The second half of the 2019-20 College Dodgeball season kicks off on Sunday, January 26th in Allendale, Michigan in what we are going to call the ‘Pre-MDC Tournament’. As the tournament title indicates, every Michigan school will be in attendance for this event. With the Michigan Dodgeball Cup just two weeks after this tournament, it’s safe to say this Sunday will give us an accurate preview of what to expect at MDC. Court 1 games at this tournament will be livestreamed on the NCDA Youtube Page, so make sure to tune in on Sunday for all the action!
Below is the schedule for the tournament:
The schedule for this event is interesting because it is not a full round robin (what we always see at MDC). This Sunday, some teams will play more games than others. Here is the list of opponents for each school along with a graphic comparing each team’s resume to this point in the season:
- GVSU (4 Games): CMU, MSU, WMU, SVSU
- MSU (3 Games): SVSU, GVSU, CMU
- CMU (3 Games): GVSU, MSU, WMU
- SVSU (3 Games): MSU, WMU, GVSU
- WMU (3 Games): SVSU, GVSU, CMU
Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State opted to be the team that plays in 4-consecutive rounds at this event, and thus their schedule includes every other team. Looking at their schedule, it looks like their first two matches will be the most intense. GVSU will start the day against CMU, followed by MSU. After that they will play a young and inexperienced WMU team, followed by SVSU. The Lakers are undefeated, and thus the goal for this event should be an undefeated record for them. The true measuring stick for them will be how well they do in their first two games. Do they still hold a significant edge over Central Michigan and Michigan State, or has that gap closed? If you want to see where GVSU is at to start the semester, look no further than those first two rounds. Also rumor has it GVSU will be debuting some new uniforms on Sunday, so make sure to tune in for that!
Michigan State University
MSU enters the second half of the season with a lot to prove. Those who have seen them in person know just how much potential they have, but their 3-4 record obviously isn’t the prettiest. The Spartans only get 3 games at this tourney, but they are 3 tough ones. MSU starts the day against SVSU (a team they have yet to face this season). They follow that game up by taking on #1 GVSU. Last time the Spartans took on GVSU in Allendale, MSU had the game tied 1-1 going into halftime. If they can start hot again, this team has upset potential. MSU’s third game of the day will be against CMU (their third meeting this season). Each of MSU’s games will be interesting to keep an eye on this weekend. Can they dominate a less talented / less experienced SVSU team to start the day? Have they closed the gap with the top-ranked Lakers? And lastly, does MSU have the stamina to beat Central Michigan in their 3rd game of the day? MSU also is debuting new uniforms on Sunday FYI.
Central Michigan University
CMU will have 3 games on Sunday, starting with GVSU, followed by their third matchup of the season with MSU, and finally WMU to finish out the day. The Chippewas certainly weren’t at their best in the fall semester. It seemed at times like their offense wasn’t consistent enough to carry them through against tougher teams. Kyle ‘The Gun’ Garner has been one of the standouts for CMU so far this year, so look for him and the rest of the CMU offense to step up on Sunday and hopefully turn the corner as a team. Central Michigan’s measuring stick on Sunday is pretty simple in my opinion. Can they play a full 50 minutes of competitive dodgeball against both GVSU and MSU? If they can keep each of those games close, and maybe sneak away with a win against one of the two, that would be a positive outcome for the Chippewas. If they can hang with the top two schools from their region, it will have them heading into MDC believing they have what it takes to win the cup! CMU has a higher ceiling than a lot of people nationally may expect. If this team starts to gel this weekend, they will be a real dangerous ‘dark horse’ squad the rest of the season.
Saginaw Valley State University
SVSU seems to be at a bit of a crossroads entering the second half of the season. The Cardinals are a below disappointing 2-7 so far this year, but anyone who knows this team’s history should understand they aren’t to be counted out. SVSU has a big win on the year (overtime against Miami), not to mention in their one game against GVSU back in September, they made the Lakers work harder than either MSU or BGSU did that day. Saginaw is not talent-barren, nor are they a team that will roll over and get dominated by the other Michigan schools. SVSU has the opportunity over the next few weeks to reshape their season. On Sunday they will face MSU, WMU, and GVSU. The safe bet would be a 1-2 record for Saginaw, but if they can show some signs of life in their matches against the Spartans and Lakers, it would show the rest of the nation that this school should not be counted out. SVSU has only one match against a Michigan school all season (GVSU), so this weekend should give their young team some valuable experience heading into February.
Western Michigan University
Building a program from scratch is no easy task, just ask Peter Broe, founder and captain for Western Michigan. While it hasn’t been the easiest road to build up this team, the positive news in WMU will be in attendance this weekend at GVSU, and hopefully will also take the court a few weeks from now at Michigan State for the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. WMU will be the less experienced team in each of their three games this weekend (SVSU, GVSU, CMU), but the main thing for them will be to gain experience and make improvements throughout the day. The Broncos will be facing some stiff competition this weekend, but if they can learn from their mistakes and take some lessons back to Kalamazoo with them, then they will be more well-equipped moving forward as a program. For any fans watching this team and wondering what to look for, if there are some young players on this team that are stepping up as leaders alongside Peter Broe, that will be the biggest sign of a positive future for the program. We are optimistic that this team will perform better than they did in the fall in their match against GVSU.