By Kenneth Mize (SVSU)
Every team has a chance to win this tournament for the first time in a long history of MDC’s. Numbers 1-3 and 7th ranked teams will be in attendance. Each team is on a different path that has led them to this tournament. This is a short article describing where these teams are and what they need to do to win.
Grand Valley is coming into this tournament ranked #1 in the nation, but it hasn’t been the clear number one team at all this year. This year has been what most will call a success for GV. I know some and GV themselves are looking at this season where they have dropped two games to MSU and one game to SV. That they are not where they want to be yet. Similar to most championship teams they don’t need to be at their full potential during the start or middle of the season but rather to end it. This team is coming in as the youngest team at MDC, but make no mistake this team is the real deal when it comes to playing the GV dodgeball way. Which brings me to what they need to do tomorrow. This team is decked out with throwers, they can get carried away with their arms at time and throw catchable throws. I’ve heard reports that head Captain Brandon Meisel might return from his winter knee surgery. If he doesn’t then veteran Aaron Terenzi needs to become the leader he can be and command his team when they face the challenges during what is always the most competitive points of the year.
Well if anyone understands how Central Michigan is the number two team in the nation you are more than willing to drop me a note. You could say that this team is the team of unfulfilled expectations. The team that started the season was supposed to be an elite and dominant team who could throw and catch like no other. What unfolded was a team who lacked cohesiveness, leadership and the mentality to play as a team. Recent events have led to new leadership and some of their players no longer with them. I’ve heard that they have now made up and the Chips will be at full strength for MDC. Which the reunion is exactly what they need to win tomorrow. The key to their success is being one team and not a team of individuals. Seeing the roster that was published I noticed Ian Ryan is back with the Chips as well. With Michael Riley and Ian Ryan both playing I strongly believe this team with live up to preseason expectations and bring it in every game.
The most consistent team in the nation up to their trip to the east coast BEAST tournament was right here. The Spartans shocked us all with strong play all year. Without All-American Colin O’Brien some might have expected them to falter early. Rather they have faltered late. I still believe this team is in better shape with Colin than it was without him. Early season MVP candidate Wes Peters, has elevated his game play to another level in what should be his best season of his long career. The team itself lost two games to out of state teams, and this is the big question as to what exactly happen them. What they need to do to win is simple, defend their home court and play like they did in the early season. They have the most to win, but also the most to lose in this tournament. Lose and they drop in the rankings, win and they potentially can be the number one team in the nation.
Well, the Cardinals come into this tournament as a team in a very similar spot too last years. No one besides themselves think they can win. Being a captain for this team it is hard to right a nonbiased article on them. So I will try and attack this in the best way possible. The amount that this team has grown from the start of this season to now is unbelievable. We have had our full roster for only one tournament this season, being the Battle of the Valleys tournament. Which there we showed why we are no team to be slept on. What we need to do to win, is play AS ONE. We too often get caught out not playing as a unit, and getting out with missed blocks or single throws. I strongly believe in this team and we again will shock the world. Because it’s always Saginaw vs Everyone, we will come out with a fire that is burning as hard as ever.
My bold predictions for this tournament is that the winner will go 2-1 and no team will go winless.