EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State University’s dodgeball club capped off a challenging and emotional week with a Michigan Dodgeball Cup (MDC) on Saturday at IM West. The Spartans (12-0) defeated Grand Valley State (13-6) to win their second consecutive MDC and remain the #1 team in the country. Also in attendance were Western Michigan (finished 2-2 on the day), Saginaw Valley State (1-3), and Central Michigan (0-4).
Below is a recap of each team and the main storylines surrounding them at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup and heading towards the end of the season.
GVSU def WMU 5-1
MSU def CMU 9-0
MSU def WMU 5-0
GVSU def SVSU 3-1
WMU def SVSU 3-2
GVSU def CMU 6-1
MSU def SVSU 6-0
WMU def CMU 5-1
MSU def GVSU 3-2
SVSU def CMU 5-1
Watch the MDC broadcast here: https://youtube.com/live/eKc30vHvFuo
After an emotional week, Michigan State’s historic season continues.
Hard to imagine what the students and families were feeling this week in East Lansing. After a chaotic week, MSU Dodgeball elected to move forward with hosting the Michigan Dodgeball Cup when few would have blamed them for cancelling.
The Spartans came away victorious on Saturday, behind a packed house (that would have been bigger if more students had remained on campus this week). Safe to say, it was one of the loudest and most entertaining atmospheres in years in the NCDA.
With huge performances from Jack Girling, Josh Kramer, Barry Buter III, Alec Deen, and a pair of rookies (Matt Barriball and Nick Fedewa), MSU had a balanced attack that led them to dominant wins early in the day and a comeback victory over GVSU to retain the Cup.
With MSU #1 in the country and sitting at 12-0, it’s probably a fair estimation that Kevin and Becca Nguyen are in the driver’s seat for Coach(es) of the Year. And while there is still plenty of dodgeball to be played this season, the coaches and leaders on this team deserve all the credit in the world for navigating the situation they had to deal with on Monday and still coming out on top on Saturday. Again, hard to imagine being in their shoes. MSU’s team handled everything incredibly well at the tournament, addressing the crowd, fundraising for the victims’ verified GoFundMe accounts through shirt sales, and of course by taking care of business in their matches. All in all an impressive weekend for MSU, showing resiliency both on and off the court. The Spartans are on pace to be the first team since 2009 to finish a season as undefeated National Champions…
Progress is being made in Allendale, but will it be enough by April?
Grand Valley State had an up and down showing at the MDC. The Lakers weren’t able to pull away from Saginaw Valley State earlier in the day (winning a close one, 3-1), but the real story is how they competed against Michigan State.
First off, an old face returned to the Lakers’ roster on Saturday, as Josh Hill was back on the roster. The Lakers kept this one close to the vest as GVSU alums didn’t even find out Hill was competing until an hour before the final match when he showed up. That being said, Hill’s addition was not quite enough to get GVSU over the hump as they fell to MSU for a 3rd time this year.
GVSU burst out the gates against the Spartans, taking a 2-0 lead with 7 minutes left in the first half. GVSU had great communication and controlled the pace of the game early on. But starting at the 7 minute mark, things shifted. MSU was able to hold ball control basically the entire rest of the match and they relied on timely catches and smart throws to pick off GVSU one by one. MSU took the win 3-2, and while that can’t feel good for the Lakers, it is progress.
In what will go down as the worst regular season in GVSU Dodgeball history, the Lakers are making strides, and after Saturday, they shouldn’t be counted out of the title race. GVSU certainly has a lot to clean up before April, but their roster has the talent and experience to get back into the title hunt despite a less than ideal 13-6 record.
Western Michigan secures biggest win in program history en route to a 2-2 MDC!
Huge day for the Broncos! Western Michigan improved to 6-13 on the year and #14 in the NCDA with a historic day at IM West. Prior to the Broncos’ win over Saginaw Valley State, they were 0-13 all-time at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. They are now 2-13 and hold a two-game win streak after collecting W’s over SVSU and CMU.
With strong performances from many players including Matt Barnett, Ryan Allor, Joshua Vanslambrouck, Evin Cooper, and more, WMU looks to be turning a corner as a program.
Look out for this team at Nationals, and with so many young players scattered throughout the roster, their talent will only continue to develop heading into next year. Not to look too far ahead, but could WMU be positioning themselves as the 3rd best team in the Michigan Region moving forward?
Hot and cold Cardinals struggle in big moments at MDC
Tough day for Saginaw Valley State. The Cardinals competed valiantly against both GVSU (nearly tying the score 2-2 late in the game but losing 3-1), and MSU (Owen Folsom dropped a catch in a 1v1 situation against Josh Kramer in what would’ve sent the game to halftime 1-1 against MSU).
But the other side of the coin is that SVSU couldn’t take care of business against Western Michigan, giving the Broncos, as mentioned above, their biggest win in program history.
Joe Barber, Chris Rucker, and Cole Machiela were all standout players, but as noted on the broadcast by NCDA commentator Tony Stumpo: this team does not have the depth we are used to seeing from Saginaw Valley.
It will be an uphill battle for this team the rest of the way, but they showed flashes of a team that could challenge for a Quarterfinals berth and be a tough out for even the most talented rosters in the country.
A storied program returns to MDC, and makes strides
For the first time since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Michigan is back at the MDC! CMU went 0-4 on the day, but proved to be a talented roster that will soon figure out the strategies necessary to compete.
Standouts for the Chips included Tadhg Allen and Evan Arrowood among others.
Let’s not forget, this team did play in a tourney earlier in the season and holds a 2-5 record overall. While they haven’t decided if they can attend Nationals yet, it would be exciting to see this group in action in April, especially if given the opportunity to face more rosters at their current level.