Another week of matches, another week of hot takes! Dive in as the contributors and I give our takes on some of the narratives from the last week of matches.
- Rutgers was on a hot streak before getting swept by the ever competitive Stevenson. How does the result impact your opinion of the landscape?
Ramius: I think it fits pretty well into the Stevenson narrative this year. They can, have, and will play anyone and everyone. Wins over New Paltz, SVU, and Rutgers are all significant and should give the Mustangs confidence to battle for the MAC crown against Stevens and Messiah. Rutgers was definitely on a hot streak, and it was bound to end eventually. But their resume up to now includes wins overs Juniata, Nazareth, St. John Fisher, and Stevens… they’ll be a player come April.
Bradley: I think this match proves that outside of Springfield and Vassar, the remainder of the landscape is currently a toss-up. Everyone else is dropping matches, and nobody has yet to establish the same level of dominance that Springfield and Vassar have.
Harvey: I think the match says more about Stevenson than it does Rutgers-Newark. When the Mustangs are on, they have enough arm talent and size to compete with the nation’s elite. All it takes is for them to get hot at the correct time in April.
Johnny: This was a great win for Stevenson and a bad loss for RU-N. I’m going to agree with Bradley on this and it leaves a lot of room for discussion. They have NYU and New Paltz next week with a match down in Arlington, VA with Marymount on March 18th. Circle that match for an upset alert.
- NCC remains undefeated at 10-0. What are your predictions regarding their matches versus Carthage (Wednesday) and Loras (Saturday) this week.
Ramius: I think Carthage has been slowly building momentum since their tough start to the season, and I think their NCC match is where they remind the landscape they are the reigning national champions. If feet were to the fire I’d say Carthage defeats NCC this week, and NCC rebounds with a win over Loras.
Bradley: Hot take- they lose both. I think Carthage is ready to gain their national attention back and NCC will be stunned by a sleeper Loras team.
Harvey: My predictions is that is North Central can go 3-1 in their matches with Carthage and Loras this year. They will be a top contender for one of the coveted at large bids in the NCAA tournament.
Johnny: Carthage is a solid team and Loras has a way of staying in big matches. This is the first of 2 matches against both programs in the CCIW for NCC; next coming March 26th and 30th respectively. Its hard to beat a team, let alone twice. I believe they’ll pick up their first loss against Carthage and have a 4 set win against Loras.
- A little more than halfway through the season, who currently is making the best case for NPOY in your eyes?
Ramius: Jarrett Anderson at Springfield – I don’t think there’s a close argument for anyone else in the landscape right now.
Bradley: At this point, it has to be Jarrett Anderson (Springfield). He is the best player on the current #1 team in the country, averaging 4.9 pts/set with a .486 hitting % and 0.82 aces/set. As a cherry on top, he is performing at the highest level against the best teams (see box scores from Rutgers, Vassar x2, Stevens and Wentworth). Following behind I’d say Nahuel Recabarren (SVU), Andrew Kim (Vassar) and Pat Wing (New Paltz).
Harvey: If you aren’t picking Jarrett Anderson, you just aren’t paying attention- @ Johnny.
Johnny: I’m sticking with the old man Jack McGuire (Dominican) . He was my preseason favorite and continues to lead the Stars on a great campaign. Coming up on 300 assists on the season with the team hitting .285 on the season and 10.9 kills per set. Those are great numbers. Naturally, I think the best player on the #1 ranked team (Springfield) will be the NPOY, just spicing it up here.
- What teams are on upset watch this week?
Ramius: I think the juiciest upset possibility would be NYU over Rutgers, but I’d also have NCC on alert (more so against Loras as I think NCC and Carthage are equally talented teams).
Bradley: I’m putting Rutgers on a double upset watch (@NYU, neutral v. New Paltz)
Harvey: Southern Virginia in a huge CVC match-up against Juniata.
- Who is your top 5?
Ramius: Springfield, Vassar, Dominican, North Central, Stevens
Bradley: Springfield, Vassar, SVU, North Central, Dominican
Harvey: Springfield, Vassar, North Central, Dominican, SVU
Johnny: Springfield, Vassar, Dominican, NCC, SVU