My apologies for the delay everyone! Club season kept me insanely busy the last few weeks, having flown to St. Louis followed by BANE this past weekend. Your favorite D3VB round table is back though! Dive in as we give you some hot takes regarding the D3 Landscape after 6 weeks of action.
Since their loss to Springfield, Rutgers-Newark has been on a tear lately. They’re currently 11-1, #4 in our power ranking, and riding a ten match win streak with notable victories over Juniata, Nazareth, St. John Fisher, and Stevens. Is this a sign of big things to come in April? Or are the Scarlet Raiders just hot right now?
Ramius: A little of both, maybe? I’ve counted out RUN time and time again this year and I just keep getting punished for it. They’re definitely hot right now, but their schedule doesn’t let up with Stevenson and NYU on deck. Money on the line I’d say they’re a player in April regardless if they win the CVC or not.
Harvey: I think they are the clear cut favorites in the CVC right now. Assuming that Justin Tuhoy returns at some point, I can see the ceiling getting even higher for this squad (not taking anything away from Derek Au who is absolutely BALLING right now). This squad is a serious Final 4 contender.
Bradley: I’d say they’re just hot right now. I think they’re still lacking a crucial offensive weapon (see next question). Their wins over Juniata, Naz, SJFC and Stevens are all quite impressive, but my guess is SVU still takes the CVC come April. If this is the case, the Scarlet Raiders resume at this point in the season puts them in a great position for an at-large bid. For what it’s worth, every time I have tried to predict who the favorite is to win the CVC, something crazy happens.
If you could take one player off of any unranked team and add him to a nationally ranked program, who would you place where and why (using current AVCA Top 15 poll)?
Ramius: Take Patrick Mahoney from Loras and add him to North Central; because I like to stir the pot.
Harvey: I’ll dip into the midwest here. Adding Spencer Herman (RS) from Concordia University Wisconsin to the defending National Champs, Carthage. The sophomore is currently averaging 4.24 kills/set and doing it efficiently at a .348 clip. Giving the Firebirds a 3rd terrifying pin who can score at volume with efficiency would add another layer to Coach JW’s already dynamic offense.
Bradley: I will gladly take the former D3 NPoY, Mason Nissley (OH), and fill him in as Jared Ray’s replacement for Rutgers-Newark. This Rutgers squad has started off the year 11-1 with that 1 loss coming from #1 Springfield. In fact, Rutgers comes in at #3 for me this week. With Andrew Zaleck and Arvind Kumar combining to hit at a mere .233 clip, Rutgers is in need of a top tier offensive weapon. Nissley at OH would surely fulfill that need and would enable this team to make a serious RUN (pun intended).
Saturday, February 26th, we will see a rematch between the current top 2 teams in D3VB – Springfield @ Vassar. What is your prediction for this match?
Ramius: I think home court advantage is important in matches like this, so I’m going to Vassar in 4. Their offense was essentially shut down at the Morgan Classic and they STILL were up 2-1 on Springfield in sets. I’m expecting a better offensive performance this time around.
Harvey: Give me the Pride in 4 sets. Despite the pause from Springfield, I don’t think Vassar has the necessary arms to score against Springfield when they are playing out of system.
Bradley: I’ll take Vassar in 5 sets.
As always, who are your top 5?
Ramius: Springfield, Vassar, Rutgers, Dominican, North Central
Bradley: Springfield, Vassar, Rutgers, Southern Virginia, North Central
Harvey: Springfield, Vassar, Rutgers, North Central, Dominican