Next on our release of top regional performers is the the All-Michigan team for the 2018-19 season. This year’s eligible teams under consideration were Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley State, Central Michigan, Michigan State, and first year member Western Michigan. This list consists of the top performers within the Michigan region, as selected by their peers.
T-1. Austin Brege (CMU)
Austin Brege comes in tied for the top spot in the state of Michigan after a stellar senior year. Brege led Central Michigan through what would have been a tough rebuilding year for most programs. For CMU, it was more reload than rebuild, and Brege’s leadership on and off the court was a key reason for that. Brege has one of the toughest throws in the country, with an over-the-top release and incredible curve on the ball. It’s no surprise he was so effective this year knocking out player after player to anchor the CMU offensive attack. Congrats to Brege on a great season.
T-1. Brandon Meisel (GVSU)
Brandon Meisel closes out a storied career tied for the top spot in Michigan. The Captain for GVSU over the previous three seasons, Meisel is known both for his fantastic skillset, but also his leadership. He had another dominant season as a player, racking up more headshots than probably any other player in the league. Congrats to Brandon on a great career.
3. Kyle Bruce (SVSU)
Kyle Bruce has developed so much over the past few seasons, and is more than deserving of this spot at #3 in the state of Michigan. His playstyle fit perfectly into Saginaw Valley’s offensive scheme, and all season long he made opponents pay if they challenged him. Bruce’s throw was as good as it has ever been this year, and as always, if an opponent decided to throw in his direction there was a good chance it was getting caught. His all-around skillset will be greatly missed by SVSU next year.
T-4. Aaron Krafft (GVSU)
One of the msot feared players in the league for the last few seasons, Aaron Krafft once again finds his way onto the All-Michigan list. Krafft is the definition of an all-around player, with the skills to overpower you with his arm, make a clutch catch, or out-run an opponent in transition. Players like Krafft don’t come around every year, so his departure certainly leaves some big shoes to fill for the Lakers next season
T-4. Ben Smart (GVSU)
Known best for his insane ability to make catches, Ben Smart had a strong year for the Lakers in 2018-19, and was a big reason why they had such an impressive win streak. Smart is one of those players that is so difficult to get out, that teams sometimes just decide to ignore going after him completely until he is one of the final opponents remaining. As the highest ranked player returning for GVSU next fall, the spotlight will be on Smart to up his game even more if the Lakers want to get back to the National Title Game.
6. Payton Schuster (MSU)
It may come as a surprise to many when they realize 2018-19 was Payton Schuster’s sophomore season. The Captain for Michigan State is already a well-known name nationally and his skillset and dodgeball IQ are that of a seasoned veteran. Despite battling through some hand injuries throughout the season, Schuster found a way to help anchor MSU’s offense. His best moment of the year was probably his dominant overtime period against Towson. If he comes back fully healthy in the fall, expect to see him control the court much like he did towards the end of that upset win for the Spartans.
7. Kenny Mize (SVSU)
Kenny Mize closes out his career with a well-deserved All-Michigan recognition. On a team full of stellar catchers, Mize stood out as one of the absolute best. His experience over the years showed in 2018-19, as his top-notch instincts helped him make catch after catch against any opponent. While his career is finally over, Mize did help bring in enough talent to the SVSU roster to give this program a bright future moving forward without him.
8. Ryan Anguilm (SVSU)
Another SVSU player that was incredible at catching, Anguilm had a big time breakout season for the Cardinals. He seemed to encourage even the top throwers on the opposing side to throw at him, that is how confident he is in his hands. On top of that, he was one of SVSU’s most dependable arms all year, and a solid leader on the team. Anguilm had a great season and is more than deserving of his spot on this list.
9. Casey Bielec (CMU)
Casey Bielec had a tough task this year as one of the few veterans left on the CMU roster after the departure of one of the strongest graduating classes in NCDA history. His leadership should not be overlooked as he helped develop a team of mostly rookies into a title contender in a matter of months. In terms of his own skill set, he seemed to really turn it on late in the year and become a dominant force both throwing and catching for the Chippewas.
10. Dennis Sullivan (MSU)
Another sophomore stud for the Spartans, Dennis came into his own this year, and become a much better all-around player than he was as a freshman. Despite only being in his second year, he took on a leadership role for MSU, helping their young team make it all the way to the Final Four. If he continues to improve his throw, and catching instincts, he will be in position to earn an All-American spot in 2020.
11. Alex Jonauskas (GVSU)
Jonauskas is known by many as a great survivor. He seems to always put up an amazing fight when he is the last man standing, but he is much more than that. Jonauskas was one of the keys to the GVSU offense all year, and one of their more consistent performers. He is returning as one of GVSU’s leaders heading into the fall of 2019, and will be a major piece to the puzzle for them.
12. Eric Nelson (CMU)
Eric Nelson is another sophomore making it onto this All-Michigan list. He was one of CMU’s stars all year, whether he was making big catches, or clutch hits. Look out for this Chippewa to take on an expanded role in the CMU offense next year with the departure of the two other CMU players listed above.
Congratulations to this year’s first team selections! Be sure to stay tuned for more All-Region teams coming soon, along with our All-American teams.