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The D3 Review: Week 3

Another exciting week of D3 matches; let us dive in!

  1. Springfield: Not a surprise to anyone, the Pride remain number 1 in the division. The biggest news for the program is their start date! We’ll see this years Pride take to the court this weekend in a top 10 showdown with the Endicott in a home and home series!  

  2. New Paltz: The hawks are officially back for the season, and this alumnus could not be happier. Rumor has it they will face St. John Fisher in their first contest of the season (not confirmed) and that we’ll have their schedule before the weekend (more on them later).

  3. Carthage: The next match for the Firebirds will be tonight against North Park, and then they will take on an Augustana team which just defeated North Central. I believe Carthage is still the heavy favorite in both contests based on probability, but they would do well not to sleep on Augustana.

  4. Vassar: I can finally confirm that the Vassar Brewers will return to the court in an opening match with Elmira on March 21st. Their full schedule will be released later, but of their ten game scheduled, FOUR of them will be against cross-town rival and fellow top program, SUNY New Paltz.

  5. Rutgers: The Scarlet Raiders just came off a weekend where the split with a tough Juniata program in two 5-set matches. Not the result any program wants as they try to propel themselves in the elite category of the division, but this team is young and they are only getting better.

  6. Benedictine: I specifically put off writing my D3 review until today because I wanted to catch the Benedictine vs. Aurora match last night. I have been able to watch most Aurora matches this year, and the team has only been getting better. I had this match on my possible upset alert (have the texts to prove it); conference games and home court advantage tend to blur talent lines regardless of teams (statistically proven) and Aurora has been looking for that signature win all season to announce they belong in the top 15.

    Despite going down 2-0, Aurora was riding a big momentum wave coming into the 5th, but the Eagles continue to prove me wrong! The Eagles were able to avoid the reverse sweep and were able to build a 10-4 cushion in the deciding set that would be insurmountable for the Spartans. A win is a win, and the Eagles continue to do just that. Their next match is Friday against Lakeland.

  7. St. John Fisher: Not many programs are going to schedule Daemen for the opening contest, especially after the pandemic year we’ve just had! This St. John Fisher team is good, they showed the talent to compete at the top level of the division. St. John Fisher will live and die at the pins behind Bigford and Baker, but I have to acknowledge the increased middle production I saw in this match for the Cardinals.

    Even more so, one of Harvey Pepperjacks personal all-stars Ivan Lopez really stepped up for the Cardinals against Daemen. If there was one player in that game who was able to spark SJF and provide the big point moments necessary to keep the squad fired up, it was him. The Cardinals next match is tonight against Nazarath, so for the UVC fans out their make sure you catch it (I know I will).

  8. Juniata: I was able to watch both matches between Rutgers and Juniata, and in my honest opinion Juniata was very capable of winning both of those games in 4. A win over Rutgers is no joke, but two wins would have been a statement and a half. They continue their slow climb up the rankings. Juniata’s next matches will be against Elizabethtown this weekend on Saturday, but their next shot at a ranked opponents comes March 20th, when they take on one of my favorite programs to watch, Southern Virginia University.

  9. Dominican: A quiet week for the Stars. Their next couple of matches are against the lower tier of the NACC (match against Marian might be the best one to watch). They will play formerly ranked MSOE at the tail end of their NACC schedule on March 30th, but I believe they will largely remain unbeaten until the post-season.

    I still think this team on paper is the best team in their conference, and I know they are looking for a rematch with their conference rival Benedictine. The NACC tournament is going to be a shark tank, and Dominican will need to win it to claim their former crown as the Best of the Midwest.

  10. Endicott: As mentioned earlier, this years Gulls will take on Springfield this weekend in a home and home series! Not much else needs to be said. Can they shock the world?

  11. Southern Virginia: Outside of Lancaster Bible, Southern Virginia has not had the best schedule in terms of quality opponents. This will be rectified March 20th, where they will play Juniata in a double header. Before that they will have to get past a much-improved Marymount squad on March 13th, a team that pushed Juniata to the brink just a few weeks ago.

  12. Lancaster Bible: The Chargers last remaining match against a D3 opponent will be against Wilson college on March 17th.  

  13. Stevens: The biggest upset of the weekend by far was the 3-1 loss to Misericordia by the former national power Stevens. Credit to Misericordia, they came in prepared and beat the team that was in front of them. It is a huge statement win for an up-and-coming program establishing itself in the landscape. Though Steven’s was able to win the rematch in 5, their once unshakeable hold on the MAC has now been broken.

    From the conversations I have had across the landscape, everyone is smelling blood in the water. Messiah, Stevenson, Arcadia, Alvernia all have their eyes on the Conference Championship this year, and Steven’s will have to beat all to reestablish dominance.

  14. North Central: A tough loss to a strong Augustana team has one of my personal favorite Midwest teams falling down the rankings this week. Losses happen, especially when your team is young, but you have to beat the teams in front of you. NCC will seek to get back on track with a match against Loras tonight, a team they should not sleep on.

  15. Messiah: What a rise for the Falcons! After impressive performances last week this young program brakes into the top teams of the landscape for the first time in program history. Head Coach Justin Beachy has done a good job building a foundation, and Mason Nissley and Matt Knab continue to perform at All-American levels. Their next match is tonight against Stevenson, and its result might indicate the new top dog of the MAC.

Thoughts Moving Forward

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