The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 5/14/15 6:01pm

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After being named Ivy League Player of the Year, Dovydas Sakinis ’16 qualified for the NCAA singles championship.

Spring term and spring sports seasons are winding down here in Hanover. The only Big Green teams in action this weekend are softball, men’s and women’s track and field, sailing and the crew teams. Dovydas Sakinis ’16 and Taylor Ng ’17 are also still competing as singles in the NCAA tennis tournament. This weekend, the softball team will compete in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year, this time in Tallahassee, Florida, in a pool with No. 9 Florida State University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Central Florida. The crew teams will also head into their own championship weekend.

Softball at Florida State University (Friday at 7 p.m.)

The softball team (25-16, 16-4 Ivy) heads back to the NCAA tournament and faces the Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State Seminoles (45-12, 20-3 ACC) in its first game. Their double-elimination regional also includes the Southeastern Conference’s South Carolina (37-20, 10-14 SEC) and American Athletic champions Central Florida (48-7, 16-2 AAC). It’ll be a tough road for the Big Green, as they face three strong programs with winning traditions and impressive resumes. The Noles are the only guaranteed opponent for the Big Green, as their second (and potential third) opponent depends on the results of the first games.

Florida State has been in the top 12 in the nation the entire season and has won 12 of its last 13 matches on a eight-win streak. The Seminoles are stout on both sides and are led by superstar senior pitcher Lacey Waldrop and freshman infielder Jessica Warren.

Waldrop has been on a tear in the circle this season, posting a 28-6 record and a 1.49 ERA with 222 strikeouts. Teams are batting well below the Mendoza Line against the senior this season, with a .165 average. Warren has been no slouch in her first season in Tallahassee, leading the team in seven offensive categories including home runs, RBI, runs and slugging percentage.

The Big Green has also built itself into an Ancient Eight powerhouse over the last few seasons with star power of its own in Ivy Pitcher of the Year Kristin Rumley ’15 and Ivy Player of the Year Katie McEachern ’16. Rumley has continued her success pitching with a 15-10 record, a sub-2.00 ERA, 125 strikeouts and eight shutouts. McEachern leads the Ivy League in batting average, home runs and runs scored.

Last year, the Big Green hung tough with No. 4 Arizona State University through five innings before the Sun Devils blew the game open en route to an 8-0 win. The Big Green may very likely win a game in this year’s tournament, but doing so against the Seminoles will be a very tall task.

PREDICTION: Florida State 6-0

Sakinis and Ng in the NCAA Singles Tournament

(May 20-25)

Both Sakinis and Ng will travel to Waco, Texas, to compete in the 64-person men’s and women’s individual NCAA tournaments next week. The bracket for the tournament has not been released yet, but neither Big Green athlete is seeded in the tournament.

Sakinis did not automatically qualify for the tournament and was selected as an at-large bid for the tournament. He has been the No. 1 player for the Big Green all season and has posted an impressive 6-1 record against the top competition in the Ancient Eight this season. Sakinis was recently honored as the Ivy Player of the Year and was named to the All-Ivy first team for both singles and doubles. Sakinis experience in these high-stakes matches will serve him well in the tournament, as he has already defeated five ranked opponents.

Ng is not only carrying the flag for Dartmouth as the first Big Green woman to qualify for the NCAA singles tournament, but is also carrying the flag for the Ivy League.

Ng is the only Ancient Eight woman to qualify for this season’s tournament. Quite simply, the Ivy Player of the Year has been dominant in league play this season. Ng has gone undefeated in conference matches playing against the top talent for each team. She is on a streak of 22 wins in 23 matches dating back to January. Ng will have momentum on her side in Waco.

Sakinis and Ng’s success is largely dependent on their draw in the tournament, but both Big Green athletes have the talent to make a run to at least the Round of 32, if not the Sweet 16.