Friday, February 24, 2012


As most of you are aware, I've been looking for an exit from this blog and with the emergence of D3tennisguy's outstanding website, I will discontinue this site. However, I will continue to contribute occasionally on a brand new site that has been created which is

Friday, February 17, 2012


Probably going to start being active again either right before or right after Indoors. The calendar has been updated and I regularly trade emails with d3tennisguy to remain up-to-date on everything that's happening.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

See while I'm unavailable.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Season Preview: 10 Matches to Watch

Feb 12: NC Wesleyan @ Kenyon - An early season match where both teams have something to prove. There is a 4-team round robin happening in Gambier this weekend, but the two top teams there know this is the most important match. NCW is still looking for a signature win over a top 8 program in an attempt to take them to the next level. Their weak doubles will be tested against disciplined Lords team in a hostile environment. Kenyon is trying to prove that last year was no fluke, and they look for a big win and momentum boost against a team projected to be just on the outskirts of the top 10. If Kenyon loses, they could be doubting themselves heading to Indoors.

Feb 24: Santa Cruz vs. Trinity TX - The second year in a row these 2 will meet in the first round of Indoors, and the second year in a row it makes my list of top matches of the season. I can't hype up the importance of this match enough for Cruz. Trinity is a team the Slugs have absolutely dominated for the past 10 years. Bob Hansen is now gone and people are questioning whether this will be the same team. Both programs are known for getting better as the season progresses, but if you're Cruz and you lose this match, it's just a crushing blow to the program as a whole, it means you're not what you used to be. Trinity has a lot less on the line as the clear underdog, but a win would help a lot as the Tigers had some serious issues with being clutch last season.

Feb 25: Carnegie Mellon @ DePauw
- An unusual early season match for 2 Pool C hopefuls on Indoors weekend. While the winner is not guaranteed a spot in the tournament, I'm fairly confident when I say the loser puts themselves in a huge hole when it comes to making the tournament. These 2 have had some interesting matches over the years but it seems to me DePauw gets the better of the Tartans more often than not. CMU is looking to bounce back from a terrible year last year and right the ship after their spectacular 2010 campaign. This is probably DPU's best team in a while and they hope to find their way back into the top 10 in the country, something that has eluded them the past couple years.

Mar 22: Johns Hopkins @ Emory
- I'm circling this match for Hopkins because they will be in form and we will see what they're really made of. Prior to their meeting with Emory, the Blue Jays will have matches against NCW and the Stag-Hen Invite under their belt. I don't even remember the last time Emory has lost a D3 match at home, so obviously it will be a tall task for Hopkins to win. JHU came close last year, but with all of their recruits, if they really think they can win a national title, this is the type of match they have to start winning. While the Eagles may have been slightly overconfident heading into last year's match with Hop, I'm sure they wont overlook the Blue Jays this year.

Mar 23: Williams @ CMS - CMS bounced back from their loss in 2010 NCAAs and beat Amherst during the regular season last year. Can they bounce back from the Williams loss in 2011 NCAAs and do the same? This is a tough 2-day stretch for the Stags as the have the Jeffs the following day. I'm sure emotions will be high during this match as both sides will remember the epic quarterfinal from last May. Williams is often rusty early in the season and I think it will be tough for them to pull this one out, but a win on the road early in the season against CMS could mean a lot for potential NCAA seeding and more importantly, the Ephs' confidence.

Mar 24: Amherst @ CMS - The 2 best teams facing off in beautiful Claremont, what could be better? Similar to last season, the Stags will have just finished the Stag-Hen Invite and Amherst will be just starting this season, which we have decided doesn't really mean anything anymore. Amherst won this match 2 years ago and lost fairly comfortably last year, so the result is unpredictable. The thing that separates these 2 from their competition is depth, and the fact that both teams boast 4 players who could be playing #1 on almost any other top 10 team. I think this match will end up coming down to doubles, but whoever wins will have this win in the back of their mind heading when NCAAs roll around.

Apr 14: Bowdoin @ Middlebury
- The annual match where the NESCAC pretenders and contenders will be separated. Both teams are fairly young, and the last time the Polar Bears beat Midd was the 2008 NESCAC final. We will see if Midd and their new coach can continue to assert their dominance over the consistent NESCAC #4, and on the contrary, as I said many times last year, we will see if Bowdoin can avoid the typical Bowdoin season. Last year's NCAA Sweet 16 loss to Midd was Bowdoin's program in a nutshell. Good but not quite good enough. As the years pass I'm sure the Polar Bears are anxious to shake this title, especially with a new coach on board. This young and scrappy Bowdoin team is underrated and hoping to make a name for themselves.

Apr 15: Wash U @ Chicago - A rematch of one of the biggest upsets of the 2011 season. The match last year was the first time since their national title season that Wash U had lost to a non-top 10 opponent, and at the same time, it was Chicago's first ever win against a top 10 opponent. Chicago had a mini-breakthrough year last year as they finally made NCAAs under the new system, but the real question is if they can keep it going. The Maroons have a lot of firepower and just like last year, this Bears team seems vulnerable. Both squads will be winding down their seasons and looking ahead to the UAA championships, but this match could have a lot of impact on NCAA seeding just as it did last year.

Apr 22: Pomona-Pitzer @ Redlands
- I don't think anyone but Pomona-Pitzer expected them to do what they did last year, with conference rival Redlands included. It seems as though these 2 switched roles last year as Redlands had chances to beat PP and salvage their season, but they were unable to do so. The reason this match makes this list is because the rest of the country is curious as to whether PP being the #2 team in the SCIAC is the new normal or just a one time thing. Redlands is very hungry to get back to NCAAs, and more importantly to be taken seriously once again. PP is hoping to prove that their 2011 season was not a fluke and they look to move toward CMS rather than moving backward and becoming another face in the crowd.

Apr 28: Amherst @ Middlebury - On the West Coast, the thorn in Bob Hansen's side was CMS, at least in recent years. On the East Coast, it's going to be Amherst. The puzzling thing about Hansen's move is if he's doing it for a better opportunity, why would you move into the conference with the clear best team in the country? At this point in the season, Amherst will begin to peak and that spells trouble for an inferior Middlebury team. That being said, if Midd can somehow pull the upset, it could be huge for NCAA seeding and the Panthers confidence as well. This match will feature what are probably the 2 best coaches in the country at the moment and hopefully this will be the first of many great clashes to come with Garner and Hansen in the same conference.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Pre-Season Rankings

1. Amherst - They may not go undefeated in the regular season but it doesn't matter. They are the best team and have shown they will raise their game in May. The Jeffs will win the national title if they play like they have the past three seasons. This team is loaded top to bottom and has no weaknesses. Anything can happen on any given day, but I just don't see them losing.

2. CMS - The only team who can seriously threaten Amherst in my opinion. They have a reputation for choking in May, but their top 4 is as good as its ever been this year. The Stags are hungry to finally break through and get to the national title match, but they have to be careful not to wear themselves out during the regular season, which I think may play a part in their postseason collapses.

3. Emory - You know what you're going to get from their top 2, but its their freshmen that will determine how good this team is. With the best 2 players in the country its hard to rank them at 3, but they aren't as deep as the top 2. They still have the intimidation factor going in their favor and I'd be surprised if they don't make the Final 4. They would have to get lucky to win it all.

4. Williams - 4 through 10 in these rankings I consider even, but I'm giving the edge to the Ephs for now due to their great postseason and fall season. They have some great players at the top and are deep and last year's young team managed to finish 4th in NCAAs. They, and their coach, are a year older and will use that experience to hopefully find their way back to the Final 4.

5. Wash U - On paper, they probably aren't the 5th best team in the country, but I really like the Bears intangibles. They are a fairly inexperienced team, but no matter what team they put on the court, they always manage a respectable performance. Beating Emory and their 5th straight Final 4 aren't out of reach, but just like last year, I don't think they have enough talent to win it all.

6. Middlebury - Another very young team, and I have the feeling most of the country isn't all that familiar with their roster. I'll be interested to see what kind of impact Hansen's coaching will have on their team because they certainly have a lot of talent. The Peters loss is tough to weigh at the moment. One sure thing is that the ultra-competitive NESCAC will test them and they will come to play in May.

7. UC Santa Cruz - A massive match to begin their season against Trinity (TX), and it will define this year's team. Can they win without Hansen is the question on everyone's mind. Their coaching staff remains excellent and they have a great team despite losing Pybas. I don't see them as a serious threat to CMS this season, but I'd also be very surprised if they dropped out of the top 8 in the country.

8. Kenyon - They overachieved in '11 and underachieved in '10, so if they revert to the mean this is about where they are in '12. They lose their top player, but some good recruits should keep them as a dominant force and a top 10 team. I can see them being as high as 4th, but historically they haven't been able to get past the Final 8 and beat the top teams. A well-rounded team that's still young.

9. Johns Hopkins - They have so much talent, no amount of choking will cause them to lose to a team outside the top 10. Or so we think. They have yet to get past the Sweet 16 and their postseason collapses have turned into a running joke. I think they will have a strong regular season and are a threat against anyone in the country, but no one cares about anything but NCAAs when it comes to JHU.

10. Pomona-Pitzer - Probably overachieved in '11, but this is still a good team who will be a tough out this season. Unfortunately they didn't win their most important matches of the season, but I can see them giving Cruz a run this year. As always they play a loaded schedule that will give them plenty of opportunities against the big boys, but they need to save something for May.

11. NC Wesleyan - As always, kind of a wildcard in all of this. They predicted national titles for themselves, but they haven't moved into the top echelon of teams yet. They have definitely established the program as a perennial top 15 team, but that signature win still eludes them. This season is another opportunity as I believe this strength of this team is overlooked due to their poor doubles in the past.

12. Trinity (TX) - Don't have quite the firepower they did last year, but still a respectable team with top players and depth. It would take a big time effort to get back to the Final 8 for the 3rd year in a row, but if anyone has the heart to do it its these guys. A good mix of youth and experience and if they field a strong doubles lineup like they usually do, anything can happen with the 9-pt system.

13. DePauw - They are switching conferences and I believe they are entering this season with high expectations after a somewhat disappointing last couple seasons. Last year they were better then their ranking while going through a coaching change and I expect them to pick up their level and challenge Kenyon for the conference title. This is a sleeper who could cause an upset if they get to NCAAs.

14. Chicago - A new coach, who is a female I might add, but still the same talent and high expectations. They had their best season in program history last year but still couldn't break through to the Final 8. I don't think they are quite as strong as last year, but they still remain a contender to make NCAAs and could give Wash U and Emory a hard time. Still up in the air on this team, hard to predict what they'll do.

15. Redlands - Probably don't deserve to be 15, but it seems like they always end up around here and they had a deep recruiting class after losing some key players. I see them as a distant 4th best team in California who will once again be on the brink for NCAAs. The difference between the past 2 seasons and all the other ones is they haven't been able to pull out their most important matches recently.

The Rest: Bowdoin, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, Cal Lutheran, Mary Washington, Trinity (CT), MIT, Rhodes, Bates, Whitewater, Whitman, Gustavus, Tufts, Brandeis, Tyler, Skidmore, Vassar, Washington & Lee

Top 10 Stories of 2012

10. Can Williams do it again? The Ephs pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Final 8 history with their win against CMS, on the road, in last year's quarterfinal. Williams returns their whole team for this year and the good news for them is they are out of the spotlight in the NESCAC this year. All eyes are on Amherst and Midd and Williams will go about their business and quietly be a top 8 team for the whole season. At the end of last year, I was worried about them beating Hopkins to qualify for the Final 8 - but they did a lot more than that. I really like their chances to get back to the quarterfinals, but going further will be the real test.

9. Emory hasn't won a title since 2006 - 2nd is great, however anything but a national title is not acceptable for the Eagles. Emory has to feel like they've been punched in the stomach 2 years in a row by the same team, although the losses were very different. The Eagles got flat out crushed in singles last year and I don't see any signs that would make me think they can win it all in 2012. Yes, they have the two best players in the country, but if Goodwin can't win his singles matches in NCAAs then Emory doesn't have a chance to beat the Jeffs. The Eagles will almost definitely be a top 5 team and most likely a top 3 team this year, but if they aren't winning national titles they aren't happy.

8. Watch out for Case Western - A team in the rise who quietly crept into the top 20 in 2011 and stayed there for a decent portion of the season. They have solidified themselves as a solid #5 in the UAA and I can even see them finishing 3rd in the conference in 2012. I think that this is a solid top 20 team in 2012 who could flirt with the top 15 and an NCAA berth. They are bringing in one of the best recruits in school history and Coach Wojtkowski has done wonders with this program over the past couple seasons. I expect Case to give a lot of top 15 teams a very hard time and I can see this as the true breakthrough year for this program where they establish themselves on the national scene.

7. CMS and Hopkins performance in NCAAs - At this point, both teams have a reputation for choking during May. You can't even argue with that fact. That being said, I believe both of these teams will field the best teams they've ever had during the 2012 season. Hopkins has the top recruiting class in Division 3 and how their freshmen respond will go a long way in determining their fate this year. CMS has 4 of 6 starters back from last year's team that should have finished #3 in the country, plus the best recruit entering D3 this year. I expect to see both of these teams in the quarterfinals this year and I think on paper, Hopkins is close to a top 5 team and CMS is the clear #2 in the country.

6. 5 consecutive Final 4s for Wash U - The Bears are usually overshadowed by other more flashy teams, but more so than anyone else, they go about their business and collect wins. More so than other years, they will have a young team in 2012 with no seniors in the starting singles lineup. The Bears currently hold the longest streak of Final 4s in D3 with 4 in a row, and I think they have a good chance to make it 5 in a row if the NCAA draw goes their way. They finished #3 in the country last year, but anyone who thinks they were actually the 3rd best team is foolish. I think a lot depends on what happens with Wash U's doubles this year, as beating Emory and taking back the UAA title are certainly attainable goals.

5. Pomona-Pitzer the new #2 in SCIAC? P-P really had a breakthrough year last year, but their year was very similar to CLU's 2010, and we saw what happened to the Kingsmen last year. P-P showed separation between Redlands and CLU, but there is also a large gap between the Hens and CMS. I like P-P to be in the bottom half of the top 10 again this year, as they return most of their starting lineup from last year and they have a solid recruiting class. What they do in 2012 will be one of the most interesting stories for me personally, as I'm anxious to see if they can close the gap with the top dogs in California. They play a tough schedule as always, and you wonder if they are tired by the end of the year because they clearly didn't have their best stuff in the last month of the season.

4. DePauw's conference switch - For those unaware, DePauw switched conferences from the SCAC, where they used to be grouped with Trinity (TX) and Rhodes, to the NCAC, where they will now compete against Kenyon and Denison. This is great news for the Tigers of Trinity and bad news for Kenyon, as the Lords will now have to constantly watch their back when it comes to NCAAs because they don't necessarily have an auto bid to NCAAs. I really like this year's DePauw team and I expect them to be somewhere between 11 and 13 in the country. I don't think their ranking of 16 did last year's team justice and I expect the Tigers to make a lot of noise in their new conference this season.

3. Indoors returns to Gustavus - After a one year hiatus in which National Indoors moved to Mary Washington, the Gusties announced that Indoors will be returning to its proper home. I would think last year's switch was a combination of Gustavus being overmatched and financial issues. Either way, its great to see GAC take back this great event and I hope that they can give some tough matches to the Indoors field which is always elite. The Gusties have incredible fan support and the atmosphere during their matches is as good as any in D3 tennis. I was delighted to see this news a couple months ago, as I think Indoors is the next best thing to NCAAs despite the outstanding Stag-Hen field this year.

2. Hansen to Middlebury - This was just a shocker and I have mixed feelings about it. I have my own theories as to why Bob Hansen left his beloved Cruz, but I think that he saw a dead end in California and a new beginning in Vermont. I don't expect Midd to be a top 5 team this year because they still don't have a lot of experience, but I'm anxious to see where they will be in 3-5 years as Hansen now has a very attractive school to market. Obviously it's going to be a different environment from Cruz and we will see how the best coach in D3 history adjusts. I think that there will be unnecessary pressure on Midd this year and they won't perform up to everyone's expectations. I see them being 3rd in NESCAC and somewhere between 5 and 9 in the country this year.

1. Can anyone touch Amherst? The Jeffs simply go through the motions during the regular season and everyone knows that now. They really don't care about wins and losses in March and April, but rather focus on getting better and being healthy in May. The only weakness they showed during NCAAs last year was the first 15 minutes of doubles against Trinity. Other than that, they were completely untouchable. Nothing suggests this won't happen again and for 5 more years. I think that we have a dynasty in the making in Amherst, MA and no one can stop it. If this team feels like winning nationals, they are going to do just that. In other news, the Jeffs have signed 2 5-stars who will start in Fall 2012. I'm not joking when I say I think we could see 5-6 national titles in a row from Amherst, but how long does Garner hang around?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Future of This Blog

I'm writing this post now because I was thinking about tennis this morning for the first time in a very long time. And that is a big part of the problem. Everyone I played with in D3 has now graduated and I began to lose interest toward the end of last season. It became a chore and that shouldn't happen. Couple that with a 65 hour work week and I cannot maintain the quality that I once did. I have some free time today for the first time in a long time and I'm going to take a look at spring schedules and put a calendar together as I always do and potentially throw some rankings together.

The point is that a change needs to be made and I have a couple potential solutions. I'd ask for reader feedback via email to decide what's best. I began this blog so that it would be a source of information for everything you need to know about D3 tennis. I want it to stay that way and I want to pick the best solution so the content doesn't slip.

1. Rather than posting 5-6 times a week during the season as I used to, I turn that into 1-2 times a week and attempt to stay up to date on everything. Posting every day just isn't realistic and I would basically post whenever I have time. Some weeks that may be 4 times and other weeks that may be 0 times.

2. I get contributions from others. This means match previews, match recaps, team updates, etc. You could be anonymous or have your name attached. Obviously I'm not going to pay anyone, but I think I have enough of a reader base that this is possible. I would be a stickler about what gets posted so I'm obviously editing what you write for grammar and any content that I'd consider derogatory toward a team and/or player.

3. The tennisd3 blog becomes the main blog and I submit content to him whenever I can. I have issues with this because for the past 2 years, that blogger has disappeared for weeks at a time during the season.

4. I give 3 or 4 trustworthy people access to the email account and this blog and they take it over. I submit content whenever I can. I get a high volume of emails which I try to answer. That would be part of the job as well.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Revisiting Top 10 Stories of 2011

10. NCAA Selection Process - In Pool C, things were more clear cut this year with Bowdoin clearly deserving of the last spot. Teams were left out, but most likely none of the teams left out would have made a true impact in the tournament. Also, we saw TCNJ and Whitewater advance to the Sweet 16, and under the old process where the top 32 teams were picked based upon ranking, it is likely that neither team would have made the tournament.

9. Can Chicago play to their talent?
- Baby steps. The Maroons took it to the next level this year and at least made the tournament. They entered as a top seed after a good regular season win against Wash U, but faltered in their most important match of the season against Trinity (TX). I wouldn't say Chicago actually played to their talent, but they certainly took a large leap forward and improved upon their performance in past years.

8. CLU and CMU - One-hit wonders?
- Absolutely. A large step backward for both programs this year, as Cal Lu struggled with the bottom of their lineup and CMU struggled with everything. Even with Ballou, the Kingsmen were not true contenders, and CMU faltered after a promising Indoors performance. We will see if these 2 can rebound, but they certainly did not use the momentum and experience they gained in 2010 to help them in 2011.

7. Former powerhouses become non-factors
- Kalamazoo fell very far this year, but Gustavus was actually a pleasant surprise. Kzoo kept their conference winning streak alive and qualified for the tournament, but they weren't very competitive with the strongest teams on their schedule. GAC took back their conference and turned in a spirited performance in the NCAA tournament in a tight loss to Trinity (TX), which was a big boost for their team.

6. A rebuilding year for Kenyon? Couldn't have been more wrong about this. Coach Thielke was robbed of national coach of the year honors after the Lords turned in an incredible season. They lost 4 starters from a team ranked 12, added 1 freshman, and will finish ranked 7 most likely. That's unbelievable and they should be just as good, if not better, next year. Along with Pomona-Pitzer, the biggest surprise of the year for me.

5. Can Hopkins perform in the post-season?
What a mess. It's not that they lost to Williams, it's how they lost to Williams. This team gave Emory by far their toughest match of the regular season and they got hammered in NCAAs. It's in their heads at this point, it's not about their play. They just don't show up in May and no one will take them seriously as a top national power until they do.

4. How far will the best 2 players in the country take you?
Very far, but not far enough. Emory's top 2 met in the NCAA singles final, but Goodwin was cracked in the team competition for the 2nd year in a row and Emory fell. They put together an amazing regular season, but anything but a national title for Emory is unacceptable. These 2 will return next year and we'll pose the same question, but the supporting case may not be strong enough.

3. Midd minus Schwarz, Wash U minus Watts
- Midd had their weakest season in quite a while as they will most likely finish 8 or 9 after a quarterfinal loss. They were young and missing their top recruit, so they actually had a good season in my eyes. Wash U made their 4 straight Final 4, but they measure themselves against Emory, and the Bears lost to the Eagles 3 times this year, going a combined 1-10 in singles.

2. Indoors leaves Gustavus - A wonderful job by Mary Washington putting on this tournament and UMW even got a big win out of it. The Cal Lu victory was a huge win for UMW and there were also some of the top matches of the season at this tournament including CLU-CMU and Wash U-Cruz. I hope that UMW will retain this tournament for the next several years because it's a necessary event to start the season.

1. Third time is the charm
- Amherst did it, and they did it convincingly. They wanted it more than everyone else and cruised through the draw to take the title after having been beaten badly the last 2 finals. Amherst really goes through the motions during the regular season, but they come to play in May. They dominated all 3 opponents and were basically untouchable for those 3 days. They look to make it 2 in a row as they return all 6 singles starters.

Season Recap

Will begin Thursday evening. Check back Sunday night for everything.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breaking Down the Final

A dream final tomorrow between the 2 best teams in the country. They both deserve to be here and something has to give. Amherst has been to 3 consecutive finals, but the past 2 times they were up against a superior team. Now, they are up against an equivalent team and need to grind out a win. Something has to give tomorrow and many will remember the epic quarterfinal these 2 teams played last year. Emory swept doubles and ended up losing, and I'm pretty sure that is the only time in the 5 years of the 9-point system that's happened to Emory.

Chris Goodwin's only D3 singles loss in his 3 year career was to Mark Kahan last year. Those 2 will meet tomorrow. Dillon Pottish's only D3 singles loss in his 2 year career was to Austin Chafetz last year. Pottish, Goodwin and Egan are now a combined 43-0 this year in singles play. If all 3 of them win, that means Amherst needs 5 of the 6 remaining matches, a very tall task against an Emory team with a very formidable 1 and 3 doubles team and a not too shabby bottom of the lineup either. Amherst desperately needs 2 of the doubles matches. The other thing that's interesting to me is that Moritz Koenig isn't starting singles. I think it's a questionable to move to bench your senior captain who pretty much single handedly took you to the final last year with 2 ridiculous wins. He would be up against Noah Simonson tomorrow, the same player he beat last year to clinch the match against Emory. No disrespect to Andrew Jung, I just think it's a shocker Koenig is not in the lineup.

If Amherst gets up 2-1, it's anyone's match. But to beat Emory, you have 2 choices: get up in doubles or beat their top 2. Neither of those is easy, but the first is easier. Emory has done a great job winning close doubles matches this year, see the CMS match and today. You can't count on getting down in dubs and then winning 3 through 6 against the Eagles, so Amherst needs to start well and grab the lead.

I like Herst to win at 1 and 2 doubles, and I think Chafetz steps up tomorrow and gets a win against Egan, couple with wins at 4 and 6 to give Amherst the title in a really close 5-3 or 5-4. It really is anyone's match, but doubles is the key for both teams because of the depth and quality of both singles lineups.