Here is the SCIAC Mid-Conference Review. This conference does play a conference tournament but only the top 4 teams qualify. The matches are played at the higher seeds gym. Note – CMS and Pomona-Pitzer have not played to the half-way point, yet.
SCIAC Standings (Conference Record, Coaches Preseason Prediction, D3VbWest Prediction):
- Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-0, 1, 1)
- Chapman (6-2, 5, 3)
- Pomona-Pitzer (5-2, 6, 6)
- La Verne (5-3, 3, 4)
- Whittier (5-3, 4, 2)
- Cal Lutheran ( 4-4, 2, 5)
- Occidental (2-6, 7, 7)
- Redlands (1-7, 8, 8)
- Caltech (0-8, 9, 9)
There doesn’t seem to be any way to stop the defending national champions. They were banged up to start the year, still went undefeated in conference and are now getting their players back. Maybe Phoebe Madsen will grow bored not running after stray balls or getting to hit and start setting only using her feet. So there; there is hope! (Note – I wrote that feet setting line before that Penn State player did it in a match. Now that I saw it happen, maybe we’re back to no hope.) The toughest match for CMS remaining on the schedule is probably away at Cal Lutheran and maybe the away match at Chapman. Regardless, CMS would be favored in both. Up until the Chapman matches with Cal Lu and La Verne I really didn’t know what we had with the Panthers but it appears they will finish in the top 4 now. Whittier at home could be a problem given that the Poets swept them. The away matches with La Verne and CMS will probably be losses but that still leaves them with an 11-5 record in conference. Pomona-Pitzer at 5-2 is the SCIAC surprise for the season so far. They haven’t played CMS, yet, so they are probably going to go 5-3 for the first half. Following the CMS match they get the three bottom teams (two at home) and really need to win all of these. That would put them at 8-3 and then it probably comes down to just winning one of their remaining five matches. (Best bets are home against Chapman or La Verne.) La Verne is 5-3 and it would surprise me if they don’t pick up at least 4 wins in the second half. Our third team with 5 wins is Whittier and they have been up and down all year. So has La Verne for that matter but Whittier has made no sense to me what so ever. They are the only team to have beaten UMHB this season but then they lose to Puget Sound (who, to their credit, are looking better). They also lose to Pomona-Pitzer in 5-sets in a match I don’t know how they got their two set wins after sweeping Chapman. They lose to Cal Lu at home but beat La Verne away and play CMS to 5-sets. Just a weird team right now. They are really the wildcard in the second half and can finish anywhere from 7-1 to 3-5. Cal Lutheran is the final team that’s really in the discussion for the SCIAC Tournament (they only take 4 teams). They are at 4-4 and really need to get at least 5 wins in the second half of conference play. I think it will come down to their last three matches needing 2 wins. They have home against Whittier, away at Chapman and home against Pomona-Pitzer. It’s certainly doable for this team but it’s been a strange year for a number of teams in the SCIAC. Occidental, Redlands and Caltech round out the SCIAC and I do think Oxy and Redlands can steal a match from someone. If that happens, it might be curtains for whomever they beat.
Updated predictions – My prediction is that whatever I write will be wrong. I think CMS wins the regular season title and qualifies for the SCIAC Tournament along with (gulp) Chapman, Whittier and La Verne. Pomona has a key injury right now and they are not the same team without her. I think the extra loss for Cal Lutheran will be too hard to makeup but another second half run like last year could put them in second! I think CMS wins the tournament and gets the automatic bid and I believe the SCIAC will get one at-large bid but for the life of me I have no clue. Give me Chapman if you just have to laugh at me at the end of the year.