Season Preview: #23 Swarthmore

Sweet Pic

Sweet Pic

Coach: Michael Mullan, 36th Season!

2009 Ranking: NR

2010 Ranking: NR

2011 Ranking: NR

2012 Ranking: #23

2013 Prediction: D3ATS: NR, D3TG: NR


We all know the story of Swarthmore’s season last year.  The Garnet (I’m not really too sure if it should be “the Garnet” or just “Garnet”) were a middling team.  However, on one fateful day in Claremont, they decided to get swept in doubles by CMS, and then stage the biggest upset in DIII Tennis history by coming back to win 5 of 6 singles matches, a few of those being in three sets.  This propelled Swarthmore into the top 20, and they steadily fell from that point on.  They begin this year at #22, which, in my opinion is way overrated for them.  After a weak fall performance in ITA’s, as well as the graduations of Youngblood, Kelm, and Bressman, who I believe were their three best players, the arrow is definitely pointed down on this year’s season.  It would take another miracle win for this team to get back into the top 20, and I really don’t see that happening (who would?) this year or for many years to come.  The Garnet bring in a solid but not overwhelming recruiting class, one that could potentially replace their seniors, but that would be a best case scenario.  Right now I see the freshmen playing middle of the lineup and probably not making great doubles teams.  We’ll get to that a little bit later.  I’ve always been a fan of Swarthmore because they are a great bunch of guys and understand what it’s like to be a team, and I think a lot of teams could learn a bit about team chemistry from them.  However, talent is something that can’t be made up on teamwork alone.

Lineup Analysis:

As I mentioned earlier, Swarthmore doesn’t really have the top talent or the depth to compete with the best teams in DIII, and probably not the mid-range teams either.  Much like North Carolina Wesleyan, Swarthmore only sent two players to ITA’s to compete, junior Anthony Collard and sophomore Max Sacks.  Together they got one win in the singles main draw, and one in the back draw.  Both players ended up losing to seeds pretty handily, so there isn’t much optimism that comes from their ITA play.  It’s bad news when you only send two of your guys to ITAs and you get only one main draw win.  Obviously, there’s a little bit of an unknown here as I haven’t been able to evaluate the freshmen, but judging from Swarthmore’s history, they probably aren’t impact players in DIII at the moment.  Carcione and Poon are decent players, but I wouldn’t expect either to be playing above #6 singles, and both would probably have trouble there against anyone in the top 25.  My best case scenario for this team is a rank around #30, and they probably know that that’s the best they can do this year as well.  When we go through the schedule analysis, maybe there will be a few winnable matches here and there.

Schedule Analysis:

Swat Schedule

The Garnet’s first match is actually a very important one in my opinion.  They’ll be facing off against NYU to start the season, and to be honest, NYU is a very tricky team to play.  They actually played close with a couple of solid teams last year, culminating their season with a 5-4 loss to CMU, which was extremely surprising to me.  Obviously they have some talent.  I think that NYU has the better singles players, and could probably win 4 of the 6 matches.  It’ll come down to doubles, and I only see Swat getting the win if they sweep.  I’ll predict a 5-4 NYU win.  Next up is another decently tough match for Swarthmore against Stevens.  I don’t know much about Stevens, and I do know a little bit about Swarthmore, so I’ll take Swat with a close close victory.  Let’s keep in mind that I have almost no confidence in that prediction.

From there, Swarthmore gets to the meaty part of their schedule.  Coming off tough matches against NYU and Stevens, I think they’ll go into spring break with their confidence low, and it’ll get a bit lower once they get spanked by Kenyon.  I don’t see a spot where this team can win.  Next up will be Whittier, and while they are not as good as Kenyon, obviously, they still boast an up and coming team and a much more talented team than the Garnet.  I see another blowout win for the opponents here, probably 8-1.  Swarthmore will then move on to play Redlands and the Stag-Hen.  It’s actually pretty crazy how good their spring break schedule is, it’s like they are a weak team playing a legit top 5 schedule.  Again, I don’t see any wins here against any of the teams, barring a massive upset.  And when I say massive upset, it would be even bigger than last years.

Finishing off spring break, they’ll come back to the East Coast and play some friendlier matches.  Other than Hopkins, who will beat them handily, they’ll have some good competition with Farleigh-Dickinson, Washington College, Franklin and Marshall, and Haverford.  Excuse me if I don’t go as in depth with these previews, but I think Swarthmore has the doubles base and just enough tournament experienced players to take matches against 3 of these schools.  Haverford might be their toughest test of the 4, and I expect a battle there and a very close match.  They will then end their season with the Centennial Conference Tournament, where they’ll have to fight with the schools just mentioned to make it to the finals, or get whooped by Hopkins in a match before that.

Overall, this year is going to be tough for Swarthmore.  If I were on their team bus, I’d be reliving that win against CMS over and over again in my head.  It will continue to be a lone bright spot in their tennis history and maybe can keep them in the top 30 this year based on starting positions.  Who knows, maybe they can find the magic one more time.

Note: Kudos to Coach Mullan, 36 seasons is an incredible run.  I must say I have a lot of respect for that.

  14 comments for “Season Preview: #23 Swarthmore

  1. Stevens Assistant
    March 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Wow, thank you for the free press to all our Anonymous friends! Good stuff.

    For the record, we fully support any teams that want to play their B teams against us. We welcome it with open arms.

    In all seriousness, the blog is great, keep up the good work.

  2. Anonymous
    March 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Looks like stevens missed its opportunity to break through, showing their inexperience with drubbings at 1 & 4-6. Those matches weren’t even close…and two superstar frosh won’t get them anywhere.

    the ducks seemingly have a legit couple of matches left against kenyon, bowdoin, MIT, skidmore, and Midd…feel like any of those teams should feel comfortable sending their B squad after Swats not so close 5-4

    Sorry to drone on, who cares? Congrats to Swat

    • d3tennisguy
      March 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Yeah, Stevens won’t be ranked this year, but could potentially play out of their minds for one day and advance to the sweet sixteen after they win their conference again. They have another good class coming in next year.

    • Anonymous
      March 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      definitely a missed opportunity for Stevens after apparently going up 4-1. not sure 6-4 in the third set is a drubbing at 1 though.

  3. Anonymous
    February 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Just an ok result against a mediocre NYU team though. Props to Collard for winning at one though. Thought he would get wrecked.

    • Anonymous
      February 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

      check check

  4. D3Coach
    February 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Swarthmore shouldn’t be too worried about Stevens or Haverford for that matter.

    We’ve seen it before; a talented recruiting class means nothing. I’ll take a team of hard workers over a talented class any day.

  5. swat captain
    February 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Just a couple facts about last year:

    -Youngblood did not play for the team
    -Poon had five wins over nationally ranked teams at #5, plus a win over Shulman in the fall
    -Kaye had 6 wins over nationally ranked teams last year at #4, including CMS, PP, Kenyon, Whittier, and Redlands
    -Swarthmore beat Stevens 8-1 without two singles starters

    Here’s to hoping our season won’t be nearly as bleak as you’ve predicted.

    • Anonymous
      February 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I have it on good authority (a friend I trust) that Stevens is a fat, juicy pretender this year. They’re not strong at the top and they lack depth… oh and they don’t seem to have figured doubles out either. Haverford swept CMU, Stevens lost 2/3, and barely won at 1st doubles. Could have easily been a 9-0 loss. Not a good sign for a team looking to break into the rankings.

      • Anonymous
        February 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        Swarthmore should be worried about their match against Stevens. Stevens has been training extremely hard and are ready to compete. They beat Haverford without too much effort even though Haverford had a very difficult time being respectful and calling the proper line calls.

        • Anonymous
          February 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

          Why are you deleting my comment: “Why are we talking about Stevens again?”

          Not trying to be disrespectful, but I just don’t understand the fascination…

          • d3tennisguy
            February 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

            they got a good recruiting class is all. i think they’re fans are optimistic as far as what they can do this year

  6. D3AtlanticSouth
    February 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    That’s my fault. Sorry about that. Thanks for letting me know

  7. Dickinson
    February 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    A correction for the D3AtlanticSouth writer. It’s Dickinson College. In PA. That’s the team in the Centennial Conference that Swarthmore will play. Not Farleigh-Dickinson. Which is in NJ. And is D1. (I really enjoy the site and wish to continue using it as my source for all things D3 tennis).
    Former Dickinson player who hates it when people think we mean Farleigh-Dickinson, Denison, or Davidson when they ask where we went to school.

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