Saginaw Valley State Dodgeball’s Spencer Jardine:
Is this the year? A question the Cardinals have asked themselves many times in past years, but never has a Saginaw team had the opportunity that they will have on March 17th. With a win they will secure themselves a second place finish in the NCDA after already securing the #1 overall seed in Michigan with huge wins at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. With an 11-2 record this year the Cardinals are looking to even the season series up with the 10-2 Lakers, who handed the Cardinals their only loss’s of the season. The first match up taking place in Bowling Green where the Lakers shellacked the Cardinals 5-0 then defeated Saginaw 2-1 in Grand Rapids a month later during the annual Battle Of the Valleys match up.
After months of not seeing each other the Cardinals and Lakers clashed again at East Lansing in February for the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. SVSU was coming in with a notorious reputation for collapsing at the MDC, with just a handful of wins earned in the past few years. This year matched up with GVSU in the first round the Cardinals seemed like they where headed towards another disappointing MDC after dropping the first point and almost giving up another one at half. After regrouping at half time SVSU battled back to grab a point from GVSU. The Lakers would not go down easy as they roared back with a strong showing almost stealing a point with seconds left as SVSU’s Josh Brettrager held off 6 Lakers to send the game into overtime. In the OT the Lakers again jumped out to an early lead but timely kills and clutch catching by Jason Stein and Spencer Jardine brought the Cardinals to victory. SVSU would go on to defeat CMU 2-1 and MSU 3-2 to lift the Michigan Dodgeball Cup for the first time in program history.
With this match in Saginaw’s Cardinal Gym the Lakers won’t be in unfamiliar territory with the number of times they have traveled to SVSU, however one can never be prepared for Saginaw’s 16th man in the stands. With out a doubt the most hostile environments in the the NCDA the Lakers players will have to deal with a home crowd on St Patty’s day that is just as hungry for a win over the Lakers as the players, and there isn’t a student at Saginaw that won’t instantly hate anything in a blue jersey that weekend. They key to this game will be how the unseasoned players of GVSU handle the vocal crowd of Saginaw, and if GVSU has improved on their game closing abilities. For Saginaw the plan remains the same, look to continue to dominate in the catching department and pick up key kills in the neutral zone while keeping their catches against numbers low. Fans and players should expect this to be a real barn burner with a single point as the likely deciding factor in this match.
SVSU Captain and Nationals 2012 Coordinator
Grand Valley State Dodgeball’s Mark Trippiedi:
The Grand Valley State University Lakers will travel to Saginaw Valley on St. Patrick’s Day to add another chapter to the fiercest rivalry in the NCDA. This game has a lot riding on the line, as the winner will take over the #2 ranking in the nation, as well as the top spot in the MI region. The Lakers (10-1-1) are coming off a very frustrating showing at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup where for the first time in program history they lost multiple games at the MDC. The toughest of those losses being a 2-1 OT loss to SVSU in a back and forth game. The Cardinals came rip roaring out of the gate to take the 1st point then held off the Lakers surge before half, taking that 1-0 lead to half. The Lakers fought back after halftime winning the 1st point in the half and controlling the game for about 20 min of the 2nd half. One Cardinal player was able to hold out for about 5 min alone and force overtime. GVSU took a small lead in overtime to see the game slip away as SVSU came up with very timely kills and catches.
Win or lose this match up at SVSU will be important for the less experienced Lakers as they need to know what it is like playing at SVSU before the National tournament in April. SVSU has the loudest fans in the NCDA and those fans will be peppering the Lakers all game long.
The Lakers will look to get back on track with the veterans on the roster playing a big part in what they like to do. GVSU was not happy with some of the performances they showed at the MDC and come back looking for a small taste of revenge. After they had to watch SVSU hoist the MDC trophy for they first time in their club history.
The keys for the Lakers in this game will be simple they have to do a better job of moving their heads in the neutral zone as to not get pick off by cross throws, and the major issue being when they get SVSU on the ropes they need to finish the job to take home the W.
GVSU comes into this game as a rear underdog, having to rebound off the poor showing at the MDC, to play a very hot SVSU team with their crowd behind them. The most hostile environment in the NCDA really will get up for the game against GVSU as the Lakers will be hated simply because they are wearing blue. The Lakers look to give the SVSU faithful a real reason to hate them as they look to win what will be another close game between GVSU and SVSU.