It has been one heck of a fall semester for the NCDA, thanks in no small part to the Ohio Region. The region has continued to grow and yield better results year after year, and we don’t see that trend dropping off any time soon. Most of the teams who’ve competed have winning records, and also own impressive out of region wins! Honestly, this should come as no surprise. As the region continues to grow, they continue to host the most tournaments, with, on average, the most teams in attendance. In fact, while Ohio as a region has hosted 5 tournaments averaging 14.4 matches, the East Coast Region has only hosted 3 tournaments averaging 5.67 matches, and the Michigan Region has also only hosted 3 tournaments averaging a mere 4.67 matches (doubleheaders, forfeits, and B-team matches were excluded from the tally). So while teams from separate regions are of course attending some of each others’ tournaments, it’s pretty easy to see how the Ohio Region is quickly growing in skill & relevancy.
If we’re being frank, from top to bottom, the Ohio Region might be the best in all of college dodgeball. Don’t believe us? Here are the inter-regional records for each region through the end of the fall semester (not including B-team matches & forfeits):
East Coast: 8-9
While the lopsided inter-regional record may stem from the Ohio Region having more total teams compared to the others, it really does speak to the overall depth in the state of Ohio. The state has never had more talent than it does this season, and it shows. Also interesting, a once dominant Michigan Region (aside from GVSU), looks very mediocre. In fact, that 12-9 record drops to just 7-9 without GVSU’s 5-0 contribution. While we believe GVSU will remain dominant, and Towson/JMU may pick up the slack for the East Coast in the spring, expect more of the same from the Ohio Region until at least Sunday at Nationals – where it’s every team for themselves.
In the spirit of the Ohio Region’s overall dominance to end the decade, here’s a breakdown from Colby Briceland and Wes Peters on how each team has fared individually thus far, and as a bonus, we’ll each throw in a bold prediction about the teams for the spring semester.
Ohio University (12-0)
How could we not start off with the undefeated, 3rd-ranked Ohio Bobcats? They were on an absolute tear in the fall semester, earning quality wins over Towson, Miami, BGSU, and CMU. Another fun fact, the Bobcats never played the same team twice! While we expect that to change with the Ohio Dodgeball Cup and Nationals on the horizon, it does speak to their willingness to take on all challengers.
Speaking of, the only knock we really have on them is that they have yet to play GVSU, JMU, or MSU, and that isn’t even truly a knock as they have proven they’re definitely up to the task of diversifying their schedule. However, they haven’t had to travel to a tournament more than 3 hours from Athens, and had the home court advantage against Towson and CMU. Will Ohio make it up to the mitten or out east to Harrisonburg? Hopefully we won’t have to wait until Nationals to see some of these matchups take place. Regardless, they’ve more than earned the mantle of top team in Ohio halfway through the season, and it really does seem like the sky’s the limit for the Bobcats.
Colby’s Bold Take – Ohio will lose one match before Nationals. But it will NOT be to GVSU.
Wes’s Bold Take – Ohio will defeat GVSU this season if and when they play.
Ohio State University (7-2)
The Ohio State University dodgeball club is having their best season in a long while – and folks, it’s about damn time. Ben Johnson and Dylan Greer are about as talented and determined as they come, and to see their hard work and dedication finally paying off is wonderful. With big wins this season over BGSU and SVSU, the Buckeyes are poised for a great second semester if they can keep their same discipline and aggressiveness that we’ve seen from them thus far.
The Buckeyes have very much impressed the league so far this season, and they will need to build off of their successes and learn from their shortcomings if they want to have a deep run on their home court come April.
Colby’s Bold Take – OSU will beat another Michigan school the next time they play.
Wes’s Bold Take – OSU will finish 2nd at the ODC.
Miami University (9-3)
Miami has had quite an interesting start to the season. While their losses to GVSU and Ohio are more than understandable – especially considering they took GVSU to overtime – some of their other results, including a home loss to a rebuilding SVSU team, are quite perplexing.
Now, to be fair to the RedHawks, teams have seemed to realize that as Tom Morand goes, so does Miami. Tom started off the semester injured and unwilling to really let loose, but has since seemed to make some big strides with his arm health and has the RedHawks trending in the right direction – winners of 4/5 including avenging that loss to SVSU in dominating fashion.
So while Miami seems to be on the right track, this team could easily be either 11-1 or 6-6. We’d like to see a handful of dominating wins for the RedHawks to open the spring semester, and preferably bring the fight to the Bobcats, if not defeat them. Otherwise what should be considered a loaded roster might be headed for another disappointing ODC finish, and another Elite 8 exit at Nationals 2020.
Colby’s Bold Take – Miami will take a top 3 team into OT and beat them this time around.
Wes’s Bold Take – Miami beats Ohio and either Towson/JMU this semester.
Bowling Green State University (8-7)
BGSU has to be the most absolute wildcard team in the region, if not the entire league. They have never been a team to shy away from playing against teams who are better than they are. In fact, the only team below .500 that they’ve lost to is a 5-6 CMU team, which is a wildcard of a team themselves. On the opposite side of the coin, they haven’t defeated a team that is above .500 at the midseason mark (UC is 6-6 and they’ve also beaten a 3-4 MSU and 2-7 SVSU).
Frankly, we’re unsure of what to make of this team, as they’ve been so up and down. Hopefully they’ve learned this semester that it’s okay to come off their own back line to throw and can keep developing their freshmen and sophomores who will now need to help carry the load offensively. Catching has kept them close in the games they’ve narrowly lost (JMU, CMU, Miami twice), but it won’t bring them another ODC this year. Keep working, BG, you’ve got a big test ahead of you.
Colby’s Bold Take – BGSU won’t make it out of the first round of bracket play at Nationals.
Wes’s Bold Take – BGSU won’t beat an above .500 team in the spring semester.
University of Akron (8-7)
The Zips have performed above expectations in our eyes. They had a huge task of rebuilding after so many years of a consistent core roster. But finally, they have begun to catch their stride. Jacob Weber, Brandon Snyder and Clay Egleston have proven that they are up for the task of taking the reins of this Akron vehicle. Close matches and a few overtime pulse pounders have spelled out their season so far. Akron needs to pick up a more consistent and disciplined play style if they’d like to keep their spot in the top 16 and make the Championship Bracket in April.
The second half of the semester will see Akron hosting one of the bigger tournaments of the season with WAR IV, where we hope to see them take on some different opponents besides the usual Ohio rivalries.
Colby’s Bold Take – Akron will beat a top 10 team in OT.
Wes’s Bold Take – Jacob Weber will be 1st Team All-American at the end of the season.
University of Cincinnati (6-6)
The Bearcats are continuing to build quickly after a very rocky first year as a club. While some might say they have been fortunate to have a relatively favorable schedule this first semester, we’d say they’re working their way upward. With so many freshmen on the team, if you schedule too many difficult matches too quickly it could easily tank the morale and confidence of your team in a hurry. Instead, they’ve continued to wade their way into the deep end of the college dodgeball pool, and the result has been a 6-6 record with a slew of narrow losses to teams you’d never have thought they’d be able to even compete with at the beginning of the year. This indicates they may have made the right call. Keep an eye out for Ian Bartholomew, Jacob Bursk, and Ryan Engelman as standout freshmen for the Bearcats.
Their best wins so far this year are against UK and in OT over Cleveland State, and considering they took BGSU to OT and held a 4-1 halftime lead over CMU, this squad could frankly be 8-4. Those are the growing pains one would expect from a team comprised completely of freshmen and sophomores, however, those tight losses will only help make them hungrier for future success. We expect big things out of UC in the spring, and as their litany of talented freshmen continue to grow & mature, we fully expect them to keep turning heads around the league.
Colby’s Bold Take – UC will play for the Ohio Dodgeball Cup.
Wes’s Bold Take – UC will make the Championship Bracket at Nationals.
Cleveland State University (6-7)
What was hyped up preseason to be a breakout year for the Vikings has sort of been a flash in the pan. This team has kicked the crap out of some teams, but then turned around and lost to other teams that shouldn’t even compete with them. Joe Walsh and Leon Rockamore continue to shine for them consistently, but they’ll need to gain some more support from the remaining members if they look to compete against higher tiered teams and make the Championship Bracket in April. Notably, CSU will not be traveling to Miami for the Ohio Dodgeball Cup this spring. Will this hurt them moving forward into the future? Ask SVSU how they’ve been doing since missing the Michigan Dodgeball Cup a couple of years ago..
The Vikings have shown that they are as capable as any to be a competitive squad in the NCDA. I look forward to them figuring out what their missing piece seems to be, and plugging it into their equation, and seeing some success for these guys.
Colby’s Bold Take – CSU will win the NIT bracket (we’re not sure what the official name is yet, but this is the for all teams outside the top 16).
Wes’s Bold Take – CSU will steal a win over a top 10 ranked team this spring.
Kent State University (3-13)
Kent State has been on a steady decline for a few seasons now, and it seems like we’re seeing just how low they can go. That’s not saying that they don’t have the talent, because they sure do. They just can’t seem to put together 50 minutes of solid dodgeball. Hopefully we can see them reload and reclaim their former glory in Ohio this coming semester.
Tyler Miracle, Justin Tokes and Clayton Odell have been stars for this Kent roster so far this season and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. If they can develop their young players the way Kent has been able to in the past, then we could be looking at a bright future for the Golden Flashes.
Colby’s Bold Take – Kent State will compete for the NIT Championship (see CSU bold take).
Wes’s Bold Take – Kent State will score an upset win over a higher ranked, out of region team by the end of the year.
Marietta College (No matches played)
We aren’t exactly sure what to make of Marietta’s dodgeball club since they have yet to play any matches so far this season. Experience is everything though, and if this group wants to amount to anything, they’ll start playing some matches this spring.
Colby’s Bold Take – Marietta will attend the Ohio Dodgeball Cup!
Wes’s Bold Take – Marietta will attend Nationals this April!
CB: The Ohio Region has been the most explosive region this season, hands down. No other region has the combination of pure depth and firepower that this one has. Granted we boast the most member teams in any region, but no other region is as exciting as Ohio is this season. With two teams vying for the championship, and a few others with realistic chances at making deep runs at Nationals, this will be an exciting second semester. Keep an eye on us! O-H
WP: I couldn’t agree more with Colby here, the Ohio Region is definitely the premiere region this season, top to bottom. Ohio, Ohio State, and Miami are all realistic threats to make the Final 4 (and potentially beyond) at Nationals. BGSU, Akron, CSU – and even UC – are upset threats to many teams around the country if taken lightly. It’ll be exciting to see how everything shakes out by the end of the year, but expect the Ohio Region to keep being dominant in 2020.