Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Week 3: Amherst

Amherst finished last season at #13 in the country and I have them starting this season at #16. They return almost their whole team and 4-star recruit Sean Doerfler arrives on campus, and he was a great catch for the Amherst team. Amherst plays in the NESCAC, and this is unfortunate for them because they enter this year as the #4 team in conference. Last year Amherst made it's way to the Sweet 16 before falling to Middlebury. Although they did not have any key losses, they did not improve their team enough to improve upon their #13 ranking from last year. Amherst is very strong at the top of the lineup with Zack Lerner at #1 singles. He finished last year at #7, which was a great performance for him and I have him as preaseason #9 after he suffered a very close loss at ITA Regionals. Amherst is fairly strong at 2 and 3 but they are very vulnerable at the bottom of the lineup as well as doubles. They will have a tough team beating Williams and Bowdoin, especially with their lack of depth.

The Amherst team will need a great offseason to break into the top 15 in the spring and they will also need to pull an upset to break into the top 3 in the NESCAC. ITA's was a good approximation of where the Amherst team will stand going into the spring. Their players will need to train hard in the offseason and this is difficult for them at such a difficult academic institution. I would expect the Amherst team to finish somewhere between #14 and #17 in the country, just as I have them ranked and Zach Lerner should qualify and have a good showing at NCAAs. Amherst is a dangerous team but they don't have enough weapons to compete with the other Northeast powerhouses.

Projected Lineup
1. Lerner/Avrahmi
2. Doerfler/Mintz
3. Wan/Schwartz
1. Zach Lerner
2. Mike Mintz
3. Sean Doerfler
4. Jeff Wan
5. Geoff Schwartz
6. Tristan Biesecker

Next Week: Middlebury

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Week 2: Williams

Williams enters the 2007-2008 season with a veteran team and a first year head coach. They are returning 5 of 6 starters from last year’s team who lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA Elite 8. Williams always has a lot of depth on their team and this year is no exception. I asked Coach Donn what he expects from his team this year and he said “as a coach, I will never put material goals onto our players. My goal each year is to prepare the team (both mentally and physically) as best I can for the spring season. We as a team cannot always control how well we play, but we can control how well we compete and that is the mentality I want to get out of them each year." Williams will have to be very prepared because they will face very tough opponents in their conference, the NESCAC, which is probably the toughest conference in the country and has 7 potential Top 25 teams. Williams will really need to train hard in the offseason to beat the likes of Amherst, Middlebury and Bowdoin. This will be quite a task for the Williams team who has to deal with a very rigorous academic workload. But Coach Donn said that he feels his players do a great job with their work ethic.

Williams has great depth as a team and should almost never lose at #5 and #6. As their senior captain and team leader, Dan Greenberg is looking to have a special season both for his team and as an individual. He will enter the spring season as a contender at NCAA’s and a strong #1 for Williams. The middle of Williams lineup is strong but they are vulnerable there as well as having fairly weak doubles compared to the other top teams in the country. Williams strong suit are their 4-6 players who will be very tough to beat. I expect Williams to return to the Elite 8, as I have them at #7 in the country heading into the spring. They will be tested in the NESCAC and this will prepare them well to face some of the best teams in the country. I wouldn’t expect Williams to make the Final 4, and it may take a big upset of Emory, CMS or Santa Cruz for them to do so. Williams is a solid team and they are always a threat to the big name teams, so definitely watch for this team to be a contender in the spring.

Projected Lineup
1. Greenberg/Thacher
2. Lebedoff/Simonette
3. Furmaga/Devlin
1. Dan Greenberg
2. Nick Lebedoff
3. Gary Simonette
4. Karol Furmaga
5. Rick Devlin
6. Jeremy Weinberger

Next Week: Amherst

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Week 1: Gustavus Adolphus

Gustavus Adolphus has a streak of 8 straight appearances in the NCAA Elite 8 and 3 straight appearances in the Final Four. This team is a Division III powerhouse who has competed for a national championship every year for the last 15 years. This year’s team is no different. Coming off a 4th place finish last year in NCAA’s, Gustavus is looking to top that performance. They are known for their strong doubles, and this year it is doubtful that they will ever trail after doubles in a dual match. I had a chance to talk with Coach Wilkinson and he said that he feels “doubles strategy is one of the team’s strong suits.” GAC starts their real season by hosting the National Indoor Championships, where they are always the favorites, no matter who is there.

Gustavus has matches during the spring against all of the top teams in the nation at neutral sites, and this is where they will really be tested. Gustavus has the firepower and personnel to stay with anyone in the country. It is absolutely crucial for Gustavus to win at least 2 doubles matches against any top 10 team because they will struggle in singles against top teams. Coach Wilkinson said that he believes “there are more good teams out there this year and they will need to get better as a team to maintain a 4th place finish in NCAAs.” Coach Wilkinson also expects Andy Bryan to improve as a singles player and I expect him to be one of the contenders in NCAAs after his second place finish at the Fall Nationals in Mobile. He should make at least the quarterfinals of Singles and I am sure GAC will return to the Elite 8 for the 9th straight year as a team. Whether they can make the Final Four is still up in the air. Going in to the spring, I have them ranked as the 6th best team in the country, but a victory against Wash U, Emory or Middlebury is very do-able for this team. Expect Gustavus to be a threat to top teams all season long and expect Coach Wilkinson to have his team ready for a run at a National Championship in 2008.

Projected Lineup
1. Bryan/Paukert
2. Kauss/Burdakin
3. Hansen/Tomasek
1. Andy Bryan
2. John Kauss
3. Mike Burdakin
4. Charlie Paukert
5. Ben Tomasek
6. Aaron Zenner

Next Week: Williams

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Plan for Offseason

Since there won't be much action between Mid-October to Mid-Febuary, I will have a Team spotlight each week, where I thoroughly analyze each team's strengths and weaknesses. There are 18 weeks, starting October 22nd and ending Febuary 18th.

October 22nd- Gustavus Adolphus
October 29th- Williams
November 5th- Amherst
November 12th- Middlebury
November 19th- Chicago
November 26th- Emory
December 3rd- CMS
December 10th- Kenyon
December 17th- Carnegie Mellon
December 24th- Wash U
December 31st- UC Santa Cruz
January 7th- Trinity (TX)
January 14th- Bowdoin
January 21st- Depauw
January 28th- Redlands
February 4th- Mary Washington
February 11th- Johns Hopkins
February 18th- Kalamazoo
February 22nd- ITA NATIONAL INDOORS (Gustavus, Depauw, Hopkins, Wash U, Emory, Santa Cruz, Mary Washington, Trinity)

ITA Nationals

Predictions for Fall Nationals:

Cutler/Hoeland over Wang/Hough
Marinkovic/Thomson over Cocanougher/Kowal
Bryan/Paukert over Buxbaum/Kinrade
Goodwin/Lopp over Wilner/Katz

Wang/Hough over Cocanougher/Kowal
Buxbaum/Kinrade over Wilner/Katz

Cocanougher/Kowal over Wilner/Katz
Wang/Hough over Buxbaum/Kinrade

Marinkovic/Thomson over Cutler/Hoeland
Bryan/Paukert over Goodwin/Lopp

Cutler/Hoeland over Goodwin/Lopp
Bryan/Paukert over Marinkovic/Thomson

1. Bryan/Paukert
2. Marinkovic/Thomson
3. Cutler/Hoeland
4. Goodwin/Lopp
5. Wang/Hough
6. Buxbaum/Kinrade
7. Cocanougher/Kowal
8. Wilner/Katz


Watts over Klimchak
Lim over Loden
Greenberg over Boren
Bryan over Gaines

Loden over Klimchak
Gaines over Boren

Boren over Klimchak
Loden over Gaines

Watts over Lim
Bryan over Greenberg

Greenberg over Lim
Watts over Bryan

1. John Watts
2. Andy Bryan
3. Dan Greenberg
4. Mikey Lim
5. Randy Loden
6. Oliver Gaines
7. Mark Boren
8. Michael Klimchak

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Preliminary Singles Rankings

Preliminary Singles Rankings for the Spring

1. Michael Starr, CMS
2. John Watts, Washington
3. Lawrence Wang, CMS
4. Mike Greenberg, Kenyon
5. Andy Bryan, Gustavus Adolphus
6. Brian Pybas, UC Santa Cruz
7. Mikey Lim, CMS
8. John James, Mary Washington
9. Zach Lerner, Amherst
10. John Pelton, Hope
11. Michael Goodwin, Emory
12. Jared Kamel, UC Santa Cruz
13. Randy Loden, Mary Washington
14. Dan Greenberg, Williams
15. Charlie Cutler, Washington
16. Conrad Olson, Middlebury
17. Mark Boren, Emory
18. David Maldow, Johns Hopkins
19. Chris Fletcher, Methodist
20. Spencer Feldman, Trinity (CT)
21. Oliver Gaines, Trinity (TX)
22. Filip Marinkovic, Middlebury
23. Michael Klimchak, TCNJ
24. Kortney Keith, DePauw
25. Jeffrey Fong, UC Santa Cruz
26. John Kauss, Gustavus Adolphus
27. Garrett Gates, Bowdoin
28. Matthew Solomon, Whitman
29. Ben Stein, Bates
30. Mikhail Gurevich, NYU
31. James Daly, Baldwin-Wallace
32. Max Ortiz, UC Santa Cruz
33. James Muliawan, Carnegie Mellon
34. Charlie Boyd, Sewanee
35. Eric Wagar, Redlands
36. Josh Williams, Wheaton
37. Arya Vayghan, St. Thomas
38. Alex Nemerov, Carnegie Mellon
39. Clifford Yook, Chapman
40. Dustin Phillips, UT-Tyler
41. Mike Burdakin, Gustavus Adolphus
42. Ricky Tilton, Calvin
43. Miguel Yunes, Carthage
44. Michael Reading, Redlands
45. Ben Hough, CMS
46. Scott Swanson, DePauw
47. Chas Dunn, Mississippi
48. William Moss, Hampden-Sydney
49. Jonathan Spero, Carnegie Mellon
50. Nick Lebedoff, Williams

Site Made Public

I just made this website public. The goal of this website is not to stir up controversy about who can beat who, but rather to enable all top d3 teams around the country to keep track of what is going on. The ITA publishes so few rankings and there are never any news stories, so this site will attempt to keep teams and players informed about what is happening around the country. Please leave comments anywhere and I hope to turn this into a message board where all d3 tennis players can interact with each other and discuss matters relation to anything and everything Division 3 Tennis!

Fall Team Rankings

After reviewing last year's results and this year's new freshmen and ITA results, I've put together a power rankings list for the fall. These rankings are based upon my own judgement after reviewing results and in no way do they reflect the ITA's rankings. I'll give a short summary of each team with a projected lineup for each team.

Ranking, Team, 2007 Year-End Ranking, Lineup (in order), Team Analysis

1. UC Santa Cruz (1)- Pybas/Liberty-Point, Kamel/Vartabedian, Ortiz/Fong, Pybas, Kamel, Fong, Ortiz, Mark-Griffin, Liberty-Point. Even with the loss of Seeberger, the Slugs are still the most complete team in the country top to bottom and are the favorites to repeat as NCAA champions. The emergence of Brian Pybas as the #3 player in Division 3 last year has made the Slugs a powerhouse at the top of the lineup to go with their depth. Doubles is solid but vulnerable and if you are going to beat them, winning at least 2 doubles is neccessary.

2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (4)- Wang/Hough, Starr/Lim, Sabater/Narasimhan, Starr, Wang, Lim, Brockett, Hough, Schils. CMS has the most talent in the country and it's a shame that they are in the same region as Santa Cruz because this should be the NCAA final. A lot depends on the health of Michael Starr and whether he can recover in time to once again be the best player in Division 3. Lawrence Wang is the best #2 in the country and their doubles teams are a force to be reckoned with. CMS may beat Santa Cruz 4 out of 10 times but this year they are only the 2nd best team in the country.

3. Washington University St. Louis (7)- Cutler/Hoeland, Watts/Stein, Woods/Howard, Watts, Cutler, Stein, Woods,
Hoeland, Levy. Wash U is the most improved team since last year with the addition of 2 great freshmen in Stein and Woods, who both had very good showings in the fall. John Watts was NCAA finalist last year and will almost never lose at #1 singles. Wash U has the deepest lineup in the country but they are a little vulnerable in the middle and at 2 and 3 doubles. This may be the first year in a while that the UAA has a new champion.

4. Emory (2)- Goodwin/Lopp, Boren/Caplan, Ehlers/Kaufman, Goodwin, Boren, Lopp, Ehlers, Caplan, Kaufman. Emory really didn't gain anyone who would have an impact this year and that may hurt them against the best teams in D3 as they try to make their way back to the finals. It will be tough for Emory to beat Wash U, especially with the unpredictability of Goodwin, who is one of the most talented players in Division 3. If he can step up for the Eagles in singles and doubles, they could be contending for the national championship again this year.

5. Middlebury (3)- Marinkovic/Thomson, Olson/Lee, Peters/Jia, Olson, Marinkovic, Thomson, Lee, Peters, Odell. If Middlebury has recruit Richard Bonfliglio in their roster, they would be higher in these rankings. It is uncertain why he is not rostered. Middlebury almost always dominates the Fall ITA regionals, but they failed to do so this year. However, They are still very strong everywhere and will be very hard to beat. Their players possess several different gamestyles and it will be very difficult to beat their top doubles teams.

6. Gustavus Adolphus (5)- Bryan/Paukert, Kauss/Burdakin, Hansen/Tomasek, Bryan, Kauss, Burdakin, Paukert, Tomasek, Hansen. Gustavus streak of NCAA semifinal appearances could end this year. Their inability to recruit top juniors is catching up to them with a lot of other D3 schools attracting all 3 and 4 star recruits. But besides that, Gustavus might be the most dangerous team in the country. Their players possess a lot of firepower and they can beat anyone on any given day especially at the ITA indoors on their fast indoor courts.

7. Williams (8)- Greenberg/Thacher, Lebedoff/Simonette, Furmaga/Devlin, Greenberg, Lebedoff, Simonette, Furmaga, Devlin, Weinberger. Williams is just a solid team overall. It is hard to beat them, but don't expect them to knock off any top teams. Greenberg is an adequate 1 but will have trouble against other top #1's. Williams doubles is not spectacular and they can be beaten here. They need to improve their doubles and they should always win in the middle of the lineup. With a nice region they may be able to qualify for NCAA Elite 8.

8. DePauw (6)- Keith/Swanson, Heck/Sandager, Gates/Hunter, Keith, Swanson, Gates, Heck, Sauer, Schouweiler. The loss of #4 Evan Webeler really hurts DePauw. They don't have the players this year to breakthrough and make a run at an NCAA championship. Last year, DePauw won their conference and region and they should repeat this performance this year but they should get dominated by the other top 8 teams and they are also vulnerable to lower-ranked teams. Heck may be the best #4 in the country but their lineup is not that strong after him and 1 doubles.

9. Carnegie Mellon (18)- Muliawan/Ljuboja, Mactaggart/Raghavan, Nemerov/Clearfield, Muliawan, Nemerov, Spero, Raghavan, Mactaggart, Clearfield. If you like established junior players, this is the team for you. CMU has a ton of talent but really underacheived last year and they had a poor showing at Fall ITA's. This is a team that no one wants to play because of their talent, but they have yet to prove themselves as a powerhouse. Their doubles and top of the lineup are suspect, but they will be really tough to beat at positions 3-6.

10. Trinity(TX) (9)- Desantis/Gaines, Cocanougher/Kowal, Furr/Tran, Gaines, Furr, Tran, Munjal, Ramirez, Desantis. Trinity is a very good team, but their problem will be their lack of a top player. They had no singles or doubles players in NCAA's last year and it will be tough for them to win at 1 and 2 in both singles and doubles. If their top players can pull upsets, the team may be able to do the same. Trinity will be good but not great this year and it is doubtful that they will return to the Elite 8. Even if they do, it will be tough for them to make an impact.

11. Redlands (17)- Wagar/Reading, Cook/Hasenyager, Ouye/Trippel, Wagar, Ouye, Cook, Hasenyager, Reading, Trippel. After being a d3 powerhouse for many years, Redlands has had some dissapointing seasons. They also have trouble recruiting top juniors and can't get out of their region trying to compete with UCSC and CMS. Redlands has good team spirit and strong doubles but they don't have enough depth to be a top 10 team. They are dangerous in NCAA's, but they are very unlucky to be in the same region as the best two teams in the country.

12. Bowdoin (10)- Gates/Sullivan, Neely/Fried, Anderson/White, Gates, Caughron, Sullivan, Anderson, White, Neely. Bowdoin overacheived last year and the loss of Sam Bitetti hurts this team. Sullivan is one of the best incoming freshmen in the country and expect him to have a real impact. Bowdoin will be good on fast indoor courts, but will struggle against more consistent teams when playing outdoors. They had a fairly poor showing at Fall ITA's and it would be a surprise if Bowdoin found their way back into the top 10.

13. Johns Hopkins (11)- Vasoontara/Blythe, Maldow/Wang, Vale/Myers, Maldow, Wang, Blythe, Vasoontara, Roberti, Myers. Hopkins is a very intense team with dangerous players throughout their lineup. They posses decent doubles and a very strong top 4, but they are vulnerable in the lower part of the lineup. They added two new freshmen that should make them a better team than last year. Maldow should be able to make a good run at NCAA singles championships, but his supporting cast may let him down against a really strong top 10 team.

14. Mary Washington (12)- Loden/Murata, Parrish/Goff, James/Pollak, James, Loden, Parrish, Goff, Dunn, Carver. Mary Wash doesn't have as much talent as other top teams, but they have a ton of heart and belief. This team is very confident, but they will struggle against higher ranked teams because they top players throughout their lineup. Their 1-2 punch of James and ITA regional champ Loden is one of the best in the country but the rest of their lineup and their doubles aren't that strong. It's possible that they could win their region and make the Elite 8 but they would be overmatched against other teams there.

15. Kenyon (23)- Greenberg/Brody, Alef/Vandenberg Becker/Sussman, Greenberg, Becker, Alef, Vandenberg, Sussman, Polster. Wake Forest transfer Mike Greenberg really makes this team into a contender by himself. He will be a top 8 player in Division 3 and will add to their doubles lineup also. Kenyon's middle of the lineup is strong as well and they should be able to dominate archrival Denison this year. Kenyon is a dangerous team because a lot of their players have big shots and if they all have good days, Kenyon is tough to beat.

These are preliminary team rankings for the fall. Singles and Doubles rankings should be published within the next few days.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Individual and Team rankings for the fall coming soon

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ITA New England Regionals

Probably the strongest and deepest region in the country. This region contains 4 potential top 10 teams in Middlebury, Williams, Amherst and Bowdoin. There are some new freshman to watch out for as well. Middlebury comes in as the strongest team but Bowdoin put themselves on the map last year and should really present a challenge to Midd. Williams is an annual powerhouse and their players are always a threat to make some noise at this tournament.

The Favorites: Zach Lerner (AMH), Garrett Gates (BOW), Filip Marinkovic (MID), Sean Doerfler (AMH), Bryan Brown (COL), Andrew Lee (MID), Dan Greenberg (WIL), Robbie Norton (SAL)

Other Players to Watch: Eric D'Elia (BOW), Andrew Thomson (MID), William Fleder (TUF), Ben Stein (BAT), Spencer Feldman (TRIN)

Predictions: Middlebury's top two players (Olson, Bonfiglio) haven't been competing recently and it is uncertain whether they will play this weekend. Gates and Lerner are the clear favorites and should meet in the finals but after them anything can happen. Spencer Feldman is an SEC transfer and was a top junior and could make some noise for Trinity. Ben Stein had a good showing this fall. Doerfler, Sullivan and D'Elia are three freshmen to really watch.

Quarterfinalists: Feldman, Brown, Thomson, Norton
Semifinalists: Greenberg, Marinkovic
Finals: Lerner d. Gates

ITA Previews

Over the next few days I'll be previewing the regional ITAs with analysis and predicitions from each region. The ITA Northwest Regional was already completed. Congratulations to Matthew Solomon from D3 powerhouse Whitman College on his win and qualifying for Mobile Nationals.

Welcome to D3 Tennis

Here I will write about News from Divison III Tennis since it gets no publicity anywhere else. Please e-mail me if you want to have any of your articles posted. This blog is just getting started so I'll try to contact people to get more activity.