#8 Wesleyan vs #11 Redlands
Happy Friday, boys and girls. Today we have a bit of old meets new in the DIII tennis world. Redlands has struggled over the past couple years, consistently losing to its southern California nemeses in PP and CMS, while Wesleyan is a team that a certain blogger has been promoting for three years now. Both teams had high hopes to start the season, and both have more than delivered so far. Redlands has beaten every DIII team it has played so far, earning ranked wins over CNU, Swat, Deis, UMW, and a massive 5-4 win over PP. Wesleyan is fresh off its first matches in 2017, but the Cards impressed in their loss to CMS and then beat a crafty Skidmore team and put the absolute kibosh on Case. These two teams meet this afternoon in the desert, and the winner will be in GREAT shape to make NCAAs as a strong pool-C team. Obviously both teams will have work left. Redlands hosts Williams later this month and will almost certainly have to play PP again in the conference tournament. Wesleyan has its entire NESCAC schedule on the horizon. However, in my eyes the winner of this match will be a frontrunner (along with CMS) for best start to the 2017 season. When these two teams played last year, Wesleyan swept doubles and took a commanding 7-2 win. Both teams are better this year, and I expect a closer result. Both Redlands and Wesleyan are in the top-10 according to the latest ITA rankings, but as the CMS twitter feed correctly pointed out, those top-10 teams all come from three conference (UAA, NESCAC, SCIAC). Considering that their are only SIX total Pool-C spots, one of those top-10 teams would be left out of NCAAs if the tournament started today (and that’s not even considering an improved Williams team or the crazy-talented Amherst team, both lurking outside the top 10). D3West is off chuckling about anonymous Blibbering Humdingers, so I’m flyin solo here. Good luck getting an unbiased prediction…
Wesleyan Power 6: 74.59. Steven Chen (12.99), Michael Liu (12.22), Tiago Eusebio (12.15), Joachim Samson (12.96), Cam Daniels (12.96), Princeton Carter (11.31).
Redlands Power 6: Chase Lipscomb (12.49), Parker Wilson (12.38), Joey Dulle (11.84), Jake Ly (12.10), Tom Suchodolski (10.96), Avery Davis (11.40)
#1 Doubles: Liu/Roberts (Wesleyan) vs Dulle/Ly (Redlands). Both of these teams have lost a couple of matches, and while I love pairing seniors for the Cardinals, I think the home team gets the better of this matchup. Redlands, 8-6.
#2 Doubles: Eusebio/Smith (Wesleyan) vs Lipscomb/Cummins (Redlands). First thing’s first, how awesome is it to see Lipscomb and Cummins as a doubles team here? Nostalgia aside, these are two very good #2 teams, and this is probably the swing match. Eusebio and Smith didnt lose at the Stag Hen, so I’ll take them in another tight one. Wesleyan, 9-8 (4).
#3 Doubles: Chen/Daniels (Wesleyan) vs Wilson/Suchodoski (Redlands). This is a very strong #3 team for Wesleyan, and they should be favored here against a Bulldog #3 team who has lost three straight matches. Wesleyan, 8-4.
#1 Singles: Chen (Wesleyan) vs Lipscomb (Redlands). Good matchup here, and one Redlands might need to win. Lil’ Lipscomb’s only DIII loss this spring is to Yasgoor, but Chen won all three Stag Hen matches so he gets the edge (and eventually the clinch). Wesleyan, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
#2 Singles: Liu (Wesleyan) vs Wilson (Redlands). Senior on senior action at #2 singles. Liu has been playing excellent doubles so far this spring, but his energy has fallen off a bit once reaching singles. Don’t get carried away, he is 2-1 so far, but I think Wilson gets the better of him here. Redlands, 7-5, 6-3.
#3 Singles: Eusebio (Wesleyan) vs Dulle (Redlands). Eusebio played #3 last year, but I figured he would get moved behind Samson. He responded to my doubting by winning two of three Stag Hen matches. Dulle took a couple close losses to Brandeis and Swat, but has wins over PP, CNU, and UMW. I’ll throw some bias out the window here and give Joey the win. Redlands, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
#4 Singles: Samson (Wesleyan) vs Ly (Redlands). Somehow, Samson only won 1 match at the Stag Hen. He was up 7-6 (10), 3-5 against Wildman and retired after CMS won the match, he lost 11-9 in a super to Wynne after Wesleyan had already won the match, and he punished Concannon 1&0 in the 5th place match. I don’t think Ly has lost yet this year, but I think that Samson is the best opponent he will have faced so far this year. Gimme Joachim. Wesleyan, 6-2, 6-4.
#5 Singles: Daniels (Wesleyan) vs Suchodolski (Redlands). Daniels has been the only struggling singles player so far for the Cards, falling in both his singles appearances at the Stag Hen. Granted he played tough opponents, but considering Wesleyan’s inordinate depth I’m not sure how long leash any of the bottom of the lineup guys really have. Suchodolski, on the other hand, has been rolling recently. I think this is another match that Redlands probably needs to win, and the senior comes through. Redlands, 7-6 (2), 6-2.
#6 Singles: Carter (Wesleyan) vs Davis (Redlands). Now we get into troublesome territory, as the overall match score is 4-4 and we have two freshman playing at #6. Carter was put in the lineup against Skidmore after fellow freshman Holtzmann lost quickly against CMS. Carter responded with two straight set wins over Skid and Case, and my guess is he keeps the final spot for now. Davis has played #6 for the Dawgs all season, and his only loss came in Redlands’ biggest match, when he fell 2&0 to Josh Gearou of PP. Both guys should be plenty fresh considering neither plays doubles, but I’ll take Princeton “Blue Ivy” Carter to get it done. Wesleyan, 6-3, 6-2.
Conclusion: Well, if D3West or D3West2 had chimed in, they might have seen this match go another way, but I’m sticking with what I know, and what I know is Wesleyan is a dangerous team who deserves to be in the top-10. If Redlands takes them down, they will prove to me that they also merit the same designation. Until that time, #RollCards. Wesleyan 5-4.