Cornhusker Clash Recap

On February 17th the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP) battled it out at the Cornhusker Clash in a doubleheader. UNL was able to come out on top in both matches with final scores of 7-1 and 6-2. Below are the thoughts from captains and alumni on the day.

The following questions were asked of the captains of each team about the event.

Erik Zander– What did you think of your team’s performance?

Caleb Fowler (UNL)– Overall, the team played well with a few low points. I’m proud of how the team battled back on points that didn’t start out well and managed to steal a couple of points we had no business winning. We need to keep improving our depth as the year goes on as it’s what separates the good teams from great teams.

Nicholas Stocks (UWP)– The score was not what we wanted but we learned a lot about the team. When we were constantly communicating with each other and moving up as a unit, UWP was a dominant force, but when the communication fell through, we fell apart.

EZ– What did you think of your opponent’s performance?

CF-I thought UWP played very well. Even without Newell, this was definitely their best showing, and saw some bright spots from a few rookies too. From the points UWP won, they out caught us and played better transition. I truly believe that at nationals, UWP will beat a team that has them written off as a W. They are a team that you can’t just look past.

NS– UNL had a strong showing against us and as usual they were a catching team. They are disciplined and do not make individual mistakes. This style of play in turn allows them to set the pace of the game.

EZ- Any players on your team that stood out and why?

CF-#24 DILLON MUNDY. He is simply a machine among men. His ability to play at a high level and that consistently is not human. Fatigue isn’t a word in his vocabulary. His arm just never gets tired, and his catching is scary. 10 kills and 7 catches in game 2 is an insane stat line. We say it all the time “Most underrated player in the NCDA.” I also really like our rookie development. We are developing some strong arms out of Malaki Horne and Adrian Moses. They are starting to hit the skill curve and it showed on Saturday. My last shoutout is for Kenzie Prauner, she had some clutch catches, including a point-saving one. Team player that gives the support we all need.

NS– Bryden Hundt was the last person on the court several times and did a good job surviving to draw the point out. He also did a great job of calling for the first time in a tournament.

The following questions were asked of a few alumni in attendance at the event this weekend.

Erik Zander– What did you think of each team’s performance?

Jacob Bish (UNL)– The performances of both the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) and the University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP) teams at the Cornhusker Clash were commendable. UNL demonstrated a strong start, maintaining a points advantage throughout most of the matches. Despite UNL’s dominance, UWP managed to secure a few points in the second game, momentarily challenging UNL’s lead. However, UNL quickly regained composure and control. UWP’s team, primarily composed of underclassmen, showed remarkable resilience and potential for growth. A particularly thrilling moment occurred when it seemed UNL would easily secure a lead, but UWP’s consecutive plays briefly leveled the playing field. Nevertheless, UNL’s steadfastness ultimately led them to victory. Both teams displayed a relentless spirit, ensuring no point was easily conceded.

Robyn MacDonald (UNL)– UWP, while they didn’t come out on top this weekend, I think they had a great performance overall. They worked as one united front the entire day, and it was awesome to see how many people made good plays & did great things. I think they sometimes struggled to recover when UNL would have a run of a few good plays in a row, but the players never let up and continued to do their best all day long.

UNL was a very strong team throughout the day. The team has a lot of experience and talent, and that let them be a powerful opponent on Saturday. A lot of different players showed great skill, and it was awesome to see so many people show leadership on the court. There were a few moments where organization or communication seemed to get a little lost briefly, but they were quickly able to regroup & continue performing well.

EZ– What impressed you the most about the teams?

JB– UNL’s strategic acumen, effective communication, and cohesive teamwork were particularly impressive. Their ability to execute planned plays, maintain defensive readiness, and control the game’s pace was outstanding. On the other hand, UWP’s capacity to capitalize on UNL’s rare lapses was notable. Their ability to seize control of the ball during these moments allowed them to dictate the game’s tempo momentarily. As UWP’s young team continues to refine their communication skills, they are poised to become formidable contenders, potentially dominating future engagements through enhanced pace control.

RM- What impressed me most about UNL was the skills & confidence displayed by players, regardless of how long they’ve been playing the sport. I think the team has worked very hard, as individuals and together, to practice and develop their skills. Throwing accuracy probably stood out the most to me, especially because it came from such a variety of players. It was great to see how many people had the confidence and ability to step in and execute. It makes them a better team, both because they have more depth to rely on, and because it’s hard to predict what will happen when so many players are capable of stepping up.

UWP’s team habits and organization have always been the qualities that impress me most about them. They consistently have excellent communication and work very well together, and it’s fun to watch them move around the court as one cohesive unit. It seems like every player knows what they should be doing, and always does their best to make that happen. I think it demonstrates how good their leadership & experienced players are at sharing their knowledge & building up their teammates, as well as how hard their newer players have worked to learn the game and build their skills. From how they treat each other to how they work with each other, UWP always shows that they are a great team together.

EZ- How do the teams compare to when you played?

JB– Reflecting on my tenure with UNL (’14-’18), the team’s evolution is remarkable. The physical and strategic growth of the players is notable, with a significant increase in player size and a refined focus on advanced skills and tactics. This evolution marks a stark contrast from my initial years, where the emphasis was on mastering fundamental skills such as communication and teamwork. These foundational skills have been embedded within the team, allowing UNL to elevate their game. UWP maintains its enduring passion for dodgeball, a testament to the legacy of players like Erik Zander, who have instilled lasting enthusiasm and commitment in the team.

RM- When I played UWP (’19-’21), they had a larger number of strong & experienced players than they currently do. Unfortunately, I do think they are less competitive now since they don’t have as many people with the confidence to always be relied on. That said, they are a group of such hard workers, and I’m so excited about how they will improve throughout the rest of this year and beyond.

I think UNL has only grown since being able to play at Nationals, and that experience has made the team stronger. That opportunity gave so many people way more dodgeball experience, and I believe it also increased the passion they have to keep getting better. I think the team continues to make the most of the opportunities they’re given, and I’m so happy to see the growth of this team.

Thanks to the alumni for coming to help out!

Final Thoughts– For both of these teams, getting a few more games in was crucial in their player development and helping prepare them for nationals. UNL from top to bottom are extremely talented and will be able to hang with the top teams in the league. They have all the right stuff to make a deep run into bracket play come Sunday of nationals and is a team overlooked by many. UWP is still very much a young squad that has a lot to learn and needs to find a way to be comfortable on the court and just follow the game plan and not make simple mistakes. If they can work together and play as a team, they have the potential to compete and hold their own and hopefully pick up some wins going forward.

It was a great weekend and look forward to seeing these teams in action again! In case you didn’t see the games, go to the UWP dodgeball channel and check out the action at the following link (UW-Platteville Dodgeball). Make sure to subscribe and support them!

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