The following was written by Reid Manger (BGSU) and Eric Boehm (Formerly of CSU) with input from Ohio Region Captains:
This year’s Ohio Dodgeball Cup was one for the history books. The NCDA’s largest region, consisting of ten teams, put on one of the more exciting shows in the league this season. Although only eight of the teams participated in this year’s showdown, there were still plenty of storylines to follow: Will Cincinnati make a mark in their inaugural tournament? Is Kent State still the face of Ohio, or is it Miami’s time to put a stranglehold on that title? What about Bowling Green, are they still relevant? All these questions were answered, and many more along the way! Not to mention, there was even a 5-way tie for first when the dust originally settled, leading to an OT style tournament to declare a champion. In the following paragraphs, I give a brief rundown on how each team’s afternoon played out, rest of season outlooks, and various takeaways from each captain about their squads. Oh, and special guest Eric Boehm, a Cleveland State alum, gives his take on how things went down, too. You may think some of our opinions are unsolicited, and they may be, but nobody else wanted to do a recap so this is what you get! Buckle up for this rather lengthy review of the Ohio region!
*Denotes OT Tournament Tiebreaker Match
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI (0-3)
CSU (1-7, L)
OSU (0-7, L)
OU (1-5, L)
Don’t pay any attention to their record here, that’s to be expected for a squad who has yet to play in any official matches the league. Instead let’s give a hand for the NCDA’s 55th official member, and here’s to them sticking around for the long haul. I know their coach Wes Peter’s has high expectations for this club, and probably isn’t thrilled with the end results of this tournament, but I say just enjoy the ride. There’s no reason to think that this team can’t be a successful one after a few years of grooming the young talent they have already and getting more along the way. In my opinion, they’ve already found a key piece to center their team around in Brannon McGinn. I only had the privilege of watching one of their matches, but Brannon showed a lot of promise for someone who has close to zero NCDA experience. Obviously, a lot of his talent is raw, as is almost everyone on this team, but I don’t think it will be long until he refines his skills and becomes a big-time playmaker. I’ve also heard good things about Brett Liming, too. There’s a handful of guys on this team who can throw, but they struggled with a lot of the strategy aspects of the game and sometimes didn’t show much of a willingness to catch. My advice to this team: Build around those two pieces mentioned above, focus on developing your catching even more, and hit recruiting hard next year. The future is bright for this squad if they can put the pieces together.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: It’s always awesome to see a new team join the league! Nice job on making it to ODC, Cincinnati! It’s too early to make any prediction for the new team. However, I did notice a few players with exceptional talent that’ll take them somewhere. Also, they are already pretty decent at catching, too. It will be interesting to see where the Bearcats go from here. Welcome to the league!
Takeaways from Wes Peters:
• First matches for UC Dodgeball Club! We went 0-3, but there was a lot of great takeaways on an experience standpoint. Guys weren’t anywhere near as skittish by match 3 as they were at the beginning of the day.
• Brannon McGinn is going to be a household name. The kid is a natural, and once a lot of our team catches up to him, he’s only going to shine brighter (we brought a very inexperienced roster).
• Prediction is that UC will win a match before the end of the season. Whether that’s at nationals or sooner idk, but it’s going to happen I think.
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY (6-12)
Akron (4-2, L)
UC (7-1, W)
OSU (3-2, L)
This is a team that I feel really gets disrespected by onlookers the league. It wasn’t too long ago that they were in UC’s shoes, and trying to scrape together a team in the middle of a season. With new teams you often worry about their longevity and whether they’ll make it through the growing pains, but Cleveland State has done just that. Sure, they aren’t skyrocketing up the league’s leader boards like Miami is, but it’s commendable to put together a top 20 team in the league and have the talent to at least compete with some of the league’s best. As far as ODC went for this club, they held their own but I’m sure are definitely left wanting more. Joe Walsh is always a solid playmaker, and the pieces behind him show up in spurts, but they’ll need a little more consistency to pull off the big upset they’re looking for. Beating UC like they did proves how far they’ve come from being a brand new team and hanging with Akron and OSU shows that aren’t too far behind the rest of Ohio, but strides definitely have to be taken quickly if they plan on making any noise at Nationals.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: As many of you know, I naturally hold a bias for the Vikings and probably always will. After all, I was their former captain. This whole year has been shuffle of players coming in and out for the Vikings, but this semester has been the toughest for the team so far. The Vikings came to the ODC with 11 players this year, putting them at a initial disadvantage against Akron’s 18 man roster and OSU. However, that didn’t mean that they were going out without a fight. That’s just not how the Vikings are, especially with Casey Brown and Joe Walsh as their main captains.
Their first match at the ODC was against Akron which was the 7th time in our history to face up against them. At this point, we see it as a direct rivalry. There was plenty of incentive and motivation for the Vikings to win. The first half was very bumpy for the Vikings, with Akron taking two points. The second half was much different. It was back and forth points between the two teams. Joe Walsh made several kills and catches (a few ridiculous catches) against the Zips. The Vikings made sure that if the Zips wanted the win, they were going to have to fight for it. Unfortunately, Akron took the win over CSU 4-2. Their 2nd match was against UC, where they won, 7-1, against the new team. It was a great time for the rookies have the their moments. One of them being Gabriel Getsy, who managed to take on several UC players on his own and win. It’s times like that, that I live for. I love seeing the new guys step up.
Their last match against OSU was real battle between the two teams. There were too many good plays on both sides, I wouldn’t know where to start. Joe Walsh made some great tags as well as some catches. This match got him riled up along with the team. Casey Brown balled out and made some slick catches for the second consecutive game. Another two players on CSU, Rece Emplit and Joe Kline, truly shined in this match as well. Emplit made some good plays when he rushed into the neutral zone and Kline made several catches. The Vikings ultimately drove the Buckeyes into overtime. However, the Buckeyes prevailed over the Vikings.
All in all, the Vikings had a great performance despite their 11 man roster. They made both Akron and OSU fight for their wins. I can’t wait to see how things go in their next tournament. I’ll have to wait and see.
Takeaways from Casey Brown:
• Vs Akron – The first half might have been the worst half CSU has ever played. Akron had a great gameplan going into the game. Their big name guys like Adam, Joey and Josh step up and get the job done. Going into the second half we made some serious adjustments and were able to get two points, thanks to the help of a great performance by Joe Kline, and we looked much better. The 4th point Akron scored we just made one or two mistakes too many and mistakes against Akron is how you lose. They capitalize on every opportunity you get.
• Vs UC – We had the pleasure of being UCs first official match in the NCDA and we were the first to find out that they have some absolute ballers on that team. Between Brandon McGinn and Brett Liming who both are great players and Wes Peters guiding them along they have a promising future. They will need more players for a full roster and just the general learning curve but they’ll catch a team sleeping like they did to us a couple times. We had a great preformance by our rookies Stew Hering and Rico Reyes in the matchup.
• Vs OSU – I was thoroughly impressed by OSU at ODC, they were well prepared and played smart. I see a lot of similarities of OSU and us by the way the roster is constructed and the type of game we both play. The entire game was back and forth and there was no clear better team. The OT loss was tough to swallow, but going against one of the best OT rosters in the NCDA with Ben and Dylan was a great challenge for our team and OSU pulled away with a well deserved win.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY (13-12)
Ohio (3-2, W)
Miami (1-5, L)
Akron (2-3, OT L)
Okay, yes this was a rough tournament for the Golden Flashes. Yes, it has been a rough semester in general. And yes, this isn’t quite the same club we’re used to seeing out of Kent State. The elephant in the room is out in the open. However, this shouldn’t take away that this is still a very dangerous team capable of popping off at any time. They’ve lost a lot of talent over the past year for various reasons, and, rumor has it, just lost arguably Ohio’s most dominant player Tyler Paalman, but there’s still plenty of talent on this team to make some noise at Nationals. I have a lot of faith in Parker and Greg to right the ship with Nationals coming up, and hopefully they have plans to attend one more tournament beforehand for one last tune-up. Kent is still very much, at worst, a top-12 team in the league and needs to be taken seriously by everyone. After all, they won 5-2 against both BGSU and Miami this year, and came up just short of an upset win against SVSU in November. Onto their afternoon at ODC, it turns out they unexpectedly played the role of a spoiler against OU in their first matchup. Had they not won, OU would have won the cup outright. That was the expectation, however, which gave them some momentum going into what was supposed to be the most anticipated matchup of the tournament against Miami. That’s where things went sour for them. They were handled relatively easily by the RedHawks, dropping their season series against them to 1-2, and then losing to Akron in OT. Overall this was a tournament to forget for the reigning ODC champs but look for them to bounce back before the year ends.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: The Golden Flashes had a bumpy performance at this year’s ODC. Their overall gameplay and strategy was pretty underwhelming and quite unlike Kent. Their blowout match against Miami was pretty shocking. As well as their loss to Akron in overtime. However, based on the other game results, their win over OU was also pretty unexpected since OU performed very well overall. Kent certainly had their ups and downs, unfortunately more so with the downs. Perhaps their performance at this tournament turned out to be an anomaly, but only time will tell. I’d like to see how Kent reforms and competes in the future.
Takeaways from Parker Morris:
• Even though it doesn’t show on paper, our performance was good at ODC. Yes, we may not have got the outcome we wanted but this is the youngest team Kent has had in my four years and I feel we performed well. We are talented overall and we are working on playing more as a team and less reliant on strong arms as we have in the past.
• As for others in the tourney, the player that impressed me in all the games I reffed and played at ODC was Max Kowalski. His throw is one of the best in the league and can catch nearly anything thrown his way, especially with his length.
• The Ohio region has grown so much in my four years and is definitely a region to watch out for at Nationals.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (5-8)
Miami (3-2, L)
UC (7-0, W)
CSU (3-2, W)
OU* (OT L)
To be completely honest, I don’t really know what to completely make of this team. Obviously, they aren’t the same elite level Buckeyes that dominated for the first decade of their existence (most recently a final four run in 2016). However, they are very far from a bad team. I wish they would have played in a few more tournaments this year so it’d be easier to get a better read on them. They had an early season win against BGSU, but their second best win this season has come against Cleveland State. They have two close losses against Miami, though, and are quite possibly on the verge of breaking into the top 12 with a few adjustments and player development. Dylan Greer and Ben Johnson are two great players and leaders for their club and are definitely steering this team in a positive direction. I look forward to seeing how they finish out this year. As for ODC, they came ready for the occasion. Had they managed to take down Miami (was tied 2-2 with about 90 seconds left of play), they would have walked away with the cup. Their next two matchups weren’t quite the caliber of Miami, but they took care of business like they expected to and earned themselves a bid in the OT tiebreaker tournament. Unfortunately, they fell to OU in relatively short order, but proved they needed to be taken seriously in this region, and by the rest of the NCDA.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: I’ll be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by the Buckeyes after seeing them play at the War in Akron. So, I wasn’t expecting to see much from the young team at the ODC. Man, was I wrong. The young team really stepped up since then. Dylan Greer and Ben Johnson did a great job handling the court and leading their teammates. Their first game against Miami was pretty close, only losing to RedHawks with 90 seconds left on the clock. That, right there, tells me that they’ve grown as a team pretty quickly. The Buckeyes then won their next match against UC fairly handily, going 8-0.
Their last game against Cleveland State was pretty awesome to watch. I’ll admit, I underestimated the Buckeyes a lot and it’s only natural for me hold a bias towards my home team. But the Buckeyes played very well. They were catching balls left and right. I also noticed a lot of growth with their rookies in just a few weeks. The players I noticed the most on the Buckeyes were Evan Luikart and Frank Cerny. Luikart’s throw and Cerny’s dodgeball IQ improved quite a bit in under 2 weeks. Both of them played phenomenal in this year’s ODC. They Buckeyes defeated the Vikings in overtime 3-2. Well done, Buckeyes. I’d love to see what the future has in store for you guys.
Takeaways from Dylan Greer:
• How big of a factor is wall ball in the NCDA – If nothing else, BGSU’s field house is great for one reason, and that is nets. The NCDA feels like a better league when wall ball isn’t a huge factor in every point. I truly believe this is one reason why the Ohio region seemed so close during this tournament. Give Miami a wall to play with and the title may fall into different hands.
• Light in the Dark – ODC was the first tournament for UC, and while their team performance showed a clear need for improvement, they do have some light in the dark. Captains Brannon Mcginn and Adam Holtz both showed incredible talent, and not just in lenient comparison for being new players. Their natrual stregths in throwing and court awarenesss are something that the rest of their team needs to look up to. As they recruit, and develop their team chemistry, this will be a team that may make truly some noise in the upcoming years.
• Some Standouts – Two players who showed stand out performances at the ODC were Joe Walsh and Max Kowalski. Max seemed like a one man army whenever he was on the court. He snagged nearly every ball that was placed within his reach. If he can stay healthy throughout the duration of a tournament, he will continue to make huge advancements in BG’s overall performance. Joe Walsh is someone who also deserves recognition after his preformance. Joe’s throwing accuracy was on point during his match against us and I don’t think he dropped a single ball that hit him above the waist. He was a good reason why CSU forced an overtime against us.
UNIVERSITY OF AKRON (15-7)
CSU (4-2, W)
BGSU (0-5, L)
Kent (3-2, OT W)
BGSU* (OT L)
Akron has multitude of leaders on their team with the experience and knowledge that has brought them far this year. They have played competitively against strong teams and proved this is their year to do something with their frequently heralded talent. Unfortunately, they have been missing that signature win, although beating Kent State is certainly a step in the right direction. They have yet to secure a win against BGSU or Miami this year, but I’m sure have their eyes set on that before the year ends. Regardless of what people make of the quality of some of their wins, 15-7 at this point in the season is something to be proud of. The always rowdy Adam Pfeifer won’t be the only loud one on the court for Akron if they’re able to make the noise at Nationals that they are expecting themselves to. Just like OSU, Akron ended their day at ODC at 2-1 and qualifying for a spot in the OT tournament tiebreaker. They have a fair number of catchers and BG’s courts surrounded by nets proved to beneficial for them. They started their day off by handling CSU but ran into some trouble against BGSU in their next matchup. Credit to this squad’s ability to bounce back, though, and steal a rare win against Kent State to work their way into this 5-way tie before ultimately falling to BGSU again in tournament play. Even after tough losses against the Falcons, this squad looks ready to take future tournaments head on.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: University of Akron: Let’s just start by saying that Akron brought a full roster to the ODC which is pretty stunning since I’ve never seen 18 jerseys that say Akron on it at once. So, well done there. The Zips started the tournament very strong against CSU. Joey Stacks, Adam Pfeifer, and Colby Briceland each did a great job keeping their team in line and ultimately winning against CSU. They handled the 1st half against the Vikings fairly well, taking the 2 points and giving up none. The 2nd half was a little more eventful between the two teams with both sides trading 2 points, ultimately resulting in a 4-2 win. Their next match against BGSU did not go as well. They were swept by the Falcons 5-0, which shocked me quite a bit since their momentum seemed to be pretty set after their first game with CSU. This match was a low point for the Zips, but they brought themselves up for their last match. Akron’s 3rd game against Kent was a pretty close one. The Zips ultimately prevailed over the Golden Flashes in overtime, thanks to Brandon Snyder and Joe Scott who both played pivotal roles in getting that win. Since they went 2-1, they were able to compete for the cup, but unfortunately lost to BGSU again. Like many of the other teams, there were many ups and downs for Zips. Their strive for dominance in Ohio still shines brightly. It will be interesting to see how they compete in the tournaments to come.
Takeaways from Colby Briceland:
• The Zips fell short of glory yet again. I don’t know what it is about BGSU, but they must be our kryptonite because we rarely perform well against them lately, but that’s not to take anything away from how impressive they were, because we’ve all been underestimating the Falcons for too long now. If the Zips can manage to put together the missing pieces and have a whole tournament without slipping, then they can make some big noise in Allendale.
• BGSU, wow, what a dark horse comeback story. Home court advantage looks good on them apparently. Great way to end the BGSU careers of Max Kowalski, Reid Manger, and Owen Sill, who all looked like All-American candidates during their run.
• Very Impressed with UC, I had the pleasure of watching two of their matches and I saw flashes of brilliance for sure. Practicing with Miami did them some good. Oh, and Brannon McGinn will be an All-American if Cincinnati stays in the league.
MIAMI UNIVERSITY (14-6)
OSU (3-2, W)
Kent (5-1, W)
BGSU (2-3, OT L)
OU* (OT L)
The favorite to take home the cup this year, Miami entered this tournament with a lot of eyes squarely on them. Throughout the course of this entire year, they have been the team to watch in the Ohio region and have been on everyone’s radar as a possible final four team. Unfortunately for them, though, they came up a little short in reaching expectations this go around. Don’t let that discourage you from viewing this team as the class of Ohio, though, at least for now. They have the best winning percentage of all the Ohio teams, they have winning records against every opponent in the region (except BGSU where they are 1-1), they took Towson down to the wire just a month ago, and standout Tom Morand is still at the helm controlling things. There’s a lot going for this club. What worries me about this team isn’t that they didn’t take home the ODC title this year, it’s that they don’t have many matches against similarly ranked Michigan opponents at the moment. They’re 1-0 against CMU and 0-1 against MSU, but no games against SVSU and a couple of rough showings against GVSU. This team is certainly capable of beating any team in the NCDA, and I’m pulling for them to do big things at Nationals this year, but there are some red flags to be addressed. Regardless of how they end the season, though, I strongly believe that this team’s future is as bright, if not brighter, than any other team in the NCDA. Now, to summarize their performance at ODC: It was a roller coaster of emotions for them. They barely survived a scare against OSU to start their day, but then bounced back in a big way against Kent. After beating Kent 5-1, most people were ready to hand them the trophy. Then their match against BGSU came around where they quickly fell down 2-0 at halftime before rallying back to send the game to OT. Not only did they send the game to OT, they had a 4-2 man advantage at one point before letting their immediate shot at a title slip away. After losing to BG, they took on OU in the second round of the tiebreaker and came up just short. The reason for their surprising results can possibly be attributed to the lack of walls on BG’s courts. Miami has a lot of powerful arms and are very good at utilizing walls to their advantage when given the opportunity, but, for what may have been the first time this year, those walls were taken away from the Redhawks and they seemed to have a little bit of a hard time adjusting. I expect them to make the proper adjustments by Nationals, though, and treat this ODC as a learning experience.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: The RedHawks have had a stellar season thus far. After their performance at War in Akron, many could make the argument that they were the power team in Ohio. However, their performance at the ODC wasn’t as good as their performance at the War, but it was still very good. Granted, they did not have Dominic Tyburski on their roster for this tournament, which was quite unfortunate. The RedHawks had a rough start against OSU, but they did take the win in the end 3-2, getting their winning point over the Buckeyes with 90 seconds left. That wasn’t their most impressive performance.
The same could not be said with their next match against Kent. The RedHawks toughened up and managed to blow out the Golden Flashes with a resulting score of 5-1. Tom Morand and Austin Michael did a phenomenal job leading their team to victory over Kent once again. Kevin Corotis, a sophomore and one of Miami’s top players, made some great throws with his odd-formed lefty technique that you wouldn’t want to be in front of. Then many of the RedHawks’ rookies and younger players stepped up quite a bit after their match against OSU. Chad Ayers, a rookie, who clutched a win against Kent when he was the only left along with several kills in that point. Another rookie, Jake Parks, made several great catches against Kent.
Unfortunately in their last match, the RedHawks lost to BGSU in overtime, 3-2. With all of that being said, Miami had their ups and downs. It certainly wasn’t their best performance in the season, but they definitely stand as a powerhouse team in Ohio.
Takeaways from Tom Morand:
• Despite the disappointing loss to BGSU in OT, it is super promising that our rookies are starting to progress. Guys such as Jake Parks, Chad Ayers, Rob Hartmann made some game changing plays for us.
• This was the first big meaningful loss in program history, so how we show up to play at our home tournament will be a true test of our character as team.
• The ODC really made everyone on my team realize that the result of games are not predetermined and if a team doesn’t show up to play in a specific game the other team will take full advantage of it.
OHIO UNIVERSITY (12-8)
Kent (2-3, L)
BGSU (3-1, W)
UC (5-1, W)
OSU* (OT W)
Miami* (OT W)
BGSU* (OT L)
As much as I love Ohio and think they are disrespected by the league far too often, they continue to be a thorn in everyone’s side come ODC. In 2017 they won the cup when nobody gave them a prayer to win it. This year, they came in as probably the 5th favorite to take home the cup, and they found themselves in the championship match. I give this team a lot of credit, they show up when they need to. If they could play at everyone tournament like they seem to be able to play every ODC, this squad would really be a force to be reckoned with. Jake Larsen is a legit talent and has one of the stronger arms in the league, Zach Howman is as reliable as ever, and Kyle Smart is another consistent playmaker for this squad. I’ve been saying for the past two years now that this team has the capability of being a top 10 league, and it’s very possible that they are finally hitting that ceiling, especially when they play on courts without walls. This is a team that doesn’t have a lot of star power or arms, aside from Jake, but they play extremely well as a team and are one of the better catching teams in the league. They also play rather efficiently in the midcourt. Without the use of walls, their true potential really shows. Lucky for them, the Nationals venue is a similar one to the venue that ODC was held at. Speaking of ODC, onto a recap of their matchups. They took Kent down to the wire (as they seem to always do) but came up just short (again, as they seem to always do). But they bounced back in a huge way and beat BGSU their second matchup, in the battle of catching teams. It was a slow-paced matchup, but an exciting one none-the-less. They ended their matchups taking care of UC, as expected, before moving onto the OT tournament. They made short work of OSU, grinded out a win against Miami, and then falling just short to BGSU in the championship. Overall, this team should be proud of their performance.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: The Bobcats had an overall great performance at Bowling Green. Although, their first match against Kent did not go as well they wanted, losing 3-2. That loss looked to be a wake up call to the Bobcats. And let’s just say they really did wake up for their next match. The 2nd game against BGSU was their highlight of the weekend, winning 3-1 which was a fairly major upset victory. Quite frankly, it was very surprising for me and many others to hear that they defeated BG so badly after seeing the result of their match against Kent. Their win over the Falcons caused all the pandemonium for the cup. Their 3rd game against UC resulting in them defeating the debuting team.
In the OT matches for the cup, they were placed in the harder side of the bracket, having them play at least 2 matches to make the finals. First, they faced OSU, which they won. They then had to face Miami, which also resulting them in a win. The final match turned out to be against BG. The Falcons came back for vengeance. Unfortunately, the Bobcats lost against Falcons. All in all, the Bobcats did very well this year, despite not taking home the cup. They have a lot going for them from here to Nationals.
Takeaways from Noah Ourant:
• Regardless of our reputation, we are not solely a catching team. We did most of our damage in transition which is great for us moving forward.
• Cincinnati was the best first tournament team I’ve ever seen. Kudos to Wes Peters and all his guys, they have something special brewing down there for the future.
• My last one is a prediction rather than a takeaway. I think half of the elite 8 at nationals will end up being from the Ohio Region. There are easily 5-6 teams capable of making it from the region and I would be shocked if we don’t see 4 teams playing in the quarterfinals.
BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY (10-11)
BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY
ODC 2-1 (CHAMPS)
Akron (5-0, W)
OU (1-3, L)
Miami (3-2, OT W)
Akron* (OT W)
OU* (OT W)
What can I say about my Falcons? Third time was the charm, I suppose. After two straight years of coming up just short of the Ohio Dodgeball Cup, this team finally put the pieces together to earn their second title in program history. It’s tough to say what this means for the rest of the season, though. They have yet to secure a win over a Michigan team or either of the elite East Coast teams but seem to take care of business when facing teams ranked beneath them relatively handedly (with the exception of OU on occasion). Miami marks their first marquee win of the season, so it will be interesting to see if they can build off this momentum. This squad has been on a relative tear since November, and I (naturally) expect them to carry this momentum forward for the rest of the year. Top to bottom this might be the best catching team in the Nation, and, as anyone who has played in this league knows, a team full of catchers can be dangerous when trying to put together upsets. When things are clicking, BGSU is among the toughest teams to take a point on in the NCDA, but when drops occur sometimes things begin to unravel. The good news is, much like their home court where ODC was held, Nationals will be held in an environment where wall ball can’t be played. With that in mind, if Max Kowalski and Owen Sill are on their A game come Nationals, and the catchers on the roster behind them do their job and back them up, Bowling Green is an intriguing team to watch for at Grand Valley. Don’t be too surprised if they are able to pull off another upset that people didn’t think they had in them. Now, onto their performance at the Ohio Dodgeball Cup. They started the day off with an emphatic 5-0 win over Akron, a team they haven’t lost to since Spring of 2016 despite the numerous playmakers on that roster. Then, OU hit them like a brick wall. For the 2nd time in 3 years, the Bobcats upset the Falcons at ODC, creating a lot of pandemonium and tie scenarios. What went wrong with this match? The team simply forgot how to catch in critical moments, and OU caught when it mattered most. When a catching team struggles with catching the ball, bad things happen, and it showed here. Credit to OU for showing up, though, and making plays when they mattered. This set up a big-time matchup against Miami. It was a tale of two halves. The first half BG went up 2-0 relying primarily on their catching, as per usual, but Miami was able to tie it up in the second half with their fire power. Down 4 men to 2 at one point in the OT, momentum turned after a near full court heave to reset the shot clock was caught immediately following a time out. From then on momentum stayed on BG’s side, and they were able to take down the RedHawks a few minutes after (despite a controversial timeout in the final minute of play.) This ensured there would be a 5-way tiebreaker of 2-1 teams, and the rest is history. This squad came to defend their home court. Shoutout to Wes Bensman and Cole Geil for making big time plays in those overtimes, without those two this team is probably singing a different tune following the tournament.
Thoughts from Eric Boehm: As we all know, BG was considered to be the dark horse of Ohio. They had a difficult first semester, but they’ve been moving up since then. Personally, I see them as a contender at being the top dog team in Ohio. In their 1st game, they swiftly defeated Akron 5-0, which was also pretty impressive since Akron is a pretty talented team.
Their 2nd game against OU went completely sideways. From what I could hear from the other court was all the shouting and insanity from both the teams in the game and the bystanders. I was pretty shocked to hear that BG lost to OU, 3-1. After the game, it was obvious that the Falcons took the loss pretty hard. However, they managed to regroup and re-strategize their gameplay for the rest of the tournament. Their 3rd match against Miami was a very essential game for the Falcons. Both sides put 2 point on each other until the end of the 2nd half, pushing the game into overtime. The Falcons prevailed over the RedHawks in OT, winning 3-2, making them eligible for the OT matches for the cup.
In the OT matches for the cup, they won their first match against OSU. They then earned their chance for retribution against OU for the Ohio Dodgeball Cup. With motivation and strive on their side, Max Kowalski and Reid Manger led the Falcons to victory over the Bobcats, winning the ODC. Well done, Falcons. I’d love to see how you compete in Nationals this year.
Takeaways from Reid Manger:
• Some type of netting needs to be mandated in the NCDA. Time and time again it’s shown that the most exciting tournaments seem to come from facilities that don’t allow wall ball. Matches are closer, different strategies are implemented, and teams are actually forced to take chances and make plays on people instead of throwing at a wall in the background. I have used, and will continue to use any chance I get to publicly advocate against the use of walls in tournaments
• Break out your All-American ballots and get Max Kowalski and Owen Sill’s names on their ASAP. Both are top 20 players in the league, and it’s great to see them finally get their overdue respect. Ohio voters, I hope Max is seriously under your consideration for Ohio Player of the Year.
• The leaders in the Ohio region are awesome. Seriously, I feel the Ohio region is full of a lot of the best guys in the NCDA character wise. Say what you want about the talent in the region (which might not have the top shelf talent that Michigan and the East Coast do, but is still plenty deep), but all these guys are passionate about the game and are all around good people. It’s always a joy to play against and work with all these teams, and I don’t think there’s any bad blood between any of us. A welcome sight in a league that isn’t a stranger to controversy and arguments between teams and players. There’s mutual respect top to bottom here.
Thank you to Reid Manger for hosting and writing this great recap.