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