Pond Talk: Week IX

Fontbonne played the midwest gauntlet and we had some cross coast action at the Cal-Lu-Fornia classic. Dive in to some of our takes from last weeks narratives.

Who’s currently winning the “Best of the Midwest” Battle this year?

Ramius: Beginning of the year it was clearly Dominican, as we get closer to April it’s been all Carthage. The team’s offense has been near unstoppable as of late (and anyone who knows me knows I’m an offense first kind of guy).

Harvey: I am not sure what kind of sauce they are putting on Johnny Deepdish’s pizza in the midwest, but it’s Carthage. I’d make an argument that they are executing better than anyone in the country right now. Winner’s of 12 straight, the Firebirds have also hit over .300 in 8 of their last 9 matches highlighted by an astonishing .613 in a dismantling of Fontbonne.

Johnny: Dominican is dominating the Midwest right now. They played a great match against BenU this week to take control of the NACC. Old Man McGuire is dishing out absolute sauce and really showing how a 5th year adds a level of wisdom, leadership, and knowledge of the game. With that, I am announcing the official start of the McGuire POY Campaign. 

In the same light, who do you consider the “Beast of the East” given the season so far?

Ramius: I think Springfield has clearly cemented their status as the number 1 team in the East. Lasell loss aside they simply play the most consistently and execute at a higher level then the remainder of the programs on this coast this year. Vassar proved to be their biggest foil early in the season, but Carthage’s recent ascent has me thinking their probably the best suited to take them down in the postseason.

Harvey: Springfield. And then a whole mess of everyone else. I think Southern Virginia is flying a little under the radar. I am not sure they have enough dynamic arms in addition to Nahuel, but they can definitely make some noise down the stretch of the season.

Johnny: Springfield is continuing its stranglehold on the East. I think the loss to Lasell shows their mortality, if just slightly. I love what they’re doing. Big fan here in the Midwest. 

We had a bunch of interesting crossover matches the last few days. What was your biggest takeaway from the Ca-Lu-Fornia Classic?

Ramius: Two things honestly. First, people need to respect the California teams, simple as that. A cross country road trip is brutal enough, but UCSC and Cal Lu have shown the ability to contend and topple top programs from our Coast. I’d love to see more programs go out their in the future to test themselves. Second, Jacob LaBouiliere has thrust his name into the Player of the Year conversation. An outside averaging over 4.3 kills per set and 6th in the nation in hitting percentage at .452! Yikes. 

Harvey: Anything can happen with 18-23 year olds. With cross country travel, time zone changes, increased freedom, etc. we saw a lot of interesting line-ups out there. I think we will continue to see upsets over the next two weeks.

Johnny: Marymount is a good team. Everything they play, I keep an eye out. They’re fun to watch, and show up in big games. Props to the Saints for traveling all the way across the country and having a good showing.

Who’s on upset watch next week?

Ramius: Rutgers-Newark is the prime candidate with Marymount on their schedule, but I’d be remiss to add Vassar as they take on Stevenson. 

Harvey: I’ll be keeping an eye on Rutgers-Newark as they have a big CVC match against Marymount this weekend. Additionally, Vassar has two nationally ranked opponents south of the Mason-Dixon at Stevenson & the aforementioned Marymount. 

Johnny: I don’t have anyone.

Who’s your top 5?

Ramius: Springfield, Carthage, Dominican, Vassar, NCC

Harvey: Springfield, Carthage, Dominican, NCC, SVU

Johnny: Dominican, Springfield, Vassar, NCC, Carthage