Dodgettes Navigating a New League
As the 2022 semester comes to an end, one thing can be said for certain about the college dodgeball atmosphere: we are amidst an entirely new league. After practices came to an abrupt end two years ago, college dodgeball returned last fall, and with it came an exciting season of close matches, upsets, rookies, and of course, dodgettes (Shout-out to Akron University’s female players for coining the new term).
This article continues to highlight dodgettes across the league: 2021-2022 season graduates, pre-COVID veterans, and new recruits. Stay tuned to hear how they made their name in the league and what they are looking forward to this year; in other words, dodgettes navigating a new league.
Saginaw Valley State University
Social Work Major, Youth Services Minor
Also involved in volleyball and ice skating, and enjoys anime!
College was the first time I’d played dodgeball other than the occasional game of foam dodgeball in elementary and middle school, which is far different from this. I did play volleyball during middle school and my freshman year of high school, and it really did help prepare me for dodgeball in a sense. Volleyball is really about reflexes and diving for the ball, and I feel like dodgeball is similar even though I haven’t gotten the chance to show my full potential in that sense quite yet. I really did not expect to play any sports coming into college because I was so focused on what I was going to do for school and figuring out what I wanted to major in.
In all honesty, my boyfriend was on the team before COVID hit which is how I found out about the team. I didn’t join until this year, but it has been a wild ride since I joined. My first practice was fun even though I’m not the most outgoing person and hadn’t played on an actual team since my freshman year of high school (now in my third year of college). Everyone was welcoming during my first practice, and I think that is a big part of what made me continue to go back. Even though I had a very rough start due to not having any experience whatsoever, I felt very supported by most people on the team and had a lot of fun being around them.
Recent Memorable Tournament:
A tournament that I was impressed with how we did would have to be the War hosted by Akron. Akron’s tournament was one of the most fun tournaments I’ve experienced so far, even though it was far from home. Coming into the season with as many new people as the team had, I was really impressed with how we played as a team. Working as a team rather than working as individuals has been something I’ve felt we’ve all struggled with, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to improve both for myself and for the team. I feel like the highlight of the tournament was the win our team pulled over Akron, which was a surprise to many people. It makes me happy to see my team working together as just that, a team. My role on the team is essentially a supporting role, and occasionally I do play the role of a catcher or a blocker. Overall, I know I am not a thrower but that I can work well in a blocking or catching role once given more time to enhance my skills. Everything is a work in progress for anyone new to the game.
I felt like I had more of an opportunity to show what I was capable of when competing in the ladies’ match, although I have not played on or against an all-women’s team. I wouldn’t say I had a full chance to show my talent due to how short the game was, but I do think if it were a full match with half time all of us would’ve had a better opportunity to showcase our talent and show everyone else what we are made of. I think it is a great opportunity for women to play in the ladies’ match, and I would do it again if given the opportunity.
I feel like my team performed well and like we played better than some people might’ve expected. I don’t feel like I had the chance to do much at nationals, unfortunately. I did have a fun time with the team when we went to dinner and were all laughing and joking around talking about the most random things. I love how we can all talk about similar interests for the most part and get along as well as we do.
I can’t say I am surprised by the final four outcome. Nationals was the first time I’d seen JMU play, but as soon as I saw them, I had a feeling they’d be going to the Final Four or even the finals. I am surprised that MSU was in the finals instead of UC, but MSU has worked very hard this season to get where they’re at and deserved their spot. I was rooting for GVSU in the end to win the top spot after SVSU was eliminated, and I am not surprised that they took home the National Title. GVSU is a talented team full of honest and amazing people.
I am looking forward to facing GVSU again and hopefully scoring more points on them than we did this year. They are a favorite team of mine to play, as is Akron even though I’ve only played against them once personally. I am working on my catching and reflex skills to improve in multiple areas so I can be a better asset to my team. I’m looking forward to the next MDC for sure, hopefully with more teams in attendance.
Changing Team Dynamics:
My team lost a lot of veterans after COVID shut the league down from my understanding. There was a change in leadership and a lot of new people on the team. We had to adapt our strategies due to the change in players and the change in roles.
As cliche as it is, one of the top two people I look up to is my boyfriend, Kyle Krupp. He is one of the most valuable players on my team in my eyes because he is a great player all around, whether he’s needed as a thrower, a blocker, or a catcher. He was an assistant captain last semester and did so much work off the court, as well as on, and I look up to him for being able to balance everything along with nursing school. He is one of the main people who has helped me gain the experience and skillset I have now that I’m further into my dodgeball career. The second person I look up to most in the dodgeball world is Nicole Cutich from Akron. She is one of the most hardworking players I’ve seen, especially because she must make her mark as a female player. I love the relationship she seems to have with her teammates and the other girls on her team, and I look up to her for being able to stand her ground and show she is a strong member of Akron’s team.
Being a Dodgette:
I wasn’t sure how I felt about playing dodgeball at first, but now that I’m on the team and played in tournaments, I am happy to be a female dodgeball player. There are a few other girls on my team, so luckily I am not the only one. I have been the last one in because I’m either not targeted or I’m good at dodging, and it does kind of suck sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure being the last one in and feeling like you must turn things around for your team.
I’m taking summer classes, so I definitely won’t be getting much relaxation out of that. I’m trying to plan a vacation to somewhere like Canada or a trip along the east coast to places such as New York or Maine. I’m going to be trying to keep my skills maintained by playing volleyball with friends, swimming, and other outdoor activities during my free time.
If you had to compare your play style to an animal, what would it be and why?
I would probably compare my play style to a dog. Dogs have the mentality that there is a ball so it must be fetched, and I try to make sure our throwers always have a ball in their hands, or the blockers are able to block. Sometimes things can go right over my head, and I’ll completely miss it, but everyone has those moments.