2018 Spring Break Walla Walla Preview
Happy Friday, boys and girls and welcome to our first big tennis weekend of 2018! There’s a lot going on this weekend, so we, your faithful Blog servants (or some of us at least) have gotten together to write a preview for SPRING BREAK Walla Walla. While the Central region will feature a lot of quasi-interesting matches (check back later today), I believe this weekend’s most important action will go down in Walla Walla, where Whitman will play host to Redlands, Trinity TX, and Lewis & Clark. All four teams will play each other between now and Sunday, kicking off with Redlands @ Whitman tonight. What’s that, loyal reader? You want to stay in on Friday evening and watch tennis? WHITMAN HAS GOT YOU COVERED. Scheduled to start at 6 p.m. EST, you can get live streaming of four courts BY CLICKING HERE. Let me reiterate that you’re not paying a dime to watch a match between two top-15 teams. If you can’t watch tonight, all the matches will be live streamed all weekend long. That is pretty sweet. Even so, as D3RegNE/C notes below, possibly the best part of all of this is that it brought D3TennisGuy A.K.A. D3West A.K.A. Dr. RCHB out of retirement! Walla Walla Bing Bang people.
1. WHY ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT #SBWW?
D3AS: Whitman vs Redlands is a sneaky important match given the general consensus around Redlands and Whitman’s known prowess on their home courts. Redlands season could take a huge hit before many of its foes have started.
D3NE: This may seem like the easy way out, but I’m excited because to me SBWW now signifies the true start of the DIII season. Most of my NE teams don’t even start practicing till the middle of February, so to have an event that features some top-20 matches this early in the year is a treat.
D3RegNE/C: 1. It temporarily brought CHB out of retirement. 2. First live streamed matches of the season! 3. SBWW is always a nice sign that things are really starting to roll in the D3 Tennis world.
NewD3West: I am excited to see how Whitman handles the nerves of playing at their indoor facility. It is a huge moment for their seniors as these are some of their last big home matches and it will be interesting to see if they can take care of business against three solid teams.
2. WHAT TEAM HAS THE MOST TO PROVE THIS WEEKEND?
D3AS: There are not multiple answers to this question, so don’t let NE tell you that there are because of his Mr. Softee takes on things. Redlands is the answer here as they are on the borderline of Pool C. Redlands needs to show these are the matches that they can win – on the road, playing a real solid team.
D3NE: There ARE multiple acceptable answers to this question, but I agree with AS that it’s gotta be Redlands. They graduated some good players in Parker, Suchodolski and Wilson, but they have a talented freshman crop and are quite strong at the top of the lineup. They are building off a run to the SCIAC finals, and a year where they beat PP twice. They will be in a tough environment playing in front of a Whitman crowd, but good teams grind out wins in tough situations.
CHB: Either Whitman or Redlands. Simply put, LC’s only job is to beat Whitman. They’d rather do it in the postseason when a win would put them in nationals. Trinity has a lot to prove after their horrible Fall, but if they have a bad indoor weekend, they’ve got Indoors in a couple weeks to make up for it. Whitman’s only job during the regular season is to win their conference and try to accumulate enough ranked wins to garner a decent NCAA’s draw, and maybe, one day, make Indoors. This is their best opportunity to put some good ranked wins on their resume, and they’ve done a good job capitalizing on their home court the past couple years. For Redlands, a road loss to Whitman could really put them behind the eight-ball Pool C-wise, but they’ll have plenty of time to make up for it with head-to-head matches against Wash U at Indoors and later against the entire NESCAC at home. All told, the stakes aren’t too high for any team, and it should be a good weekend.
D3RegNE/C: I kind of think Trinity has a lot to prove after one of their worst fall seasons in a long time. They need to show they’ve gotten it together and are not still heading in the wrong direction. As CHB points out, they’ve got Indoors coming up so there’s not that much pressure on them for this one weekend so early in the season, but I think if any team could use a good win to prove to others—and themselves—of what they’ve got, it’s Trinity.
NewD3West: I think Redlands has the most to prove this weekend in Washington simply because they are on the cusp of pool-c and these upcoming matches will give us all an indication of where they are at in terms of talent and depth. I don’t remember the last time Redlands competed indoors…we’ll see if that affects their play against teams that play indoors more than they do.
3. WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE GREAT NAMES IN DIII TENNIS.
WHO PLAYING THIS WEEKEND FITS INTO THAT CATEGORY?
D3AS: I’ll leave the names to those that are more fun than me, like Regional NEC.
D3NE: Some solid choices here, Azur Ali is almost the Prince who was promised, Andreas Mueller-Immergluck is quite the mouthful, the fact that Trinity has two guys with the first name WILLLSOONNNNNN always makes me chuckle, but there is a freshman on Whitman whose first name is Bear. That in and of itself might be enough, but his last name is Lee. His full name is BEAR LEE. I can’t wait for this kid to make the lineup.
CHB: Bear Lee is a great name, but Trinity has a guy on their team named JACE. He’s 5’4”, and he’s from Hawaii. If you see a 5’4” guy named Jace across the net from you, just buckle your seatbelt because you know you’re about to get demolished in the most embarrassing way possible.
D3RegNE/C: Definitely some solid names as others have noted, but my guy Manickam Manickam on Oberlin leaves me a little biased and hard to impress.
NewD3West: Has anyone said BRYSL LIBAO yet? If the bulldogs haven’t nicknamed this freshman MAD LIB, then they are all doing something wrong.
4. GIVE US YOUR X-FACTOR FOR THE WEEKEND
D3AS: I’m not sure if there’s even an X Factor for this weekend. All the teams know what needs to be done, all the teams are unknown considering we’ve played like no meaningful matches, and all should be competitive. Redlands vs Whitman is the match of the weekend, but watch out for the other ones. We’re talking about a real upset alert.
CHB: Home court advantage. Over the last three seasons against teams ranked in the top 30 at the time of the match, Whitman is 6-0 at home and 5-13 on the road. We’ll see if they can capitalize.
D3RegNE/C: As Whitman expert CHB notes, the Blues are a different team at home. Rarely in D3 Tennis do I think home court advantage plays as much of a role as it does with Whitman, especially with Redlands and Trinity, two teams that will not have much practice playing indoors.
NewD3West: Redlands familiarity with indoor courts. Redlands may have the talent to take out Whitman, but this team has rarely seen an indoor court. I don’t really believe in home court advantage in tennis, but when you have Whitman practicing everyday at their indoor facility, it creates a huge home advantage for the Blues when Cali teams come your way. We saw how much PP struggled against Whitman last year during their trip up to Walla Walla, let’s hope Redlands doesn’t experience that same disappointment.
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROJECTED ORDER OF FINISH THIS WEEKEND?
D3AS: Redlands, Whitman, TU, L&C
D3NE: The winner of Friday’s match between Redlands and Whitman is my pick, let’s go with the road Dawgs: Redlands, Whitman, Trinity TX, Lewis & Clark.
CHB: Time for some home cooking: Whitman, Redlands, Trinity, LC. LC may be closer to Trinity than people realize.
D3RegNE/C: Whitman, Redlands, Trinity, L&C. I think Redlands beats Whitman more than 50% of the time, but on SBWW I give the edge to the home team.
NewD3West: Whitman, Redlands, Trinity, Lewis and Clark. Home court advantage gives Whitman an edge over Redlands, Redlands will take care of business against Trinity and Lewis and Clark, and I believe Lewis and Clark will give Trinity a run for their money before losing in a tight 6-3 encounter.