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Topics - PaulNewman

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Men's soccer / Great Lakes Region Navigation Channel
« on: September 17, 2021, 04:32:05 pm »
Ah, there's nothing like the industrial vapors of the Great Lakes wafting on to and over the shorelines to welcome us back into the bosom of D3 soccer intercollegiate competition.

Which begs the question....why are Carnegie Mellon, Wabash, DePauw, Transylvania, Spalding, Hanover, Rose Hulman, Denison, etc in the Great Lakes region, and not the Chicago, Michigan, and Rochester, NY area schools?

The sabbatical year imo has created a bit of a 'wild card' feel.  Will the usual/former stalwarts rise to the top, perhaps with some re-shuffling, or will we see a larger shake up? 

Here are my early season observations...

OWU, the granddaddy of Great Lakes, is setting the pace.  A win and a draw against Hope and Calvin, respectively, should come in handy if Bishops' NCAA dreams hinge on an at-large bid, although Martin and crew will be energized to unseat Kenyon at the top of the NCAC.  Hector Gomez is off to a strong start and should be in the conversation for lofty national honors.  I am obviously not a huge OWU fan, but Martin's coaching records were lauded as a huge deal back in 2011 when OWU captured their last national title.  Here we are a full decade later and he is still at the helm padding his wins lead on the national coaching leaderboard.

Carnegie Mellon is always somewhat of a conundrum, but the Tartans match OWU at 4-0-1 and hold a valuable win versus John Carroll.  

John Carroll, a preseason favorite, is feeling the burden of possibly the toughest schedule in the nation.  Fortunately, the Blue Streaks' opening day road win at Kenyon softens the blow of a 4-3 loss to Carnegie, a match I believe JCU led at least twice and maybe three times.  Draws with Rochester and CWRU shouldn't hurt JCU, but monster games keep coming, with OWU, Chicago, and a tricky in between trap game with Denison.  The OAC may be more competitive than expected as well (more below).

Kenyon, expecting to have another very good year after returning most of the 2019 edition (that failed yet another hosting-to-the-Final-Four opportunity) and adding significant underclassmen talent, already is feeling the heat.  The loss to JCU will almost certainly be a ranked loss come selection time, and the Lords have few chances for ranked wins (barring big surprises).  CWRU may or may not be ranked come November and other than that two probable contests with OWU may exhaust ranked opportunities.  Of course there is the conference tournament and the NCAC automatic bid, but one or two hungry NCAC challengers to OWU and Kenyon could emerge.

I've watched CWRU a couple of times and the Spartans look good.  However, CWRU already dropped a game to Otterbein, and after drawing with JCU faces a big home test with Kenyon.  Then there is the grueling UAA gauntlet interrupted briefly by a difficult away challenge at Carthage.

In the "watch out, I didn't see these guys coming" category, there is Otterbein, Denison, and Mt Union.  Otterbein is 4-0 with an impressive 3-0 win over CWRU and also a 4-1 shellacking of Hanover.  Denison has rebounded from an opening day loss to Mt. Union to win 4 straight, including a decisive 4-1 score over Capital (ludicrously ranked at #7 nationally off of I don't know what).  And Mt Union is sitting at 4-0-1 with the win over Denison and a draw versus Carnegie.

Other squads to keep an eye on, possibly in the context of spoiler roles, are Capital, Rose Hulman, Hanover, DePauw, Wabash, and Wooster.  DePauw sprinted to 5-0 on  a cupcake binge but were brought back to reality by a 3-1 thumping at the hands of Rose Hulman.  Ohio Northern has played a very solid schedule but the Polar Bears will have a hard time overcoming their 0-2-1 ledger versus the trio of Calvin, Hope, and OWU.

Circling back to Denison, we had to wait a year to see what kind of impact the coaching change to OWU-alum Bianco (via
CWRU) might have.  I said at the time of the hiring announcement that Denison had made a very wise choice.  Just a few minutes browsing the Denison men's soccer web pages reveals a fresh new atmosphere.  Video game and practice clips, player features, a coach "mic'ed up" video, and quotes from the coach in game recaps are little things, but they add up to a very favorable impression.  Bianco may have learned some of this from his mentor, Martin, but I've seen other programs like JCU, CWRU, and others doing some similar things.  Once one sees a coach/program utilizing their websites and social media effectively with a bit of flair it's fair to wonder why more don't do so. 

Two big Great Lakes matches tomorrow.....Kenyon @ CWRU in the early tilt, followed by a great nightcap with JCU @ OWU.

Men's soccer / 2021 D3 Men's Soccer National Perspective
« on: September 01, 2021, 01:31:53 pm »
OK, let's do this...thankful for a very long-awaited new season of exhilaration and agony.

Men's soccer / Pool C Amateur Predictions and Prizes
« on: November 10, 2019, 09:45:41 am »
Winner gets a full year subscription to University of Rochester athletics video streams.  As a parent of a fairly recent UR graduate, I remain mystified that UR cost me well over 200K (even after some decent merit aid), and I can't access UR matches for free (unlike almost every other major (and non-major) D3 program in the country). 

Men's soccer / 2019 D3 Men's Soccer National Perspective
« on: August 26, 2019, 08:24:35 pm »
I didn't know teams could play this early (and I assume this wasn't an exhibition game), but you just never know what you are gonna get for a game at Crestview Hills, KY (home of the Thomas More Fights Saints).  Or maybe you do know what you're gonna get.  Centre beats TMC 2-1 and both teams shared a bunch of yellows and at least three reds.

Let the madness begin lol.

Men's soccer / D3 means zero discrimination without professonalization
« on: September 07, 2018, 12:52:50 pm »
OK....moved it.

The sad thing is I doubt anyone really disagrees much.  And I would guess that most will agree that the NCAA has within its oversight a couple or more contradictions.

To attempt one last angle....For me there is a difference from the 45 year old student who already was in the student body and wants to try out for kicking field goals versus active recruitment of a 45 (or 35 or 19) year old from Brazil (or North Dakota) specifically just to kick field goals. 

I can't speak for other D3 sports, but I imagine that a President or two might have some reservations about how serious ("professionalized"?) D3 soccer has become with D3 soccer recruiting having become quite serious and competitive.  I know I have often wondered about a possible inherent contradiction between the so-called missions of the NESCAC schools and NESCAC athletics (and the tension is seen in the ways NESCAC schools have attempted to straddle the fence and be different with limited games, no spring season, etc, etc....and even so I think Williams still wins that overall Cup thing almost every year).  I hear the tuba/cello player argument coming, but are there really "tips" for celloists?  Isn't part of the truth that colleges tolerate and/or embrace athletics and even devote resources/energy to having success because of what that does for the overall image and marketability of the institutions?

I think one can at least raise the issue about whether D3 schools have created any pipelines or are engaged in trends that are at least a bit inconsistent with at least the spirit of D3.

Men's soccer / Saint of Old
« on: August 31, 2018, 12:26:00 pm »
As I ponder whether to have any involvement this year, and if so how much, I wanted to comment on the very fine four-part series by Mani Tafari.  He obviously spent many hours putting all of that together, and each piece in the series overflows with honesty, excitement, exhilaration, disappointment, triumph, generosity towards others/teammates, and perspective.  A joy to read and extremely relatable.  I'm sure SLU fans in particular will enjoy and appreciate the memorializing of a special period in the school's long history, but the story, and the stories within the story, I'm sure resonate with all of us. 

I remain amazed that D3 soccer can be so meaningful, and I know that it is richly meaningful even just as a parent (former).  It's been a full 21 years since Mani stepped on to the Canton campus, and we can see how alive (and in some instances probably even raw) the overall SLU soccer experience is for him to today. 

What I can't figure out is whether there is something about D3 soccer that is unique.  I don't know what it's like for players and parents of major sport D1 elite teams and champions, or for that super-talented, very fortunate percentage that go on to play a sport at a professional level.  That said, it's hard for me to imagine the guys I am familiar with who played D3 having an experience more massive than what they had, and the experience at least for many seems to have a grip on them that reverberates for decades.

In any event, things like Mani's personal narration and the Tufts players' video series, really are gifts and lay bare an argument for D3 athletics that is  truly compelling.

Men's soccer / making sense of the selection process
« on: November 08, 2017, 09:22:52 am »
Cristan, don't want to annoy folks any further on the other thread.  They can just choose to avoid this one if they like.

Thanks for being gritty and seeing this through.

I've tried to figure out exactly what my point is, and of course I will likely reveal my ignorance yet again (as I seem to have no shame in that regard).

I don't know if what you described last is the way I wanted things to be, or just the way things make sense to me.  Like most fans, I tend to initially react to what helps my team or doesn't.  In that regard, the biggest thing I think you've highlighted successfully is the change whereby the 3rd rankings still count.  As recently as a week or so ago many of us were planning based on the possibility that teams might gain and/or lose wins and losses because of teams dropping out and coming in.  You said that is for the foreshadowing, but for me that is kind of going halfway between "once ranked, always ranked" and going the other way to just using the final, final outcome (which would see to be the most reliable if  not using "once ranked, always ranked" because the final outcome is the one of course that places teams in rankings based on the whole picture (or close).

And that last bit is what I was finding counter-intuitive and why I wasn't just admitting that I wanted a 5th ranking.  I wasn't arguing for a 5th ranking, but rather decisions based on the 4th rankings.  Up until then there is always a prior week and then a next week, but there has to be a last ranking at some point and that point I think you consider all of it.  Sort of like the college football playoffs for D1 being based on the final week of action and not arbitrarily based on the week before the last week.  Having a full data set and then not using it just seems counter-intuitive to me.  Now, I may well have that wrong in terms of application, but that is where I am making the error if I am.

The "style" thread somehow got me to thinking about schools that I'm surprised haven't had more consistent success....which led to thinking about schools that had really down years (for them) last year and whether they might rebound in 2017.

In the first category...Colby and Bates immediately come to mind. I especially love Colby but for whatever reason(s) the soccer fortunes have not paralleled the school's meteoric rise up the USNWR rankings.

Allegheny is another.  Good school but with much more accessible admissions.  I guess the location might be a little iffy for some, but the Gators should be better.  Wooster should be better.  Denison is a very good school that used to be pretty good and has gone through a rough patch.

I think some of the ODACs tend to be underrated, and I always think a NC Wesleyan or Methodist should be better. 

As for recently strong schools that struggled last year...Salisbury, Hope, Wheaton (Ill), Brockport, Dickinson, MIT, Thomas More, RPI, Rutgers-Camden, GAC, Swat, Case, ECSU, York (PA), Skidmore, Wesleyan, RWU.

Programs possibly on the rise....Wabash, Oberlin.

Men's soccer / 2016 West Region
« on: September 07, 2016, 08:28:21 pm »
Starting this to see if we can generate a little more West region discussion, beyond Trinity (TX) and periodic mentions of Whitworth.

The Caltech Beavers with their advertised recruiting class are fighting valiantly against Redlands but down 4-0 early in the 2nd.  The Beavers did push Whitman in the opener, losing 4-3.  As you would expect, Caltech does have good video and some decent commentary.

Men's soccer / 2016 D3 Season: NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
« on: August 31, 2016, 12:04:47 pm »
NCAC NE's Top 15

1) Kenyon (last chance for senior class w/ 2 Sweet 16s and Elite 8; 37-4-3 last 2 years)
2) Amherst (will be tough to knock out especially by November)
3) Loras (among big teams with some rebuild I like Rothert to keep the machine rolling)
4) Oneonta St (major losses but still don't see who is going to stand in their way)
5) Wheaton (Ill) (another team that will handle losses well and reload)
6) Middlebury (deserve high expectations and we'll see if they can finally deliver)
7) Rowan (basically everyone back from stellar season)
8) Montclair St (not so fast, Rowan)
9) Lycoming (huge expectations which could be too much to handle)
10) Haverford (3 key graduations will take some time to overcome)
11) Chicago (watch out for the Maroons)
12) Brandeis (not ready to let go of hard-earned national prominence)
13) Redlands (just a hunch)
14) UW-W (6'8 Stanko didn't graduate)
15) Wash U (West did graduate but he's still there anyway as eligible grad student)

Knocking hard on the door, aka RV -- SLU, Salisbury, Messiah, Macalester, W&L, Trinity (TX), Tex-Dallas, Tufts, F&M, Gordon, OWU, DePauw, Calvin, Colorado, Pac Lutheran, Eastern

Men's soccer / Emergent programs vs Tradition-laden powerhouses
« on: April 28, 2016, 12:14:04 pm »
I was going to post this in the new Haverford thread but made more sense to expand the discussion.

The challenge for teams like Haverford and Kenyon is how they will handle new and very high expectations.  Last year's Haverford team (albeit maybe a little stronger) reminded me of the 2013 Kenyon squad that seemingly came out of nowhere before losing in the instant-classic Sweet 16 tilt with national champ Messiah.  The 2014 Kenyon team then had enormous expectations, mostly met with a phenomenal season but a bitter ending on the home pitch against the arch-rival.  Haverford will be saddled with that level of pressure this season.

This made me think about the dynamics, in terms of pressure, for emerging programs vs traditional powerhouses.  I think the edge goes to the traditionals as they have a deep, built-in expectation for a high level of success.  The Messiahs, OWUs, Wheatons, Loras's, Williams, etc and to some extent the Oneontas, Montclairs, Trinitys and Amhersts are already over the hump as opposed to the pressure of trying to get over a hump and then sustain consistently high performance over a number of years.  Watching some really good emergent programs trying to get over the hump really sheds light on the greatness of programs that can stay at or near the top for 10, 20, and 20+ years.  Having a good 3-5 year run (recently I think of schools like Tufts, F&M, Brandeis, Kenyon, etc) is easier to achieve than a run of 10+ years, with the caveat that during the 3-5 year run those schools may feel more pressure to take advantage of what may feel like the best opportunity they are going to have for a long time. 

Of course the long-term hope for schools on a good 3-5 year run is to see if they can become one of the schools on a 10+ years run.  I think several schools have a decent chance to graduate to the top tier in terms of program success longevity.  Tufts stands out for me at the moment, as they've already won a  national title, and because the school has become wildly popular so recruiting should remain strong.  The biggest risk for Tufts might be whether Shapiro ends up moving along at some point (like if an Ivy or similar academically strong D1 job comes his way).

Men's soccer / NCAA Tournament Interesting Trivia Odds and Ends
« on: November 11, 2015, 07:22:37 pm »
Just to get this started....

1) Thomas More has played three different teams from the Chicago metropolitan area in the first round of the last three NCAA tournaments....Wheaton (Ill) in 2013, North Park in 2014, and now Univ of Chicago.

2)  MSOE coach Jimmy Banks, now in his 15th season at MSOE, started two games for the USMNT as a defender in the 1990 World Cup.

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