Tomorrow in East Lansing, Michigan, two of the Ohio teams will begin their 2017-2018 season with Michigan State’s home tournament. This is no small task, as the four Michigan teams in attendance are the same who filled the final four at last years Nationals. Let’s take a look at the Ohio Region.
The University of Akron have been lackluster to say the least, with injured captains, roster shortages and an inability to make something happen as of late. The last thing this team did was become Co-Ohio Dodgeball Cup Champs back in 2016. This year they look to change that. With a couple of their players having expanded their dodgeball resumés over the summer, they are bound and determined to make a name for themselves, with Adam Pfeifer, Joey Stack, and a now semi-healthy Colby Briceland at the helm, things are lookin’ up.
This team has been a roller coaster squad to say the least. They came back from obscurity after dropping a couple of tournaments, went to the finals of the ODC, then dropped another tournament, and didn’t compete at Nationals. I hope that whatever was plaguing this team has been exorcised, because these guys are a strong squad with some raw talent that can be molded into a very competitive team. Under new management, I hope they can remove the bad taste from last season, because they are one of the most fun teams in the league.
This squad turned some heads last season, and not for nothing. These guys and gals stepped up big time. This is arguably the hottest Ohio team, and its hard to argue. Last year at Nationals, this team had a great showing against the GV Lakers who would later become our 2017 NCDA National Champions. That is no small feat. The loss of veteran player Tyrell Smith should not go unnoticed, but I believe that this team has what it takes under the new leadership of Reid Manger to make it big.
So it appears that Matt Klembara only gets better with age, because this team is the real deal. Starting a new team is hard, and not many have the success that CSU did last season. They got their first two wins in their first tournament, which is something not many teams do, but they managed to keep their numbers and talent the entire season. They must be doing something right at practice, because these guys grew leaps and bounds. I cannot wait to play them and see how far they’ve come in the past couple of months.
This Kent State squad is showing no signs of slowing down, and that’s great. They had an amazing showing at Nationals, knocking down the East Coast region powerhouse JMU and taking the fight to SVSU in bracket play. This season, they will be back at full power with the return of many of their heavy hitters from last season. Mitchell Aldridge, Albert DePerro, and Ryan Hinman are still active, and they’ve been showing the ropes to the younger Golden Flashes in the offseason. This team has a lot of depth, and they look to put it to good use this year.
The team with my favorite logo is back this season and looks to make some waves under captain Tom Farish. I wish I could have had the privilege to watch this team in action more than I did, but I look forward to seeing how they have improved during the season’s hiatus. I’m excited to see how they have taken away their last year’s experiences and will apply them to this upcoming season. Now having a year under the belt of this squad, Marietta can make some moves.
This team had a great Nationals and were able to show us that they can do some damage, after almost taking the “W” against the Buckeyes. With a new head captain and some tournament experience, they look to solidify their place in the NCDA and the Ohio territory. They will be attending a few more tournaments this year to hone their skills. Look out for them in the upcoming season.
What is there to say about the Bobcats that hasn’t already been said? They made leaps and bounds from their premiere season and won the Ohio Dodgeball cup in dominant fashion. They also were the topic of discussion solely because they found a voice last year during captain’s discussions. Regardless, this team is back, with some fresh new ensembles and a will to succeed, this team looks to continue their journey of improvement.
Lastly, we have the Ohio State Buckeyes, (simply because of the order on the NCDA website). But this team is a hot/cold situation. They have the talent and leadership to make it big, but they had a bit of a rebuilding year. I wouldn’t be shocked if this squad comes back with a vengeance and surprises us all. Jeff Starr and company look to take this season by the horns and show us what they are made of. This team is no team to sleep on, they have what it takes to match with the best of them. Now they just need to prove me right.
This Sunday support two of your fellow Ohio teams, as the University of Akron and Bowling Green State University travel to Michigan State to show us what they’re made of. Check out the article highlighting the season opener here: