Sunday, October 13th, will feature a huge early season showdown in Saginaw, as the Cards will welcome the Lakers and Chippewas. One of the best venues in dodgeball will be the scene, as the Cardinal Gym will be filled with the SV faithful. The gym itself can be daunting, especially for less experienced players, but it can also be an exhilarating experience for those who like a challenge. The tournament will feature the three last National Champions, as well as some of the best players in the sport.
Saginaw comes in carrying the #3 ranking after going 3-1 at Kent State last month, picking up wins against Kentucky (4-0), Michigan State (3-0), and Central Michigan (4-0), but being defeated by Kent State (2-1). Being ranked sixth in the preseason Captains’ Poll after a Quarterfinals defeat last season, the Cardinals have garnered a lot of praise early on in the season. They were one of only two teams to defeat Grand Valley last year, and have had a history of success over CMU the last few seasons. With Max Siler at the helm for his second season, along with Zach Phelps, Torrie Peplinski, and Nate Council as his assistants, SV has a great set of captains. The Cardinals may have the best on the court chemistry of anyone in the league as well. Their strategy, typically based on playing solid defense, getting transition kills and ball control, will allow them to take anyone down. Add that to their talent set, with a great mix of catching and firepower, and Saginaw will be a team to watch this year.
The defending champions have yet to play this year, but Grand Valley is still loaded. Coming in as the Captains’ Poll Preseason #1, and still featuring some of the league’s top players, the Lakers could definitely repeat this year. A huge advantage GVSU has on most teams is their depth. The Lakers do have three of the top ten players in the league, but a single player (or a few players) can easily be neutralized in dodgeball against a good team. Where GVSU really shines, is the fact that their back half of their roster is much better than the back half of most teams, and better than the front half of a lot of teams! New Captain Kevin Bailey takes over for Mark Trippiedi, who is still on the roster, and his assistants are Dylan Fettig and Pat Delling. GV combines excellent strategy with an absurd amount of talent, which will give them the ability to attack on the court against SVSU’s solid defense without having to give up a lot of balls. Against Central Michigan, so long as Grand Valley plays solid defense and works together on offense, they will take care of business. As I have said previously, Grand Valley is my favorite going into the season, but this game against SVSU might be one of their toughest tests of the season. It is the first game of the season, which is always an adventure for teams, they are on the road against a team who gets a boost from the fans, and they’re playing a top team. Ultimately, this game will probably be their biggest test until the MDC.
Central comes in as a big underdog to this tournament, but they could pull off an upset if things go their way. Currently ranked #5 (wins vs MSU and UK, defeats against SVSU and Kent) and featuring a full roster this season, the Chips are definitely a good team. However, the Cardinals and Lakers are great teams, and CMU is fairly inexperienced. The best weapon Central has is catching, and while that will work great against less organized squads, it may be neutralized by SVSU’s counters and GVSU’s team throws. To get a win or two this weekend, Central may need some lucky breaks. If they can get the other team’s top players out early, and limit their thrown catches, or get some big crosses or solo throw kills to complement their team throws. This will be great experience for CMU though, as they will get two high level matches that should improve their team’s play greatly.
SVSU vs GVSU- 1:00 pm
SVSU vs CMU- 2:15 pm
GVSU vs CMU- 3:30 pm
SVSU JV vs GVSU JV- 4:45 pm