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.