NCAA Final Four Preview: CMS vs Middlebury

Hey dudes and dudettes, it’s D3ASouth again. I have nothing to do with this preview whatsoever other than the fact that I half lead the blog with D3Northeast, so I am on this google doc for no reason and NE told me to write the intro. Middlebury and CMS represent two teams that happened to be picked by at least one blogger to win the whole damn thing. After two fairly easy matches today for both of these teams, it will be the exact opposite tomorrow. CMS is on a roll right now in doubles, and their singles has been well, their singles. Middlebury on the other hand has been consistent all year, with a strong doubles/singles lineup all the way through. Another cool backstory is that this is another Hansen/Settles battle, which was so explicitly laid out in a previous article in 2015. Anyways, I won’t take away from the two regional writers doing this preview, so I will let them go for it. My prediction is Middlebury, though!

MIDD VS CMS Box Score (04/01/2017): http://athletics.middlebury.edu/sports/mten/2016-17/files/CMSM.xtg

MIDDLEBURY

Power 6: 76.60. Lubomir Cuba (13.40), Will de Quant (13.19), Hamid Derbani (12.77), Kyle Schlanger (12.74), Timo van der Geest (12.21), Allen Jackson (12.29).

Quarterfinal Recap: Midd breezed through its quarterfinal with GAC today. Taking a tightly contested 2-1 doubles lead and then winning 5-1 without dropping a singles set in any of the six matches. I know the Panthers were favored, but that’s impressive stuff. It shows that the middle of Midd’s lineup came ready to play, especially De Quant, who logged a big win at #1 dubs against a very good GAC team and then rolled through his singles match against last week’s hero Zach Ekstein. Midd’s semifinal against CMS will almost certainly be a stiffer test. Yes, the Panthers have already beaten the Stags at a neutral site this year, but that was without Glenn Hull and/or anything resembling successful doubles from the Stags. Now, CMS appears to have found both of those things (AVZ can confirm that after a rousing game of hide and seek at practice last week, Glenn Hull has indeed been found), which makes them as dangerous, if not more so than any team in the country. I think you can pretty much take the old box score I listed in the intro and ignore it at this point. What you can’t ignore, is a thirst for revenge. Midd has it for last year’s finals, CMS has it from their loss to Midd earlier this year. 

CMS

Power 6: 77.34 Niko Parodi (12.89), Glenn Hull (13.37), Daniel Morkovine (13.01), Max Macey (12.88), Daniel Park (12.43), Alex Brenner (12.76).

Quarterfinal Recap: CMS notched its second consecutive doubles sweep and finished the match quickly with singles wins from Parodi and Macey. The Cards put up a fight in singles with sets against the almighty Glenn Hull and Alex Brenner, but when the Stags swept doubles it was all over but the shouting.

If the last two matches are any indication, CMS doubles is peaking at the right time, but it’s such a small sample size, I don’t know whether or not to trust it. Also of note are the impressive performances from freshmen Niko Parodi, Jake Berber (sick doubles play), Jake Williams (more sick doubles play) and Daniel Park (up a set and a break on Cam Daniels), who both responded to the pressure of the Elite Eight in a big way. Coming in, it was thought that singles prowess and four seniors would lift CMS to victory, but it was all doubles and freshmen today.

MATCH BY MATCH PREVIEW

#1 doubles: Cuba/De Quant (Midd) vs. Parodi/Morkovine (CMS)

Regular season result: N/A

West: I think it’s pretty clear that the X-Factor in this match will be CMS doubles. Will they continue their hot streak (of two matches), or regress to the mean? I’ve picked Midd in my bracket and in my public picks, but now I’m having some big time buyer’s remorse. I’ll take Cuba/De Quant 8-6

NE: This should be some fun doubles, as both top doubles teams got wins over very good opponents in the quarterfinals. I am more convinced by CMS’ doubles depth than I am in this top team, even though both guys are great singles players. Midd, 8-5.

#2 doubles: Derbani/Schlanger (Midd) vs. Berber/Hull (CMS)

Regular season result: N/A

West: Berber and Hull are clearly on fire, and Derbani/Schlanger are coming off a disappointing loss to GAC. All four players have solid returns here, and I expect plenty of breaks. Look for a late Midd break to keep the Panthers in this one. 8-6 Midd.

NE: Ding ding ding, we’ve hit the swing match. Berber and Hull really impressed me today, beating a very good Wesleyan #2 team and doing so by taking big points at the most crucial times of the match. Derbani and Schlanger have some very good wins this year, but are nowhere close to unbeatable, as evidenced by their loss today. I think this is the last match on, and it’s a match that Midd might need if they are going to win. Midd 9-8 (4).

#3 doubles: Van der Geest/Martin (Midd) vs. Gordy/Williams (CMS)

Regular season result: N/A

West: I absolutely love Gordy at #3 doubles for CMS here. Both teams are relatively young in terms of partnership, but Gordy has played some big time matches, has great returns, and really knows how to dominate the net. I can’t say I’ve seen the Midd duo play, but I’ll take the Stags anyways. 9-8.

NE: I hate agreeing with all three of D3West’s picks, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. This Midd team looked the best of its three today with an easy dispatching of GAC, but the CMS team also ran out to a 7-0 lead, then lost six consecutive games before getting the point 8-6. Some of you might say that shows their instability, but I think winning a clinching game after losing six straight shows moxy. CMS, 8-4.

#1 singles: Lubo Cuba (Midd-sophomore) vs. Niko Parodi (CMS-freshman)

Regular season result: Cuba def. Parodi 6-4, 6-4

West: You can throw that regular season result out the window for all the good it will do you here. Parodi has been channelling the competitive ghost of Andre Agassi over the past couple weeks, and he avenged one of his regular season losses today in resounding fashion. Cuba has been potentially the best player in the country all year, but I’m going with the hot hand in three close sets. Parodi 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

NE: My oh my do I hope this is the featured match on the live stream tomorrow. Two of the best five players in the country, and it could well be a preview of an Individuals matchup in a few days time. Both guys have the tendency to play long matches too, and I think this one could easily go the distance, but I’m going with #LUBE. Midd, 7-5, 6-4.

#2 singles: William de Quant (Midd-junior) vs. Glenn Hull (CMS-senior)

Regular season result: N/A

West: Of course it’s important to note here that Hull missed CMS’ mid-season loss to Middlebury, and as a West region fan, I’m hoping that’s what makes the difference for the Stags. I’ll stick with the senior until he loses, even though he was down a set today. CMS 6-4, 7-5.

NE: Hull looked more vulnerable than he has all year earlier today, down a set to Michael Liu, and I don’t think he’ll be able to get by De Quant in the semifinal based solely on his sunny and shining personality. He’ll need that rope of a forehand back. Kind of like I said about Wolfe in the first semifinal preview De Quant is another guy I would want out there competing when his team’s life was on the line. Yes, I know he just lost that very match against Urken at NESCACs, but I still feel that way. Sue me. Midd leads, 3-6, 6-4, 1-0.

#3 singles: Hamid Derbani (Midd-senior) vs. Daniel Morkovine (CMS-senior)

Regular season result: N/A

West: Derbani was one of just two Panthers to lose in the regular season meeting, and he was playing Wildman, who would probably be playing #5 if he were healthy here. In a matchup of seniors, I’m going to go with Mork, whose patient game can weather Derbani’s storm as long as they’re playing on slower outdoor courts. Mork 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 (clinch)

NE: Derbani looked good in singles today, while Mork was locked in a battle with Eusebio. However, in a battle of seniors, I believe that Stag has a significantly better matchup. This could go for a while as well, but I think Mork comes out firing after losing a close doubles match and takes this one for his Stags. CMS, 6-4, 6-2.

#4 singles: Kyle Schlanger (Midd-junior) vs. Max Macey (CMS-senior)

Regular season result: N/A

West: This is a matchup of singles strengths, with Macey picking up a win today to add to his sterling season and Schlanger coming in at 16-3 on the season at #2, #3, and now #4. Not bad. As much as I would love to go with my fantasy player, Macey has looked indomitable lately. He’s as consistent as they come, and his forehand is looking like more of a weapon than ever. Both players have plenty of championship experience. This is another match that favors Midd indoors, but I’m going with Macey outdoors 6-3, 7-6.

NE: Both of these guys have been fantastic this spring, and both do have some NCAA experience. Macey really impressed me today against Joachim Samson, and while Schlanger beat Park in straight sets earlier this year, a hot Macey should present a more difficult matchup. The longer this match goes, the more I like Macey, as Schlanger has struggled in 3-setters over his career. CMS leads, 3-6, 6-3, 4-1.

#5 singles: Timo Van der Geest (Midd-junior) vs. Daniel Park (CMS-freshman)

Regular season result: N/A

West: Both Van der Geest and Park are probably the biggest question marks in their respect teams’ singles lineups, but both came up big today. Here is where Midd’s championship experience starts to take over for them. Though not a consistent starter, Van der Geest has seen time at #6 singles in pressure situations in each of Middlebury’s previous two runs to the championship match. I think that experience pushes him over the edge here. Midd 7-6, 6-2.

NE: This is where I’m going to disagree with D3West. Yes, Park is a freshman and something of a wild card, but he looked pretty good against a great #5 today in Cam Daniels. While TVG has seen time at #6 in pressure situations over the past couple years, those matches usually ended unhappily for The Geest. I like the Stag freshman to get it done here. CMS, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

#6 singles: Allen Jackson (Midd-senior) vs. Alex Brenner (CMS-senior)

Regular season result: Brenner def. Jackson 6-3, 6-2

West: The immortal Allen Jackson knows how to grind, but Brenner clearly had his number in Texas. Here are two players who have perpetually been on the outskirts of their respective teams’ lineups, and now they’re thrust into the biggest match of their careers against each other. Unlike the other matchups, I think this one actually favors Brenner if they head indoors. Looking at the results from today, Jackson had a healthy lead over his teammates’ younger brother, and Brenner was having a hard time with The Hurricane. I really have no idea to be completely honest, but call me Ray Guy because I’m punting again. 6-7 (16), 7-6 (18), unf.

NE: Strangely, I don’t really trust either of these seniors. That being said, I think that one has a higher ceiling than the other. We’ve rooted for Jackson over the course of his career thanks to his Blog following and the fact that he is a 9th semester senior making his comeback from injury. I would love him to get this big win for his team, but I’m going with Yule. CMS, 6-4, 6-3.

Overall prediction:

West: CMS def. Middlebury 5-3.

NE: In my regionally biased heart, Midd def CMS 5-3 setting up a finals rematch with Bowdoin, but in my brain CMS def Midd 5-2.

  1 comment for “NCAA Final Four Preview: CMS vs Middlebury

  1. Greg Janssen
    May 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Is there video for this match? Or is there no video for indoor matches?

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