What a season! After months and months of battling it out on the hardwood, we finally crowned our National Champion this April, at Nationals 2019. Congratulations to Towson University on winning their first College Dodgeball National Championship in school history! While this season may be over, keep an eye out for our way-too-early 2019-20 rankings coming soon…
Below is the official Postseason Power Rankings list produced by NCDA Executive Board members Jacob Leski (Director of Recruitment and Retention) and Kevin Bailey (Chief of Content). Please keep in mind: these power rankings have no impact on the actual NCDA Standings.
Kevin Bailey: What. A. Season. Towson pulled off the impossible and took down mighty Grand Valley on their home court. They broke the third longest win-streak in NCDA history, halted the Lakers from being the first undefeated National Champion in a decade, and broke a 12-year streak of Michigan schools winning the NCDA Title. What Towson was able to accomplish this year will go down in College Dodgeball history. The 2018-19 Towson team could be remembered as the team that finally broke through the glass ceiling for non-Michigan schools. This group for Towson went to work all year long with the National Title in mind. And, quite candidly, when it came to the way they approached the season, they outclasses the rest of the league. The little things matter, whether it be the amount of promoting they did for their club on campus and on social media, the effort they put into developing their talent and becoming one of the deepest teams in the nation, or the way they brought nearly a full roster to any tourney they attended (and correct me if I’m wrong, they played more games than anyone else), this team outworked the competition in 2018-19 and they get a National Championship in return for their efforts.
Jacob Leski: Wow, what a great victory not just for Towson, but for all Non-Michigan schools. Towson went down 2-0 against the 6-time defending National Champions and pulled off a rare 3-2 comeback at the biggest stage in Collegiate Dodgeball. It is still hard for me to believe that they pulled out this win. It felt like a Little Giants victory to me. If these two teams played 9 more times, I would not be shocked if GVSU won all 9 times. Credit to Towson’s current and former leaders who established a program that continues to do everything right from top to bottom internally, which eventually leads to success on the court. Many will now wonder if this is the end of the reign of Grand Valley and the other Michigan schools. I do not see that happening, but this victory surely shortens the gap for years to come, for it gives everyone else the belief that they can do it too. Again, a big congratulations to this team for doing what many thought all season long could never happen. David really did take down Goliath.
2) Grand Valley State
KB: Streaks are meant to be broken, and unfortunately for the Lakers, their title streak came to an end this year at Nationals in front of a home crowd. GVSU just didn’t have enough to take down a red-hot Towson team in the Finals, making the 6-year run at the top of the NCDA come to a close. With that said, this was still a phenomenal Grand Valley team, loaded with talent. They lost only one game all year, but it just so happened to be in the National Championship Game. The Lakers will have some rebuilding/reloading to do next year, as they look to replace about half their starting 12. There is certainly still talent there to keep this program at or near the top, and now they will be the hunter, not the hunted. Look for GVSU to come back with a vengeance in 2019-20.
JL: For the first time all year, Grand Valley is not ranked at the top in our Power Rankings. Not once did I think that this would happen, but I guess what can happen will happen. This is by no means the end of an era for Grand Valley. I fully expect them to be back in the National Championship next season, for they have shown time and time again that they can reload with talent better than anybody. They will have little difficulty finding athletes to commit to their notorious club and continue to add to their dynasty. While they are losing the majority of their fire power to graduation, this team will continue their excellence behind their new Captain in Josh Hill.
3) Central Michigan
KB: For how inexperienced and inconsistent this team was all year, they really pulled it all together on Day 2 of Nationals. After a season that saw them finish 4th at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, and lose to VCU on Day 1 of Nationals, the way that CMU played during bracket play was quite encouraging. The Chippewas did an awesome job making it to the Final Four thanks to a big win over Miami, and when in the Final Four they forced undefeated GVSU into overtime! With only a few players graduating this year, CMU’s young team looks stocked for success in the future.
JL: I will be the first to say that I was extremely displeased with how this team performed on Saturday at Nationals. They looked like a team that was playing for the first time all year. I strongly believe their loss to VCU helped them more than hurt them. For if they had pulled out that sloppy win, they would have carried their poor effort into Sunday and lost early. Thankfully, they turned it on and let Coach Riley lead them to an impressive Final Four performance against Grand Valley, almost eliminating them before losing in overtime. While they are once again losing an irreplaceable player in Austin Brege, they developed their rookies at a fast rate, and should return with confidence for the future of this program.
4) James Madison
KB: JMU missing Nationals was a change to say the least. I can’t imagine it feels good that the one time they miss Nationals their East Coast rivals take home the title. The Dukes are currently the second best program in the East. It’s been close for a few years but it’s officially official after this year. This team has some work to do to catch back up to Towson. I do think they have the talent to possibly make it happen next year.
JL: Still disappoints me that they did not make the trip to Nationals. They most certainly would have shaken things up and made Sunday far more entertaining. I expect them to be second-fiddle to Towson once again next season, primarily due to the fact that they are losing veteran leaders on the team, and that Towson is not going to just disappear after the success they had this season. Evan Eschenburg will be one of the best players in the country next season, and will need to use his leadership skills to develop this team into a National Title contender.
5) Michigan State
KB: Michigan State was one of the teams I was most excited to see at Nationals. Unfortunately, they were pretty sloppy, going to OT against UWP, and getting blown out by Towson in the Final Four. The Spartans were still an extremely young team in 2018-19, but starting next year, youth won’t be much of an excuse. I think this squad showed some promise in 2019, but 2020 is their time to shine.
JL: The Spartans had an underwhelming semifinals performance against Towson. There was very little to like about them during that game. The biggest takeaway from this team is that they had perhaps the best rookie of the season in Jacob Georges. They have very little turnover this season, and should be a title contender next season.
KB: Miami had a great season. The best team in Ohio for most of the year, the RedHawks finished the year off at Nationals losing to only CMU all weekend. I think this team turned a corner in 2018-19, but they have high potential and I hope they make more improvements going into the 2019-20 season.
JL: What a season for this once defunct program! Going to their first ever quarterfinals appearance and being a top team all season. It is still disappointing that they did not win the Ohio Dodgeball Cup, but so long as Tom Morand continues to improve this club will have success for years to come.
7) Saginaw Valley State
KB: SVSU had an up and down year, that finished with them getting a tough draw at Nationals. The Cardinals lost in the round of 16 at the hands of GVSU, while also losing on Day 1 to Towson. The Cardinals were a good team in 2018-19, but they certainly were not elite. This program will have to replace some stars this offseason, so the 2020 season is a bit of an unknown for me.
JL: The future of this team is truly up in the air, part of me fears they will have a similar stretch like the Chippewas did back in 2013 & 2014. Now I am not saying that this will be due to a lack of recruitment, but because of the amount of talent they are losing and what those seniors mean to this team. Hope that they can prove me wrong.
8) Bowling Green State
KB: Bowling Green’s big achievement this year was their Ohio Dodgeball Cup victory. Considering how many young players had to take over increased roles this year, the 2018-19 BGSU squad wasn’t a disappointment. With even more studs leaving the team in the offseason, it truly will be a new era of BGSU Dodgeball next year, but I have faith they will continue to be a contender.
JL: The players on this team may disagree with me, but I view this season as a success for this squad. Their Ohio Dodgeball Cup victory is still a major feat for a team that at the time was falling short of expectations. They have built a foundation for this club that has enabled them to be successful year after year. With the departure of leaders like Max Kowalski and Reid Manger, they may have a large learning curve next season, but do not expect them to take long to get back to the top of the NCDA.
KB: As much as any other team in the NCDA, this was the end of an era for Akron. Gone are Pfeifer, Lyons, Briceland, Stack, and others. Next year the team will be handed over to a new crew of leaders. The question is: will they continue Akron’s ascent up the rankings.
JL: It is going to be strange watching Akron play without Colby Briceland, Adam Pfeifer, and Joey Stack next season. These guys helped build this club up from nothing and watched it grow into a respectable club. While next year will more than likely be a tough year for them, I fully expect the Zips to continue being a tough out in the Ohio region.
10) Virginia Commonwealth
KB: VCU was impressive at Nationals to say the least. Three OT wins in a row on Day 1 of Nationals is legit, and one of those wins was over CMU! Unfortunately VCU’s lack of depth came back to bite them on Day 2 when they got blown out by Maryland and failed to reach their first ever Quarterfinals, but I still think the future is bright for them.
JL: Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. On Day 1 they went into 3 overtime matches and won all of them, and on Day 2 they got smoked by Maryland in the second round. They also only brought 9 players with them and were more than likely still exhausted from their matches on Saturday, still tough to lose like that. From what I have heard, they return all of their primary players and if true, should be a talented roster next year.
KB: This team came away from Nationals with a rough record, but if you look closer you will see that they competed well. The Bobcats took Grand Valley State to overtime on Day 1 of Nationals in what would have been the upset of the season. They also kept it close with the other teams they faced as well, including MSU.
JL: Just like many other spectators around the league, I was taken aback by the amount of talent on this team. I am not aware of the turnover they will experience this season, but if they are able to bring back their core they will be an exciting team to watch next season. Props to the leaders of this program for continuing to expand this program year after year.
KB: Maryland was doubted all season, but they came through at Nationals with their best performance of the year. An OT win over Ohio on Day 1, followed by a big win over East Coast foe VCU during bracket play, made this a successful Nationals for the Terps.
JL: Was great to see them back in the quarterfinals for the first time in many years. This team is still extremely top heavy, but they were able to turn heads all weekend. There ultimate goal next season is for them to travel more outside of the East Coast region. Playing other teams outside of their region will benefit them more in the long run.
13) Wisconsin Platteville
KB: No team jumps more than UWP after their Nationals performance. Platteville came to play at the season’s final event, hanging close with some top teams, and pulling off a great win over Kent on Day 1. This team was loaded with rookies, so the future is bright.
JL: This team was one OT match away from going 3-0 on Saturday. I was wrong in my prediction of them making it to the quarterfinals, but the future of this club is looking very bright. More than half of their roster were freshman! The loss of Erik Zander is a major blow for this team, but the legacy and foundation he leaves behind will continue to benefit this team for the future.
14) Penn State
KB: Okay, first off, it wasn’t the smoothest Nationals for Penn State, but I will say, I liked what I saw from this team throughout the year. They have talent, they have experience, and they have improved strategy. This is another team that has a bright future ahead of them.
JL: They finished in the middle of the pack for another consecutive season. While that shouldn’t shock anyone that follows the league closely, they still continue to have talent on their team that allows them to keep matches close with just about anyone in the country. I expect this trend to continue next season.
15) Kent State
KB: Kent finished off the season at Nationals about what we expected from them. This team was solid, but simply didn’t have the top end talent to take down other strong teams. I hope they are able to turn things around in 2020 and get back to being one of the best teams in the state of Ohio.
JL: So our predictions about this teams inability to perform at a high level anymore were proven true on Saturday of Nationals, but were also put to the test on Sunday with their close match against Towson. They are not what they used to be and may not be for a long time.
16) North Georgia
KB: UNG, much like last year, falls in the postseason rankings after a dismal Nationals performance. North Georgia was the best team in the South all year, but at Nationals, their only win of note was over Ohio State.
JL: They made it to the quarterfinals, which is about where I expected them to finish. The Kings of the South continue to stay relevant in the NCDA, but if they want to be more than an easy exit from the Round of 16 then they must travel outside of their comfort zone and play teams in other regions.
KB: Kentucky’s best win at Nationals was an OT thriller against CSU. That sort of shows how much this team has fallen off over the last few years. I do think the leaders of this program have put some young players in positions where they will succeed in the future, but we will see how it plays out next year.
JL: Love the attitude this team always brings to every match they play. While they are not as competitive as they used to be, they can still keep games close, and do it with their own unique style. Looking forward to see how this team grows next season.
18) Cleveland State
KB: CSU continues to improve. This team was overlooked at times this year, but they showed they can compete with solid opponents. I have a feeling CSU will take a bigger step forward in 2020.
JL: Almost took down Kent in OT on Day 2, and that may be the closest they come to achieving that feat for quite awhile. They are losing the bulk of their team this offseason, and Captain Joe Walsh has his work cut out for him.
19) Ohio State
KB: The Buckeyes desperately need to recruit next year. They don’t have the depth to be a legitimate contender, regardless of how good their top few players are. I hope the Buckeyes can turn things around next fall and grab a massive rookie class.
JL: I love watching this team play. They bring it no matter who they are playing and have a damn good time doing it. They are bringing back the key components to their team next season, and look to improve on a rather disappointing season.
20) Northwestern State
KB: NSU took a big step forward in 2019. This team used to be a complete pushover, but this year they showed they have the ability to compete. I look forward to seeing this team continue their improvement next year, as the South Region becomes deeper and more experienced.
JL: Beyond impressed with the recruiting that Casey Alfultis and company did this offseason, bringing 12 players with them for the first time in over 5 years. They will continue to improve and be a worthy opponent in the South.