Team Spotlight: Penn State

For the newest addition in our Team Spotlight series we take a look at the Penn State University Dodgeball Club.  The team out of University Park, PA has been a member of the NCDA since April 12, 2013.  I had the opportunity to talk with Club President, Jeff Schwartz, about his squad and the upcoming semester.

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Bold Predictions for the Spring

There have been a lot of major developments in the league just within this past semester.  We have seen the appearance of some brand new teams, the emergence of teams who were once pushovers but now look like legitimate contenders, and some new players have stepped into the spotlight.  Overall, this was a very successful semester in the NCDA, in large part thanks to leadership from across all teams in the league.

Now is where things start to intensify.  We are inching closer and closer to Nationals, and there are a lot of teams and people to watch out for this upcoming semester.  In order to stir the pot and get people thinking, I wanted to throw out some of what I consider to be bold predictions.  Feel free to ridicule me in the comments below.

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Interesting Midseason Statistics

Following the Whitewater Winter Bash at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) on December 4th, there are no more scheduled tournaments for the remainder of the 2016 calendar year.  This has certainly been an active year in the NCDA, with many brand new teams, even more tournaments, and overall, tons of dodgeball.  As a result, I wanted to take the time to highlight some of the league leaders in some interesting stats (or at least what I thought was interesting) over the course of this season.  With that being said, let’s take a look at some of these “key” stats.

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BOTM: 2016 November

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Liam Bartlett (Left) & Kyle Dattelbaum

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Liam Bartlett-18

We actually have a special treat for this month’s Baller of the Month, as we are awarding a Co-Baller of the Month award. For the month of November it is Kyle Dattelbaum and Liam Bartlett of the University of North Georgia.  Both serve as captains for the team, and have had a significant impact on getting their brand new team up and running for the 2016-17 season.  They are being awarded for their start-up accomplishments, along with their performance during the Dahlonega Dodgefall Fest.

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Team Spotlight: Kentucky

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Welcome to the first of hopefully many articles in our new Team Spotlight series.  This is where we take the time to talk to teams around the league and give them a chance to highlight some of their successes, planned events, and any other topics of interest.  For this week, we have selected the University of Kentucky.  I had the pleasure of interviewing their current President, Zach Parise, to get some insight on everything UK Dodgeball.

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Dahlonega Dodgefall Fest Recap

The University of North Georgia hosted their very first tournament, the Dahlonega Dodgefall Fest, this past weekend (and for anyone still wondering, it’s pronounced “duh-lawn-eh-ga”).  Visiting teams included Georgia Southern, Virginia Commonwealth, and Western Kentucky.  It was an interesting tournament with some pleasant surprises and takeaways from the event. Ultimately, WKU came out of the event as the big winners, moving up from #12 to #10 in the Gonzalez rankings after finishing 3-0 on the weekend.  Here is a quick recap of some of the observations made throughout the day, and the implications and things to watch for going forward.

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BOTM: 2016 October

Michael Hinely [Towson 7-A]

mike-hinleyThe October Baller of the Month has been awarded to Towson’s Michael Hinely.  The Junior serves as one of the Captains for the Towson Dodgeball Club, and has played a very big role in the continuous improvement and advancement of their program.  As a friend and competitor with Hinely over the course of our careers, I can personally say this was well deserved.

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Dahlonega Dodgefall Fest

dahlonegaThis will be interesting to see.  In only their first semester officially in the NCDA, the University of North Georgia (UNG) will be hosting a tournament which features themselves along with Georgia Southern University (GSU), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and Western Kentucky University (WKU).  As mentioned previously, UNG is brand new team, and so is GSU.  These two teams previously faced each other in a doubleheader at GSU, but now both will get the chance to play against some veteran teams in the form of VCU and WKU.  As I said before, this will be interesting to see, mainly because all of these teams currently sit in the middle of the pack standings wise.  Currently, UNG, VCU, WKU, and GSU sit at #10, 11, 12, and 18 in the Gonzalez rankings respectively. Because of this, there are a lot of points to be gained this weekend for any team that emerges on top.

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Dukes Continue Reign in East Coast

JMU hosted their 3rd annual Pumpkin Smash tournament on Sunday which featured JMU, UVA, Towson, and VCU.  There were a lot of headlines going into the tournament, including JMU and UVA’s first official games of the season and Towson’s chance to knock off JMU at the top of the East Coast Region.  That being said, the biggest piece to take away from the tournament is that JMU still holds control of the East Coast at the moment, but definitely not by the margins they are historically used to.

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Pumpkin Smash to Determine East Coast Power

Despite what the weather outside may suggest, we are starting to creep deeper and deeper into Fall, and thus deeper and deeper into the NCDA season.  There are 3 big tournaments happening this weekend, Kent State’s Summer Street Slugfest, CMU’s Dodgetoberfest, and JMU’s Pumpkin Smash.  Each tournament will have big implications in their respective regions, and try to provide a clearer image of the overall power structure in each region.

The Pumpkin Smash will be particularly interesting to see this year though.  Traditionally, JMU has been seen as the untouchable power atop the East Coast region since their arrival into the league.  However, during the Spring Semester of last season, Towson was finally able to top JMU during their home tournament 3-1.  At the end of the year, JMU still finished as the highest ranked team in the East Coast, but it begs the question, are we going to see a change in power this season?  Perhaps only time will tell, whether it is this weekend or even further into the future.  One thing is for certain though, there will be some heavily heated and highly competitive dodgeball across the country this weekend.

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What We Learned In Akron

The University of Akron hosted their second annual Pink Out Tournament this Saturday which featured Akron, BGSU, Kent State, UK, OU, VCU, and WKU.  Needless to say, it was an exciting tournament overall and a chance to see a ton of competitive dodgeball.  After taking a 7.5 hour drive back to Richmond, it gave me time to think about the tournament, and the key takeaways from this weekend.  Here are my biggest observations.

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Previewing Pink Out 2

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Courtesy of Nick Irhin [Akron]
It is only fair that we post this promo picture twice, and just like the poster, this should certainly be an exciting tournament.  There will be 7 teams representing 3 states in a tournament that could create major changes in the league rankings.  I will be taking a look at each team and going over some expectations and things to watch out for over the weekend. So with that being said, I’ll get started. Continue reading “Previewing Pink Out 2”

Investigating New Changes

As the saying goes, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”  This past offseason, there were 5 total rule/policy changes and 1 bylaw change, each of which with their own positives and negatives.  However, two of those changes have been both significant and controversial; Executive Board veto power on member team’s votes for rule changes, and the new “clean-blocking” rule change.  Since most teams have gotten a couple games under their belts we have been able to see the effect the blocking rule has had on games, and had a chance to form reasonable opinions about the change. Alternatively, the Executive Board veto power has only been used once thus far in order to pass the newest blocking proposal.  Either way, people around the league still have their opinions on the changes, and I had a chance to talk with some individuals from across the league about these changes.

Overall, views are mixed, but I want to start with some of the issues I have heard with these two new changes.  Continue reading “Investigating New Changes”

Previewing the Virginia Commonwealth Cup

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will be hosting their first tournament in program history this Saturday, October 1st.  This is the second East Coast region tournament, following the Towson Throwdown hosted by Towson University on September 25th.  Teams that will be attending include Towson, Maryland, and of course VCU.

What to Expect

More or less, we should expect results similar to the Towson Throwdown. The only team not playing in this tournament that was present last weekend is Stevenson, and given only a one week difference, it is hard to imagine much changing.  That being said, VCU will have a unique opportunity to play on their home court, giving them a slight advantage over the two traveling teams.  Continue reading “Previewing the Virginia Commonwealth Cup”

Recap: Towson Throwdown

Towson University hosted the first East Coast tournament of the season at Burdick Hall which featured Towson, Maryland, Stevenson, and VCU.  For the very first tournament for every team, there were a lot of positives to take away, but also a lot of things to improve on for each team.  I will be analyzing each team and highlighting some of the key takeaways from the tournament.  Continue reading “Recap: Towson Throwdown”