This past weekend Bowling Green State University hosted their annual fall tournament: The BGSU Invite. The results from this tournament are as follows: GVSU: 3-0, CMU: 3-1, OSU: 1-2, Kent: 1-2, BGSU: 0-3. Looking past the records for each team, it was an impressive showing for most teams in attendance, especially the three Ohio squads. Here is my recap on the tournament (listing teams in order of how I would rank them after this weekend):
Grand Valley State
GVSU once again defended their right to call themselves the top team in the nation, but it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing. After beating an outmatched Kent team GVSU went up against Ohio State for the second time this season. Ohio State once again failed to score a point on the Lakers but they put up a fight. Several times the Buckeyes dropped GVSU down to only a few players but the defending national champs were able to persevere and eventually pull out a 3-0 win.
The last match of the day for Grand Valley was a much anticipated rematch against Central Michigan. CMU came out fast in this game taking the first point in about 19 minutes, and at half they held the 1-0 lead. The second half was a much different story with GVSU making the necessary adjustments and cruising to a convincing 3-1 victory. Neither team had a full roster, and in the end, GVSU’s depth trumped that of their opponents.
Central Michigan’s only loss at this tourney was to GVSU, giving them three important wins as they move forward this season. Now sitting at 11-5 on the year, I am very impressed with what I’ve seen from the Chippewas. CMU rolled past Ohio State 4-0 in their first match on Saturday, and took out BGSU 6-0 before falling to GVSU.
Central’s last match was against Kent, with CMU winning 3-2 in a match that was too close for their liking. Central was up 2-0 before failing to maintain intensity in the second half letting the Golden Flashes climb back into the game. The decisive fifth point was won by CMU with only about 4 minutes left giving them the victory and finishing their day at 3-1.
The Buckeyes played in just their second tournament of the season this past weekend, and showed flashes of what I expect them to be by season’s end. Ohio State dropped their first match to CMU without much of a fight, but after that game the Buckeyes played much better dodgeball the rest of the day.
Against GVSU the Buckeyes kept most of the points close; both halves ended with GVSU down to 2 or 3 people and OSU basically at full strength. I’m not saying this game was evenly matched, but if both halves were a few minutes longer OSU possibly could have made their 3-0 loss closer to 3-1 or 3-2. OSU finished with an easy win against BGSU. Overall, The Buckeyes went 1-2 this weekend, but they are not far off from being a pretty dangerous team.
Kent State also played in just their second tourney of this young season this past weekend at BGSU. At GVSU Invite #1 Kent was unable to compete with any legitimate opponent thanks to a small roster full of inexperience. That is not the same team that we saw this weekend. Kent had the majority of their varsity regulars in attendance and it showed.
Despite only winning one game, it was a step in the right direction for Kent State. In arguably the most intense game of the day, Kent proved that great teamwork and catching abilities still define them as a team as they stormed back from down two to tie up the game against CMU. Central went on to win the game, but that performance undoubtedly changed my perspective of what Kent State is capable of this year. Despite losing most of their impact performers to graduation last year, Kent can still compete!
Bowling Green State
BGSU may come in as the last team on this list after going 0-3 at their home tournament, but don’t let the numbers fool you. This team looks better at this point in the season than they have in years. Thanks to their mix of a strong freshmen class and some experienced returners the BGSU roster is much more impressive top to bottom than they have been in the past.
We (GVSU) were not able to play the Falcons, but spectating a few points for them I was happy to see they have improved. In the words of one of my teammates: “Bowling Green has some grown men on their team this year!”. I’ll be honest they haven’t put it all together yet, but there is potential for BGSU to have a better performance in 2014-15 than last year.