BOTM: 2012 October

The man with the howitzer arm, Wes Hopkins, is the Baller of the Month for the month of October. He got clocked in at over 80 mph at Nationals in April and was named to the All-NCDA team. His talent and growth as a player has helped turned Kentucky into a National title threat. He’s one of the most feared players in the league, and is one of the best players in Kentucky history. Continue reading “BOTM: 2012 October”

Five Elite Programs Attending OSU Round Robin

COLUMBUS: With the Buckeyes, Golden Flashes, Cardinals, Spartans, and Wildcats all heading to Columbus for a round robin, what is likely the second deepest tournament of the regular season (behind the Michigan Dodgeball Cup) could go to any of the attending teams. All five teams attending made the 2012 NCDA National Tournament Quarterfinals, three of them made the semifinals, and Kentucky and Saginaw Valley played for the title. The two teams that didn’t make the semifinals (Ohio State and Michigan State) both lost to teams in the OSU Round Robin by one point in the quarterfinals. There are also many rivalries in play here, whether its a Big Ten battle between MSU and OSU, or instate rivalries for Michigan and Ohio supremacy, or traditional dodgeball rivalries like SVSU/OSU or Kent State/Kentucky, nearly all the games will have some meaning. Teams are also getting to play other teams for the first time in a long time, like Kent State playing SVSU, and MSU playing Kentucky. Continue reading “Five Elite Programs Attending OSU Round Robin”

Kent State Loading Up Their Schedule

KENT: The Golden Flashes look to be preparing to break their own record for most matches played in a season, taking advantage of the NHL style points standings. Having already knocked off rival Ohio State 2-1, Kent State is currently tied for first in the standings, but a huge fall schedule should propel them to the top, even if they lose some games along the way. Continue reading “Kent State Loading Up Their Schedule”

Second Weekend of the 2012-2013 Season Continues the Rivalry Theme

After Depaul beat in-town rival Moody Bible Institute last Friday, the 2012-2013 season continues with two big rivalry matches. Leading up to the football game between the two schools, the University of Kentucky will host Western Kentucky University on Saturday. Both of these schools have made noise in previous seasons, including UK being the National Runner Up last season. Featuring Wes Hopkins, the hardest thrower in the NCDA, the WIldcats will look to continue a great home court record as they play the Hilltoppers. Kentucky went 4-2 in 2011-2012 at home, including a victory over WKU. The Hilltoppers will have a new look with Alex Sorrels at the helm, but the team should remain a good one. WKU only played four matches, going 2-2, outside of Nationals 2012, but the two losses were both to Kentucky. However, the two losses were each by one point, so WKU has a good chance in this one. If WKU can minimize the damage done by Hopkins and control the balls they can pull off the upset, but if they cannot, they could be in trouble. For the Wildcats, they’ll need more players to step up like they did at Nationals and prove that last season wasn’t a fluke. This could be an early indication if Kentucky is ready to stay with the dodgeball elite and could give them some momentum going into the first major tournament of the season, the Ohio State Round Robin.

The other game this weekend is between Kent State and The Ohio State University. The Buckeyes are traveling to Kent for the big matchup of possibly the top two schools in the state of Ohio, and the Golden Flashes went 3-1 against their in-state rivals. OSU did take their one win at Kent State however. Both teams have new leadership at the top, with Kyle Fitzpatrick gone for Kent State, leaving Dan Shackelford and Camden Fullmer in charge, and with Ryan Carlton and Jude DuPart taking over for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will look to use their slow down approach to take an advantage over the free flowing, fast moving Flashes, and they’ll need to make some key catches to come out with 2 points. If Kent State can maximize their arm strength and play with some tenacity then they could win this matchup, but it should also be a close one. These two teams will also compete in the Ohio State Round Robin in October, so we could see a rematch very soon.

Nationals 2012 Preview

The dodgeball world will all come to Saginaw, MI, on April 14th and 15th, as Nationals 2012 will decide the new NCDA National Champion. There are 16 schools going, including #1 ranked Kent State, last season’s champions Central Michigan, and host school Saginaw Valley. With four pools set up on Saturday, the Sunday single-elimination bracket will be based on 80% of the points accumulated on Saturday and 20% of the points accumulated during the regular season. There will also be an All-Star Game, and an All-Girls game.

Pool A features the dodgeball powerhouse Grand Valley State, along with two dodgeball mainstays in Depaul and Bowling Green and relative newcomer Northwestern State. Northwestern State has not played a match since Nationals 2011, where they went 0-4. Depaul, known as the jesters of the NCDA, is 3-7 this season, beating Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, and Nebraska. Always in it for the fun of the game, Depaul will enjoy their pool. Bowling Green has had an up and down season, going 4-8. They started off the season 0-5, but finished out 4-3, including wins over Kentucky and Ohio State. They could be a sleeper team to make a run on Sunday. Grand Valley State finished the season ranked #2 in the country, but they have to make up for a disappointing finish at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, where they lost to both CMU and SVSU. They’re one of the most deadly teams in the league, and anything less than a title will be considered a disappointment.

Pool B includes host school SVSU, Kentucky, Ohio State, and Western Illinois. This may be the the most competitive group, as all four teams were in the quarterfinals of the 2011 National Tournament. Ohio State and SVSU have had some disagreements in the past, so that match is one to watch. The Buckeyes are known as a great catching team, and they could pull off an upset over a higher ranked team. Western Illinois had a down year, but they’re still a good team that can hang with anyone. Kentucky finished the season in the top 4, and feature the hardest thrower in the league. However, the Cardinals should be the favorite for this pool, as their tremendous talent and home court advantage will combine to make them a hard out in the tournament.

Pool C has a mix of classic teams and a new blood- James Madison. The Dukes made a lot of noise their first season going 7-3-1 and finishing in sixth place. Among the classic teams are Wisconsin-Platteville, Miami, and Michigan State. UWP played only two games, but they are usually a solid team at Nationals. Miami played 9 games this season, and two of those were forfeit wins, but they have a good foundation and won two games at Nationals last season. The Spartans are among the dodgeball elite, but they had a lackluster appearance their last time out at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup.

Pool D has this year’s #1 team in Kent State, and last year’s National Champion in Central Michigan, to go along with Moody Bible and Western Kentucky. All four of these schools have the capability to go deep into the tournament, and this could be the toughest pool to predict. Kent State set a record for most games played, but they lost their games to the three Michigan teams they played. Central Michigan played only five games all season, coming out 3-2, but they may have the most talent in the league. Western Kentucky didn’t play an out of state team all season, finishing 2-2, but they’ve shown in the past that they’re a powerhouse. And Moody Bible is always a tough team to play with their talent and smart play.

This year’s Nationals could be the deepest one yet, and every team is capable of making a run in the tournament. Whoever comes out on top will certainly have earned their way to the title, and its looking like it could be a great tournament.

2012 MDC Preview

Michigan State Dodgeball’s Sam Hiller

*All rankings are based off the standings as of January 27, 2012

The 2012 Michigan Dodgeball Cup may be the most loaded field in the history of the tournament. Typically the second biggest tournament of the season for Michigan schools, the MDC has six schools for 2012, including the top three teams in the nation and the defending national champions.

Last season’s defending MDC champion Grand Valley State are off to a 8-0 start in the early season, with a point differential of 36 points through those 8 games. Last season’s National runner up, GVSU is ranked #1 after going 3-0 at the Chicago Dodgeball Open, and are led by captain Mark Trippiedi. The Lakers have a strong team and could very well be the favorite to win both the MDC and Nationals this season. The Lakers open their tournament with a match against CMU in a matchup of the last two National and MDC champions.

The #2 ranked team in the country, Saginaw Valley, is heading strong into Nationals with an 8-2 record, with their only losses coming to GVSU. They also went 3-0 at the Chicago Dodgeball Open, knocking off DePaul, Moody, and Nebraska. Their captain, Spencer Jardine, is one of the best all-around players in the country and they’ve played consistently well for the past few seasons, but could this be the season they make the leap to being an elite program and winning either the MDC or Nationals?

The host school, #3 Michigan State, is wondering the same question. This year they’ve beaten both of their Big Ten rivals in Ohio State and Nebraska, and have posted 48 points in 11 games, the most points scored this season by any team to this point. However, the Spartans have still yet to beat GVSU, and haven’t beaten CMU in 4 years. Captain Sam Hiller is hoping to make a statement and beat those two schools and turn the State program into a National title contender. The Spartans will go up against local rival LCC and will also face Saginaw Valley.

Defending National Champion Central Michigan has only played one game all season (a 2-1 loss at SVSU) but they’re still one of the favorites for the title. Featuring a bunch of cannon arms to go along with some solid catchers, the #19 Chippewas want to win a second Michigan Dodgeball Cup title. Possibly the deepest team in terms of talent, and having some of the best all around players in the league like Bryce Corrion and Eric Sweet, the Chips are going to have to fight off some tough competition and are no longer the hunters, but the hunted.

After making their first MDC appearance last year, the Lansing Community College Silver Stars are hoping to pick up their first win in the history of the program. They have some elite players at the top, featuring captain Kevin Nguyen, but their depth is an issue. They’re playing their first games of the season in the tournament, so it will be interesting to see if they have any cohesion and teamwork, but their top six players can go toe to toe with anyone else’s top six any day.

#14 Eastern Michigan has had a turbulent season. They’ve played in just one tournament, the MSU Invite, where they dropped all four games they played. They’ve only scored three points in four games, and they’ve had a leadership change. However, the Eagles are still a dangerous team and could possibly sneak up on a team at the MDC and take them down. There’s plenty to like from this team, and they could possibly win their first game this season at the MDC.

The 2012 Michigan Dodgeball Cup will be an absolute battle for the title, as the top teams in the nation will be in attendance and there will certainly be a number of great matches.

A Major Gale in Allendale

 #2 Spartans, #4 Lakers Prepare for Battle

Traditional powers clash on December 3rd when the #2 ranked Michigan State Spartans head into Allendale to take on the #4 ranked Grand Valley State Lakers. The Lakers are 4-0 in the young season, having already beaten arch-rival Saginaw Valley State twice. Michigan State is 5-1 and recently won the MSU Invite and beat Big Ten rival Ohio State. The winner of this match may be in the driver’s seat towards getting a good seed at the always important Michigan Dodgeball Cup, seeing as the winner will be the highest ranked Michigan team going into the new year.

The Spartans have never beaten the Lakers, but this could be their best opportunity yet. Senior Ian Childs says We’ve got a lot of returning talent this year. We’re motivated to win. This season is the last chance for our seniors to win a title and the road to the title goes through GVSU.” Michigan State’s Zach Bauer agrees with Childs, saying that “GVSU is a good team and they don’t make many mistakes. It is important for us to play to our potential and minimize any mistakes. We have the ability to win, we just have to show up and play.”

Grand Valley hasn’t played Michigan State in their home gym since 2009, so it should be interesting to see how MSU does on the road in a hostile environment. The Spartans have had some trouble on the road in the past, and GVSU has played phenomenal at home throughout the history of their program. The Lakers are trying to build off a season where they won the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, but lost in the National Championship game in a thriller to Central Michigan. After losing players like Jimmy Stokes, Caleb James, and Greg Trippiedi some thought this may be a rebuilding year for Grand Valley, but sophomore Mark Trippiedi has a solid team that has already won the Bowling Green Invite. The Lakers expect to be there for a chance at a 5th National title in April. GVSU and MSU will also have a JV match, which could shed some light on the futures of these two programs. All eyes in the dodgeball world will be on the Grand Valley-Michigan State duel for this match with huge National implications.