Dodgeball is back this weekend people! Kent State, last year’s #1 seed at Nationals, is hosting the first tournament of the year, hoping to get off to a fast start. They’ve got plenty of stiff competition coming to town with the 2013 runner-up Michigan State, 2012 National Champion Saginaw Valley State, 2011 National Champion Central Michigan, and powerhouse Kentucky coming to town. For those wondering who to pick to win this tournament, I’ll be listing plenty of reasons for you to pick any of the teams above. I’ll even tell you my personal prediction.
Let’s start with the host team, Kent State. The Golden Flashes are easily one, if not the most under-appreciated teams in the league. They went 21-7 in the regular season last year. Kent went 1-1 against Saginaw Valley last year, winning 2-1 in OT in the first match up, and losing 3-0 in the second one. The Flashes manhandled CMU in their first meeting, 5-0, and also at Nationals 2013 4-0. Kent however did drop all their matches against Michigan State: 3-0 at OSU, 2-0 at MSU, and 3-0 in the National Semifinals. Finally, the Flashes lost all three matches last year against Kentucky, going down by scores of 3-1, 4-0 and 5-0. Kent will have the advantage of waking up in their own beds for the tournament, so that will give them a decent advantage over the other teams. It will be interesting to see how their rookies play this early in the season. Kent features some of the more dynamic players in the country, and it’s rumored that former Captain Kyle Fitzpatrick will be returning to the lineup. Add that to the current Captains Camden Fullmer and Dan Shackelford, as well as a potent lineup of veterans, and this could be a terrific team.
Up next are the Michigan State Spartans, a team with National Championship aspirations. In addition to their three wins over Kent, the Spartans did go 2-1 last year against Saginaw Valley State, including a victory in the National Quarterfinals. Only playing them twice last year, Michigan State slammed CMU 8-1 and beat them again 3-1. In two games against the Wildcats, Michigan State lost 4-0 and 4-2. With Mike Van Ermen stepping into the captaincy, the Spartans should pick up right where they left off at Nationals. Assistant Captain Colin O’Brien should be a huge weapon that State can rely on with all-around play and athleticism. Michigan State will also have to fend off some rivals at this tournament, instate rivals SVSU and CMU will be coming for revenge, and out of state rival Kent looking for their first victory in eight years against their Original Five foe.
SVSU will be looking to perform better than they did last year at Ohio State in their first tournament, a tournament in which they beat Ohio State but were knocked off by Kent and MSU. SVSU will have to deal with the same attrition due to graduation that all teams face, but this will be the second straight season in which they lose the majority of the core of the team. However, studs like Max Siler, Zach Phelps, and Torrie Peplinksi return, and they’ve been promoting having a talented rookie class. Saginaw will likely get a chance to play Kentucky in the first rematch of the 2012 National Championship game, as well as classic matches against MSU and CMU.
Central Michigan will have a full roster this year after the nightmare of a season they had last year. Yes, for CMU, a #7 ranking and beating a handful of teams with only ten men is considered a nightmare. However, having only ten men could in fact be a benefit to the team, as those ten players clearly improved greatly over the course of the season. Featuring the two best catchers in the NCDA in Brett Hadwin and Wes Peters, along with other great players like Tyler Frank and Michael Riley, this is a team that should have an explosive rise up the standings. While they will feature a bunch of rookies making their first appearances, the experience those rookies get will help them get even better by the MDC and Nationals.
The final team appearing at this weekend’s tournament is Kentucky. UK had a great year last year, and despite the fact they didn’t make it back to the National Championship Game, they were definitely better than the 2012 version of the team. Jon Firquin takes the reigns of one of the most talented squads going into the season, filled with rocket arms and underrated catchers. If the Wildcats bring their top squad, it’ll be tough for the teams involved to take them down. Regardless, UK still will have to work on their strategy and technique in this tourney if they want a bigger prize, the National Championship.
First, I’ll start with the individual matchups and give a brief explanation as to why I decided things will go that way.
- Kent v. MSU (3-2, OT): I originally had this as MSU winning 3-2, but after finding out that all of MSU’s all-stars, captain, and assistant captains (excluding Van Ermen) graduated, I see Kent taking this one with Dan Shackelford and Cam Fullmer returning for year two as captains. Definitely a tight game though.
- Kent v. SVSU (3-1): With the loss of Jardine, and Saginaw infamously starting off slow, Kent should take this one in a tough battle.
- Kent v. CMU (4-0): I’m assuming that Central will be working with a depleted roster again. As talented as Central is, Kent’s numbers and talent will overwhelm the Chips.
- Kent v. UK (2-4): Even with the possibility of missing Zac Brown, the Wildcats are too loaded to lose this match.
- MSU v. SVSU (3-1): Even though Saginaw will want revenge for Nationals last year, the Spartans take down the Cardinals in a great rivalry game.
- MSU v. CMU (3-1): I’m giving the Chips the credit for getting up for an in-state matchup and say they make it closer than most people would probably predict.
- MSU v. UK (2-1, OT): This will be a low scoring, snooze fest of a match until they hit OT. I suspect a few nice plays will happen, but the real tension will hit in the 6-6 extra period, with the Spartans bringing this one home.
- SVSU v. CMU (3-1): This game will be close simply due to both teams being from Michigan. Wes Peters will certainly make an effort to get his team to pull this game out, but I suspect they will fall short in the end.
- SVSU v. UK (1-4): UK will certainly want to show their exit at last year’s Nationals was not a sign of a fall from power. They’ll come out firing and take out the 2012 champs.
- CMU v. UK (0-5): Too much talent on the Wildcats, not enough bodies for the Chips. It will be as simple as that.
Obviously these are all subject to what time each team play each other, but as of now this is my breakdown for the weekend:
- Kent (3-1)
- MSU (3-1)
- SVSU (1-3)
- CMU (0-4)
- UK (3-1)
This should be a great opening weekend of dodgeball. No team in this pool can really be considered a “bad” team. I can’t wait for Saturday.
This post was edited by Sam Hiller, formerly of MSU. Sean’s original predictions remain intact.
45 thoughts on “Kent State Tournament Preview & Prediction *UPDATED*”
Sadly, I bet Kent sweeps competition…
Great article Sean. Good luck to everyone this weekend.
Looks like it is going to be an awesome tournament! I hope CMU can make some noise but my money is on Kent
Wasn’t our match against Kent 3-0 last year? Not to nitpick but you know.. haha
Also, what if I told you we we’re bringing 20 players this weekend? O.O Not sure why it’s just assumed we’re mentally inept when it comes to recruiting as a school..?
agree with Wes…can’t win a title and be the best team statistically in 2011-12 without some good players. Considering the fact that a 10 man team was the #7 seed at Nationals, beating several 15-20 man teams throughout the season, and the fact that they have two of the top three catchers (being generous, it’s more along the lines of the top two) along with some very talented people making a sophomore leap, I would be SHOCKED if they didn’t get at least a win this weekend.
You ARE mentally inept Wes. Or at least Bryce made your potential recruits that way with head shotting all of them. You gotta admit you guys have been short staffed the past 2 years.
2 years ago we should have repeated as national champions, but leadership let us down there, along with a definite lack of recruiting, again, falling upon leadership. Last year yeah, Bryce definitely scared off a lot of potential recruits. The kids we did manage to get though are phenomenal.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say there won’t be a single team from this group that goes the weekend undefeated. My sleeper pick is for CMU to go 3-1.
Damn Sam not even a single win for SV?
This is gonna be an interesting tournament though thats for sure. So many top tier teams coming in with a lot of unknowns, a lot of questions will be answered after this weekend. Is CMU reloaded, how will SV play with out their veteran players, is Kentucky still the threat they are from last year, can Kent State push past the Final Four hump and not just preform in the regular season, and is this the year MSU makes a run for the #1 spot? I hope someones got a camera for this stuff.
Terrible predictions smith, just terrible. I reckon SVSU will pull out at least 1 or 2 games. ANd I have to agree with Wes, lol why do you think this early in the season they wont be able to recruit? With a full roster I have them as my sleeper pick and going either 3-1 or most likely 2-2.
CMU as my sleeper pick.
Don’t call them terrible, he is doing this for free with only limited knowledge of teams. To be honest I think they are very accurate and well researched predictions. Post your own reasons behind your predictions so we can see what you think will go down this weekend
So who is this mysterious “Ben Dover” anyway?
I stand by my predictions based on the premise of what I’ve seen last year and based on the fact that this is the first tournament of the year so frankly nobody knows what is going to happen. If CMU brings a full 20 that obviously changes the complexion of all of my predictions. I also did not have access to a game schedule for this weekend so I do not know what order the games will be played which is also a huge factor. Either way, I stand by my picks and my reasonings
Schedule for the SUMMIT STREET SLUGFEST
11:00-11:15 UK/SV and MSU/CMU
12:15 Kent/MSU and CMU/UK
2:15- CMU/Kent and SV/MSU
3:15- Kent/SV and MSU/UK
4:15- Kent/UK and CMU/SV
Phenomenal tournament name.
Looks like a damn Day 2 Nationals schedule jesus…..
What’s the matter?
What Hiller said. Its a compliment. Thats one hell of an opening tournament for ANY team.. Should be some epic games going down thats for sure. Can’t think of a better way for the rookies of SV to get their feet wet. Into the frying pan baby!
I’m struggling to see the issue with the schedule?
Also, every team participating in this tournament is strong and capable of claiming the win. No need to put down anybody’s opinion on this upcoming weekend (This is general and not directed at anybody).
I’m assuming Spencer is in fact giving it a compliment…
I think it’s awfully cute for a season opener!
I think you’re awfully cute. ;)
All others : irrelevant.
Michigan State will literally destroy the competition, and most likely the entire Kent State University in the process. Who will helplessly fall victim to might of The Michigan State University Club Dodgeball Association. The sheer power of their grip throws will cause Earth shattering quakes across campus. Leaving the existing buildings in ruins and causing mass chaos. Leading to panic, riots and the destruction of the entire state of Ohio, leaving the nation with only 49 states after the tournament.
After leading his team to unparalleled victory, Michigan State’s glorious leader Mike Van Erman, will be lifted to the heavens to be among the gods. Where he is then granted immortality, and will forever known as the Bringer of Doom. Leaving every Ohioan cower in fear at the very sight of him.
So, after reading this I think I know who everyone will be gunning for on MSU’s team…
Sam Hiller standing on the sidelines?
personally the depiction presented here of Ohio sounds much better than Ohio currently is….
I’m happy the website has enough viewers to have trolls, even if this person happens to be in the league (due to some terminology knowledge)
I laughed soooo hard. Thank you to who ever posted this.
I would like to point out that input from Mike Van Ermen was not used in this message.
Although I appreciate any support from “smokin hot babes”.
It blows my mind that some people think svsu is going 0 and 4 this tournament. Has no one come to the realization after all these years that they have the most depth of any team in the country, or is it just me
The more I think about it, the more I have to agree with Smith’s picks.
For some reason I have a feeling CMU is going to make a surge this year. No one goes undefeated this weekend, but everyone will pick up at least a win in this gauntlet:
Central Michigan: 3-1
Kent State: 2-2
Michigan State: 1-3
Its going to be one hell of a tournament. Whats especially amazing about it is that every single one of these teams is going in as contenders and will be coming out of this tournament as an even better team. Despite whatever the records turnout to be. This might be the least predictable tournament since the MDC of 2012.
Great article though Sean you certainly did your homework.
p.s. I’m not a rumor, and its a capital P in FitzPatrick.
I wasn’t upset about the fact that it’s being assumed we’re going 0-4, I’m upset at the fact that some people actually think we’re going to take 2 or fewer points the entire weekend.
I wish everyone would predict us to go 0-4, it’s more fuel for the fire. 2 of fewer points though? That downright offends us.
Agreed with Wes. There’s no way they are going the whole weekend scoring two points.
WHO ARE YOU!?
Yes, who are you?
IP comes out of Mount Pleasant
This is an obligatory game day comment. Good luck to all teams present.