Pond Talk: Week X

Dive into everyone’s favorite D3VB round table, where the contributors and I give our takes on some of the narratives from the last week of matches. We only have two weeks left in the regular season, and the action is really picking up.

The first regional rankings were released last week and the landscape responded with some epic performances. What was the most shocking result last week?

Ramius: Personally I’d have to say Rutgers-Newark’s win over SVU was the most shocking, if simply because of the score. A six hour road trip is no joke for SVU so I’m sure travel played a part, but Rutgers-Newark effectively locked the Knights offense down for three straight sets. It’s a huge statement win as we approach the postseason, and Rutgers firmly becomes the favorite in the CVC for now.

Harvey: I’ll take Carthage over North Central. Not for the result, but because of its severity. This match was not particularly close, and that is with Matt Slivinski hitting negative for the match. Crazy stuff.

Bradley: The most shocking result to me was Rutgers Newark demolishing SVU. I’d expect Rutgers to slide into the top spot in Region II which could end up having big implications for an at-large bid.

Johnny: I’m a big story line person. I like the story line of RUN beating the tar off of SVU. On the other hand, I like Carthage beating NCC. But, I’m not sure either of those wins were outside the realm of possibility. Good program wins, nonetheless. 

Our season is long, and teams who performed well early on may not always perform well late as we get closer to Championship season. In your opinion which programs are elevating their level of play to meet the higher bar required for deep runs in April?

Ramius: I think Carthage is playing the best ball of all teams in the landscape right now, and they’ve demonstrably gotten better since the beginning of the year (which should scare people).

Harvey: Messiah. Their schedule was front loaded and they had a strange and uneven start to their season. But they haven’t lost since February 1st as they rematch with Stevenson and then showdown with Stevens Tech for MAC supremacy.

Bradley: The two teams that come to mind here are Carthage and New Paltz. Both of these squads had tough losses back in January and are peaking at the right time. 

Johnny: I’m abandoning my Midwest bias for this and joining Ramius’ world to say New Paltz. Like I said above, I’m a story line person and it seems like the Hawks are just building good headlines. Which is big. 

We’re now in the home stretch of 2022 and there have been amazing campaigns from several players this year. Who do you think is in the running for Player of the Year?

Ramius: Honestly I think the two top candidates at the moment are probably Jarrett Anderson and Jacob LaBouliere. The dark horse pick might be Gene McNulty based on the season he and Carthage are having. 

Harvey: I’ll stick with Jarret Anderson who currently has more service aces than attack errors. Go ahead, look it up. 

Bradley: The frontrunner still has to be Jarrett Anderson in my opinion.

Johnny: I’m still sticking with Old Man McGuire. He’s been leading a very very good Stars squad that is in prime position to make a run. 

Who’s on upset alert next this week?

Ramius: There are a lot of prime upset opportunities this week, but I think the best candidates in order of likelihood are 1) Messiah hosting Stevenson 2) North Central traveling to Loras and 3) Springfield hosting New Paltz.

Harvey: Only a light upset, but I like Concordia Wisconsin over Benedict this weekend.

Bradley: New Paltz over Springfield in 4. Heard it here first.

Johnny: Any team Loras or CUW play is in upset watch. 

As always, who are your top 5?

Ramius: 1) Springfield 2) Carthage 3) Dominican 4) Rutgers-Newark 5) Stevens

Harvey: 1) Springfield 2) Carthage 3) Dominican 4) Rutgers-Newark 5) Stevens

Bradley: 1) Springfield 2) Carthage 3) New Paltz 4) Dominican 5) Rutgers-Newark

Johnny: 1) Dominican 2) Springfield 3) Carthage 4) New Paltz 5) Rutgers-Newark