With the release of the 2022 AVCA preseason Coaches Poll, we can officially kick off our first D3 review of 2022! For those who are knew to the pond, every week I run through some of the storylines and highlights of each ranked team in the Coaches Poll to keep the landscape up to date on all things D3VB. Without further ado, lets dive in.
- Carthage: No surprise here, Carthage is the reigning national champion and returns the majority of their lineup from last season. Fresh off an exhibition victory over Cardinal Stritch, the first real look we’ll have at the Firebirds will come on 1/21, when they travel to the Empire State to take on NYU.
- Springfield: Multiple All-Americans on the floor, a deep bench, and a culture of volleyball excellence. Springfield has the talent to win it all this year and are considered the best team in the country by many. Coach Sullivan has put together one of the toughest schedules for the Pride of all D3 teams I’ve seen this year, so they’ll be battle tested come April. They kick things off today (1/14) against LIU-Brooklyn, but begin their D3 schedule with a Beast of the East Clash with Rutgers-Newark on 1/22.
- Dominican: “There is no FrogJump without Dominican Volleyball” – Ramius… The reigning NACC champions, the Stars have a roster poised for a big run this year. “Old Man” McGuire and “The Godfather” Kougan embarrassed teams left and right last year, so I’m only going to say this once. Don’t… Swing… Low… Six. The Stars debut is 1/19 against Illinois Wesleyan, but the match I have pinned on my calendar is 1/21 when they travel to Juniata for a Midwest East Coast showdown.
- Benedictine: The Cinderella of last year’s NCAA tournament, Coach Staple is testing his squad early this year. The Eagles first three opening matches (Loras, NCC, MIT) are against opponents ranked either by the AVCA coaches’ poll or FrogJumps own power ranking. The results of this stretch will give us a good idea of how high the Eagles will fly this year.
- Vassar: The reigning UVC Champions, the Brewers start the season with matches against D1/2 Sacred Heart and Daemen, but their 1/29 match with Arcadia is a game I’ve had penciled on my calendar for a while. A senior heavy Arcadia team is a dangerous test, stay tuned.
- Messiah: There’s high hopes for this years Falcons squad after last years successes. Their season debut will be against Marymount on 1/19, but the match everyone will have their eyes on will occur three days later against Southern Virginia.
- Southern Virginia: The return of Kaipo Tagaloa and Nahuel Recabbarren is all anyone needed to hear this off-season. The Knights square off against Stevenson and Messiah in their first weekend of competition (1/21-1/22).
- SUNY New Paltz: The new look Hawks are California bound, where they’ll play Westcliff (NAIA), Stevenson, UCSC, California Lutheran (2x), and Hope International over the next week.
- Rutgers-Newark: Few teams gained as much in the off-season as Rutgers-Newark did, and the landscape is expecting big things from the program this year. Already pegged as CVC favorites, the Raiders kick things off against Ramapo and Springfield on 1/22. Fireworks to be expected.
- Wentworth: Owners of last years most impactful upset, the Leopards will make their season debut on 1/21 against a talented Nazareth team.
- St. John Fisher: It’s very likely St. John Fisher might be the best team nobody is talking about this season so far. The Cardinals will start the season with a match versus Geneva on the 15th, but the 1/21 match against a strong Lasell squad will be their first test of the season.
- Juniata: The Eagles have already begun their season, last taking the floor against St. Francis on 1/7. They’ll play Grand Canyon on the 14th but face a tough test against Nazareth the day after.
- MIT: It’s been almost two years since the Engineers last played, and I know I’ve been fairly high on the potential of this year’s squad. The Engineers open things up against Regis on the 21st, but I have my eyes on their match versus Rivier on the 22nd. This will most likely be the lowest they appear in the AVCA poll all year.
- NYU: The Violets are only two years removed from being one of the best three teams in the country and have a roster full of potential to make some noise in the landscape this year. While they begin their D3 schedule against Kean on the 18th, their next two matches are against Carthage (1/21) and Springfield (1/26).
- Fontbonne: The perennial MCVL favorites, Fontbonne opens things up against Wisconsin Lutheran on 1/28.
Ramius’s Top 5
As always, I end every D3 review with my personal top 5. Get after it everyone. It’s 2022!!!
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