GVSU Invite #2 Recap

Grand Valley State University’s dodgeball team hosted the second of their two fall tournaments this past weekend, and it turned out to be a very interesting day of dodgeball.  In attendance were four Michigan teams: Grand Valley State, Michigan State, Central Michigan, and Davenport (Kent State was scheduled to attend but was unable to make the trip, therefor they forfeited each game they were scheduled to play).

This event did not particularly go as most would have expected.  The records for each team at this tournament are as follows (remember each team earned a win by forfeit against Kent): GVSU: 4-0, CMU: 3-1, MSU: 1-3, DU: 1-1, Kent, 0-4 [F].  Here is my recap of each game played at this tournament which unquestionably proved that the NCDA (especially the Michigan region) is WIDE OPEN this season! Continue reading “GVSU Invite #2 Recap”

GVSU vs. CMU: an “Instant Classic”

Grand Valley hosted their second tournament of the year this past weekend.  Arguably the most surprising result from this event was the game between GVSU and in-state opponent Central Michigan.  The final score was GVSU-2 CMU-1 in Overtime!

No, you don’t need to refresh this webpage, or restart your computer or anything like that, because you read the score correctly: GVSU vs. CMU went to overtime.  This game was certainly an “instant classic”, and in my opinion is the game people will look back on as the restoration of Central Michigan Dodgeball as one of the elite college dodgeball teams nationally.  Here is a recap of what is to this point in the year, one of the best games of the NCDA’s 2014-15 season: Continue reading “GVSU vs. CMU: an “Instant Classic””

Nationals 2011… CMU!

Lifted from Aleks Bomis’ [MSU Alum] Facebook

I’m smiling ear to ear about dodgeball this week. I’m smiling because the best run tournament in College Dodgeball’s seven years of existence took place this past weekend.

And I didn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

I’ve always been pretty concerned about where the organization was headed, what it was working towards. I invested a lot of time in it. It and the people who comprise it will forever be a part of me. The leadership and development that went on in the first few years got me accepted into a Top 20 MBA program and Top 100 law school. I’m proud of that and always will be. Dodgeball is on my resume, and I will unabashedly tell interviewers where it’s at and how it got started. Operations, recruitment, administration, marketing – it sounds silly (and it is), but when you add up the manpower and the revenue required to operate the National Tournament (think of all the hotel money), that’s a major accomplishment that most young people don’t have. The group means a lot to me.

I guess that’s probably why I was less than happy with the way things seemed to be headed in the NCDA last year. Things got more competitive and tense, abuse of officials led to officials not caring led to abuse of officials, the concept of winning seemed to outpace the concept of playing this ridiculous game developed by sadistic gym teachers… maybe it’s that I’m from Michigan where the more determined teams and players are, I don’t know. In any case, it eventually came to a head and I thought, “To hell with it. If this is how it’s going to be, I’m out.” That’s when a nice thing happened: the NCDA moved on without much disruption. From rules administration to tournament operations to keeping the peace or anything else, there’s not one thing where I am or would be indispensable. In the early days there weren’t many people committed to the idea of making this crazy idea work. Most of it fell to me. Not that I minded it – heck, it was more to add to my resume. Now there are schools from all over the country and plenty of people each year who have both the skill set and the desire to keep this going. College Dodgeball has reached critical mass. No situation exists today where I’d think “Oh, I need to handle that.” And if you’re not needed, well, you’re probably not wanted either. Maybe the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” has some truth to it. You either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Hey, could’ve been worse – I might’ve been forced out like Mubarak in Egypt.

I’ll cut the maudlin and just line up a few thoughts I wish I had the time or forethought to say to people when I see them in person.

Let’s take the big one first: To the teams that think I hate them – I don’t. Sure, you may have a couple current or former players I don’t or didn’t care for, but nine times out of ten a negative remark about them was immediately followed with “I don’t get it, the rest of ’em seem like nice guys.” Same applies in reverse, people can dislike me and like Team MSU in general. It always comes down to people.

I’ve never tried to screw a team over as an official. I’ll go a step further with that: I don’t think any official has ever intentionally tried to fix a dodgeball game played between grown men and women. Have I ever made remarks to the contrary? Darn straight. The majority of people reading this have as well, however, so don’t act surprised that The Old Man shoots his mouth off like everybody else. Doesn’t it make it right, and for that I apologize.

Sometimes you (I) need to just shut up and let others try things instead of going “No no, I know better, do it this way.” For example, there might be a skills competition or an all-star game or something else that makes this whole idea better.

Last, and certainly not least, the leadership you all collectively show is phenomenal. That’s the one concept I have difficulty trying to explain to outsiders – that college kids will put time, effort, and thought into how to better organize the activity of striking each other with vulcanized rubber. There are many sport club leagues in existence. Few have as solid a base as the NCDA. None are wholly student-operated.

As for where this takes me from here, I dunno. I’d like to put together an alumni production team to shoot and commentate games in Michigan and maybe Ohio. That’s one area where I do have a leg up on most of the NCDA – being an MSU Athletics cameraman for three years has its benefits beyond the field pass. Eh, we’ll see what happens next year. The facilities have gotten progressively better each year, and a brand new Ryder Center ought to be a great tournament site in 2012.

Now if someone can just start a team at the University of Michigan I could die happy…

Reply, 13 April 2011
Greg Trippiedi [GVSU]

I was kind of where Bomis was a year ago, didn’t know where the NCDA was headed and didn’t know whether the Michigan teams would be able to turn over their rosters entirely and remain competitive. GVSU’s club is about 40% of the size of when I first got there, but the sheer size of the club and the fan base has proven to the only thing unsustainable about it. What we accomplished this year was a complete turnover of the old guard to a new team built almost entirely of Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshman. There’s no doubt in my mind that if GVSU played zero seniors next season (and our three or four best players will probably be seniors), they would still be first or second in the state of Michigan, and that means we’ve done our job to turn the program over away from players who won the four championships. To bring home the hardware in a transitional year would have been great, but we still exceeded all of our own expectations, except that one.

The work that Josh and Felix (and everyone, really) have done down at WKU has made all the difference. The first time they ever played us (Oct. 2007, @UK), Felix was still in high school, and their club was two months old and we were at the very peak of our dominance as a program. It was hard to imagine after that game what they would do with that program, but really, the NCDA was pretty close to becoming a regional thing instead of a national one, and I have to credit Western Kentucky exclusively for changing that course. If this years nationals is the point at which we look back at non-Michigan teams starting their run of becoming title contenders, so much the better. Kentucky looks like it can become a college dodgeball hotbed. UofL isn’t good right now, but they have a much better chance of becoming good with WKU and UK around them to play against.

If someday, Kentucky and Michigan are two regions where all the teams are really good, then the NCDA can matter on a national level. For any team east of the Mississippi River, a quality opponent would never be more than a few hours away. A lot has changed in a year, and it’s pretty much all been very promising.

AJP Live: Nationals 2010 – CMU v Miami

Average Joes' Podcast LogoRecorded Live from Nationals ’10

Bomis and Newton look for meaning in the tournament’s most lopsided game between Miami University and Central Michigan University. Is a 17-0 blowout by CMU justified …

Play

SVSU win home opener

An improved Central Michigan squad gave second ranked Saginaw Valley a scare, but ultimately the Cardinals held on for a 3-2 win over the Chippewas on Sunday Oct. 25.

“I knew it was going to be a close one,” SVSU captain Bryan Janick said. “I had a feeling, especially for our first game. They’ve gotten a lot better.”

CMU captain Bryan Lynch also liked his team’s performance, despite the loss.

“I thought that our team did well,” he said. “Much better than previous years (against SVSU.)”

The Cardinals took the first point after about eight minutes of play, giving them a 1-0 lead.

“We pushed them back a lot,” Janick said. “We had them backed up. I thought was a good thing.”

The Chippewas (0-1), bounced back with a solid effort in the second point, tying up the score at one apiece.

“For our more experienced players, we saw how much we have improved over the last two years and I think it was  wake up call for the new guys to see what dodgeball is really about,” Lynch said. “I think we did well, but still have plenty to improve in to be thinking about a victory versus SVSU.”

“We needed to shadow a little bit better,” Janick said. “We had a few times when people got hit when people were supposed to be shadowing.”

SVSU responded, dominating the next point to go up 2-1 into the half. The point was fueled by several catches, particularly by Jason Stein and Joe Fetterhoff.

“We had a lot of huge catches,” Janick said. “They came at the right times.”

The second half started off with another Cardinal point, putting them up 3-1 with less than 20 minutes to play. Lynch felt his team lacked in experience in crucial situations.

“The difference between SVSU and us in the match was definitely patience,” he said. “There is no doubt that Saginaw has more fire power than us, but in clutch situations they were able to play smarter and make more clutch throws and catches than we were.

The Chippewas claimed the next point, though at a cost of running a significant amount of time left in the game, leaving them without sufficient time to tie up the score.

“That was really important,” Janick said of starting the year off with a win. “We looked kind of rusty but it was definitely a good start to the season, a big victory.”

The Cardinals, 1-0 after the win, travel to Allendale next to face three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State on Nov. 8. in what will be the Lakers season opener. Game time is 3 p.m.

Michigan Dodgeball Cup: Preview

Can’t wait for the clash between Michigan’s elite dodgeball teams? Here’s a peek at what to expect from the MDC.

Tournament format:

Pool A: Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University

Pool B: Delta College, Michigan State University, Henry Ford Community College

Round 2: Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner (championship), Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B runner-up (third place game), Pool A third place vs. Pool B third place (fifth place game).

GVSU

2008-09 Record: 3-0
Best Finish: 1st (2006, 07, 08)

The three time defending champions have a target on their backs, and they plan to keep it that way.

“I think that after a track record like we have had over the past years any team would have a bullseye on their back,” Laker captain Alex Soukup said.

“Our team has turned that around though and we all don’t want to lose it. The team plays with a target on their back every game and plays in such a way with such high intensity so that we don’t lose it.”

While they haven’t played a game since November, the Lakers hope that their practices have kept them fine tuned for the tournament.

“I think with the type of practices that we have, and the fun moments in each the momentum keeps rolling,” Soukup said.

“It’s often the younger guys who want to prove something that will keep us on our toes and fueling the fire.”
While they are heavily favored, their game plan remains basic.”

“I think for us to win we need to stick to our game plan each game and work as a team when needed,” Soukup said.

“If we lose, I don’t think it will because of mistakes or lack of preparation. I truly believe that if we lose it will mean there is a better team than us.”

Needless to say, GVSU won’t count their chickens before they are hatched.

“I also think with the hype between all the teams this year and the close games we had last year at nationals with Delta, and this year with SVSU has shown just how much better the league is truly getting,” Soukup said.

“I think we (GVSU) all have the common goal of winning the MDC and nationals again this year. And that will mean we can’t lose the target on our back.”

SVSU

2008-09 Record 7-2
Best MDC Finish: 2nd (2008)

Saginaw Valley State University hasn’t seen the court since being upset by Delta College 3-1 on Jan. 18.

The Cardinals hope to get rid of the bad taste left in their mouth on that day.

“We’re definitely going to go over some stuff in practice and we will work a lot harder and be ready for it,” SVSU captain Bryan Janick said.

“We’re going to do a few different things at practice.”

Despite coming off just their second loss of the season, the Cardinals claim that they should be mentioned as one of the favorites in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, especially if they can reclaim the magic the team had in the fall semester where they won the Kentucky Dodgeball Classic.

If SVSU wins, what is the reason?

“If we play as a team (we can win),” Janick said.

“We need to play as a team. I definitely think we have some of the best talent so there is no reason why we can’t win.”

And if they don’t win, what is the reason why?

“There is no don’t in this one,” Janick said.

“We’re just going to win it. But if we don’t we did have a break without a lot of games, so maybe that’s a factor.”

CMU

2008-09 Record: 0-2
Best Finish: 5th (2008)

The second year club only has one win since beginning play in the NCDA last year.

That win was over an Oakland University team that isn’t even in the league anymore.

Despite this, the Chippewas hope to have a good day at the tournament.

“One goal, as always is to have fun and win some games,” team captain Kevin Flynn said.

“Other then that, it would be to get some good team work going and some headshots.”

Flynn bases his team’s success and failures on two simple principles.

“If we win we will have to play smart, all 15 on the court,” he said.

“If we lose, (it’s because) we were having too much fun the night before.”

If the Chippewas can lay off the adult beverages for a night, Flynn believes good things can happen the next day.

“I know we will (do well,)” he said.

“We are a different team than anyone has seen. Even the teams that have played us this year.”

Delta

2008-09 Record: 3-0
Best MDC Finish: 2nd (2005, 07)

Only a few weeks ago rumors were swirling that Delta College might not even have a team this season. Now, the discussion is just how good are these guys?

The Pioneers have nice wins over Bowling Green State University, and Michigan State University, but their big win came on Jan. 18 when they beat second ranked Saginaw Valley State University 3-1.

“I don’t expect us to lose a game all season,” Delta president Dave Halloran said.

“So I expect us to win.”

Though, despite his confidence, Halloran does see a scenario that could lead to his team coming up on the short end.

“If Delta loses, it’s because we got outplayed by a team deserving of victory,” he said.

“It’s still relatively early in the season and the only thing that matters to us is a national championship.”

And if the Pioneers are the ones holding up the trophy at the end of the day?

“If Delta wins the MDC, it’s because we played together, listened to our leaders who know the game inside and out, and didn’t do anything stupid,” Halloran said.

With an unblemished record heading into the day, the Pioneers look at themselves as one of the favorites to win it all come Sunday.

“We will have the most momentum of any team there,” Halloran said.

“We’re one of the two undefeated teams in the tournament, and poised to beat Grand Valley after losing to them in overtime last year.”

MSU

2008-09 Record: 3-3
Best Finish: 1st (2005)

The winners of the original Michigan Dodgeball Cup hope to get back on top of the tournament.

While their three losses are against other Michigan teams, they hope they can get back to the way they played when the won all three of their games while at the Kentucky Dodgeball Classic.

“In order to retake the title back we need to make sure we work at a team, play smart, and try to focus on catching over dodging and gunning people out,” Michigan State president Mike Youngs said.

“If we can keep the pace a little faster and work as a team I thnk we have a good shat at winning this tournament.”

Youngs, who is also the one behind the scenes, running the tournament looks at the MDC as one of the best tournaments of the season.

“This tournament is almost a nationals preview,” he said. “In my opinion the MDC has four of the top five teams in the country right now.”

“Playing against teams of that caliber takes constant quality play, always playing smart, and playing as a team. Any losses at the MDC will come from playing teams that just do that better than we do.”

As for taking down three time defending MDC champions Grand Valley State, Youngs has a plan.

“I personally think that taking down GVSU will take good defense, covering for your teammates, being able to run with them, and not being afraid of getting in front of one of their shots and try to catch them out,” he said.

“They throw very hard but not hard enough that they can’t be caught out.”

HFCC

2008-09 Record: 0-1
Best Finish: First appearance

The Hawks have only played one game in their brief tenure in the National College Dodgeball Association.

That one game was a record setting loss to SVSU.

That being said, Henry Ford is still getting their sea legs in the league.

“Henry Ford’s goals going into the cup are to get some wins,” Hawks’ captain Kris Wright said.

While hoping for wins, Wright realizes they will be hard to come by.

“We need to learn teamwork, communication, and strategy,” he said.

“That seemed to be our biggest weak point against SVSU and I think if we can get that fixed we may have a shot.”

Helping in their cause to get ready for to get ready for the tournament, the Hawks scrimmaged against Central Michigan University last month.

“Going into our first tournament, we should start to get a hang of what competitive play is,” Wright said.

“We should go in there and score some points. We are just expecting to go in here and have a great time playing, and who knows, maybe there will be some upsets thrown in there.”

So where exactly does Wright see his team finishing?

“If we go in there like we did against SVSU, there is no way that we will win,” he said.

“If we just go in there and play to play, not thinking about who we are playing I think we may upset some people. Or at least I hope.”