The fact that the regional tournaments get split up the way that they do is absolutely ridiculous. New England region: totally brutal. Northeast region: one of the worst in the country. How does that happen? Basically all of the teams in both regions are within driving distance of each other. But I live in a world where conference affiliation doesn’t matter, and I guess it makes sense that the region with all the NESCAC teams is obviously going to be the hardest. The least they could do is throw MIT and Brandeis in with these guys though. Whatever. Let’s get to it
Vassar, Skidmore, Stevens, (Hunter)
When the bracket isn’t at deep, it’s a lot easier for the cream to rise to the top. Accordingly, I would be pretty surprised not to see Guzick, Loutsenko, and Perepelov in the semifinals. BUT, with some extensive research, here are basically all of the players I could see possibly winning:
Chris Rosensteel (Stevens)
Rosensteel had a “good” year last year in that he had a very good win/loss record, but he definitely took his lumps at #1 singles. He lost to Guzick, Kelm of Swarthmore, and Caulfield of Haverford, but he did get a win over Middlebury’s Parower. That means he’s at least capable of beating the big players, which means he’s capable of winning this tournament. Right?
Jimmy Sherpa (Skidmore)
Sherpa, unlike Rosensteel, lost to Parower… twice. And Sherpa, unlike Rosensteel, had a poor win/loss record last year. But Sherpa, unlike Rosensteel, beat a Guzick. He also played a much tougher schedule, got very close to picking up several big wins, and he probably got better practice all year than Rosensteel did. I don’t think he’s going to win, but I am saying that there’s a chance.
Andrew Guzick (Vassar)
Guzick and Loutsenko played three times last year, with Loutsenko winning two out of three. That’s the only reason I’m making Loutsenko the favorite, but I really have no idea who the better player is. The younger Guzick played #1 singles all last year and compiled a very impressive record with wins over Lane, Seneviratne, and Fritz. Like I said, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t get to the semifinals at least. Seedings will play a large part in this tournament, however, as, if Guzick gets the #3 seed (because of his losses to Loutsenko and the defending-championness of Perepelov), he’ll have to go through both of them to win the tournament.
Yevgeny Perepelov (Hunter)
Perepelov is one of my favorite players in DIII. He’s a total enigma: a great player that could have drawn a scholarship from some DI schools who randomly chose to play for a crappy team in his home town. He also wins all of his dual matches every season but never gets to go to the end-of-the-year championships because Hunter never plays anyone good. Plus, he’s hilarious on the court. It’s kind of sad, really. Anyways, last year, Perepelov won this tournament courtesy of a tiebreaker victory over Loutsenko in the finals and proceeded to lose three close matches in Mobile. Those are the only big matches he’s played in college tennis, so basically I have to predict how he’s going to do based on matches he played a year ago. I have no idea, but I’m guessing that a year of better practice will put Loutsenko over the top.
Matt Heinrich (Stevens, Fr.)
He’s a 4-star freshman in a weak region. What else is there to say?
Miles Ranson (Skidmore)
Ranson is one of those flying-under-the-radar-better-than-you-think-he-is #4 singles players. He got to the semifinals of this tournament last year before falling to Perepelov. He also had a very impressive collection of almost-wins last year against the likes of Wagner, Parizher, Lunghino, and Micheli. Still, almost-wins aren’t wins.
Oliver Loutsenko (Skidmore)
Loutsenko had an up-and-down Spring last year against the big dogs, but he picked up victories over Putterman and Meyer, which tells me that he has the highest ceiling of any single player in this region. That (and his 2-1 record against Guzick) is why he’s the favorite. He had several losses, but none of them were “bad.” Additionally, he showed great improvement throughout the year, and if he trained over the summer, he should be too good for everyone else. He shouldn’t get too comfortable, though, he’s lost to Guzick before, and it could happen again.
OK, this is a little strange. If the Thoroughbreds keep their #2 doubles team from last year together, they will definitely be one of the best teams in the draw. In fact, they would be my pick to win the whole thing. Skidmore’s #1 team will come in as the #1 seeds again, and, while that doesn’t matter that much, #1 seeds don’t tend to win these regional tournaments for some reason. While they are my pick to win the tournament, they can’t actually be considered the favorites because, after all, they played #2 doubles last season. Make no mistake, though, they were just as good as the #1 team, especially at the end of last year. Check out the box scores from their matches against Midd, TCNJ, and their second match against Trinity.
Guzick/ Freeman or Someone else (Vassar)
Andrew teamed with his brother to win this tournament last year without too many nervous moments, and, even though his game doesn’t seem like it would be tailored to doubles, he’s probably the best doubles player in the draw. Unfortunately, Ben was far and away the second best doubles player on the Vassar roster, and the Brewers? will have a hard time finding a good doubles partner to replace him. Freeman is a good player, and he will probably end up playing with Guzick, but I can’t pretend to know what combo will have the best chemistry. Regardless, whatever team ends up with the defending champ on it will be a definite threat to win.
Perepelov/ Kapetenakis or Someone else (Hunter)
Perepelov Greg Jenningsed his way to the semifinals of the doubles tournament last year with senior teammate, Quintero. Kapetenakis is probably a step below Quintero. That won’t stop Perepelov from puttin’ da team on his back, do. (If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, what were you doing two years ago? also, watch this)
They were the number one seed a year ago, and they got to the finals before falling to the Guzicks. Then, they played #1 doubles for Skidmore all year, picking up a number of impressive wins and near missed. They will probably be the #1 seeds again, and they are one of the most hardest hittin’ doubles teams in the region. Even though I said I think the other Skidmore team will win the doubles tournament, if I was a Vegas oddsmaker, I would have to put Sherpa and Hoblitzell down as the favorites. As a side note: have I ever mentioned that doubles prosets are unpredictable?