Nationals is only a few weeks away people! Not that anyone needed me to tell them that, but as many would expect that means it’s time to start previewing all potential facets of the crazy weekend to come. As a warning, these will be filled with a lot of optimistic thinking but, based on current standings, here are what I think the best case scenarios are for each team on the East Coast heading into Lexington: Continue reading “Nationals Preview, Best Case Scenarios: East Coast”
As everyone should know, there were a lot of matches played yesterday in the NCDA. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend either tournament in person, but I was able to watch most and glean a pretty good idea of how both went down and what it means for everyone. Here’s my interpretation from an outside perspective of what yesterday meant for the NCDA, and most importantly, for April. Continue reading “Outsider’s (Over)reaction Monday”
Much like the articles for The Players’ Tribune where current and former players compile a list of the best people they’ve ever gone against, it seemed like an appropriate time to make a spot where people can list the best players they’ve ever gone against.
For me there are a few layers to the criteria in my list: do they have a good arm, are they a good catcher, blocker, do they have a knack for being one of the last people in a match, and how frustrating is it to go up against them? I’m also trying to base my list against people who I’ve had direct interaction with while on the court. So if I played someone, but we stayed on the opposite side of the court most of the time from each other I may exclude their name. Former teammates were also excluded since I technically played against them.
I’m sure several people will have an opportunity to read this, and I implore all of you to include your list in the comments if given a chance. Especially Jon Shaw and Wes Peters, I know you two guys read practically everything on this site. Continue reading “Top 5 Players I’ve Ever Gone Against”
Dodgeball, as we know, has a ton of different ways for a player to get out in a match. From what I’ve heard, most participants would say that catching a throw in the face is the hardest way to get out of a match; but is it the most frustrating way to get out? The type of eliminator that makes a player roll their eyes, groan and trudge off the court in complete frustration or disbelief? Here are my 5 most frustrating ways to get out, and I’d love to see what other people think. If you have an opinion, please add to the comments section! Continue reading “OPINION: The 5 most frustrating ways to get out in a match”
As just about everyone knows at this point, Towson hosted the first East Coast region tournament this weekend. While not every staple team from the EC was able to make it, three of mainstays (Towson, UMD & VCU) along with a young squad in Stevenson were able to get together for a day of action. Now that I’m on the outside looking in, I was able to watch and learn a lot more than I could in the past, as I was probably trying to keep myself awake in between matches or find a quick bite to eat. I caught most of the matches, and while I didn’t see everything, I saw enough to get a good impression on each of the four teams. Here are my impressions of the four squads involved in Sunday’s action: Continue reading “First Impressions of the East”
Now that I’m a part of the “old guy” crowd who has been around the league for a while I can take a moment to look back at my time in the league and find some of the hidden gems that made my NCDA career so enjoyable. One thing that is highly underrated about an NCDA trip is getting to check out a new area and see what that place has to offer. I may not have gotten to see all of the venues, but here is a list of my top 5 favorite venues in the NCDA.
Oh man, what do I even say about this tournament? It feels like ever since JMU hit the national scene about five years ago that the players between these two conferences have been clamoring for a regular season blowout tournament. Ok, maybe not a blowout, but people have been hoping that as the East Coast Conference has risen the teams over here would be able to face their Midwest counterparts during the regular season. There have been some regular season matchups before (BEAST and other various tournaments), but this marks the first time I can remember that multiple teams from either region have travelled the distance to the other. Saturday looks to be a barometer for a lot of teams heading into April and Nationals. Let’s take a look at the matchups.
It seems that more than ever this year teams in the NCDA are travelling to a variety of tournaments while staying as close to home as possible. Teams in the more Midwest area of the league are staying in states like Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. Teams further west like DePaul and Wisconsin make it to as many as they can, but can’t travel with the ease of an Ohio State or Grand Valley. While they are capable of making the drives, the teams on the East Coast seem relegated to battle amongst themselves the majority of the season per usual.
As the dynamic of league travel evolves into more condensed areas, so too can perception of teams. Those who get to see more know more and typically have different ways of seeing each and every member team. Using two prominent teams, Michigan State and James Madison, it seems more appropriate than ever to examine how perception plays a major role in the NCDA. Continue reading “Perception in the NCDA”
Location: State College, Pennsylvania
NCDA Region: East Coast
2014-15 Record: 3-8
National Tournament Finish: Lost to SVSU in the first round
2015-16 Captains: William Deutsch – C, Justin Lin – C, Kenny Russ – C
Returning Varsity Players: All
Players to Watch: Justin Lin
Overview: Fun fact number one: Penn State has been to as many regular season tournaments as they have Nationals (2). Fun fact number two: The Nittany Lions have taken a point from Grand Valley before their East Coast counterparts UMD and Towson could. Continue reading “Season Preview: Penn State”
Season Preview: UMD
Location: College Park, MD
NCDA Region: East Coast
2014-15 Record: 11-8
National Tournament Finish: Lost in 1st round to UK
2015-16 Captains: Rohan Mittal – C, Mike Cariello – , Drew Bongiovanni – A, Tyler Wieland – A
Returning Varsity Players: Approx. 11
Players to Watch: Matt Greenspan and Drew Bongiovanni
Overview: The season did not end as expected for the University of Maryland Terrapins; probably the biggest understatement of the offseason. Expectations were high going into Nationals, but the Terps went 0-4 during the NCDA’s championship weekend, raising eyebrows among many in the league. Continue reading “Season Preview: UMD”
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
NCDA Region: East Coast
2014-15 Record: 22-3
National Tournament Finish: Lost to CMU in OT in the Final Four
2015-16 Captains: Derek Pierce – C, Joe Bringuier – A, Tanner Weaver – A
Returning Varsity Players: 10-13
Players to Watch: Doug Schilling, Tanner Weaver
Overview: When it comes to JMU I normally know exactly what to say and what to expect out of them this season. I’m not so sure this season and consider the Dukes as a bit of an enigma heading into the 2015-16 season. Coming off an overtime loss to the eventual runners up in Central Michigan, the team looks to avoid the rebuilding label early in the season. Continue reading “Season Preview: James Madison”
Imagine this: you and your family plan a set of trips throughout the year, with one blowout trip at to cap it all off. You can afford a few small ones along the way, usually just for one day, leading up to the final one; there’s one problem. You realize after those day trips that you don’t have the budget for the final trip! You and your family must now face the disappointment of not being able to take that big vacation.
Virginia Commonwealth’s dodgeball team has suffered with this problem since they joined the NCDA in 2012. The Rams were able to attend a few regional tournaments each year, but were never able to raise to funds to attend Nationals. The club has always wanted to attend, a few factors, primarily the money, always got in the way. With the help of a few donations and a deal with the NCDA, VCU’s fortunes would finally change.
Kevin Bailey and Jon Shaw have already given their takes on where they think each team belongs in the rankings for the 2015-16 season. While I have some similar views as to where some teams belong, I have some bold thoughts for what will come up this season.
Along with my “way too early” preseason rankings I will also give a ranking of where I expect each club to end up at the end of the season. Now obviously that is much too early, and there are a lot of factors that go into it, but I think I have a good idea of how next season will play out. I apologize for any misspelled names along the way
Note: If you have a ranking you’d like to post please get in contact with someone from the content team. We love getting more submissions and more activity from people around the league (Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois regions I’m looking at you). Continue reading “Sean Smith’s Way Too Early Predictions”