The 2023 Ohio Dodgeball Cup will take place this Saturday, February 25th. Ohio State University will be host to this year’s tournament which features an 8-team, single-elimination bracket to determine the winner. There are several legitimate contenders to win it this year, which will undoubtedly lead to high drama late in the day. Below is an analysis for each team provided by Content Team members Ethan Lehmkuhl and Kevin Skiba.
Schedule & Streaming Info:
University of Cincinnati (9-4)
The Bearcats return to this year’s Ohio Dodgeball Cup as defending champions. After finally putting together an inspired performance at JMU’s BEAST XI tournament last month, headlined by the program’s first victory over Grand Valley State University, Cincinnati is coming into this tournament as the number 1 seed. Despite seeming to many as though they have turned a corner on their season, the Bearcats have much yet to prove. Cincy has achieved mixed results against the Bobcats and Buckeyes this year, and will need to defeat one of them if they hope to raise the Cup for a second consecutive season. Fortunately, they will have no shortage of talent this weekend, boasting All-American candidates Cory Heitmann, Matt Rosinski, & Brett Liming. Beyond the headliners, this lineup is very well rounded, so keep an eye out for underrated players like Brannon McGinn & Ian Bartholomew, two of the best catchers in the league in Ryan Engelman & Kevin Skiba, and a great rookie class featuring Will Hyatt, Robbie Mitchell, & Tyler Shaffer. Don’t expect the Bearcats to relinquish custody of the Ohio Dodgeball Cup easily.
Ohio State University (13-5)
After some rankings adjustments following the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, Ohio State enters the ODC bracket as the #2 seed. The Buckeyes will likely see Ohio University in the semifinals and will enter that game with a chip on their shoulder after dropping 2 matches to the Bobcats in the fall semester. Ohio State will benefit from playing host as they will have a full 18-player roster for this tournament, and every single one of them thinks they will be walking out of the RPAC, Cup in-hand.
Ohio University (11-4)
The Bobcats come into ODC in a very interesting spot. After Ohio had a disappointing 1-2 showing at the BEAST XI last month, they enter into this tournament the number 3 seed and they’ll have a big mountain to climb to reach the peak that is becoming the top team in Ohio. With other top Ohio teams like Cincinnati & Ohio State hungry for the trophy, the pressure is on to make a statement this tournament. Ohio is paced by a veteran presence from Caleb Arnold & Alex Jonauskas, as well as flame-throwing Terence Checkett, but this team is deeper than that. Under-the-radar players like Max Stoeckel, Austin Bensman, & Daniel Van Fleet, as well as great catchers like Judson Jones & Garrett Carbullido have helped the Bobcats be successful his season. Look for the Bobcats to give teams they face a much more inspired effort this Saturday.
University of Akron (11-6)
Akron has been extremely streaky this season, with their high point culminating in wins over power ranked #2 James Madison and #3 Penn State in November. If Akron can get hot on Saturday, there is no telling what the Zips will be able to accomplish. While it would technically require multiple upsets for Akron to pull out a championship run, I don’t believe it would shock too many people to see this happen. With that being said, it all depends on what version of Akron will be present in Columbus.
Bowling Green State University (3-6)
The Falcons might not have played much in the Fall, but they’re not a team to take lightly at the Ohio Dodgeball Cup this year. Bowling Green has not played in a tournament since Pink Out in November, but that won’t stop them from giving it their all. They rely on a slow, methodical play style and can cripple teams that aren’t prepared. This playstyle can lull opposing players to sleep, and allow them to get back into games quickly if they fall behind and we’ve seen it happen before. This roster includes some electrifying players, such as Evan Brown, Josh Boyers, and rookie Dalton Curran. Are the Falcons a fan favorite to win? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, we look forward to seeing if Bowling Green State is able to defy all odds and bring the Cup back home with them.
Miami University (6-7)
Miami will enter the day as the #6 seed, with an opening-round matchup versus Ohio University. While they are not favored in this matchup, the RedHawks are sure to put up a fight as they look to avoid an early departure into the consolation ladder. Cole Ginocchio will look to pace Miami’s offensive attack, while captain Elly Schipfer will lead the team from a strategic standpoint.
Cleveland State University (5-14)
To put it mildly, Cleveland State has had an underwhelming season thus far. Battling injuries and a lack of leadership, the Vikings will look to put together a better performance in Columbus this weekend. Winning the Cup seems to be a long shot given their performance thus far, but if the Vikings can assemble a full roster, they may be able to turn some heads.
Kent State University (2-10)
The Golden Flashes have grown a lot since we’ve first seen them this season. They may not have a full roster yet, but they’re not giving up. They’ve traveled a lot, gained valuable experience, and are ready to show the Ohio region how much they’ve grown as a team. Even though Kent may be struggling to win games and retain players, the talent this team has is still there with players like Vanessa Hudson & Andrew Radigan. Whatever may happen Saturday, this tournament will give us a good perspective as to where Kent State stands with the rest of the league.