By Peter Langella
Waidacher in Sochi
A huge congrats to St. Scholastica junior forward Nina Waidacher for not only being named to the Swiss Women’s Olympic Team, but for getting some solid playing time against the best teams in the world. As of this writing, the Swiss are one win away from a bronze medal.
|St. Scholastica's Nina
Waidacher is now one of a very small group of DIII player's to have
played in the Olympics.
Photo: CSS Athletics
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I felt a huge thrill watching a fellow DIIIer represent our sport in Sochi, just like I did watching former St. Norbert standout Maris Ziedins play for Latvia at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Truly an amazing accomplishment for Nina Waidacher, whether she ends up winning a medal or not!
No More Losses
Since 2000, only two men’s teams (Oswego in ’07 and Eau-Claire last year) have won the NCAA tournament without winning their league championship. And only one other championship team (Norwich in ’03) has lost a game after Valentine’s Day. This may seem counterintuitive because of the unbelievable parity we’ve seen in most leagues this season, but I’m going go with the odds and say that this year’s champ won’t lose again. In fact, I don’t think any ranked team that lost this past weekend has a chance, either.
So, Babson, Mass-Boston, Eau-Claire, and Williams are done, in my opinion.
That leaves Geneseo, Trinity, Adrian, Plattsburgh, Stevens-Point, Norwich, St. Norbert, and St. Thomas (in no particular order) as the only teams that I believe have a legitimate shot at the title. If any of them lose before the tournament – even if they end up getting an at-large bid – I say cross them off the list.
Again, the champ this year won’t lose another game.
No, that question mark isn’t because of the men’s team’s inclusion in this week’s NCAA rankings, although it is a bit puzzling. This question mark is because I feel bad for the Utica women’s team.
Let me explain.
The way I see it, Plattsburgh, Middlebury, Elmira, and Norwich are way better than any other team in the country this year on the women’s side. Utica’s record against these four teams is 0-6, just like pretty much every other team’s record is against these teams. However, Utica’s record against everyone else on their schedule is 15-2. They were 15-0 until Oswego swept them last weekend in two very close games.
I just think they’re a really interesting case. I wonder if they would have been ranked in the East if they were 17-6 instead of 15-8. And, what happens next week if they’re 17-8, 17-2 against all but the best four teams in the land?
Depending on how they finish the season, they might be the fifth best team in the country when all is said and done.
Peter Langella played at Trinity College and Norwich University and has also coached at Williams. He is now a writer and librarian in central Vermont.