- Springfield: Springfield has been on pause for the last two weeks and were definitely at risk of not having anywhere near enough matches to even qualify for the NCAA. They were able to schedule another 4 matches, two against Lassel and Lancaster Bible, respectively. They will have to apply for a waiver to be considered for tournament qualification, but I suspect (and hope) this will be granted.
- Carthage: Carthage stands at 18-0 on the season and remains the most impressive program in the country based on resume and on court performance. They have a semi-final appearance against North Park and, with a victory, should face off against Augustana in the CCIW Championship. They are essentially a lock for one of the two Pool B bids this season.
- New Paltz: Despite the early season struggles the Hawks are beginning to soar. Coming off two convincing sweeps of Nazareth and a five-set thriller against Vassar, New Paltz is beginning to live up to its April aspirations. They sit as the #1 seed in the UVC tournament and will face off against Nazareth this weekend. Anything can happen in the UVC, and Nazareth is no slouch, but the Hawks have put themselves into the best position to win the Conference Championship.
- Vassar: The Brewers are elite; this is unquestionable at this point in the season. Andrew Kim is playing at a level that puts him into the discussion of best Outside in the Division, Adam Gulick’s return to Opposite was a welcome performance, and Colin Jones has essentially been unstoppable in the Middle since he entered the starting spot (averaging a .493 hitting percentage and went 11-0-13 against New Paltz last week!). With Gavin Van Beveren’s return to the line-up for UVC’s this weekend, the Brewers will be looking to cement their position in the landscape with a Championship run.
- Dominican: The Stars once again return to the top 5 as the NACC tournament begins. They’re next match is against the CUW Falcons, and they are heavy favorites to win.
- Benedictine: The Golden Eagles, while the number 1 seed in the tournament, will have to go against Aurora in a rematch of their 5-set battle earlier this year.
- St. John Fisher: The Cardinals are set to take the court against Vassar in the UVC semifinals for their next match. Vassar won the first two meetings this season 3-1, so SJF is fairly deserved underdog in this game. I don’t think the matches will be as lopsided as they were last time, and SJF is definitely strong enough to take down the Brewers. This will be a match on my must watch list this week.
- Kean: After riding high over successive wins over Rutgers-Newark, Kean’s momentum (and season) was ended by Juniata in the CVC semifinals. The loss will likely drop them to far down in the regional rankings to count on an at-large bid.
- Juniata: The Golden Eagles just took down the pond favorite in the CVC (Kean) and are set to clash with SVU for this seasons CVC Championship. The Exeter trio didn’t play like freshmen in their match against Kean, and if they can sustain that level play alongside Kevin Duffy this team is more than talented enough to win the conference and make some noise in the NCAA tournament.
- Southern Virginia: Southern Virginia is most likely the safest CVC school. They’ve played themselves into a position for an at-large and showed they can beat talented opposition in their 5-set win over Rutgers-Newark. If they win the CVC, it opens the door for a lot of programs in both regions to have a second shot at the dance.
- Endicott: Endicott at 11 is a tad underrated, but the top 15 is just very talented this year. This team is good, they’ll win their conference, and we’ll see them in the NCAA tournament.
- Lancaster Bible: Lancaster Bible is sitting pretty so far. They will most likely stay atop the regional rankings after they’re released tomorrow, and this is important because this happens before their matches with Springfield this weekend. It’s very likely Springfield will hand Lancaster Bible two losses on their record, but the regional ranking formula takes into account a program positions the week prior as well when the last rankings are released. Lancaster Bible might already have an at-large locked up.
- North Central: North Centrals season CCIW season came to an end yesterday, as covid infections forced both them and Loras to withdraw from the CCIW post season. North Central has a long shot outside chance for an at-large, but so many things have to go right for this to happen that it’s a safer bet to say their season is most likely over (which is a shame I thoroughly enjoy watching this team play).
- Rutgers-Newark: The Scarlet-Raiders season ended last night with their 5-set loss to Southern-Virginia. They are too far down in the regional rankings board to be considered for an at-large.
- Nazareth: Nazareth, so far, is still set to play New Paltz this week in the UVC semis. However, a covid infection has currently put this match in jeopardy. This story is developing and we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears on it. Nazareth is now in UVC Championship or bust territory to have any hopes of competing in the NCAA Tournament.
Thoughts Moving Forward
- This year, being good at volleyball involves being good at not getting covid. I’ve said it before several times, and it’s rung true especially hard for many programs this week. Loras and NCC just had their seasons ended by an ill-timed infection, New Paltz’s early season absences hurt them dearly at the beginning, and now Nazareth is potentially in jeopardy of having to play New Paltz undermanned.
A covid outbreak on any team is obviously very serious, and I’ve seen many young athletes suffer to this disease over the past year. It’s taken life, freedoms, privileges we once took for granted, etc. It’s been a tough year, and I’m so grateful we are even at a point to be looking forward to an NCAA tournament. I want everyone to stay safe, for your own health and the health of your teammates. Because at the end of the day Volleyball is just a game (the best game, but a game), and we can always play it another day.
- I’m very curious to see this weeks new regional rankings, as so many results happened over the last week that I’m expecting a little bit of volatility around where programs ultimately are placed this week (especially in the East).
- Just so everyone is aware, Wentworth is literally the best team not ranked right now and they are (by a large margin) better than many of the teams who are currently ranked. In a regular season, this team probably would have been in the top 10 at some point, so I strongly encourage everyone to take notice of the Leopards, because no matter how this season ends Coach Giglio has a power rising in Massachusetts.
- As a quick reminder, our FrogJump Merchandise store will be open until April 15th! FrogJump is donating its share of the profits from all item’s purchased to the First Point Volleyball Foundation to help facilitate the growth of boys/men’s volleyball in America. I have attached the link below, and hope you help grow the game we all love with a purchase!
The brand apparel is Nike, and Nike tends to run a tad tight as they design clothes for athletic fits. If you want a looser fitting item, I recommend going a size larger! I have attached a sizing chart provided by Eastbay (the company we are working with) just in case!
https://eastbaystore.com/OFTS9865/Sizing (sizing chart)
https://eastbaystore.com/OFTS9865/Category/All (FrogJump Store)