According to D3West, the #2 rule of being a blogger is “don’t let blogging get in the way of your personal life”. He still won’t tell me what rule #1 is. Anyway, I bring this up as I was traveling last week and didn’t have the chance to write my weekly Regional Roundup. However, this week, I’ve spent about twenty hours on the blog between sitting in our Live Blog Google Doc, watching the Stag-Hen, and writing our Live Blog recap, which you can check out here. However, as all good regional writers know, there is more than just the Stag-Hen, so I really wanted to bang out a quick regional roundup to precap some of my teams. I’m a little crunched for time this week, so this article will
be a little shorter have more grammar errors than you might be used to from me, but that’s the price you have to pay sometimes for #content. Alright, let’s get right into it.
The Week that Was (using rankings from 3/2):
The Judges suffered a tough loss at the hands of the NYU Violets last weekend, and I’m actually pretty surprised at how it happened. NYU came out and took #2 and #3 doubles pretty darn easily, and then won in straights at #1, #4, and #6 to get the win. The most surprising results was probably Umberto Setter winning 1 and 2 at #1 singles over Michael Arguello, who isn’t exactly struggling, but still isn’t quite as elite as he was in the fall. Brandeis actually moved up 2 spots in the rankings due to their earlier win over Stevens, but this is still a tough blow to their UAA seeding.
The Mules started off their season on the right foot with a solid win over TCNJ. One of my favorite regional doubles teams in Vlad Murad/Carl Reid got it done in doubles along with Scott Altmeyer/Zale Shah at #3, and the top 4 spots in the Mules singles lineup got it done after that, including Vlad Murad and Scott Altmeyer, who both won in straights at 2 and 3. Overall, this was a nice start to the season for the seniors Reid, Murad, and Cameron Hillier.
NYU backed up their impressive win over the Judges with another win over one of my NE regional teams, this time the Colby Mules. The Violets again jumped out to a 2-1 doubles lead with wins at #2 and #3, and although Carl Reid and Vlad Murad won in straights at their two
spots, the Violets won fairly easy matches at #3-5 to clinch. This is another statement win by the Violets, who will continue their season next week with matches against Kalamazoo, Hobart, and Rochester. For the Mules, this is a tough result after their solid win over TCNJ, but they will get back after it this weekend in Cali!
The Poets have been a busy group of guys lately, playing six matches in the last week. The best wins for Whitter were over Vassar and Trin CT. Vassar has a good win over Rochester this year, and Whittier played great, sweeping the doubles and taking #3-5 singles, with 4 and 5 being in three sets.
Against the Bantams, Whittier jumped out to a 2-1 lead, and then took #1, #3, and #5 singles. Andrew You in particular got a very easy but also a solid win over senior Rutendo Matingo of Trinity. Although Trin was technically #31 in the country for this match, this win as expected did not vault Whittier into the national rankings, but instead knocked Trin out. This has been a good week for the Poets though, who now have four wins in a row over Hardin-Simmons, Trinity (CT), Vassar, and Wheaton (MA). For a team that finished 3-17 just two years ago, this is a nice sign for a Poets team that is getting better and better.
Last Sunday, Lewis & Clark played host to Whitman in what was essentially the match for the #1 seed at the NWC conference tournament. Whitman took the win fairly easily, but the Pios put out a solid effort. They got the win at #2 doubles, 8-6, but fell 9-8 at #3 and 8-5 at #1, so none of these matches were blowouts. In singles, Michael Brewer continued his comeback season with a straight set win at #2 over Petar Jivkov. Raed Attia and Gordon Barrows both lost in 3 sets at #1 and #3, respectively, and the Pios lost in straights at #4-6. If the Pios are to have a chance to beat Whitman in their conference tournament, it’s going to have to be with doubles and the top 3 spots in their lineup.
I just wanted to call out this match quickly as it was nearly a disastrous loss for the Boxers, who pulled the classic “sitting a couple of guys to get them rest and get other guys some matches” move. Missing for the Boxers was their #1 Clark Wininger, their #3 Josh Bernstein, and their #6 Griffin Fraser. Pacific won at #6 7-6 in the third to win the match and save their national ranking, but I am sure this is a lot closer than Coach Jackson intended! As great as it is to get guys matches, Pacific almost just lost to a team that is 1-6 in their conference. Pacific has George Fox tomorrow where I am betting they will have their full squad out there.
The Week to Come (Using Current Rankings):
I’m running out of time, so let’s start with Colby, who is heading out to sunny California on their Spring Break!
#37 Colby vs. Chapman
#37 Colby vs. #5 Chicago
#37 Colby vs. Caltech
#37 Colby vs. St. Lawrence
#37 Colby vs. #14 Tufts
#37 Colby vs. Occidental
Colby has a jammed pack Spring Break with six matches in five days, and a great range of top ranked teams, to teams ranked right around where they are, to teams they should beat rather easily. Chicago will clearly be the toughest match for the Mules, though it will be interesting to see Carl Reid vs. David Liu and Vlad Murad vs. Nick Chua, assuming Chicago puts out their top guys.
Colby vs. Tufts is the most important match for the Mules, and a great chance to get a statement NESCAC win. Tufts has a lot of unknowns this year, and their ranking may be a little inflated thanks to their Amherst win last year. I think Colby will have some decent chances at the top of their lineup, so while Colby will definitely be the underdogs, they will have chances if they can come out and play really solid doubles.
Caltech and Chapman are two potentially dangerous matches for the Mules, and they should be sure not to overlook either one. Cal Tech gets pumped for these east comes teams to come out to Cali, and they will be playing free and easy to try to get what would now be a ranked win. I do think Colby is overall the deeper and stronger team, but similar to the Colby Tufts match, if Tech plays hot in doubles, they have some depth with Miha Valencic at #5 and Connor Soohoo at #6 to make things interesting. Colby should be a pretty good favorite over Chapman, and although Carl Reid vs. Charlie Werman at #1 should be a great match, I don’t think Colby will be in trouble unless they are swept in doubles. For the matches against Occidental and St. Lawrence, Colby should get through these relatively easily, and I don’t expect an upset unless we get a doubles sweep.
Alright, I’m starting to tire, but I’m grinding it out over here. Here are some quick hits at some of the other action happening over the weekend!
#30 Brandeis @ #4 Middlebury:
Brandeis will try to rebound from their tough loss against NYU with a Saturday trip up to Middlebury to take on the Panthers. Midd is coming off of an easy 8-1 win over a Bates team that is probably pretty comparable to Brandeis, and if Brandeis is to win, it will probably be in a very similar way to how Bates could have won, with doubles and middle of the singles lineup. The Judges doubles has been, as usual, very hit or miss this year, taking 2 of 3 against CMS, sweeping Caltech, getting swept by Redlands, and losing 2 of 3 to NYU. I really do think they will need a sweep here to have a chance in singles. For the singles, I think Brian Granoff at #2, Ryan Bunis at #3 (though Bunis has not played in the past couple of matches), and Tyler Ng at #4 are the big keys. Lubomir Cuba beat Michael Arguello fairly easy in the ITA final in the fall, and Arugello is not playing as well now as he was back then. Midd is the heavy favorite, but Brandeis has enough firepower right in the middle of their lineup to keep it interesting if they play good doubles.
George Fox @ #32 Pacific (OR):
#31 Lewis & Clark @ George Fox:
George Fox will be traveling to Pacific and then playing host to Lewis & Clark this weekend. While all three of these teams will probably make the NWC tournament, the goal here is really to get a #2 or #3 seed and avoid a first-round match against Whitman. The Bruins have already played the Pios this year, falling 8-1, getting a total of nine games at #3-6 singles. Spencer Watanabe continued his fine year with a 3-set win over Raed Attia at #1, but the Bruins will need more than just him to pull the upset. I do think the Bruins have a better shot to take out Pacific, and Watanabe vs. Clark Wininger should be a terrific matchup, but I think #2-4 in singles really favors the Boxers. I will go with a 7-2 loss for the Bruins against Lewis & Clark and a 6-3 loss to Pacific.
Vassar @ Caltech:
This is actually a terrific matchup between two very different schools, with the one thing they share being their Power 6 rating, which stands at 65 for both. They also share a great #1 singles player, in Nick Litsky for Vassar and Ruthwick Pathireddy for Caltech. While these two schools are incredibly evenly matched, I think Caltech is just a little mentally tougher, and I like them to come through on their home courts, 5-4.
#24 UW-Whitewater @ Whittier:
As a non-central writer, I won’t pretend to know a whole lot about UW-Whitewater, but I do know they look to be having a down year, with an 8-1 loss to Gustavus Adolphus, and tight 5-4 wins over Carthage (power 6 of 60) and Wheaton of Illinois. In step Whittier, who will be gunning for an upset and is playing well with four straight victories on their home courts. Whitewater has a power 6 rating of 67 vs. 65 for Whittier. I think this will come down to doubles, and that senior Andrew You of Whittier will have a big impact. I’m going to go with the upset and go 5-4 Whittier!
That’s all I have this week! Time to go home and watch some basketball!