to this tournament almost beat a solid Midd team in the semi-finals. The bad news, is that their singles players not named Oliver Loutsenko (likely the best player in the nation) are an abomination. Against Kenyon, they could not win a set and fell 5-4 despite Loutsenko routing Razumovsky (a two time NCAA individual semi-finalist) at the 1 spot. Check out this tournament for them in singles, they got zero players through to day 2. Ransom who is a pivotal player for them, lost 2,2 to Mibithi. Sherpa’s had a bad fall. Granted, Knight wasn’t here but he did lose to the Trinity 3 just the other weekend. It’s interesting because they have a lot of singles talent but it just doesn’t seem like they can play in big matches. However, if they can somehow get their 2-6 together in singles how can you not consider them dangerous

      • d3tennisguy
        October 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        If I can add my usual brand of cynicism to this post, Jackson isn’t the only player in DIII who played a lot over the summer. Working hard doesn’t make you entitled to success. I’m sure Jackson will be good, but I doubt he’ll play in the top 2. Look what Midd’s team just did at nationals!? They almost won the superbowl. Jackson will have to beat that

        • D3 Northeast
          October 17, 2013 at 10:41 pm

          Couldn’t agree more with D3TG. Coach Hansen clearly knows what he’s doing, and Jackson wasn’t entered into either the singles or the doubles draw at ITAs. That means at best Hansen considers him the current #7 and a part of the #4 doubles team. I’ll dive deeper into this in my Middlebury team preview, but right now I’d say Jackson has a ceiling at #4 (barring injury/suspension/goldfish) and is currently on the outside looking in (at Mountifield and Frons). There is absolutely potential, but two 1st round losses at the Middlebury invitational cannot simply be overlooked. I hope he proves me wrong

  5. Anonymous
    October 16, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Also for Bowdoin, Trinka was down at Small College Nationals Definitely didn’t have their full team at Bates, as with Trinka coming into the lineup this year, 5 of their 6 projected starters weren’t playing.

    Impressive result for Amherst regardless of circumstances (i.e. Tanner-less Hopkins). It’s tough in the fall to win big dual matches due to people being abroad, injuries, etc.

    NESCAC conference is definitely going to be interesting this. The “usual suspects” of Amherst, Williams, Middlebury, and Bowdoin will be strong as per usual, but you have to be intrigued with what teams like Bates, Trinity, Tufts, and Wesleyan will do.

    • D3 Northeast
      October 17, 2013 at 6:29 am

      If it’s 5/6 then you mean Bragg, Trinka, Lord, Wolstencraft, and Savage? We haven’t seen Bragg/Lord/Wolstencraft all fall, are they all abroad? If so Polar Bears need to hope they come back at least at strong as they were (a tall task) if not stronger for them to have a shot at moving into the top 3.

  6. Anonymous
    October 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Berg and Ellis are playing in a d1 tournament in Florida in a couple weeks and they couldn’t play this cause of ncaa restrictions. Also Planche is abroad.

    And his name is Brian not Ryan Granoff, the draw was wrong

    • D3 Northeast
      October 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      My apologies to Brian, and a finger wag to the draw makers. Good info, thanks!

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