About 4 years ago, I started a tradition for the UAA (and Indoors for that matter) where I started to highlight things that happen in the UAA Tournament OUTSIDE of what happens in the matches. As someone who absolutely appreciates the UAA Tournament, it seems necessary to give everyone the true experience as well. This year, we will continue that tradition and I will have the help from the regional writers, D3Regional, D3RegionalNEC, and for some reason, D3RegionalAS. Not sure why RegAS is here but what else can he do on a Tuesday night in the middle of Nebraska. In this article, we will cover everything UAA outside of the quarterfinal matchups. That means the implications, the famous UAA Seniors section, a food section, and the 10 things to watch for the UAA Tournament.
Let’s start with implications, and I’m really looking at a few teams here that really need this tournament. We can start at the top though, because that just makes logical sense. For Emory, they just want to stay the course, which is something I say every year. A win for them means a top 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, meaning they’ll definitely avoid any tough matchup with a Bowdoin or Chicago in the Elite 8. They’ll still probably avoid that, but a loss to Chicago, Wash U, or CMU would potentially send them down to a 4 or 5 seed and that wouldn’t be all too dandy. For Chicago, Wash U, and CMU, none of these teams want to finish fourth in the tournament. Order of nervousness goes from Chicago -> CMU, with CMU being the team that’s hanging on for their lives as you may know. Chicago and Wash U are probably still going to make it with a 4th place finish, as Chicago has a direct win over Williams and Wash U just beat Chicago. For Case Western, this is a team that basically needs two wins over CMU and Emory/Chicago/Wash U for even a chance at the NCAA Tournament. This is going to be an uphill battle for them but I never really like to count them out. Brandeis and NYU will be two teams looking to get a potential 5th place in this tournament. Brandeis was initially called out as a team that could potentially pull this upset and is coming off a giant win against MIT. NYU, meanwhile, has played good tennis all year round and comes in with the 6 seed. Both teams are dangerous in the back draw. Rochester seems to be the odd man out here – they used to play hard against NYU for the 7th place match but it looks like there has been a dropoff this year as they were hit by some graduations. Rochester wants to end the year on a high note, and it will be a very good effort if they get a win in the tournament.
Shoutout to the Seniors
I have been doing this seniors section for two years now and it has always been a big hit. I think we should all take some time to recognize seniors that have put their 4 years (and some more) into their programs, and for many, these will be the last matches of their careers. It’s a sad feeling to go out from something that meant so much for you, and we like to make them feel good by giving each one blurb to send them off into the sunset. I’ve recruited D3Regional and RegionalNEC to give me some thoughts on their regional teams, and I’ll take the ASouth and Central teams.
Sam Leeman: The big guy with a big serve. Sam has had a nice career for the ‘Jackets, and can often been found with a big ol’ smile from ear to ear. Here’s hoping he’s got more to smile about this weekend.
Ryan Zu: Mr. Zu’s graduation will mark the end of the Zu era for Rochester tennis, as his sister was also a Yellowjacket a few years ago. Rumor is that Ryan is responsible for the cozy hammock that can often be found around Sanlando Park during UAAs.
Matt DeMichiel: An avid blog reader for four years, Matty Ice has been a mainstay for NYU for four years, quite an impressive feat at a school with a very high turnover rate on their roster. He earned first team all-UAA last year, so he knows how to win at Sanlando. Watch out for Matt again this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another monster weekend to cap off a great career.
Umberto Setter: The lefty from Switzerland has had a great senior year, currently sitting at #17 in the Northeast after making the final of the Northeast ITA in the fall. He’s got a cool one handed background and has some sweet action shots on the NYU Athletics website. If you’re at Sanlando this weekend and hear shouts of “Forza!,” it’s probably Umbe.
Sammy Aronson: Another lefty, Sammy hasn’t seen any action this year on the court, but he hasn’t been sitting around. His twitter fingers have been leaving it all out there, as @NYUTennis has emerged as a popular account this year. Perhaps inspired by the Commander in Chief, the account tweets what it wants, when it wants, and holds no prisoners when it comes to offending people. Love it or hate it, good on ya Sammy for the provocative content.
Josh Goodman: Josh Goodman has long been a contributing member of the Emory team, and he’s long been one of the loudest players on the court at UAAs. A true team leader, Goodman has made appearances on TV – but I believe his biggest contributions have been to the Emory squad. His most memorable quote was when playing Wash U – “It’s only 60 degrees in St. Louis, boys.” referencing the fact that it’s pretty darn hot down in Florida. Goodman will be sure to bring the fireworks in his last match.
Aman Manji: A true class act, Manji is one of the most well liked players on the circuit. Known for his grinding baseline game as well as his calm demeanor on the court, Manji is the perfect complement to Goodman on Emory. Manji started as a bench player for Emory and has worked his way to being a National Champion and a top 5 player in the nation. Manji and his amazing attitude will surely be missed on the Eagles squad.
Kiril Kirkov: Part of CMU’s stellar class of 2013, Kiril Kirkov began his career in stellar fashion. However, injuries the past two years have done him in and he has slowly made his way back to be a contributing player at the bottom of CMU’s lineup. Long considered one of the harder workers in the ASouth, Kirkov doesn’t say much but certainly takes it to you on the court. Hopefully he sends himself off with a couple of wins – he deserves it.
Kunal Wadwani: One of the loudest players on the CMU team, Wadwani can always be heard whether he be cheering from the court or the bench. Wadwani is known for his grind em down style and his ability to frustrate opponents with his consistency. If I were to pick one person as the heart and soul of CMU – it’d probably be him.
Kenny Zheng: I have never seen someone be in as many match-deciding matches as the man they call KZ. I’m almost always surprised when I see a KZ fist pump, it just doesn’t seem like the kid has emotions. Always cool and collected on the court, KZ will probably go out with another match deciding run. It just has to happen.
Jeremy Bush:I write a nice section on Bush later on in this article, but Bush has been a true contributor to the Wash U team for 4 years now. Oftentimes a fiery competitor, he embodied the never quit attitude that Wash U brings to the table as well as another Wash U quality – an intense rivalry with Emory. Never one to back down from a match (or an argument), Bush is known as one of the guys I certainly wouldn’t mess with..
John Carswell: From freshman sensation to sophomore slump to finally a damn good senior, John Carswell has gone about his business throughout the years to be one of the most successful players in Bears history. He’s certainly had a roller coaster career in terms of perception, but that has not once shown on his face when I’ve come in contact with him. A cool customer, Carswell’s massive forehand and somewhat weird forehand grip serve will certainly be missed.
Max Hawkins: One of the original Chicago members who has gone all 4 years as a doubles contributor. For some reason I remember him always carrying one of those tennis backpacks on the court instead of an actual tennis bag, and never once he complained about his spot in the Jay Tee lineup. Hawkins may only hold down one side of the court, but he is well-respected by his teammates and that goes a long way.
Peter Muncey: I will be totally honest – we haven’t seen much of Muncey throughout the years, but one this is for certain. This kid is going to go on to big things. He has three years of being an UAA All-Academic honoree which is a testament to his hard work off the court.
Adam Collins: Collins has been in and out of the Case lineup throughout his career with the Spartans, but he remains a true warrior in the Spartan system and that is saying something. The senior from Evanston, Illinois will be officially graduating with an Electrical Engineering degree from a strong school and has also won some UAA-Academia honors.
Fred Daum: No one had really heard much of Fred Daum until this year, when he was surprisingly slotted at #1 doubles with Benedetto this year. He’s had a stellar year so far and finally that four years of hard work has paid off! Daum will be graduating with a Chemical Engineering degree and is another senior who embodies Case Tennis – loud and confident on the court, with a workmanlike attitude about him.
Kevin Dong: When I see Kevin Dong play, I always think to myself – man, would it suck to play him. Especially if I weren’t fit enough to play a 5 set match. That’s what playing Kevin Dong is like. While his shots may not scare you all that much, his fitness and resiliency surely should. He also owns a relatively funny name in DIII, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination. A silent competitor on the court, he also gives me a bit of a surprise when he goes with the occasional fist pump.
Josh Dughi: The man who spurred D3Central into learning about modern hip hop, “Teach me how to Dughi” and Dong combined to become one of the toughest bottom of the lineup duos to play in the nation. Not a very tall player, Dughi grinds his opponents to dust whether it be indoors or outdoors. I believe it was him that clinched one of Case’s biggest wins over Wash U and Case probably wouldn’t have wanted anyone else on the court other than maybe The Real Krim Shady.
James Fojtasek: Fojtasek has always been a bit of a lightning rod on the court, especially when AVZ was the Central writer, but he has always owned it. James had one of the biggest wins in Case history over Kenny Zheng in the Sweet 16 over CMU about three years ago, sending Case to their first ever Elite 8. I am unsure if James will be redshirting to gain another year of eligibility since he was injured for a full year, but either way – Fojtasek is a warrior who has a ton of spunk. Most of the UAA will be glad if he goes.
Phillip Gruber: The Ohio native has been a doubles contributor for most of his career and that is no different than this year. You will notice that most of this senior class represents the Case Western way. Many of these guys were not highly talented recruits coming out of high school, yet here they are contributing for a top 15 team. Gruber is another case in point.
Ryan Bunis: @RBun35, a 2 star from Massachusetts, has been one of the best grinders for Brandeis, moving from #4 his freshman year behind Granoff and Arguello to #1 most of his junior and senior years. Hats off to a guy who has improved a heck of a lot over his four years, and here’s hoping he can grind out some singles and doubles wins this weekend.
Brian Granoff: The man known BG has played between #1 and #3 at Brandeis for four years, and after qualifying for NCAAs as a freshman, he has had a fantastic senior year, most recently grinding out a 6-0 third set win to help Brandeis beat MIT. Granoff will be a huge key to Brandeis’ success at UAA’s this weekend, and I’m hoping the guy from Miami can bring home some big Deis wins.
Michael Arguello: Mikey with the big backhand has had a great career for the Brandeis judges, with his most notable moment being his run to the ITA NE final this past fall. Mikey is a heck of a good #3 for the Brandeis Judges, and him along with Granoff will the key to Brandeis getting a big old upset. Congrats on a great career, dude.
Jeff Cherkin: Cherkin has had a solid doubles career for the Deis, with his best result being his sophomore year when him and Arguello teamed up to make the semis of the NE ITA. Cherk has been in and out of the lineup this year, but the big man with the big serve should be proud of his career.
And there you have it. Our seniors of the UAA, all being sent out with style. It’s been a great four years for every single one of these players, and I can proudly say I’ve blogged about each and every one of them for the whole duration of time. Shoutout to Regional and RegNEC for writing about their teams, as they were able to provide way more insight on the seniors than I would be able to. Also, I’d like to shoutout Sven Kranz, who seems to be no longer listed on the Chicago roster. Sven has always been an avid reader of the blog and an unbelievably nice guy. He suffered a torn ACL last year at NCAAs and it looks like it just wasn’t in the cards for him to come back this year. Sven will not be present at UAAs, but he put in a hard 3.5 years with a lot of ups, downs, praise, and criticism from the blog. Hats off to you, Sven.
Moving on now, we’ll go to a little fun section we call FOOD OF THE UAA. D3Regional and I will happily go through this section as we take you through some of the fun food of the UAA Tournament.
UAA Banquet: Everyone at the UAA tournament knows that Altamonte Springs is a mecca for food. The UAA tournament awkwardly starts with a day of matches the morning before the UAA banquet, though this year I believe it will start with the women. The UAA banquet typically consists of such fine cuisine as chicken marsala, a caesar salad, some rolls, some steak pizzaiola, baked ziti and of course, their cake.
Jason’s Deli: Big salad bar. Free Ice Cream. Baked Potatoes the size of a baby. Need I say more? No, but I will anyway. Jason’s Deli is the absolute ideal place for lunch for a college tennis team. Fast service, a nice array of menu items, and an affordable price. Don’t believe me? Go and see for yourself.
Jersey Mike’s: Typically the sandwich place of choice for CMU, Jersey Mike’s makes a heck of a sandwich that will beat Subway every day and twice on Sunday. Their italian sub is legendary, as they shave all their meat fresh, and you have to go with Mike’s Way, which includes oil and vinegar. Jason’s Deli and J. Mike’s are the classic post-match meal, and each team has their favorites.
Trainer snacks: Gatorade mix, five different types of granola bars, goldfish, fruit snacks, pretzels, and more. The gigantic bins of trainer snacks are a huge part of the UAA experience. For those who don’t have the privilege of being a top 6 player, snacking was basically the way that guys spent their weekend. Whatever you may think of the UAA tournament, one thing is clear, no one goes hungry in Altamonte springs.
Breakfast Buffet: Gotta love those awkward encounters in the line for eggs and bacon with the guy you’ll be battling with in a couple hours.
It’s always nice to talk food, you know. It seems like Regional and many others are a big fan of Jason’s Deli, which I can honestly say I’ve been to only once. I’d be remiss not to mention House of Beers, where coaches cna often convene and hit each other over the heads with pint glasses for wrongly seeding their teams on the UAA Seeding call. Okay! What other things should we watch out for this tournament?!
ASouth’s 10 Things to Watch for the UAA Tournament
Live Stats! – Sources tell me that live stats will make their debut at Sanlando Park this year, which is a change from all the previous UAAs, where we had to rely on tweets from the famous @UAATennis and myself that one year, so this is a breath of fresh air for us when it comes to the UAA Tournament. That means we no longer have to rely on the very unreliable twitters of Wash U and Chicago, which gave us a total of 1 update from the Wash U and Chicago 5-4 match, which is somewhat ridiculous. Either way, I’m happy that there’s live stats and I know the Guru will be watching – there better not be anything wrong.
The Banquet/Wild Dancing – Take a look at this 10 second clip from last year’s banquet.
The banquet is something that is unique to the UAA Tournament, featuring players from both the women’s and men’s tennis side. Apparently, Wash U used to make sure their freshmen made their way to the dance floor, which sounds hilarious. Apparently now, everyone makes their way to the dance floor, which just goes to show – we are a new generation now. As mentioned in the food section above, the banquet features great food, as well as riveting section on where all the seniors will go the next year. Love when seniors get put on the spot. I’ll be interested in seeing who has the guts to get on the dance floor and show us their break dancing skills. Maybe Ryan Bunis?
NCAA Individual Implications – Another thing that really isn’t mentioned out of the UAA is the individual implications of each match. We have two ASouth teams in the region, as well as countless NE and Central teams that all have stakes in potential individual tournament berths. In doubles, the potential match between Levine/Arora and Rubinstein/Spaulding could be absolutely huge. Levine/Arora are sitting on the bubble right now and they need all the wins they can get. They have what could be three shots at top teams (Case, Emory, Wash U/Chicago) and winning 2 of them might give them enough to get in at least via an at-large berth. In singles, guys like David Liu/Nick Chua are fighting for their potential Central qualifications.
Chicago Kids Studying on Rain Delays – One of the most incredible sights to watch is a Chicago player breaking out his notebook or textbook whenever the infamous rain showers his Sanlando Park. Chicago kids are determined that they are to get some ridiculously good GPA while also playing for a top 5 team in the nation and it shows. These kids have a lot of discipline and it’s worth it to give them recognition. Not many tennis players are this dedicated to their schoolwork at this level. Chicago shows that you can both be a great student and a great player on the court.
Jeremy Bush Swan Song – There’s usually one player I like to choose from the field that I feel will go out in a way that would make any team proud. This player is usually a senior and I like to go ahead and predict that he will finish undefeated on the weekend. Last year, CJ Krimbill rolled to an undefeated UAA due to playing in the back draw, bit it was important for me to give the man a nice shoutout before his final UAA Tournament. This year, my senior and player to watch for the tournament is Jeremy Bush. He’s had a very interesting career over the years, where I’m pretty sure he’s played probably every singles position. He also used to be a pretty in-your-face commenter on the site, at some point. Either way, Jeremy is poised to have a great tournament. Give me the undefeated call on Mr. Bush.
The Mad Dash to the Orlando Airport – Watch out for some teams to be at the mercy of flight times to random places in the country on Sunday after the matches. I’ve seen pretty much every team other than Emory start checking their watches for times to leave because their flight leaves in about 45 minutes. Teams driving back and forth from the hotel to shower after matches always makes me chuckle. Those damn flights. Let’s hope none of them are flying United.
The NYU Twitter Presence – Unfortunately, the normal NYU twitter maintainer will not be present for UAAs, as NYU did not take enough subway rides to save the school money to bring that one more player. He will undoubtedly be tweeting from his dorm in Greenwich Village next to Umami Burger, or maybe that residence hall that’s near that place that has the $5 Pickle backs. Anyways, D3RegAS had a nice encounter with the NYU twitter on his flight from Laguardia yesterday morning.
— D3RegionalASouth (@D3RegASouth) April 20, 2017
Blog Time – While we are working hard on the Recruiting Hub, we know that current events take precedence over those recruits that haven’t played a single bounce of college tennis yet. The blog will try and re-capture the UAA magic with day to day updates (check the ticker!) as well as recaps/previews as we go through the tournament. For example, I’m up at 1AM again writing about the UAA banquet instead of sleeping for my 9AM meeting tomorrow. What fun!
Mustard – This time, Rafe might be the one administering mustard to a cramping and puking young Eagle. How the times have changed.
A Well Run Tournament – I have the utmost respect for the UAA Tennis guy, who always runs a great and usually seamless tournament for the UAA. To put together a banquet, matches played to completion, and to deal with the many personalities that you find in the UAA is surely something else. While I oftentimes get on the live stats people for messing with my “refreshing of a webpage,” we at the Blog truly do appreciate what it takes to run a tournament. Hell, we may try to do it ourselves one day. Until then, we’ll do the dishing on live stats and keep on keepin on.
And there you have it, young gentlemen and ladies. Another ridiculously dope UAA recap is in the books, and this one seems to have been just as ridiculously dope as the last one. This one might have even been legen…. Wait for it….. DARY. I’ll see all of you in about 7 hours when the matches start and Case/CMU get on their way for the biggest matches of their season. Oh, and those other 3 matches too. Let’s not forget about those! And with that, AS, Regional, and REGNEC OUT.