Pioneer Invitational

This Saturday, November 16, 2019, the teams of the Midway Conference go head to head in what should be a classic. The teams in attendance will be the University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP), University Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), and DePaul University. This is the first time that all these teams will be in the same building, which is a great thing to see for this conference. It is going to be a fun day and it all starts at 8:30a.m. with SIUE vs UWP. Let’s take a look at the schedule and what some of the leaders think going into the tournament.

TimeCourt 1RefereeCourt 2Referee
8:30a.m.UWP vs SIUEUNL
9:45a.m.UWP vs DePaulAlumniUNL vs SIUE Alumni
11:00a.m.UWP vs AlumniSIUEUNL vs DePaulSIUE
12:15p.m.DePaul vs SIUEUWP
1:30p.m.UWP vs UNLDePaulSIUE vs AlumniDePaul

Captain’s Thoughts

Dustin Sprunk (UNL)- My expectations for the team are always the same, I want us to go out there and compete to win. In our first tournament, most of our team including me, were at our first tournament ever and we were just trying to get our footing against a very good UWP team. We have worked very hard in practice and I believe this team is ready to compete at a high level. In our last tournament, we were led by our former President and our current President. Jonathan Huebner has a very strong arm and has been around the NCDA for a while and he really knows how to command most spaces on the court. Rob Gabel, our current President, is another player to watch out for, he has been working really hard and has really been helping our younger players during practices. I am really excited for the UWP tournament, I’ve never been to an away tournament so this will be new for me and many people on our team, I cannot wait to play all of the teams in the tournament and especially to see how much we have grown as a team when we play UWP again.

Dan Brogli (Dirty Dan) (UWP)- This weekend will be very important for the Midway Conference. Most of the teams will be competing at the Pioneer Invite, and it will be a chance to show everyone what is brewing on this side of the country. I believe that all the teams will learn a lot, and they will leave much stronger than they arrived. UWP will have to come out of the gates ready. At the past tournaments this year, we’ve been sluggish in the beginning and it has put us in positions that we don’t want to be in. Two things will be the key to this weekend: catching and communication. We must take advantage of the catches that are there and be ready for the ones we go for. If we are able to communicate with each other, we will be able to play at our own speed and control the matches. This tournament is going to be a blast, and I hope everyone is looking forward to it like us!

Zachary Jung (SIUE)– SIUE is excited to enter our 2nd tournament of semester. Our main goal this tournament is to continue to work on our team chemistry and understanding the basics as our team is still very young.  Our secondary goal is to get our first win of season. Players to look out for: Thomas Yancey (11), Will Phillips (21), and Zach Jung (13) for their throwing ability and Jason Wiltjer (19), Esmir Karabas (3), and Josh Dale (2) for being great defensive players. We are excited to play the teams in our conference for the first time this season.

Joel Luciano (DePaul)– I’m excited for this tournament. We have some really good players this year with a lot of potential. I think Cameron LeFlore is definitely someone to watch out for. He’s a good thrower and catcher. Casey Crowe and Gavin Swartz also should be watched out for. They are the hardest throwers on our team and Gavin is one of, if not, the best catcher on our team this year. All in all everyone coming really embodies that DePaul style dodgeball we’re known for, and I cannot wait to have fun on the court with these guys.   

My Thoughts– The team that comes out on top this tournament will be either UNL or UWP. SIUE and DePaul are very young teams and have a lot to learn on the court before they will be able to contend with the other Midway teams. UNL is a very fundamental team that sticks to their game plan and strategy. This is what made them such a challenge the first time UWP played them. Now, with this being their second tournament and with experience under their belt they will be even tougher to beat. They have speed and they will need to use that against UWP to pull off the win. For UWP, they will need to play better than they did at the Cornhusker Clash if they want to come out on top. Their communication needs to be cleaned up and they need to focus on getting ball control. If they can do this they will easily be able take care of business and pick up the win. It will be a close game, but I think UWP will be able to pull out the win over the Cornhuskers.

The other game that I’m looking forward to is the DePaul vs SIUE game. Both teams are in a similar position this year, and that is they are squads full of new faces and individuals that lack experience. SIUE has the advantage in that they have already played in a previous tournament so they are more familiar with what happens during matches and how they need to play to win. We cannot rule out DePaul making things interesting, DePaul has always been a team that is full of individuals that can catch, which can be a pain for most teams. This should be a highly competitive match that should go back and fourth, but in the end I think SIUE should take the win.

As always, look for some of the games to be live-streamed and if you are not busy stop at the Williams Fieldhouse and cheer everyone on, fans are always welcomed!

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