Last year, the Garnet made the trek out to Walla Walla and ended up on the wrong end of a 7-2 drubbing. This year, Whitman is bringing half their team and two juicy indirect wins with them across three time zones to play Swat, CNU, and Haverford. After benefitting from perhaps the biggest home court advantage in DIII tennis a couple weekends ago, they’re about to see the other side of that coin. All three of their opponents will be seeing their first action of the Spring season, and it looks like there will be LIVE STREAMING, which is always my favorite. I’ve listed each team’s respective schedules and their UTR Power 6’s. For Whitman, I used the lineup they employed a couple weekends ago. For CNU, I inserted their lineup from the Fall Oberlin match + Steven Boslet. For Swat and Haverford, I just listed players based on a combination of UTR and previous lineups.
Schedule: vs. Haverford (8 AM 2/18), at #26 Swarthmore (6:30 PM 2/18), vs. #28 CNU (11 AM 2/19)
Power 6: 70.04 (Zach Hewlin 12.08, Petar Jivkov 11.42, Chase Friedman 12.03, Robert Carter 11.48, Daniel Foster 11.67, Gary 11.36)
What’s at stake: Ranking spots. If the Whitties go 3-0, they will definitely jump back into the top 20 (top 15 if Pomona-Pizzeria wins a match at Indoors; top 10 if PP goes 2-1). Personally, I would enjoy seeing Whitman back in the top 15.
Why they’ll win: According to UTR they have the best team by a fair margin. If predicted lineups are accurate, they’ll be favored to win at ⅚ singles positions in every match they play, and they played great doubles a couple weekends ago. They’re a very experienced team with upperclassmen at 1-4 singles, and are very used to traveling. Also, Northam did a masterful job scheduling the event with the weaker opponent coming first after traveling across three time zones, and their opponents are all playing their first competitive tennis of the Spring Season. Advantage Whitman.
Why they’ll lose: From personal experience, traveling across three time zones and then playing an 8 AM match is about as fun as getting kicked in the face repeatedly by a kangaroo. The match will start at 5 AM PT, which means they’ll be waking up at about 3 AM PT to get to the courts in time for warm up. The Swarthmore match then starts at 9:30 PM PT and likely won’t finish until after their midnight. They were pretty evenly matched with the Garnet to begin with. Home court advantage is a thing that exists and is important in college tennis. They’re also splitting the squad. They started an 8-person lineup two weekends ago, so they might have to leave a singles starter at home or something. I’ll be impressed if they can walk out of this weekend unscathed. Word to the wise: don’t drink a lot of Red Bull unless you usually drink a lot of Red Bull. Advantage Swarthmore and CNU.
ASouth – Just gonna chime in here. This is my first “match preview” type of thing that I’m doing this year, which I actually didn’t do before Indoors next year. But, this year I inherited Swarthmore from my regional partners because they are certainly a team on the rise. I guess I’m going to be doing this preview D3West style (which is almost never my style) but I’ll take it because he set up this whole google doc. Who would have thought that he could make his own post?
Schedule: vs. #28 CNU (8:30 AM 2/18), vs. #24 Whitman (6:30 PM 2/18)
Power 6: 66.74 (Mark Fallati 11.83, John Larkin 11.75, Kevin Xu 10.89, Ari Capelewicz 10.67, Josh Powell 10.79, Simon Vernier 10.81)
What’s At Stake: A lot, actually. But at the same time, not all that much. Swarthmore’s way to the NCAA Tournament really rests on their ability to beat Hopkins in their conference tournament. However, their way to the top 20 really rests on this match. This is their best opportunity to take down a top 20 team. Whitman just beat two good teams in GAC and of course, Pomona Pitzer, which should bring them into potentially the top 15 in the next rankings cycle. This represents a great opportunity as they are playing a West team that is traveling East to their home courts. I don’t see what could be a better opportunity.
Why They’ll Win: Don’t let the UTR fool you. I don’t know why Swarthmore has such a low UTR, but it’s not right in my eyes. Swarthmore is probably the one team in my region that is on the rise. I know what I’m getting from Hopkins/CMU/Emory, I know that UMW and others are going to be either on the way down or staying the same, but Swarthmore truly can be the team that moves up. I think they’ve been working for a win like this for the past two years, so the motivation is there. They are on their home court, Whitman is on the road, and they have top 20 talent. They have a top 2 that can take out the Whitman top 2, with 3-6 guys that are around the same level. Wouldn’t be surprised if they split 3-6. That means they have to win ONE doubles match to take a victory. At home, I think they can do this. Oh, and they are better than CNU or Haverford.
Why They’ll Lose: They’ll lose if these UTR’s come true. Swarthmore doesn’t really have that many big wins over the past three years and it stands to be seen if they can compete with a high level team that they aren’t familiar with. They don’t have the talent base to totally wipe the floor with any of these teams, so they’ll need most of their players to be on their games for the weekend. They can’t afford two guys messing up and missing the bus or just not being focused. The fact that they haven’t had a big win worries me, but I really have a strong feeling that Swarthmore will come out with a successful weekend.
Schedule: vs. #26 Swarthmore (8:30 AM 2/18), vs. Haverford (2:30 PM 2/18), vs. #24 Whitman (11 AM 2/19)
Power 6: 66.83 (David Reed 11.68, Justin Cerny 11.52, Nicholas Ruzicka 10.38, Andy Mason 11.07, Dominic Lacombe 11.14, Steven Boslet 11.04)
What’s at stake: I really don’t see there being too much at stake besides rankings for CNU. If the Captains want to take a step forward in the Atlantic South or into the top 25, they need to pull out at least win over Swarthmore, if not also a win over Whitman. If neither of those happen, then, they’ll probably stay right about where they are. In terms of NCAAs, the only way they’re going to make the tournament is a win over Mary Washington, so if I were the Captains, I’d use these matches as early season measuring sticks to prepare for UMW, as well as other regionally/nationally ranked teams, later on down the road.
Why they’ll win: What surprised me the most is looking at the Power 6 rating for each of these teams. I thought Swat would be rated higher, however, they are actually less. I believe that this is a testament to how under rated the depth of CNU might be, and because of that they’ll have a chance to compete and even win every match. While they might not have the firepower of a great number 1, they can more than compete in trenches of 3-6. If the Captains can keep it together in doubles, then they could win these matches.
Why they’ll lose: Swarthmore is very good and Whitman is even better. Sorry Haverford fans… maybe next year. In all fairness though, despite the fact that Swarthmore has a lower Power 6 rating, I think that their doubles as well as strong senior leadership will carry them over the Captains. As the Real ASouth kindly pointed out, Whitman could potentially be a top #15 and for a good reason. They had a very strong start to the season and I am definitely drinking the Kool Aid that they are a legit top 15 team. In reality, CNU can fight as hard as they want, but in the end they might just get outplayed.
Schedule: vs. #24 Whitman (8 AM 2/18), vs. #28 CNU (2:30 PM 2/18)
Power 6: 61.74 (Kevin Yan 11.55, Josh Moskovitz 10.94, Robert Kresch 10.17, Daisuke Nakayama 10.00, Rajadurai Arul 9.64, Ishaah Prinz 9.44)
What’s at stake: Haverford has nothing to lose here. They have the opportunity to move up in the rankings and potentially the top 10 in the regional rankings. Haverford hasn’t been ranked in the top 40 nationally as long I can remember, so it would be interesting to see them get a win over any of these teams and break that streak.
Why they’ll win: They honestly don’t have many places where they are stronger than the other teams, but if they beat a team, it will be because of doubles. A few years back I saw Haverford take a 2-1 lead over a stronger regional team (I believe it was CMU) because of the way they played doubles. I was told they literally lobbed every ball on their tough indoor courts. This is a trait known only to Haverford. The thing with lower ranked DIII players is, they sometimes choke when they get easy shots. If Haverford has a couple of big servers, maybe they can keep doubles close and take some matches against CNU. Then, they can scrap together 3 wins if the Captains are coming off some tough losses.
Why they’ll lose: Well, honestly, they’ll lose because they don’t have the teams that Whitman and CNU do. They need to come out PERFECTLY here, which, is not really the best case scenario. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for margin of error.
ASouth: I’m going to let RegionalASouth take this conclusion, because I took his Haverford section.
RegASouth: Why thank you real ASouth, I appreciate you covering for me. A Garnet, a Blue and a Captain walk into a bar, then they look into the corner, see a Black Squirrel and ask what he’s doing there. All jokes aside, this will be a very exciting weekend in the Atlantic South, especially for Swarthmore. They have a huge opportunity against Whitman, so that would be my “match to watch” for the weekend. Speaking of matches to watch, INDOORS ARE SOON UPON US. We will have coverage throughout the week leading up to the one of the most exciting weekends in D3 tennis, so be sure to read up and give us your thoughts!