Monday, February 16, 2009

Brief Season Outlook

The Spring of 2008 was one of the crazier years we have seen in Division 3 Tennis. We had 6 different teams hold the #1 ranking at some point during the season and attempting to predict the outcome of matches last year was a lost cause. I would like to think that there will be more stability this upcoming Spring, but I think everyone secretly hopes that this is not the case.

Despite being national champions last year, Wash U did look vulnerable at some points during the season, as did almost every team. The Bears enter this season with a #1 ITA ranking, but I think most of the buzz entering this Spring is that Emory is really loaded and looking to dethrone their conquerors from last year. We then have the two California powerhouses who are also legitimate contenders, especially given the fact that CMS is hosting nationals in May. Unfortunately, barring a rule change, we won't have the opportunity to see both of those teams in the Elite 8.

The evenly matched NESCAC schools certainly can't be overlooked and with Bates improving this year, 6 NESCAC teams in the top 20 is certainly not out of the question, including 4 in the top 10. This is the last year for Steve Wilkinson, one of the best coaches in college tennis history, and he's looking to help the Gusties rebound from one of their more disappointing seasons in recent memory. Kenyon and Mary Washington also can't be forgotten. Kenyon has a new #2 player along with the defending national champion, and a deep team that is dangerous against anyone. One of the best recruiting class in the history of Mary Washington tennis will be looking to depart this year on a high note after an incredible upset last year in Regionals. We then have a host of other teams who have top 10 talent, but are still looking to break through into the single digits in the rankings. I'll do my best to follow all of these story lines and more between now and Mid-May and I hope all readers won't be hesitant to add their commentary on another great season.