Viking Royale Preview

The Viking Royale, hosted by Cleveland State University, will be the first tournament of the spring semester for all 7 teams attending. It is looking to be a very competitive tournament, with every team hoping to come out hot as we approach regional and national championships.

Teams in attendance:

Akron, Miami, CSU, SVSU, WMU, KSU, and OSU

Court 1 Stream: CSU Dodgeball YouTube

Court 2 Stream: OSU Dodgeball YouTube

Time (Court 1)Team 1Team 2
Time (Court 2)Team 1Team 2

Ohio State University (OSU)
Analysis: Ohio State finished the fall semester with a 10-5 record after finishing 2-1 at all five tournaments. By their standards, this was not a successful stretch of dodgeball for the Buckeyes, however, they look to bounce back in Cleveland this weekend with a 3-0 performance. Ohio State is undefeated this year against all three of their opponents on the schedule, and they don’t see that fact changing after it is all said and done. Their toughest opponent will be Akron, who recently jumped OSU in the standings after a dominant performance to close out their fall semester. This OSU vs Akron will have crucial implications for seeding at this year’s ODC, and in my opinion, will be the best and most important match of the day.

X-Factor: The buckeyes are growing in strength as captain Ryan Ginsberg and super-star Derrek Kemper return to full capacity. Also, keep an eye out for rookie Will Bryan, A.K.A. “Big Play Bryan”.

Captain Quote: OSU captain Ethan Lehmkuhl had this to say regarding the Viking Royale “Despite what the rankings say, we are easily the best team at this tournament and there is no reason we shouldn’t come out 3-0 on the day.”

Miami University
Analysis: Miami finished the fall semester with a modest 4-6 record. This is a vast improvement from where the club was a year ago, and this is in large part due to captain Elly Schipfer. She has kept this team alive after being on the brink of extinction post-Covid, and now they look to get above .500 for the first time since 2020. The Redhawks’ biggest test of the day will come from Saginaw Valley, a team they have yet to face this year.

X-Factor: Rookies Philip Hampton and Christian West will look to step up in a big way for the RedHawks this weekend.

Captain Quote: Elly Schipfer: “We’ve only been back in school for two weeks, so it will be good for us to get back into it with an early tournament. We’re looking forward to the rematch with WMU and Kent, but especially looking forward to get to play SVSU. We haven’t played them yet this year, so it will be good to see how we do against a new team.”

University of Akron
Analysis: Akron was one of the hottest teams in the country when the fall semester came to a close. A 3-0 performance at their final tournament catapulted the Zips to the #6 rank in the country. They look to stay hot in Cleveland this weekend with what would be a statement win over Ohio State. While unsuccessful in their first two matches against the Buckeyes, who’s to say the third time won’t be the charm?

X-Factor: Jeremey Faircloth made a name for himself at Akron’s Pinkout Tournament earlier this year, and will surely continue to do so as the season progresses. PJ Antalek, Matt Young, and Kyle VonScio also remain at the top of a deep Akron roster.

Captain Quote: Nicole Cutich on the Zips Viking Royale Schedule “We’re really excited to play in our first tournament of 2023, we’ve been going balls to the wall at practice (literally) and can’t wait to continue to surprise teams and show that we’re a threat.”

Cleveland State University (CSU)
Analysis: CSU finished the fall semester with a mediocre 4-11 record last semester. They look to turn things around with hosting a home tournament. The Vikings have also battled crucial injuries recently and will look to new leadership as they enter the spring semester.

X-Factor: Key Veteran and former Ohio State Buckeye Kathryn Mays is CSU’s latest addition. The former Women’s MVP is returning to the NCDA after starting grad school at Cleveland State.

Captain Quote: Kathy “New year. New team. New goal not to get blasted by my old teammates.”

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU)
Analysis: SVSU comes into the spring semester with only 2 wins to their name. This is certainly not where the cardinals want to be, but it also does not tell the whole story. Saginaw struggled with numbers at a few tournaments early on, lost a close match in OT to UWP, and also battled injuries. SVSU is not a team to sleep on, and they will look to prove that soon in Cleveland.

X-Factor: Veteran Bryce Stevens will be returning for the cardinals after a shoulder injury sidelined him for much of the fall semester. He will look to add valuable throwing and catching presence for the Saginaw roster. SVSU also did not lose anybody to graduation this fall.

Captain Quote: Cole Machiela “Count on SV waking up February 4 and being excellent.”

Western Michigan University (WMU)
Analysis: WMU also finished their fall semester on a good note, winning 3 of 4 at their home tournament in December. The Broncos are a young club looking to build on this momentum going into Cleveland. It will be easier said than done, however, as WMU has the hardest schedule of any team at the tournament. Their biggest games will come against ranks #6 and #7 respectively in Akron and OSU. WMU will surely come out motivated after losing both of their last two matches to the Buckeyes (something the OSU social media team has not let them forget).

X-Factor: Ryan Allor, Matt Barnett, and Joshua VanSlambrouck pace a young Bronco core. If they can get numbers at away tournaments, they will become a team that can no longer be taken lightly.

Captain Quote: Matt Barnett “We going 3-0 baby, quote me.”

Kent State University
Analysis: Kent struggled heavily in the fall, as would any team attempting to resurrect itself from the dead, and to top off their low numbers, the golden flashes have been riddled with injuries this year. It is safe to say that Kent State will not be favored in any of their matches at this tournament as they try to get their feet back on the ground.

X-Factor: November Women’s BOTM Vanessa Hudson will look to lead Kent back to winning ways this semester.

Captain Quote: “We’re small in number, but we’re mighty in spirit, skill, and strength! We are still going to leave it all on the court!”

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