Saturday, January 30, 2010

Season Preview #22: Trinity (CT)

General Team Discussion - Despite a great tradition and always producing a solid team, the Bantams really haven't been able to keep pace with the other top NESCAC programs. They had an impressive year in 2008 entering the NESCAC tourney as the top seed, but they came back down to earth in 2009, playing more at the level which I would expect. This is a solid 15-20 team, but with the new selection process, they are going to have a very hard time qualifying for the tournament. According to my power rankings, they sit at #9 in Pool C with only 6 spots available. The Bantams are a good team, but they do themselves a disservice by not scheduling more out-of-conference teams to improve their tournament resume. They don't play any teams outside NESCAC who are projected to be in the top 20 in the country. They certainly have the players, particularly at the top of the lineup, to compete with anyone in the country. They got a D1 transfer in Dan Couzens who could potentially be an NCAA qualifier, and we know Spencer Feldman will probably be top 8 in the Northeast. As of now, Trinity (CT) sits at #5 in NESCAC and they will probably have another top 20 year but miss the tournament due to poor scheduling.

Where They'll Win - The Bantams are projected to have two transfers in their top 4. Couzens from Old Dominion and Rich Bonfiglio from Middlebury, should step into the #2 and #4 spots respectively. This gives Trinity the ability to compete with anyone in the country at the top 4 spots. Feldman has been a good #1 for the past two years and sophomore Anson McCook should be an excellent #3, after having fair success at #2 last year. I'm not sure what they are going to do with doubles yet, but whoever they have at #1 doubles could be a potential NCAA qualifier in the Northeast, and will probably be better than any team Williams would put together.

Where They'll Lose - Depth has been an issue the past couple seasons and it continues to be an issue. The Bantams have serviceable players at the bottom 2 spots, but nothing that can compete with the top 3 in the NESCAC, and for that matter most other top 20 programs. If they happen to get an injury or illness the day of a big match, they are in even bigger trouble. If they don't separate their big 4 in doubles then 3 doubles could be a big trouble spot as well. The issue is that when playing the top 3 in the NESCAC, the Bantams almost start the match down 3-0, and would have to win their 5 strong spots for a victory.

Schedule Analysis - Trinity (CT) has the team to potentially beat some of the teams in the 10-15 range, but they just don't schedule them. They start the season in California with a pretty soft schedule. They have their big conference match against Bowdoin which is a heated rivalry, but besides that they play Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Lu, both of whom they should take care of pretty comfortably. They then return back to Connecticut for the heart of their conference play and the only thing they have going in their favor is the fact that they play the top 3 NESCACs all at home.