By: Erik Zander and Matt Bautch (both UWP) with Zigmas Maloni in parenthesis for minor additional commentary.
So Saturday, February 20, 2016, three teams came together to battle in the Zanderthon Throw-Down. These teams were Platteville, Nebraska, and DePaul, it was a mix of very different styles of play which made for some good matches. Here is the breakdown of the matches from that day.
UNL def UWP-JV 3-2
In the first game of the day Nebraska came out swinging against Platteville’s JV squad, wasting no time taking the first point of the match. They came out ready to play but as for Platteville it was a different story. Platteville came out slow with not much communication and weren’t working together all that well. From their Nebraska took the next point followed by the UWP JV team coming back to fight off Nebraska to steal a point. Nebraska then took their third and final point from UWP, followed by UWP getting a point back to bring the overall match to 3-2. In the final point UWP had a chance to try and tie it up but the clock wasn’t on their side. So Nebraska beat out Platteville JV to win their first game of the year.
DePaul def UNL 3-0
The first point of the game DePaul came out throwing hard pushing to get the win. With their fast pace of play they were able to keep Nebraska pinned to the back line for quite some time. The second point of the match was quite different, after Nebraska settled down and understood how DePaul played, they made the needed adjustments to make earning that point difficult for DePaul. It could have went either way it was that close. DePaul’s experience helped them secure one final point against Nebraska ending the game 3-0 DePaul.
ZM: DePaul had ball control on their side for the majority of the match. DePaul’s leadership, most notable Niko, Ham, and Hymel, did a fantastic job molding a young DePaul team to follow their directions, no doubt lessons learned from DePaul’s Elite league play. UNL are no slouches. They had 3-4 solid arms, but needed a bit of strategy to hold up to an unusual tactic-conscious DePaul squad. Many of the points where decided with the 10 second shot clock in effect for both sides. Also worth noting, this match was even numbers. DePaul brought 13 vs UNL’s 13, although there were some hand injuries on UNL’s side in the second half.
UWP def DePaul 4-1
After the UWP-JV having a tough loss, they came back out to play with their varsity players. You could tell that they were ready to play and communicating more, because UWP came out taking the first point without to many problems. The second point was harder to get because DePaul, like Nebraska, adjusted to Platteville’s style of play. But it wasn’t enough to stop UWP from getting a point before half and taking the first point of the second half. DePaul in the next point was able to get multiple key players of UWP right at the start. UWP was unable to keep up and slow down the firing squad of DePaul, so DePaul took the fourth point of the match. Matt Bautch, captain of the Platteville team, didn’t like the taste of defeat and told his team they needed to get the point back. So with a few minutes left in the half he got his team to rally behind him and did exactly that to take the last point of the match, winning 4-1 Platteville.
ZM: DePaul here showed great initiative in the first 2-3 points like they usually do. All matches between this “western” part of the League are competitive in a laid back Michigan style sense. A good note here is that each team was able to push to the front line many times during the match, however unlike a Michigan style of play either team did not retreat to give the other team “their turn to throw”. DePaul’s one point on UWP in the second half was probably a small defeat or lull on UWP’s tactics. In my neutral opinion, DePaul maintained a close “everyone run around and do sweet stuff” tactic which showcased an incredible fast paced point and the athleticism DePaul can summon when they feel it. In the same vein, the very last point of the match was a DePaul classic, the Dead Fish was implemented where DePaul flopped around on the floor on the Opening Rush whistle.
UWP def UNL 5-0
The last and final game off the day. Arms were getting tired but this wasn’t time to quit. The first point UWP fought out to hold Nebraska back. Following this, Nebraska was pushing to take the next point, their cross throws and strong arms came close but UWP’s catching was able to hold on to take the next two points. After halftime Nebraska came out making the last two points hard for Platteville to obtain. Especially, the last point where Nebraska got UWP down to two players, but the catching ability of freshman sensation, Will Martin, was able to keep Nebraska from stealing a point. Ending the game 5-0 Platteville.
ZM: UWP was the team to watch for the rest of the season. It’s great to see them playing more because they are a strong team in their own right, and playing more gives UWP an opportunity to reinforce where their rating can truly place. They have a solid player base, if UWP’s leadership can keep their players in line I think they will be a solid force against their opponents. To note, Nebraska is no slouch, they will learn a lot from their matches this season to improve in later away game visits. At least two points in this match where decided by small on-the-court numbers between both UNL and UWP.
Individuals that impressed us.
For DePaul there were two individuals that really impressed us and that was Alec Scott and Niko Nodal. Alec Scott, the man with the amazing beard, impressed us with his incredible arm strength, speed and accuracy of his throws. It’ll be fun to compete against him in the future. Niko Nodal really impressed us, he is one of the best players we have seen in the League so far. He can dodge, he can throw hard, and can catch like no other. We were amazed by some of his catches as it seemed that there was no friction between him and the court as he would simply glide right into the catch. He is also someone that we look forward to competing against again in the future.
For Nebraska, the two individuals that really impressed us were Harrison McMinn and Jake Sanchez. Harrison McMinn, impressed us with his strong arm and his ability to lead his team on the court. He is excellent at throwing the cross throws and getting you out when you’re not expecting it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of team that he can put together next year again as captain as Nebraska will have most of their players returning. Jake Sanchez really impressed us with his ability to throw too. He has a strong arm and wasn’t afraid to go up to the line and challenge our players. He also proved to be a great catcher and demonstrated his abilities to be a great leader on the court. It should be interesting what he can do in the future now that he has some more experience under his belt.
Overview of Zanderthon Throw-Down
Since the last time that these three teams have met, it was incredible the amount of talent and improvements that have come out of these teams. No point was easy to take from any side, showing that all teams are competitive and willing to fight till the end. Until DePaul comes out with their usual flopping fish strategy. Which threw off the freshmen on the UWP squad. We are looking forward to playing these teams in the future because whenever we are all together it is a blast to play the sport of dodgeball and make new friends.