Ohio University is hosting one of the largest tournaments that we will see in most fall semesters to come – the 3rd Annual John Betters Bobcat Bonanza! This club will play host to nine other teams that will make the trip to Athens, OH and try and earn themselves a few wins on the weekend. Will the Bobcats continue their hot streak on their home turf? Will Michigan State continue the dominance it started last year by knocking of Cincinnati and Ohio in their own state? To answer those questions, let’s take a look into the schools taking the trip to the beautiful campus.
Ohio University Bobcats
The Bobcats play host to this animal of a 10-team event with only one goal – finish with a 6-0 start to the season. At the Showcase, Ohio proved that they won’t give up until there is no time left on the clock. However, 0-3 comebacks and a 1v4 clutches are not things to be relied on. For this team to walk out of the Bobcat Bonanza undefeated, they need to be firing on all cylinders with their second-year players like Sean O’Donnell and Austin Bensman taking charge on the offensive front while Garret Carbullido and Judson Jones keep catching everything with those “sticky fingers”. Don’t sleep on the rookies though as there is potential for some to take the ROTY podium.
Predictions from Max Stoeckel:
Ohio def BGSU 4-0
Ohio def MSU 3-2
Ohio def Kent 5-0
University of Cincinnati Bearcats
How about those Bearcats? This team is a hot pick to be the top Ohio team by the end of the season and one that people have chosen to go all the way – they still can be. Right now, when you think of the team you can name a handful of players – Brett Liming, Matt Rosinski, Cory Heitmann. The only possible issue with that is that’s it. Their play at the Showcase showed that they rely heavily on those top performers and might want to consider spreading the love amongst the rest of the roster if they expect to take out the likes of Michigan State and even Ohio State. Their best game of the day will be their MSU matchup and plenty of folks will have their eyes on the two Top 4 finishers from 2022 Nationals.
Predictions from Kevin Skiba:
UC def MSU 4-3
UC def OSU 4-2
UC def BGSU 4-1
Ohio State University Buckeyes
Has the Ohio State team ever considered drinking their milk and eating their protein? They are on at least a two-season streak of game-time injuries on their roster and this time it was their captain Ryan Ginsberg. Without Ryan, this team is still a well-rounded team with lots of rookie potential. When they play fast, aggressive, and together, they’ve shown they can get the job done. The Buckeyes will look to Ethan Lehmkuhl to take grasp of the on-court leadership while rookies like Nick Kemer, Alden Prohaska, and Will Bryan will be relied on more to fill their roles as starters on the roster.
Predictions from Ryan Ginsberg
OSU def UC 4-3 (OT)
OSU def WMU 5-1
OSU def Akron 4-2
Michigan State University Spartans
Fear the mighty Spartans! After a devasting loss to Grand Valley in the finals last year, MSU is most definitely looking to come back harder than ever and claim their spot at the top. With their top-tier players like Alec Deen and Barry Butler getting some USAD time over the summer, they definitely have the potential to be the scariest team on the court and walk out of Athens, OH undefeated. The Spartans have two tough battles with the Bearcats and Bobcats to test their will but if their Instagram has anything to say about, they’ve been preparing. A 3-0 finish to the weekend will show the league the Spartans are for real and want to make it back to the ‘ship.
Predictions from Alec Deen:
MSU def UC 4-2
MSU def OU 4-3
MSU def CSU 5-0
University of Akron Zips
Dodge, Duck, Zip, Dive, and Dodge. If they haven’t used that, they are missing out. Anyways, talk about a team that can ruin your day. This team has the potential to hang with some of the best teams out there and they’ve definitely shown that with last year and the first couple tournaments this semester. If they manage to spread their talent across their 12-person starting roster, they can be a much better team moving forward. One thing I would like to see is Cooper Sites being more aggressive with his catching. Right now, he’s a backline catcher but if he can manage to do some mid-court catching when their team is on the offensive, this would add to their talent spread.
Predictions from Caleb Arnold:
Akron def Miami 3-2 (OT)
Akron def Kent 3-1
OSU def Akron 4-3 (OT)
Kent State University Golden Flashes
The Golden Flashes are back! Although they have played a scrimmage with Akron and Cleveland State, Kent State is back in action officially this weekend in Athens and everyone is excited. Vanessa Hudson (#12 Captain) was nice enough to help provide insight on the Golden Flashes here:
“Seeing as this tournament will only be Kent’s second tournament since Spring 2020, the term ‘rebuild’ is an understatement. We have had our ups and downs in terms of recruiting, but I think this year is Kent’s year to show the talent we have in our program. This is my 4th year in the league and also my last year as a player, and I know that we can make some noise in my last season. I’m not claiming a title run, but don’t be fooled, we got some talent!”
Predictions from Vanessa Hudson:
Kent def BGSU 3-2 (OT)
Kent def Akron 2-1
OU def Kent 3-1
Bowling Green State University Falcons
Let’s talk about a rebuilding process – Bowling Green. BGSU came back last year with a handful of returners who have now all gone and left the team with first- and second-year players. Their first tournament of the season was in Oxford and their inexperience showed but they definitely have potential for a late-season shine. Hard to mention BGSU without mentioning the cannon Evan Brown. In my opinion, Brown was underutilized last year and if he manages to find that confidence in himself this season, he could be a standout player for BGSU and help them have a late season surge.
Prediction from Max Vincent:
BGSU def Kent 4-2
Ohio def BGSU 4-2
UC def BGSU 4-1
Cleveland State University Vikings
The lines are beginning to blur between Akron and Cleveland State… All jokes aside, this team just needs to continue to play and pack on experience as well as practice. I am so very happy to see schools like Akron, CSU, and even Kent coming together and practicing to help the squads get better. For those who don’t know, they are primarily commuter schools so recruiting and retention is even more difficult there. When I think of this squad, I always revert to Jostein Sagnes. He has slowly been getting better and better while also joining the USAD for a few rounds over the summer to improve his skillset. He’s filling the shoes of Joe Walsh well after his graduation departure.
Predictions from Caleb Arnold:
CSU def WMU 5-4 (OT)
CSU def Miami 4-3
MSU def CSU 3-1
Western Michigan University Broncos
Western Michigan hops into their second-year after finishing their first playing host to Nationals. From the conversations I’ve seen from some of their leaders, they are ready to play. Without last year’s leader Peter Broe, I am interested to see the shape they are in for this season. Since I don’t have too much to say on the fresh squad, I have a quote from their captain Ryan Allor:
“Ohio State will be tough so precise team throws and teamwork will be necessary for the win. Miami will be beatable if ball control is well-contained throughout the entire match.”
Predictions from Matt Barnett:
WMU def CSU 3-2
WMU def UC-B 4-1
OSU def WMU 3-2 (OT)
WMU def Miami 4-3
Miami University RedHawks
Am I allowed to be biased here? Bobcats aren’t big fans of Redhawks…Miami University is definitely ready to fire back after going 0-4 at their home tournament. On the bright side, they have the energy and confidence to do so. Miami was in a major rebuilding phase last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They went from one of the top schools in Ohio to one of the bottom schools from that impact but they have some talent to look out for. After playing strong roles in their tournament, Josh Patel, John Rick, and Jason Zepahua will be Redhawks to watch as they look to go home with three wins.
Predictions from Elly Schipfer:
Miami def Akron 3-2 (OT)
Miami def CSU 4-2
Miami def WMU 3-1
But wait, don’t stop scrolling. The John Betters’ Bobcat Bonanza will make history this weekend as it hosts the league’s inaugural women’s tournament. Formatting is a little different than what most NCDA players are used to – it’s 6 v 6, smaller courts, and no sting balls. These matches will run in between pinch matches with many women going back and forth. What some may see as a challenge, these players see as an opportunity.
Some women’s teams will consist of a few schools for this first tournament including: Akron, BGSU, CSU, GVSU, Kent, Miami, MSU, UC, UK, UMD, and WMU. As rosters grow throughout the season, expect some high level competition as schools start developing strategies to win the Women’s National Title in April.
In the meantime, let’s get an idea of how women feel coming into this first tournament. We asked them what they’re looking forward to, their thoughts on the format (and if they’ve played no sting before), and who they’re looking forward to playing.
Abby Emery, Akron
I am really excited to play in the women’s s tournament. I haven’t been playing dodgeball for very long but I think it’s cool that there is enough women to have a women’s tournament. I’m looking forward to playing other women because I’ll be able to compete more than when we play men. I’m also looking forward to playing with the other girls on my team.
I think the format is cool since there isn’t a ton of women in the league, so 6 v 6 is perfect for that. Although I do hope that eventually there will be enough women to do a full 12 v 12 tournament with the regular balls.I have never played with no sting balls before but I’m excited to try it.
I don’t really know very many women in the league yet so I’m looking forward to playing everyone and getting to meet people.
“According to the map, we’ve only gone 4 inches” -Dumb and dumber
Alexis Schultz, Akron
I am really excited for the womens tournament. I wish we had enough girls to play 6v6 instead of meshing teams, but I am excited because the girls who do play will have a chance to become closer to other girls from other schools. I am looking forward to working on my catching, the smaller balls are much harder to catch than the regular ones and you have to use your body more so hopefully this helps me for when I play pinch.
I really like the idea of 6v6 because I think it keeps people more involved rather than 12v12 where some people stand in the back without a ball. It also means there should be better communication among the teams. Additionally, I really like the no sting balls because most girls have smaller hands than guys so the no sting balls are much easier to throw. They are also easier to throw for someone new to dodgeball who has never pinched before because you don’t have to pinch it. I have never played no sting but I am excited to try it out
I am looking forward to playing all of the girls in general. I have overheard some teams did not bring their whole team to nationals, which meant some girls did not get to come. I am excited to see new faces I haven’t played against before or that I didn’t know were in the league.
“I don’t want to go on Broadway, I want to just stay home and eat chips.” – Mackenzie Ziegler
Emily Nicholson, Akron
I am glad that we are having a women’s tournament. I think it’s a very good idea especially to get more women involved in the league. I am very excited! I am looking forward to my team being able to showcase out talent especially since there are five of us Akron ladies. I am excited to get more playing time as well and to be competing against other women.
I think the format is good. Something about the no sting balls bothers me though. I like the regular ones and no sting kinda makes it sound like we are afraid to get hit with regular balls which is in no way shape or form true. Not that that was the intention of the formatting but I wanted to point it out. I have not played with no sting this far but I am excited to see how it goes.
I am looking forward to playing other women but especially to playing the girls on Miami, I think they are very good.
“I find that a duck’s opinion of me is very much influenced over whether or not I have bread” -Mitch Hedberg
Nicole Cutich, Akron
I am so pumped for the women’s tournament. I’m looking forward to actually getting to play with and against all girls and for everyone to get playing time and get to be competitive, it’s super exciting.
At first I wasn’t super sure about the 6v6 but it works out perfect for us since we have 5 and have Kathryn as our 6th and don’t need to combine teams, it’ll definitely give us an advantage since we know each other well and know each other’s skills and weaknesses and what we can do to succeed and go 4-0. I’ve never played no sting and I was nervous about the ball at first but after throwing around a no sting ball at practice I’m feeling really good about it.
I’m pretty much equally looking forward to playing every team. I’ve played against some of these girls in tournaments but there’s a lot I haven’t so I’m just overall looking forward to seeing everyone’s skills and having some competition
“I’m nice at ping pong” -Kanye West
Zoe DeLand, Akron
I’m definitely excited for the women’s tournament!! I don’t get to play very often in regular matches, so I’m glad to get an opportunity to play and show what I can do. I’m also really glad that there’s enough women in the league to make a women’s league possible. I’m really looking forward to getting to play against the other girls in the league, and being able to play full games rather than just one point every once in a while when we’re losing really bad. I’m also looking forward to getting to play with all of the Akron Dodgettes at once, the 5 of us haven’t had many chances to all play a point together.
I think it is a good format to start out with for the women’s league, but I hope that we can eventually get enough ladies to play full matches with regular balls. I haven’t played no sting but I’m excited to try something new!
I’m just looking forward to getting to play all the girls! I haven’t had the opportunity of playing against some of them before.
“Don’t be upsetti have some spaghetti”
Reni Kaiser, BGSU
I’m glad that they are having a women’s tournament, I’m very excited to see what females can do outside of pinch especially if their team is male dominated. I am looking forward to the competition and community we can create for females, not only within a team but within the NCDA with all regions
I think it’s a cool concept but at the same time I think it will be a lot of stress on those who play both womens and pinch just since it is so much more, but if someone goes to just play womens they don’t have to sit through all of pinch and wait for womens to start. I have played no sting before, with USA Dodgeball and Stonewall.
I’m excited to play Elly and Kathryn again. I am looking forward to honestly playing every team that has females and that show up. I think it is a great way to come out and compete against others and to not worry about the males in the league. I think that Akron will also be fun to play against. This tournament BG plays with Kent so I think thats gonna be a fun team to play with. The teams from the Cleveland area are exciting to see come because being from that area and seeing the women come out and play from there is amazing to me. I am ready to help show the NCDA what women can actually do when given the chance.
“Life isn’t just black and white anymore, live life by seeing all the colors in the world, because when you do it opens up more possibilities in your life.”
Aurora Thomas, CSU
I’m super excited to play again and see how everyone is playing. It’ll be cool to see how the new members are adjusting. I’m obviously excited to see my old team, but I’m also excited to see the other teams as well.
I have not used the no sting before but as someone who used to leave practices with bruises sometimes, it’ll be interesting to see how different these balls are. I genuinely have no idea how the schedule is going to work but it’ll be fun regardless.
I don’t really have a quote for anything but good luck and have fun to everyone. Ultimately, this is just about fun but competition is healthy for everyone.
I AM PUMPED for the womens tournament! The 6v6 makes it a little stressful but I’m all in for it!
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible” -Walt Disney
Kris Haas, CSU
I think the idea if a women’s tournament is cool and i am excited to see it and sad i cannot play.
I am not a fan of in between pinch games, it is going to be a lot of throwing on the girls and they are switching between ball types which in my experience can hurt. I’ve played no sting once.
I was really looking foward to playing Akron.
“Im thankful to be in a sport that has provided me with a family and carried me through my best and worst moments in my adult life”
Sky Thornsberry, CSU
I am very excited to see what the other teams are bringing to the table; the women’s league is a blank slate and right now.
The format is going to be very busy to be sure, but I’ll try and hold judgement until I’ve gotten to experience it. I have a tiny amount of experience with no sting, but not in a very competitive setting.
I’m excited to see what Miami is bringing to the table. As long as I’ve been in the league the team has been spearheaded by their female players.
‘I flippin’ love dodgeball’
I’m very excited about being apart of the women’s tournament but also a little nervous. I don’t really know anyone on the teams but I still can’t wait!!
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”- Walt Disney.
Zee Sweeney, CSU
I’m happy and scared at the same time.
“You don’t win alone. That’s just how it is.” — Tobio Kageyama.
Jasmine Hill, GVSU
I am very excited about the women’s tournament! I have been to many NCDA tournaments to support my brother playing in the league. It is amazing that the program is growing and being inclusive and that I am now part of it too!! I am looking forward to meeting players from the other teams and getting the chance to strengthen my dodgeball skills.
The format sounds cool and I’m excited to try it especially with the no-sting ball that won’t leave as many bruises! I’ve never played no sting.
I am looking forward to playing with all of the teams!
Play like a champion!
Annika Dudik, Kent
I am very excited for the women’s tournament and am looking forward to playing with other women from other teams.
I haven’t participated in anything like this before, but I think that the format is well organized. As there aren’t many women in this sport, it makes sense to have it be 6v6, and hopefully having more tournaments like this will encourage more women to join the sport.
Vanessa Hudson, Kent
I am extremely excited for the women’s tournament this weekend. This is long overdue, us girls need some shine.Honestly, I am looking forward to meeting the other girls and getting to know them more. My freshman year, I didn’t really get to socialize with the other girls on the other teams. This will give me the opportunity to do so.
I think the gameplay format is just fine. The only thing that concerns me is having to play in between the pinch games. I am a starter for our 12 v 12 matches and having to play 6 v 6 right after our regular games seem a bit much, but I know there is plenty of time for us to figure out the permanent format that will suit everyone. I have never played with no sting before, so this will be very interesting. I plan on having fun with it anyway, not trying to master it right now.
I am looking forward to playing UMD and WMU, I have never seen them in action, and I want to see what they can do.
If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth doing!
Elly Schipfer, Miami
No sting is not my strong suit, so I’m a little nervous. I think it will be a lot to have to go back and forth between no sting and pinch, both with the ball size and just change in pace. The hard boundary rule for no sting will not be my friend. I am excited though because I have a lot of fun with the women in the league, so it’ll be good competition and a chance to meet some new ladies.
I played once in Chicago with Anna, Kathryn, and Reni. It’s so different, so I struggled. For pinch, I catch so that my body moves with the ball and just kind of hugs it. For no sting, the thing just hits you and flies off. But it’ll be fun!
Katie Mei Williams, Miami
Im excited to start to get to know more of the women in the league because i feel like i never get a good chance to. Having the 6v6 in between pinch games is going to have me dead on the floor but it should be a lot of fun to get the action. I dont have much practice with no sting and im worried about how that will transition between pinch games.
Ava Boley, MSU
I think its super cool that there is going to be a women’s tournament now as well since it opens up roster spots that may not have been as achievable for some schools so that more people are able to play. Im super excited for this first tournament and think its gonna be really cool just to see even more women on the court throughout the day. I’m honestly just looking forward to being able to play again and seeing how competitive its going to be overall.
Skye Marvin, UK
I am very excited about the women’s tournament. It’s going to be great playing with the women of NCDA again and getting to know everyone. I’m looking forward to competing against other women and getting to know their style of playing and see where i fall I’m comparison.
I like the format of the match but my team isn’t playing in the tournament so I’m not worried about conflicts. I definitely like the idea of having balls small enough for my hands to actually fit around.
I was hoping to play against the Miami girls again as I had a great time facing off against them last year at nationals, but I’m just as excited to be playing with them as well!
“Training horses, heck riding horses, isn’t easy. Failing is part of the process. It’s how you brush yourself off and get back in the saddle that counts the most. There’s beauty in the breakdown. Everything is about balance.” Carly Kade