BGSU Invitational Preview

The Following was written by reid manger (BGSU):

The 2017-2018 NCDA season is in full force midway through the first semester. With well over 50 matches played so far during the year, this has arguably been the most exciting (certainly most active) season the NCDA has seen to date. With that in mind, it should be no surprise to see even more activity taking place this weekend at Bowling Green State University (otherwise known as BSGU) (no, unfortunately that isn’t a typo). The following six varsity teams will be in attendance: BGSU, OU, OSU, CSU, Towson, and UK. Although primarily an Ohio tournament, the introduction of a couple competitive out of state opponents gives this tournament a bit of flare. In the paragraphs to come, I will give a brief summary of each team, their upcoming opponents, a few interview questions, and end it with my own personal predictions of how things will shake out.


BGSU

Summary: I’ll kick the preview off with my very own Falcons. They’re coming off of tournament where they went 3-0 and that puts them at a very respectable 6-3 on the year. Notable matches so far this year include losses to all three Michigan powerhouses (GVSU, CMU, & SVSU) but quality wins against four top 15 opponents (Kent State, MSU, VCU, & Penn State). Rostering four potential All-American candidates, BGSU features one of the best catching lineups in the league (anchored by Tyler Broyles and Reid Manger) with a nice blend of power arms (anchored by Max Kowalski and Tyler Wickham). It’s no doubt that this team has the talent to compete with the best of them, however, they certainly aren’t without their question marks. It’s fair to wonder if they’ll be able to maintain their success without the depth at arm power that most elite teams have. It’s also fair to wonder if the recent hype the team has received is unwarranted, because arguably, besides perhaps Kent State, this club doesn’t have a marquee level win in recent memory. Perhaps this BGSU team is finally ready to take the step up into the ranks of the elites, but it might be just as likely that they are destined to be a fringe top 10 team that can’t find the fire power to compete with the best.

Opponents: OSU, Towson, UK

Interview Questions: Answered by Reid Manger

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “Our match against Towson is the one we’re eyeing. I know that they’re more focused on Kentucky, but I want this matchup to really gauge the talent level between the North and East Coast teams.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “My most stubborn teammate is also probably my most influential teammate. Get to know the name Max Kowalski who is just a junior this year. He has arguably our team’s most powerful throw and can hold his own catching. This is his first year where he’s completely committed, and as teams get to play him more and more it won’t be a surprise when he shows up on numerous All-American ballots over the next two years.”
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • “Although I love the intensity my team and I feel when we play VCU (we still haven’t forgotten when you said we weren’t a legitimate team last year, Hunter), our real rivals this year will probably be Kent State. Our first matchup this year was controversial to say the least, and I look forward to our future matches so we can really prove who the top team in Ohio is. That means no disrespect to OU, who could eventually be our most formidable Ohio opponent if they continue to progress like they are (you’ll read my thoughts on you down below), or OSU who year after year are always in the thick of things.”

Ohio University

 Summary: What can I say? Caleb Arnold has his Bobcats playing at a level that this program has never seen, and, by the looks of it, his team is having a lot of fun doing it. Although the league typically singles out Bowling Green and Kent State as the only two teams competing to be top dog in Ohio, I’m going on record to say don’t sleep on this team. After all, they were ODC champs last year and they seem to only have improved. A relatively balanced team, Ohio University enters this weekend at 4-2 after a 2-1 weekend at Akron. They have won convincingly in all four of their wins (Akron, DePual, CSU, and BW), winning by a combined total of 20-1! Their losses are against Kent State (OT) and CMU, so no shame in that. Notable performers on the team that I personally take notice when playing are Caleb Arnold, who is their court general and a solid all around performer, Adam Hynes, who’s ball velocity can make even the best catchers trip up, and Zach Howman, who has the hands to make you second guess putting a ball anywhere near him. That’s not to say that’s all the talent this roster has, though, as they have influx of new faces and talent that I haven’t gotten much of a chance to gauge yet. Ohio too, like any other team, has their own concerns as well. Most of these concerns stem from the past, as Ohio has only roughly won about 25% (this is an estimate) of the matches in their program’s history.  They also lack any semblance of a marquee win this year as they have yet to beat a team in the upper half of the league, but then again they haven’t had many opportunities either. Is it unfair to judge this team solely on their troubled past? Probably, but you can’t help but wonder if this team has what it takes to take the next step. They’re on the right path to do so, but only time will tell.

Opponents: CSU, UK, OSU

Interview Questions: Answered by Caleb Arnold

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “The match I am most looking forward to this weekend will be the Ohio State game for us. Last year, we competed with Ohio State pretty well.  We took them to overtime in Miami the last time we played them.  With us filling so voids in the roster with some key rookies, I believe this game could swing the other way depending on how well the Buckeyes did at recruiting this year.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “Dusty Moell without a doubt. He is an absolute stud on the court.  His counters are probably some of the strongest in the league with the speed and agility to make it back without being tagged.  He’s one of our most productive players on the court. “
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • At this point, I would have to say Kent State is. Of the last three games with them going back to last season, two games have gone into overtime and it’s heated as always. The teams both get a little crazy but the best part is no matter what is said, I know I can go up to any one of them and it still be a friendly match.  Just not while the clock is running.

OSU

Summary: I would love to write a lengthy summary for OSU like I have with some of the other schools in attendance, but I honestly don’t have enough information on them to do so. Led by Dylan Greer, I have more questions for this team than answers. Arguably the most decorated NCDA team from the state of Ohio, and a final four team just two short years ago, OSU appears to be going through a small period of rebuilding. They have yet to get into a tournament this year, but I’m getting the vibe that these Buckeyes are excited and ready to go out and try to prove something this weekend. They are still ranked as a top 15 team in the league, and, if taken lightly, will make you pay if you think that their recent hiatus is a sign of weakness. I’m very excited to see what Ohio State brings to the table this weekend, and the mystery that surrounds them could definitely work in their favor.

Opponents: BGSU, CSU, OU

Interview Questions: Answered by Dylan Greer

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “We are definitely looking forward to playing OU this weekend. It was tough losing the ODC last year and not having a chance to play them. Winning tomorrow would definitely give us a sense of pride after the fate of the ODC last year, but with how much they continue to grow and develop it will be a tough matchup.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “Tyler Rode is one person who comes to mind when it comes to a quiet player on our team who knows how to make big plays. His intelligence of the game makes him a key player on our team. He always puts himself in the right place on the court to make the necessary catch or throw to push our team forward in the game. Our team can always count on Tyler to stay in until the last few and last as long as he can.”
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • “One team I could definitely see as our rival is UK. We seem to play UK quite often each year and they have turned the tide on us recently. As our team rebuilds and their team improves they have crushed us lately. Even though we aren’t competing Saturday, I look forward to seeing how we compare with them this year.”

CSU

Summary: Before I begin talking about Cleveland State as a team, I first want to tip my hat to Matt Klembara. It’s impressive what you have done with the program in such a short amount of time, and it’s great to see you getting the team involved in so many tournaments despite the apparent learning curve when comparing a new team with an established one. Just like BGSU and OU, CSU competed at the University of Akron this past weekend where they went 3-1. This brings there season record to a respectable 3-4, which isn’t too shabby for a second year team just starving for experience. I’m excited for the future of this club, even though I’m sure the present isn’t quite as successful as they’d like it to be (they still lack a win outside of the bottom quarter of the league). Their wins are against Miami, Baldwin Wallace, and DePaul. Because I have only faced off against CSU one time, and there hasn’t been much coverage in general on them since they’ve entered the league, I can’t pinpoint any threats on the team aside from Matt. I like most team’s odds of winning against CSU if they can take Matt out of the equation, but that doesn’t mean he’s their only weapon nor does it mean you can sleep on this squad. I wish this team all the luck in the world as they continue to grow and learn.

Opponents: OU, OSU, Towson

Interview Questions: Answered by Eric Boehm

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “Well, based on what I know about the three teams we’re facing, I would say that I’m eager to see how Ohio State plays as a team, so I would say our match against OSU.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “Well I shouldn’t be greedy in this. But this one guy named Soni Nguyen who is this big Asian dude. His number is 00. That’s double zero. Anyways, he’s one of our best power throwers and is also taken a huge step towards a leadership role based on his performance at the Akron Tournament last weekend. Also, he held his own at Nationals against JMU and WKU. So I would say Soni Nguyen needs a lot more recognition.”
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • “Honestly, this is a very hard question to answer. I would say our two biggest rivals in the league are Akron and Miami. Akron is a much more seasoned team than us. Then there’s Miami who started in the league relatively recent like us and they are also trying to find a place in the league like we are. Miami beat us in the ODC last year, 4-1, then we beat them at Nationals, 4-1. Then last weekend at Akron, we beat Miami 2-1 which was a very close game. On a win by win basis, CSU has 6 wins, Miami has 5 wins. It’s very close. So I would say that Miami would be our biggest rival in the league.”

Towson

Summary: Now we move onto a team located outside the great state of Ohio. Towson University has had a very active, but odd year to date. They enter this weekend at 6-2, however they have yet to take their talents outside of the East Coast. They have two solid wins against VCU and another solid win against PSU but were utterly dominated against their long-time rival JMU in both of their games against them. Is Towson still a top 10 team? Without a question, I think it’s probably insulting to have them ranked anywhere outside of the top 7. However, as a team who was projected to be king of the East Coast and a title contender, it’s fair to wonder if they have what it takes to be a legitimate threat to the Michigan region. Perhaps I’m over exaggerating, and JMU may secretly be the best team in the league so those two losses against them aren’t as big of a deal as I think. Until both of those schools get some action against some teams in the North, which Towson is obviously doing this weekend, we won’t know for sure. As far as impact players go, I don’t have much insight on their roster. The last time I played Towson was Nationals 2016 and rarely do either of our two squads go to the same tournament. I hear Michael Hinely is supposed to be an MVP contender, but aside from him I haven’t heard much about anyone else. I expect this team to come out hungry and ready to prove something this weekend. If there’s one team to watch this weekend, in my opinion, it’s this one right here.

Opponents: UK, BGSU, CSU

Interview Questions: Answered by Michael Hinely

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “We’re most looking forward to our match against Kentucky as its always a competitive game.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “Jordan Watt: has a power arm and carries an important role on this team.”
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • “JMU: we might not always come out on top, but the rivalry is thick between us. We’ll get back in the win column against them soon enough.”

Kentucky

Summary: The other school coming from outside of Ohio’s boarders is the University of Kentucky. Kentucky’s program has been historically good and is coming off of a very successful year, but haven’t gotten much action this year. They are going into this weekend at 2-0, with two convincing wins against WKU, who has been rumored to have a relatively depleted roster. Ricardo Menchaca leads the team as their head captain, and Zachary Parise, who has seemingly been around forever, still stands in as an assistant captain. Aside from Towson, this is the other team I’m genuinely excited to see this weekend. Are they still the same elite Kentucky squad that we’ve come to know over the past couple of years, or has their recent inactivity been a sign that they may be having issues with numbers and commitment?   I have a gut feeling that they’re still as talented as ever and they’re just waiting for their opportunity to prove that, but nobody knows for sure.

Opponents: Towson, OU, BGSU

Interview Questions: Answered by Zachary Parise

  1. What match are you most looking forward to this weekend and why?
  • “I think my entire team is looking forward to our match against Towson. They are a team that we don’t get to play too often, and our games are always extremely close.”
  1. Can you name and describe one player on your roster you don’t think is getting enough league-wide attention and deserves to be noticed?
  • “Mario Siliceo is a great example of a player who doesn’t get enough league attention. I would easily consider him one of the best dual-threat players in the league.”
  1. Every team seems to have that one rival, what team would you consider to be yours and why? Here’s your chance to send a message out to them and put them on notice (in good fun, of course).
  • “I wouldn’t say that we have one rival. Throughout the years our rivals have always been Kent and WKU because of how close our games have been and how often we all play. I definitely think there is a friendly rivalry between us and Towson just because of how intense our matches have been over the past two years.”

Predictions

BGSU vs OSU- BGSU 4-1: BG’s tournament experience this year prevails.

Towson vs UK- Towson 4-3: (OT): Hinely brings his squad ready for this anticipated matchup.

CSU vs OU- OU 5-1: CSU will fare better this go around, but will still be no match for OU.

Towson vs BGSU- BGSU 3-2: I might be biased, but this could go either way. Towson should be considered the league-wide favorite.

OU vs UK- UK 4-2: UK comes ready to go after an intense loss against Towson.

OSU vs CSU- OSU 4-2: OSU picks up their first win of the year

BGSU vs UK- BGSU 4-3 (OT): Once again, probably biased. I can’t pick against my squad in front of the entire league. Kentucky should be recognized as the league-wide favorite, but in this scenario they suffer their second OT loss of the afternoon.

OU vs OSU- OU 5-2: OU uses their newfound talent and experience to snag their first club win against OSU in their program’s history.

Towson vs CSU- Towson 6-1: CSU might get to Towson’s level one day, but today isn’t that day.

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