Spartans are optimistic heading into UAA's
Issue date: 4/23/10 Section: Sports
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The tournament will no doubt bring tough competition for the Spartans. The UAA has perennially been know as one of the top athletic conferences in Division III, and this year is no exception. The championship will feature four teams ranked in the top 15 including 7th ranked Carnegie Mellon, 2nd ranked Emory University, 3rd ranked Washington University, and 15th ranked University of Chicago. It will be a tough challenge for the Spartans to break into the top four by knocking off any one of these teams, as all four are currently competing at their midseason prime.
The Spartans (11-14) know they are in for a tough tournament, but this young team is not looking to back down. At a minimum they are looking to maintain and improve on their 5th place finish last year, where they finished ahead of Brandeis, NYU, and Rochester. Freshman Nic Howe said, "I know the team finished 5th last year, so we hope to improve on that and we're confident we can, but it's going to be pretty hard considering four of the teams in our conference are nationally ranked."
The underlying question for the Spartans again is the team's youth. The top four teams in the region - Emory, Wash. U., Carnegie Mellon, and Chicago - all have six or seven upperclassmen whereas the Spartans only have one. Players from other schools no doubt have an advantage over the young Spartan team having already gone through the process of this tournament multiple times throughout their college careers. Many of the younger players are looking forward to this opportunity to gain experience at the conference tournament level.