East/West Challenge

I haven’t really looked around for schedules, but I’m sure some teams are starting to post them. My Latvian hackers did uncover the East/West Classic 2023 schedule so I thought I’d write about that to fill all of our time.

To start with, what the heck are we calling this tournament? Classic? Challenge? Battle? I liked the East/West Battle but I guess that’s no longer the name. What about D3VbWest Presents the East/West Challenge? Now that sings.

The “D3VbWest Presents the East/West Challenge” is probably my favorite tournament of the year. I’m not sure why I added “probably” there. It’s my favorite and is one of the deepest and most talented group of teams you’ll see any weekend those first three weeks of the year. The teams are Trinity, Cal Lutheran, WashU, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, Colorado College, Emory and CMS. Six of the eight teams were ranked at the end of last season with two falling in the Top 10. The other four filled up the next 7 spots in the rankings. It’s almost as difficult as the West Regionals from last decade looked like.

CMS will be hosting the “D3VbWest Presents the East/West Challenge” as they prepare for their national championship hosting gig later this year. Odd note, CMS will most likely have one of the toughest schedules in the nation without leaving the state. A real oddity for a team that typically takes two trips each season. The tournament will take place on September 8th and 9th and consist of 12 matches so each team will get 3 matches.

The tournament expanded to 8 teams last year (I think that was the first year for 8). This season, Colorado College will be replacing UT-Dallas from the lineup. There is also more cross-pollination with the teams as last year the split the 8 teams into two groups and only those groups played against each other. This year, it’s more mixed up. I will say, it’s a shame these teams are so afraid of Southwestern that they won’t invite the Pirates but it will obviously help their records.

As far as the teams in 2023, I have learned a little information. Trinity is returning 27 Super Seniors this year and are attempting to see if NCAA eligibility resets if they can raise from the dead great volleyball players that have passed away. CMS is touring Europe this summer and plan on bringing back “3 or 4” players that can all touch 11’. Johns Hopkins is leveraging their outstanding medical facilities to stop their rash of injuries and in some cases have started to insert bionic capabilities into key first-years. Finally, Colorado College has been researching how to take their 6,000’ elevation and insert it into a bubble around any gym they visit. This way they will always have a home court advantage.

As far as the matches, two really good ones that don’t involve teams from the west will be: WashU versus Johns Hopkins and Emory versus Tufts.

As far as the West teams:

CMS will be playing WashU, Trinity and Johns Hopkins.

Trinity will be playing Cal Lutheran, Tufts and CMS.

Colorado College will be playing Tufts, Johns Hopkins and Emory.

Cal Lutheran will be playing Trinity, Emory and WashU.

I guess I’ll end with a little soapbox action. I’m not sure why more schools don’t do this. Get a good core of teams from different regions and rotate the hosting gig. This type of tournament is more about playing than winning because the quality of opponents is so good. If you can put together a good season, then winning here becomes secondary to the SOS bump you are going to get just by playing. You could even limit the teams to two regions to lessen the traveling. Northeast versus Texas, for instance. WIAC versus Atlantic based teams. You secure a great weekend of matches, a big bump to the SOS and only have to fly every other year. Now, of course, winning is also important and taking three matches in a tournament like this pretty much makes you a force come selection time if you don’t win your conference.

Alright, less than 5 months before real games startup so hopefully this helps pass the time a bit. I’d love to make it out for this one and if they are going to name the tournament after D3VbWest, I’m not sure how my (hot) wife could object.


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