EAST LANSING, MI: For the 6th-consecutive season, the Michigan Dodgeball Cup will be staying in Allendale Michigan. The Grand Valley State Lakers won the 16th Annual MDC with a 4-0 record on the day, including an overtime thriller against Michigan State. The Spartans were able to win each of their other games, going 3-1 at MDC, making it the first time since 2005 that MSU had a winning record at the event. Central Michigan (2-2), Saginaw Valley State (1-3), and Western Michigan (0-4) were the other three teams in attendance, and each showed some good things throughout the day. Below are the final results from the tournament:
MSU def SVSU 3-2
CMU def WMU 5-2
GVSU def MSU 3-2 (OT)
SVSU def WMU 5-1
CMU def SVSU 3-1
GVSU def WMU 6-0
GVSU def CMU 4-1
MSU def WMU 6-1
MSU def CMU 4-0
GVSU def SVSU 5-0
Grand Valley State had an inconsistent day overall. The Lakers went 4-0 at MDC, but it wasn’t smooth sailing the whole time. In their first match of the day, Michigan State was once again able to force the game to overtime. MSU took a 1-0 lead after a very long first point, then GVSU stormed back scoring in about 5 minutes to tie the game heading into the half. The Lakers earned another quick point to start the second half, but then MSU slowly but surely picked apart the Lakers lineup to tie the game 2-2. Despite a strong effort from MSU, the game went into OT, where the Lakers won in dominant fashion (just like two weeks prior). GVSU had some struggles against Central Michigan as well, going into halftime tied 1-1. CMU was able to make some huge catches on GVSU and force the Lakers into uncomfortable situations. The Lakers came out in the second half of their match with the Chippewas and looked once again like themselves, picking apart CMU with ease, going on to win the game 4-1. Along with those two matches, the Lakers earned dominant wins over WMU (6-0) and SVSU (5-0). Some standout players for the Lakers include Ben Smart who once again looked untouchable in the neutral zone, Josh Hill who had his best day of dodgeball all season for GVSU, and two freshmen: Tyler Peach and Thomas Williamson.
Michigan State finished the day in 2nd Place at MDC. The Spartans finally put to rest a 15-year streak of not finishing above .500 at MDC. Michigan State started the day with a 3-2 win over SVSU in a game where they weren’t extremely consistent, but they got the job done. Game 2 of the day was the classic OT game against GVSU. The Spartans played great at times in that match, with some strong showings from Brian Haynes and Freshman Jack Girling among others. MSU proved that the OT match from two weeks ago was no fluke, and that this team is possibly the most well equipped to take down the undefeated Lakers. The Spartans beat Western Michigan with ease, then to round out the day, they got a statement win over Central Michigan. MSU took the game against Central in dominant fashion (4-0), getting revenge after losing 4-1 to CMU two weeks prior. This game was the most important one of the day for MSU, and it sent them into mid-February with some momentum. Michigan State had so many strong performers this weekend, along with those mentioned above, Dennis Sullivan had a consistent day and Ben Traub stepped up as well. Again, MSU had many great performers, and overall their depth is turning into one of their biggest strengths as a team.
Central Michigan had an interesting day overall. The Chips went 2-2, with a 3-point loss to GVSU and a 4-point loss to MSU, but both of those games were closer than the score indicates. CMU looked sharp at times, with so many players on their roster stepping up as strong catchers. Against GVSU, they had the game knotted at 1 heading into halftime, thanks to the performances of players like Doug Daniel, Kyle Garner and Jawanza Edwards. Unfortunately for CMU, while they had some high highs, they also had some low lows. Against MSU, Central had many chances to keep the game close, but sadly a few of their top throwers (most notable Eric Nelson) were having arm troubles and it had a huge impact on their offense. Moving forward, the biggest question for this team is not whether they have the talent and team coordination to take down other top teams, but whether or not they have the depth and overall stamina to be playing their best deep into tournaments. CMU had a few players step up on Saturday, but the best player on their roster was arguably Scott Imburgia. His power arm was on display all day long as he racked up countless outs over the course of the tournament.
Saginaw Valley State did not finish in the top 2 like they often do at MDC, but that doesn’t mean this tournament was a complete failure. The Cardinals showed some signs during the MDC that they have a bright future. SVSU kept it close with MSU in the first game of the day, and had some decent moments against CMU and GVSU as well. Dylan McDonald has a solid day for the Cardinals, often looking like the best player on the floor for SVSU. Jake Bruce is a clear All-American candidate, and when he is on the floor, this SVSU team is dangerous. Tristan Baller is another Saginaw standout from MDC. His arm has developed over the course of this season, and he has shown the ability to be a clutch catcher as well. Saginaw was inconsistent, and when they got down to the 10-count, they often looked out of sorts, but one thing that was impressive about the Cardinals performance on Saturday was how well they communicated and worked together. SVSU looked like a much more prepared team at MDC than they were even two weeks ago at GVSU. If SVSU schedules a few more big tournaments before the end of the year, they could very well improve to the point that they are a dark horse team going into Nationals.
Western Michigan went 0-4 on the day, which was expected when considering the level of competition that they have. The inexperience showed at times for WMU, but they were able to earn a few points over the course of the entire tournament which is a good sign. As this team continues to gain experience, they will inch closer and closer to the teams above them. Unfortunately, the Broncos played all of their games on court 2, so they were not on the featured livestream for any of their matches, but good news for out-of-region schools is that as long as this team can get the numbers, they will be in attendance at the Viking Cup in a few weeks!