This past weekend, the University of Akron was host to 12 other squads including THREE JV squads! This was the largest tournament of the 2017-2018 season so far, and might be the largest until Akron hosts the second annual WAR sometime in the spring. During the tournament we saw some great match-ups, some nail biting inducing overtime points, some squash matches, but all in all, it was a great weekend of dodgeball. Adam Hynes and I take a look.
Colby Briceland: Kent State came out of the day 3-0, gaining victories over the young Miami Redhawks, the enigmatic VCU Rams, and the polarizing Ohio Bobcats in an overtime showdown. Kent State appears to be catching their bearings, and playing like the team that we all know they can be. After an impressive showing during the Pinkout 3, I’m curious to see what is in the cards for this years Golden Flashes.
Adam Hynes: The overtime game with Ohio was the longest match up of the day and arguably the most exciting to watch. Kent State, known for their power throwers, came through in the clutch for the Golden Flashes when they were down in the second half 2-1 with about 8 minutes left to play. Kent made a surge to tie the game with Ohio in the waning minutes. During the match up and in overtime too, Albert DePerro and Mitch Aldridge made a nasty one-two power combo. They are a pain for any team to deal with, and both players have extremely hard throws that can take apart most teams. The overtime match was close until a shot clock violation helped beat Ohio. Not only did their top players show up for Kent at Akron, so did the back end of the roster with Cassie Weaver making two huge catches against a young Miami team that allowed Kent to be able to shut them out and keep them scoreless. Overall, Kent once again proved to be a deadly team in the Ohio region and in the NCDA as a whole. The sky’s the limit for how high they will climb.
CB: Bowling Green State University continues to shine, also going 3-0 with some dominant victories over Baldwin Wallace (5-1) and Penn State (4-1) to tame the Nittany Lions. Their closest match of the day came against a surprisingly coordinated Virginia Commonwealth squad, with the Falcons pulling away with the “W” after scoring 2 points to the Rams’ 1 point. This squad continues to prove that they are the real deal this season, and I look forward to the results of their home tournament this weekend. Their JV squad also got some love, being able to play 2 matches.
AH: BGSU came to play at the Pink Out tourney in Akron and boy did it show! Outscoring your opponents 11-3 on the day is only giving this new look BGSU team a whole lot more fire to continue their hot streak into this season. BGSU is one of the best catching teams in league right now with Tyler Broyles and Reid Manger leading the way for catching. All players 1-12 can drop and go for a catch without hesitation and it showed greatly all day especially against Penn State and VCU. Owen Sill had a great game against Penn State being a constant thorn in their side with his catching ability and Max Kowalski’s arm picked apart the competition all day. True freshman Max Vincent is starting to stand out from the crowd of new members for BG and this young man looks to be the real deal; almost another copy of TJ Wickman with their similar play style. Good news for BGSU, bad news for the rest of league if his development continues to grow at the rate it is now.
CB: The Zips managed to leave their home court 3-1 for the day, which is their best record thus far in the season after a few sub-par performances at MSU and Kent State. This tournament brings them closer to where they believe they should be amongst the league. With dominant victories over Miami, Cleveland State, and DePaul, 6-1, 5-0, and 4-0 respectively, it seems that this squad may finally be reaching their potential, however the Zips fell way short losing 5-1 to PSU. If they can perform how they did when they took 2 points against the now #1 rated Chippewas, then this team can make waves, but if they continue to be unable to close, then they are sure to have hardships this season.
AH: Any time that a team has four scheduled games, it can lead to a very long day for everyone on the team. I would say that Akron, for the most part, beat the teams they should win against (Miami, CSU, DePaul) in a dominating performance, outscoring those teams 15-1 before falling to Penn State 5-1. Russell Bolender was able to attend his first tourney for Akron and helped carry Akron with his strong arm and catching abilities. It showed with the scores and how Akron plays on the court. Everyone in the league knows about Joey Stacks being Akron’s best player but Russell is definitely their second go to guy followed by Josh Lynn. Akron did not stand much of chance against Penn State but this is something they can use to get their season going in the right direction. Look for Akron to start improving from here on out.
CB: I for one was impressed by the second year CSU squad, also leaving Goodyear Hall with a 3-1 record, which is their best to date. With all victories of the day coming from a 1 point differential, this team now has some great tournament experience. With their only loss of the day coming from the more experienced Akron Zips, this team should be proud of what they accomplished on Saturday. They were even missing their Captain and long-term dodgeballer Matt Klembara! These guys have a solid foundation and the will to win. I look forward to the future endeavors of this young squad as they continue to grow.
AH: Fact: Cleveland State went 3-1. Another fact: Cleveland State went 3-1 without Matt Klembara. What does that tell you? Cleveland State has and is improving with every game and every point. Cleveland State has 1-3 players that throw decently well, but their strength is in catching and blocking. Granted the competition may have been on the low end of the league, it is still exciting to watch Cleveland State grow and have their first winning record at a tournament as well. Most important thing to note with this team is that this is their best record at a tournament in their program’s history! Congrats to Cleveland State, I am excited to see how much this team can grow during the season.
CB: Penn State showed what they were made of last weekend, ending the day 2-1 with their JV squad going undefeated as well! The Nittany Lions weren’t able to pull out the win against Bowling Green, falling to the falcons 4-1. However, they showed what they got when they took VCU into overtime and came out on top 3-2, and demolishing the Akron Zips 5-1. If this team could figure out ball control, they would be a dangerous squad that could make waves in the league. For now, the raw athleticism and pure tenacity to win.
AH: Penn State had a roller coaster of day starting out with a back and forth battle with VCU, a surprising loss against BG and a convincing win against Akron. I watched the ending part of their OT game with VCU and Penn State looks to have more of a strong throwing game than they did catching. Still plenty of athletes on this team and the organizational play looked to be coming together against VCU. I say surprising for the game against BG for that I was expecting a closer match-up than what happened after the battle against VCU. Penn State threw way too much catches against BG and was not able to make enough plays to keep the game close. But with the two W’s that Penn State did have, Jeff Schwartz and his squad is also one to not take lightly either.
CB: The Bobcats’ only loss for the day came in overtime against the powerful Golden Flashes of Kent State. Taking this squad to OT is no joke, so even though Kent came out victorious, OU showed us that they can take it to any Ohio team thus far. Their wins for the day came from BW with a score of 5-1, showcasing their skill and drive to win against the newly reformed Yellow Jackets. They then took it to DePaul with a score of 3-0, showing us all that they mean business this season, coming off a hot 2016-17 season. They even had a great showing as a JV squad, big things are coming from Athens, OH.
AH: The Bobcats finished 2-1 for the second straight tournament making their overall record 4-2 on the season. Ohio played part in the OT game against Kent State which was one of the most exciting games to watch. The Bobcats have a balanced team of throwers and catchers and try to make their team image based on catching more than anything else. Dusty Moell and Kyle Smart both had great games against Kent State for their throwing abilities, however mental mistakes cost Ohio the game with Kent State during both regulation and OT. Too many balls thrown and balls over violation cost them a chance of winning against the 4th best team in the country. Along with having a JV team, Ohio has a great recruiting class this year with true freshman Kyle Shaffer leading the way with his strong arm and great performance at Akron. The Bobcats look to continue to build on their success of last season with having a winning record and playing extremely competitively against teams better than them.
CB: Miami impressed me the most this weekend. This young team led by Tom Morand and Bobby Bennett this season, really brought it to Akron this past weekend. They played in what I believe was their first overtime, and were able to emerge with the win against the veteran, yet whimsical DePaul squad, 3-2. While they took losses from Kent, (3-0) and Akron, (6-1). There were few points where the Redhawks could have easily secured the points against the two more experienced squads. On most Occasions, their youth and inexperience were outdone against the stronger teams. They also lost a close bout to CSU, in what is becoming a great rivalry between the two. But what I saw from these guys over the weekend gave me hope in the future of this young program. Ya’ll have my seal of approval. (Insert thumbs up).
AH: Miami finished with a 1-3 record to start their season and I am sad to say that I did not get to watch their overtime win overall DePaul but I did get to see some their game against Kent State. This may be a very young team overall but this squad has loads of talents on it and they look A LOT more athletic this year than they did last year. Where this team succeeds the most in is their throwers. Drew Maxwell and Tom Morand are their best throwers and they had huge success in taking down Kent State to three players left on the court until Cassie Weaver caught them both out to swing the point in Kent’s favor. Miami needs to develop their catchers on the team and have a strategy going into games to help out the power throwers they have and they will be very successful this season going forward. I am very excited to see how this team grows and if they can surprise anyone in the league.
CB: Baldwin Wallace finally seems to be on the path to redemption. They had a bit of a rough patch last season, but some leadership shake-ups seemed to be the remedy for the newly reformed Yellow Jackets. I was glad to see them attend a tournament and be competitive, and look like the team I remember from their first season. While they weren’t able to secure any victories, they looked organized and hungry for more. I’d like to see this team travel and play some out of state teams to gain more experience for the youngins on the squad, but I’m just glad to see them back in action.
AH: Not the ideal way to start the season out for Baldwin Wallace going 0-3 against their competition but let me tell you this, that was the best roster I have seen for a BW team in a long time, maybe ever honestly. BW has quite the number of throwers along with catchers that help balance out the talent on this team. The first point against both Ohio and Bowling Green were both nail biters that could BW could have set the tone of the match right away. BW’s biggest problem that I saw is that they do not play together enough for the entire match. They did for the points that they took against their competition looking like a well-oiled machine on the court. If BW can work on their communication and strategy for the rest of the season, BW is poised to turn some heads.
CB: VCU left Akron with an 0-3 record, but I don’t believe their travels to be in vain. I love when the Rams come to town, as it is always a good time. While they were unable to secure a win, they showed how competitive they can be, while being undermanned and handicapped. Hunter Ford may have lost his labrum, but his fire and determination haven’t diminished in the slightest. The Rams were able to take it to some of the best teams in the league, despite the circumstances. When these guys are back at full health, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up some big wins. Although, per Hunter’s bet, I’d like to see them take an L, that way I can become $10 richer.
AH: VCU had a rough time in Akron not being able to pick up a W at all against some tough competition and having one of the hardest schedules to be dealt. Starting the day off with a tough overtime loss and then followed by two close games can really hurt the mindset of any team. VCU shouldn’t feel this way at all with the way they played their competition. VCU may have the most injuries of any team in the league but they still looked solid regardless. BGSU looked to be the best catching team at Akron but VCU was not far behind them at all. They relied heavily on their catching game and leaned on Torao Ota and Wayne Shortt to carry the throwing game but simply was not enough for them to do. Hunter Ford was able to direct his team on offense and make catches when needed but until he is able to fully throw again, he will be limited to have to play two-dimensional dodgeball (Blocking/Catching) which is not good for his club. Not really a time to panic for VCU, just re-adjust.
CB: DePaul unfortunately wasn’t able to leave Akron with any wins, but man, these guys have some talent on the roster. I’d like to see them play competitively more often, because they like to have fun in most of their matches and the wins tend to get away from them. However, this weekend they managed to take Miami into OT and fell short to CSU by only 1 point in the final 20 seconds of the match. Alec Scott can lead this team to where I know they can be, as he is one of the most talented players in the league. I’m eager to see where this team goes moving forward.
AH: I am disappointed in myself for missing their OT game with Miami first of all. Next, I wish I could have watched more of DePaul in general besides the game against Ohio, which ended after a half and then proceeded to have fun for the remainder of the game. Besides his perfect mountain man beard, Alec Scott has DePaul play competitively when the game is close and knows when it is time for DePaul to have fun with the game too. DePaul doesn’t have much firepower in terms of throwers, however they can hang with teams when they decide to play a game as closely as they did with Miami and Cleveland State.
Adam Hynes: The Pink Out Tournament has come to be one of my favorites events to go. Not only for the location and competition that is played there but the main reason why we all wore pink. Cancer is a deadly disease that affects the lives of many different friends and families. Having cancer affect my own family, this tournament brings a warm sense of joy and happiness knowing that we as a collegiate dodgeball family can raise so much money (Over $700) from different parts of country. We raised this money together playing the game we love so much even though it can be the most frustrating thing in the entire world at times. Shadeed Drakeford (VCU) reminds me every day that this game brings people closer together and for that day specifically, the game of life was bigger than any match up possible. So even if cancer has not affected your life personally, I would like to thank those of you who have donated or have helped with volunteer efforts towards a cure. Thank you, University of Akron for creating the Pink Out Tournament, it holds a special place in my life.
Colby Briceland: Overall, it was a great tournament, the donations are still coming in, for the benefit of Breast Cancer awareness, and we were able to raffle off some great prizes throughout the day. Thank you to all of the Staff at Goodyear Hall, Otto Orf, Brittany Wigman, and Corey Verchio for all of the help in setting up the venue, and with the booking for the great venue, we will surly be back to Goodyear Hall in the future.