Welcome to the best weekend of fall tennis in all of division three! With all due respect to each of my counterparts, not one of their ITA’s stack up to New England. I’m going to go ahead and rub my Northeast crystal ball (yes, it’s a real thing) and try to predict the outcomes from what is sure to be a wild Day 1. As the tournament progresses I’ll recap each day’s action and preview the next day’s matches that are already set. I’m not going to forecast the entire bracket because, as we all know, I will be wrong (probably more than I am right) and I’m not going to waste your time by predicting matches that will likely never happen. Just so you don’t think I’m coping out of making a long-term predictions, I’m calling Micheli/Harron over Jonston/Lebovitz in the doubles finals, and the 4 singles semifinalists will be Fritz, Fitzgibbons, Campbell, and Yaraghi. In the singles finals, Yaraghi repeats, defeating Fritz in a match that Garner decided to play back at Amherst on Monday. This will be rather informal so that I can get through all of the day’s action. Keep checking back for further updates. You can find the draws at the following sites:
1st round singles
#1 Joey Fritz (Amherst) vs. JC Cangelosi (Conn)
-Fritz in straight sets. Cangelosi is a solid player and should play at the top of Conn’s lineup this year, but shouldn’t prove too tough a test for the overall favorite.
Brad Wong (Tufts) vs. Kevin Wang (MIT)
-Wang in a super. Wang is the more experienced of the two, and while the freshman Wong will undoubtedly make an impact for the Jumbos this year, I’m taking experience in a close match.
Hugh Mo (Bowdoin) vs. Nathan Taschereau (Colby-Sawyer)
-I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know too much about either player (it happens to the best of us.) This is likely a matchup between the Colby-Sawyer #1 and a bottom of the lineup Bowdoin player. However, Mo did win his flight at Brown earlier this fall, so I’ll take the freshman in two close sets.
Rutendo Mantingo (Trin) vs. #9-16Brantner Jones (Midd)
-This is potentially one of the better 1st round matchups. However, Jones will be too much for the Trinity freshman. Jones in a close straight setter.
#9-16 Nikola Telkedzhiev (Tufts) vs. Carl Reid (Colby)
-Though Reid is Colby’s top recruit in recent history, he drew a strong, solid player in Telkedzhiev. Tufts in straight sets.
Rohan Shastri (Williams) vs. Michael Arguello (Brandeis)
-A matchup between freshmen, and unfortunately for the Judges I don’t think it’s close. Shastri easily through to the 2nd.
Robert Renfrow (Coast Guard) vs. Joe Gianelli (Springfield)
-Another matchup about which I know nothing about. Props to the Coast Guard for doing what they do, Renfrow in straights.
Chase Savage (Bowdoin) vs. #8 Dan Carpenter (Trin)
-Tough matchup for Savage. I think he’s on the way to doing good things for the Polar Bears, unfortunately he plays a better (lefthanded) version of himself in Carpenter. Trinity’s #1 moves on in a close straight set win.
#6 Teddy Fitzgibbons (Midd) vs. Jonah Feit (Wheaton)
-Feit is a good player, split matches with Zhang (MIT) last year, and unfortunately did not get to finish their rubber match in the conference tournament. That being said, Fitzgibbons is playing at a higher level than he ever has before, Fitzy in straights.
Sean Cullen (UMass Boston) vs. Eric Chien (Bowdoin)
-Chien hasn’t seen much action over his career and while Cullen is the top player for UMass Boston I don’t see either of these players making it past the 2nd round. Chien in a super.
Stephen Monk (Wesleyan) vs. Ryan Bunis (Brandeis)
-The Wesleyan Captain against a Brandeis freshman. Monk will be too solid for the freshmen, and the Card moves on in straight sets.
Michael Solimano (Amherst) vs. #9-16 Timmy Berg (Bates)
-Another great 1st round matchup. If this match is inside this could have upset potential. Solimano hits the crap out of the ball and Berg is nothing more than a glorified pusher. However I believe the weather this weekend should be crisp and clear up in Vermont. Berg out grinds Solimano in 2 close sets
#9-16 Brandon Roode (Nichols) vs. Brent Feldman (Bates)
-Roode finally gets the notoriety he deserves! And he owns it, beating the Bates freshman in straight sets.
Aaron Revzin (Amherst) vs. Courtney Mountifield (Midd)
-GREAT 1st round matchup between two guys who will likely play around the same place in their team’s lineups. These two could easily play again with the NESCAC championship on the line. Mountifield in a super.
Luke Trinka (Bowdoin) vs. Jake Roberts (Wesleyan)
-Trinka is generally a stronger doubles player, and Roberts recently took out Micheli in the (brilliantly reviewed) Williams/Wesleyan dual match. Roberts in straight sets.
Roberto Perez (Babson) vs. #4 Matt Micheli (Williams)
-For Micheli to get his opportunity for revenge on Roberts, he will have to get past the crafty Perez in the 1st round. He will, in straight sets.
#3 Edwin Zhang (MIT) vs. Charles Lai (UMass Boston)
-Though Zhang won’t have his indoor advantage if the weather does stay clear, he’ll get through this match with ease. Zhang in straights.
Chris Ellis (Bates) vs. Brian Astrachan (Williams)
-Could be a tight one, I’m interested to see how Bates’ top recruit this year plays against Williams’ top recruit from last year. I’ll take the experience, Astrachan in 2 close sets.
Jackson Frons (Midd) vs. Danny Sharon (Wheaton)
-Another Midd bottom of the lineup hopeful taking on Wheaton’s 3 from last year. The NESCAC shows its strength. Frons in straights.
Josh Suneby (Conn) vs. #9-16 Sam King (Bowdoin)
-Suneby’s another solid player, but won’t have the intensity to match King’s on-court antics. King in straight sets.
#9-16 Myles Tang (Amherst) vs. Alex Schidlovsky (Williams)
-Another excellent 1st round matchup between two NESCAC powerhouses. Two 4 star recruits battling it out, I’ll stick with the seed and take the Minnesotan. Tang in a super.
Mark Guentart (Coast Guard) vs. Jason Ottomano (Colby)
-Does anyone else feel like this must be Ottomano’s 8th year of college tennis? I’ll take the senior, Ottomano in straights
Myles Utell (Colby Sawyer) vs. Michael King (Wesleyan)
-Not much to say here, King in 2 easy sets.
Eugene Oh (MIT) vs. #5 Palmer Campbell (Midd)
-Oh had a great season at #4 for MIT last year, but he won’t be able to stick with Campbell. Palmer in 2 close sets
#7 Jay Glickman vs. Conrad Harron (Williams)
-I’m officially putting Glickman on upset alert. You have to be bold to do what I do and not get paid for it, so here is the big 1st round upset. Harron over Glickman in straight sets.
Zach Hall (Gordon) vs. Tanner Devarennes (Springfield)
-Hall played one of last year’s marathon matches to remember when he beat Nichols 6-7 (7), 7-6 (7), 10-5, but he’s going down to the Springfield freshman. Tanner in a super.
Chris Dale (Amherst) vs. Michael Liu (Wesleyan)
-I know I talked up Wesleyan’s young guns in my Middlebury Invitational recap, but I’m not sure Liu will be able to easily go from cruising through the C flight at Midd to taking out one of the nation’s best #5’s in Dale. It’ll be close though. Dale in a super.
Brian Granoff (Brandeis) vs. #9-16 Alex Johnston (Midd)
-This should be exactly the tune-up match that Johnston will need to get his mojo working again (baby). Johnston in straight sets.
#9-16 Howie (Lil) Weiss vs. Rob Jacobson (Tufts)
-2 good young players, one better than the other. Weiss in 2 long sets.
Kenny Gea (MIT) vs. Victor Vu (Babson)
-3-star California freshman vs. 2-star California sophomore. Now we all know that stars mean nothing once you get to college, that being said gimme the freshman in a super.
Peter Yanofsky (Bates) vs. Carlos de la Cruz (Nichols)
-Nichols #5 from last year against a Bates senior who wasn’t in their singles lineup. Gotta go with the NESCAC. Yanofsky in 2 sets.
Musyoka Mbithi (Trin) vs. #2 Alex Yaraghi (Amherst)
-Mbithi is a good player, but let’s show the defending champ some love. Let’s see what he can do this year with a year of Garner under his belt. Yaraghi in straight sets.
1ST ROUND DOUBLES
Let me start off by saying that predicting doubles is even more of an imprecise science (aka crapshoot) than the singles. That being said, here goes nothing…
#1 Revzin/Solimano (Amherst) vs. Roode/De la Cruz (Nichols)
-Looks like pretty easy 1st round match for our 1 seeds. Roode is a good player, but De la Cruz played mainly 3rd doubles last year. Amherst 8-4.
Cullen/Lai (UMass Boston) vs. Taschereau/Utell (Colby-Sawyer)
-The 1st round match I know least about. I had Cullen taking a set in his 1st round singles match. I’ll hedge my bets and take the Colby-Sawyer team 8-6.
Baynor/Danielwicz (Springfield) vs. Brint/Hicks (Wesleyan)
-Wesleyan is mixing up their doubles teams from last week’s dual match. Brint is more of a power player while Hicks is smaller and has quick hands. I think this team should play well together and beat the Springfield team 8-3.
Forta/Guentert (Coast Guard) vs. #5-8 Bogard/Yanofsky (Bates)
-Forta/Guentert played together for all of last year, so there’s some experience there. Bogard/Yanofsky scored the upset of the tournament at Middlebury, but they weren’t even a passable #3 team last spring. I’m sticking with the NESCAC, but real close. Bates in a breaker.
#5-8 Yaraghi/Zykov (Amherst) vs. King/Chien (Bowdoin)
-Solid 1st round matchup, excited to watch this Amherst team play because they could be a force for many years to come. Amhert’s young guns take the match 8-5.
Perez/Vu (Babson) vs. Campbell/Jones (Midd)
-Campbell and Jones have to be a darkhorse to not only make a run, but win this tournament. 2 brilliant singles players, and they have home court advantage. Midd 8-3
Wang/Oh (MIT) vs. Glickman/Telkedzhiev (Tufts)
-Great 1st round matchup, and I’m taking the mini upset and going with the Engineers. MIT, 9-7.
Reiffler/Ferreyros (Trin) vs. #3 Micheli/Harron (Williams)
-Even if Micheli were playing with my grandmother I’d still have a hard time picking against him in this tournament. But he’s playing with one of the top d3 recruits in the country. Trinity’s young bucks should put up a fight early, but Williams takes it 8-4.
#4 Trinka/Savage (Bowdoin) vs. Schidlovsky/Astrachan (Williams)
-Another great 1st round matchup. Trinka and Savage have proven that they play well together, and should be Bowdoin staples for the next 3 years. But they’re going against a Williams team about which you could basically say the same thing. The only difference is that the Polar Bears have played with each other. Bowdoin, 8-6
Carpenter/Mbithi (Trin) vs. Berg/Ellis (Bates)
-I’ve gone back and forth on this matchup. It’s intriguing because I think both teams have high potential, but just aren’t quite there yet. Berg and Carpenter are both solid players. Berg serves a bit bigger, but Carpenter hits a bigger ball from the baseline. I’m giving the edge to Trinity because I like Mbithi’s experience over Ellis’. Bantams, 8-6.
Jacobson/Wong (Tufts) vs. Granoff/Arguello (Brandeis)
-I’m very interested to see how this Tufts team plays together. This is a young team that could provide some much needed depth in the Jumbo’s doubles lineup. The two freshmen from Brandeis won’t know what hit them. Tufts, 8-2.
Fife/Fritz (Amherst) vs. #5-8 Smolyer/Mountifield (Midd)
-This is a tricky matchup. I don’t know why Fife isn’t playing singles, but he’s a good player who knows how to win. Fritz is a wonderful singles player and has one of the sexiest backhands in the country, but has never been that successful of a doubles player. Amherst is going up against a Midd team that I believe is their 3rd best (tough they did beat Campbell/Jones in the Middlebury Invitational finals.) Without having to grind through singles as well, I’ll take Fife and Amherst, 9-8.
#5-8 Zhang/Wu (MIT) vs. Raventos/Shastri (Williams)
-Upset alert. The Williams frosh come out firing and take down a dangerous MIT team fairly routinely. 8-5.
Ottomano/Martin (Colby) vs. Rudovsky/Lyon (Wesleyan)
-I’ve been talking up the Cards since last spring, so I’m hoping this will be the team that rewards me. Wesleyan, 8-4.
Feit/Sharon (Wheaton) vs. Ordway/Ruta (Bates)
-Wheaton pairs their top two singles players for their only doubles bid at this ITA, and they draw a Bates team that must’ve been lucky to make it into this tournament. I’m going with experience and taking the mini-upset in the Lyons, 8-6.
Deeter/Kraiger (Conn) vs. #2 Johnston/Lebovitz (Midd)
-Last match of the 1st round. Don’t know what happened to this Middlebury team a few weeks ago, but I’m looking for a rebound. Midd takes it convincingly, 8-1.
I’ll be back tomorrow night to recap the day’s events and laugh about just how wrong I was.
In addition to the recap, I’ll be previewing day 2 action.
Good luck to everybody!