Update – I’ve also updated the Watch List. I removed Chapman and UTD this week as I think neither have a chance at a Pool C bid. Tournament champ or bust! One other interesting note that I’ll repeat when the regional rankings come out about the regional host site. Right now Claremont is the odds on favorite. However, if another Texas team is selected to the NCAA tournament or if Claremont gets passed then Texas will host. That will mean the winner of the probable SCAC semi-final between Trinity and Southwestern will determine the host site.
This was the last weekend of the regular season with the exception of the Northwest Conference. I hope everyone got a chance to go to their team’s senior night (or will go) and hand out hugs. I know in my case the four years went by so fast. For the freshman parents, just enjoy this time, brace for the good and bad and always be supportive. I actually headed down to the Southwestern senior night where the mighty Pirates took on DII St. Mary’s. I won’t bore you with the details but it was a very fun match consisting of great volleyball on both sides. The highlight, however, were the three seniors (one of which was an adopted daughter). Not adopted in the sense of paperwork, paying for college or really anything strenuous on my part but in the sense of when they were a freshman I decided to adopt them. I’m happy to say I have at least one adopted daughter for each class year so my ties to Southwestern will remain strong for, at least, another three years. Oh, sorry about not linking in the box scores yesterday but I was doing a lot of driving and had a late night and did I mention the screw in my tire and…well…sorry.
Since my last wrap-up, I hope everyone got a chance to read Ricky Nelson’s rant on the RAC rankings. I did a little in depth analysis on the rankings when I compared Southwestern to Whittier. There was also a write-up on the bubble teams and the different scenarios that could occur. One of those scenarios did occur this week so let’s get to the wrap-up and discuss.
The ASC completed their conference schedule on Tuesday and the big news from that night was the UTD Comets winning the East Division and gaining the right to host the ASC tournament. UTT gets the East #2 seed with ETBU getting the East #3 seed. Over on the West side, UMHB had the #1 seed already locked up but there was bragging rights for 2nd place between McMurry and Concordia. McMurry is ineligible for the tournament as they finish their reclassification to DIII but their matches count in the standings and they were able to beat Concordia. In the end Concordia will get the West #2 seed and Hardin-Simmons gets the #3 seed holding off Howard Payne. Over the weekend UTD and UMHB had matches against Trinity but were unable to get more than a set off the Tigers. There were other tournaments, as well, and we were able to see Louisiana College get their first two victories in DIII! UTT had an important match against Austin College that they were able to win. It was important because Austin College beat La Verne and that’s a team ahead of UTT in the West RAC rankings.
The NWC is the only conference still playing conference matches. (Actually, I have no idea if this is true but it sounds cool and I was too lazy to research it.) With two matches left, Pac Lutheran holds a one match lead over Whitworth while also holding the tiebreakers. The Pac Lutheran match at home against Puget Sound on Wednesday will be their next chance to clinch an NCAA Pool A bid. If not Wednesday, then it better be Friday as they play George Fox on the road and Whitworth plays Pacific also on the road. If this is still undecided on Saturday then it means Whitworth will be playing for the title on the road against Linfield. This past week saw Pacific go on the road and sweep Pac Lutheran after beating Linfield on Wednesday. Whitman continues to cruise as they close out the season and have now won 4 straight. Troubles continue for Willamette, Linfield and Lewis & Clark.
The SCAC concluded their conference schedule last week so this was Potpourri Week. That’s not an official name or anything but the SCAC is welcome to use it. Colorado College ended up hosting a tournament that they swept. (Note to other coaches…don’t ever go to Colorado College for a tournament…they don’t lose at home.) Trinity hosted their own tournament that they also swept through taking down UTD and UMHB in the process. Southwestern went a different route playing an NAIA school and a DII school, winning both. On the other side, Schreiner also played in a tournament but didn’t have any luck as they are now 0-27 this season. They play an NAIA school on Tuesday in hopes of getting their first win. TLU also had a tough time of it dropping matches to UTD, UMHB and Concordia. Dallas probably had the most fun as they flew out to SoCal for two matches (splitting them) but based on their Twitter feed had a blast.
And then my favorite conference this season, the SCIAC. In doing my research for the bubble teams, I discovered a very real chance that Whittier (the #3 team in the West RAC rankings) might not make their own tournament. As things played out, that’s exactly what happened. Whittier, Chapman and Cal Lutheran all tied for the 3rd with only 4 teams making the tournament. Cal Lu wins the first three-way tie breaker with best match record between the teams. Chapman then wins the second two-way tie breaker with Whittier based on head-to-head set record. I haven’t seen anything official from the SCIAC, yet, but I believe this to be correct. This means CMS and La Verne get the first two seeds and will host their semi-final match. Despite the tournament fun, the really big news out of the SCIAC this week was that Caltech won their first SCIAC match EVER. I’m talking over a decade they have never won a match in the SCIAC before taking down Redlands. CMS keeps winning as they finished 15-1 in conference and have won their last 14 matches.
Looking forward, I’m in the midst of doing write-ups on each conference tournament team. Nothing huge but a bigger undertaking then I had thought and I will struggle to get this out early this week. For those sharp eyed folks, there is a link to the 2017 conference tournaments on the left side menu. This is where the write-up will get posted. I’ll make sure there is a post that links to it when I’m done and I’ll send out a tweet, as well. Oh, while I’m thinking on it, you should probably just follow @D3VbWest on Twitter. Go. Do it. I’ll stop writing until you do…