Valley Vanguard: SVSU 2013-01-14

The Valley Vanguard: SVSU Student Newspaper:

Second half looks promising for reigning dodgeball champs

by: Marie Nesbitt

With the start of the new year, the SVSU dodgeball team is looking to continue their habit of winning. Currently, the Cardinals have a 4-3-1 record and are hoping to get their fifth win against Michigan State come January 27.  Continue reading “Valley Vanguard: SVSU 2013-01-14”

GVSU at SVSU – Preview

Saginaw Valley State Dodgeball’s Spencer Jardine:

Is this the year? A question the Cardinals have asked themselves many times in past years, but never has a Saginaw team had the opportunity that they will have on March 17th. With a win they will secure themselves a second place finish in the NCDA after already securing the #1 overall seed in Michigan with huge wins at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. With an 11-2 record this year the Cardinals are looking to even the season series up with the 10-2 Lakers, who handed the Cardinals their only loss’s of the season. The first match up taking place in Bowling Green where the Lakers shellacked the Cardinals 5-0 then defeated Saginaw 2-1 in Grand Rapids a month later during the annual Battle Of the Valleys match up.

After months of not seeing each other the Cardinals and Lakers clashed again at East Lansing in February for the Michigan Dodgeball Cup. SVSU was coming in with a notorious reputation for collapsing at the MDC, with just a handful of wins earned in the past few years. This year matched up with GVSU in the first round the Cardinals seemed like they where headed towards another disappointing MDC after dropping the first point and almost giving up another one at half. After regrouping at half time SVSU battled back to grab a point from GVSU. The Lakers would not go down easy as they roared back with a strong showing almost stealing a point with seconds left as SVSU’s Josh Brettrager held off 6 Lakers to send the game into overtime. In the OT the Lakers again jumped out to an early lead but timely kills and clutch catching by Jason Stein and Spencer Jardine brought the Cardinals to victory. SVSU would go on to defeat CMU 2-1 and MSU 3-2 to lift the Michigan Dodgeball Cup for the first time in program history.

With this match in Saginaw’s Cardinal Gym the Lakers won’t be in unfamiliar territory with the number of times they have traveled to SVSU, however one can never be prepared for Saginaw’s 16th man in the stands. With out a doubt the most hostile environments in the the NCDA the Lakers players will have to deal with a home crowd on St Patty’s day that is just as hungry for a win over the Lakers as the players, and there isn’t a student at Saginaw that won’t instantly hate anything in a blue jersey that weekend. They key to this game will be how the unseasoned players of GVSU handle the vocal crowd of Saginaw, and if GVSU has improved on their game closing abilities. For Saginaw the plan remains the same, look to continue to dominate in the catching department and pick up key kills in the neutral zone while keeping their catches against numbers low. Fans and players should expect this to be a real barn burner with a single point as the likely deciding factor in this match.

Spencer Jardine
SVSU Captain and Nationals 2012 Coordinator

Grand Valley State Dodgeball’s Mark Trippiedi:

 

The Grand Valley State University Lakers will travel to Saginaw Valley on St. Patrick’s Day to add another chapter to the fiercest rivalry in the NCDA. This game has a lot riding on the line, as the winner will take over the #2 ranking in the nation, as well as the top spot in the MI region. The Lakers (10-1-1) are coming off a very frustrating showing at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup where for the first time in program history they lost multiple games at the MDC. The toughest of those losses being a 2-1 OT loss to SVSU in a back and forth game. The Cardinals came rip roaring out of the gate to take the 1st point then held off the Lakers surge before half, taking that 1-0 lead to half. The Lakers fought back after halftime winning the 1st point in the half and controlling the game for about 20 min of the 2nd half. One Cardinal player was able to hold out for about 5 min alone and force overtime. GVSU took a small lead in overtime to see the game slip away as SVSU came up with very timely kills and catches.

Win or lose this match up at SVSU will be important for the less experienced Lakers as they need to know what it is like playing at SVSU before the National tournament in April. SVSU has the loudest fans in the NCDA and those fans will be peppering the Lakers all game long.

The Lakers will look to get back on track with the veterans on the roster playing a big part in what they like to do. GVSU was not happy with some of the performances they showed at the MDC and come back looking for a small taste of revenge. After they had to watch SVSU hoist the MDC trophy for they first time in their club history.

The keys for the Lakers in this game will be simple they have to do a better job of moving their heads in the neutral zone as to not get pick off by cross throws, and the major issue being when they get SVSU on the ropes they need to finish the job to take home the W.

GVSU comes into this game as a rear underdog, having to rebound off the poor showing at the MDC, to play a very hot SVSU team with their crowd behind them. The most hostile environment in the NCDA really will get up for the game against GVSU as the Lakers will be hated simply because they are wearing blue. The Lakers look to give the SVSU faithful a real reason to hate them as they look to win what will be another close game between GVSU and SVSU.

Mark Trippiedi
GVSU Captain

Cardinals Looking to Improve

As Grand Valley continued its march toward another inevitable national championship last year, brutally destroying every team that stepped in its path and averaging more fans than some professional sports teams, another team in the college dodgeball heartland was making some noise of its own.

Saginaw Valley State, despite the stiff competition from GVSU, Delta College and Michigan State, continued to prove why it belonged amongst the NCDA’s elite teams.

But despite the recent success, the SVSU dodgeball squad wasn’t always associated with winning.

The team got its start in the fall semester of 2006. They suffered through a winless regular season their first year only to surge during the national tournament and take home a sixth place ranking and a fresh wave of confidence.

Under the fearless leadership of team founder and captain Bryan Janick, the Cardinals returned for the 2007-2008 season with a mission: to beat Grand Valley and win the national championship.

“The obvious school rivalry between SVSU and GVSU naturally makes us want to beat them, and we figured if we beat them we could have a good chance to win a national championship,” Janick said.

Unfortunately for Janick’s squad, GVSU derailed both of his team’s ambitions as they beat the Cardinals twice during the regular season and again during the national tournament.

The Cardinals finished the year with plenty to build upon, though, ending with an impressive 9-5 regular season record that included a notable overtime victory over Delta College.

Their hot streak continued into the postseason, where they racked up a 3-2 record on their way to the team’s first ever final four appearance.

“Last year was our first full year playing college dodgeball and to make it to the final four was amazing for the team,” Janick said. “Most of the team was freshman and sophomores, so we feel like we have a good chance to win a few national championships before we’re done,” he said.

Perhaps the most important accomplishment for the Cardinals last season wasn’t reflected in their overall record. Despite losing to GVSU three times last season, each loss came by smaller margin than the one before it.

“We are a young team and we’re getting better every time we play. I feel like we have a good chance to upset them this year, especially with the new students coming in this season,” Janick said.

Only time will tell which “Valley” team will emerge victorious and claim dominance in the college dodgeball capital of the world this season. Their first clash, which takes place on September 12, should offer anxious fans some clues about this intense rivalry.

No matter which team comes out on top, don’t expect the outcome to stop Saginaw Valley from striving toward the ultimate prize of winning the national championship.

“Winning the championship is more important because we would be helping the prestige of the club sport and Saginaw Valley State University.”

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.”

Delta picks up win over SVSU

They were all but left for dead in the national championship picture, but the Delta Dodgeball team proved they haven’t gone anywhere.

A 3-1 win Sunday, Jan. 18 over second ranked Saginaw Valley State University (7-2) thrust them back onto the scene.

“Every win is a big win,” Delta Captain Dave Halloran said. “This was just as big as our last win against Bowling Green (in Dec.), and if we win next week against MSU, that will be just as a big as this.”

The game started off in a point that lasted almost 15 minutes before it was decided. After the teams battled evenly for much of the point, Delta was able to finish the Cardinals off for the game’s first score.

“Winning the first point in the game is an immediate advantage that could prove to seal the game in late stages,” Halloran said. “It also creates momentum and confidence for the rest of the game. Winning the first point is what gave us the victory.”

The second point of the match appeared headed into the hands of the Cardinals, as they had a seven to two man advantage with four minutes left in the half. However, the Pioneers were able to kill the remaining time in the half preventing SVSU from tying the game before halftime.

“We should have won that point,” SVSU Captain Bryan Janick said. “We screwed that up.”

After the half, the Cardinals made quick work of the Pioneers and took their first point to tie the score at a point a piece.

“We should have played the way we did (that point) the whole time,” Janick said.

However, Delta was able to retain the momentum as they took the final two points of the game, thus clinching their second victory of the season.

The win came as a surprise to some, as Delta had only played one game going into the contest, and SVSU had been on a roll in the season’s first semester accumulating a 7-1 record.

“Delta was never out of the national championship picture,” Halloran said. “I don’t know why anyone would think that (we weren’t.)”

For SVSU, the frustration of losing for only the second time this season was evident.

“We played bad,” Janick said. “Everybody just looked tired. We also had a lot of bad breaks.”

Janick also pointed to the timing of the game on the schedule as to a contributing factor for the loss.

“I think if we had played them the week before we got out (for winter break) it would have been a lot different,” he added. “I think we played bad because it was our first week out of break.”

The two teams are expected to meet again on Feb. 7, during the Michigan Dodgeball Cup tournament.

The tournament features all six of the state’s college dodgeball teams and a state champion will be crowned.

“I definitely can’t wait until we play them again,” Janick said. “We came out like we will be afraid. (The Michigan Dodgeball Cup) will be a lot different.”

However, Halloran thinks his team should be favored to win as well.

“We’re one of two undefeated teams in the tournament and are poised to beat Grand Valley (the other undefeated team) after losing to them in overtime last year,” he said. “We will have the most momentum of any team there.”

Delta’s season continues on Sunday, Jan. 25, when they host Michigan State University. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

HFCC Debut spoiled by SVSU

Henry Ford Community College was officially welcomed into the National College Dodgeball Association on Dec. 6.

Saginaw Valley State University did the welcoming, and dealt the visiting Hawks a 16-0 loss.

Despite giving up 16 points (believed to be an NCDA record), Henry Ford believes it’s a start for their young program. After all, they had only formed the club a little over a month before hand and practiced four times before their match-up with the Cardinals.

“We gained a lot (of experience,)” Hawk assistant captain Daniel Bartrum said. “That being our first game in our first year as a team, we were not prepared for how a real game flows. Getting that first game behind us helped us and we also learned some technique from SVSU.”

Some members of the team came to Saginaw the week before, to watch SVSU play Bowling Green State University. They took back with them an idea of what their game the next week would be like, but were still alarmed once they got into actual game play.

“I think our team was a little surprised,” Bartrum said. “Nothing would have prepared us for what a real game feels like.”

To make things worse, most Saginaw Valley players gorilla grip (pinching the ball) while throwing the ball, a method not yet discovered by the Hawks.

“You don’t know how fast the balls are traveling until they are coming at you,” captain Kris Wright said.

SVSU captain Bryan Janick had a similar experience with SVSU when he started his team in 2007. Just a few weeks after their first practice they had to play an experienced Delta College team that at the time was ranked third in the nation.

Now the Cardinals are 7-1 and expecting to be one of the best teams at the national tournament in April.

“They just need to get the word out more and get more people at their practices,” Janick said about Henry Ford. “They need to get their techniques down.”

As for the future, the Hawks have a plan to get their team on the other end of the scoreboard, and have already scheduled games with Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, and BGSU.

“Next semester we will be more prepared,” Bartrum said. “More practices and more experience will help our team a lot.”

The Odyssey of Ben Murphy

Story by: Andrew Allen

After four years of playing and being president of the Delta College Dodgeball team, Ben Murphy has left the team to pursue other interests.

What do those interests include? Playing for Saginaw Valley State University’s team.

“I had four great seasons at Delta College,” Murphy said.

“It was just time for me to move on. I graduated from Delta back in April of 2007. I stayed last year because my job required me to take classes there and to play dodgeball.”

While there Murphy saw his team reach three consecutive national final-four appearances and set a single season wins record in the NCDA in the 2008 season with 17 victories.

“We had a special group of players these last three seasons,” he said. “My time there will be something I will never forget.”

As for whether he is going to miss running a team that he founded back in 2004, Murphy isn’t going to deny it.

“There is no question that I’m going to miss being at Delta,” he said. “In fact I already do. But I am already having a lot of fun and learning to play with a bunch of great new teammates.”

There was also something that he wasn’t quite used to when he fist took the court for SVSU.

“I can just go to practice and focus on playing dodgeball and nothing else,” Murphy said. “I don’t have to worry about who isn’t playing well and who isn’t at practice. I can just focus on my own game and helping my teammates out on the court.”

On Sunday, Oct. 26 Murphy saw his first game action with the Cardinals against Michigan State University.

“It was weird being out there in a different uniform,” he said.

“But I was so excited to get my first kills and catches with a new team it was unreal. I just hope I can keep improving my game so I can stay on varsity for the rest of the season.”

Taking over for Murphy at Delta is David Halloran, who will be entering his fifth season with the team. Halloran served his previous four seasons as a captain and vice-president.

“The team is in good hands with Dave,” Murphy said.

“A big reason that Delta was so successful over the years is because of him. He understands the team concept and the hard work it takes to win dodgeball games more than anyone I’ve ever met.”

Halloran is excited as well to take over the club, and hopes to get the team over the hump and into the national championship game.

“Taking over the team has proven to be something more than just stepping into the shoes of the past president,” he said.

“It’s been challenging, yet very rewarding. The team looks great and I’m excited about the young talent that keeps coming through the door. I expect to be a national contender and I can only see third place as the last option.

You might be wondering on if Murphy is going to be rooting for his former team.

“I really think that SVSU is going to be a great team this season,” he said.

“But if Delta happens to win it all I hope they don’t mind me stealing one of their championship t-shirts.”