Nationals 2012 Preview

The dodgeball world will all come to Saginaw, MI, on April 14th and 15th, as Nationals 2012 will decide the new NCDA National Champion. There are 16 schools going, including #1 ranked Kent State, last season’s champions Central Michigan, and host school Saginaw Valley. With four pools set up on Saturday, the Sunday single-elimination bracket will be based on 80% of the points accumulated on Saturday and 20% of the points accumulated during the regular season. There will also be an All-Star Game, and an All-Girls game.

Pool A features the dodgeball powerhouse Grand Valley State, along with two dodgeball mainstays in Depaul and Bowling Green and relative newcomer Northwestern State. Northwestern State has not played a match since Nationals 2011, where they went 0-4. Depaul, known as the jesters of the NCDA, is 3-7 this season, beating Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, and Nebraska. Always in it for the fun of the game, Depaul will enjoy their pool. Bowling Green has had an up and down season, going 4-8. They started off the season 0-5, but finished out 4-3, including wins over Kentucky and Ohio State. They could be a sleeper team to make a run on Sunday. Grand Valley State finished the season ranked #2 in the country, but they have to make up for a disappointing finish at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, where they lost to both CMU and SVSU. They’re one of the most deadly teams in the league, and anything less than a title will be considered a disappointment.

Pool B includes host school SVSU, Kentucky, Ohio State, and Western Illinois. This may be the the most competitive group, as all four teams were in the quarterfinals of the 2011 National Tournament. Ohio State and SVSU have had some disagreements in the past, so that match is one to watch. The Buckeyes are known as a great catching team, and they could pull off an upset over a higher ranked team. Western Illinois had a down year, but they’re still a good team that can hang with anyone. Kentucky finished the season in the top 4, and feature the hardest thrower in the league. However, the Cardinals should be the favorite for this pool, as their tremendous talent and home court advantage will combine to make them a hard out in the tournament.

Pool C has a mix of classic teams and a new blood- James Madison. The Dukes made a lot of noise their first season going 7-3-1 and finishing in sixth place. Among the classic teams are Wisconsin-Platteville, Miami, and Michigan State. UWP played only two games, but they are usually a solid team at Nationals. Miami played 9 games this season, and two of those were forfeit wins, but they have a good foundation and won two games at Nationals last season. The Spartans are among the dodgeball elite, but they had a lackluster appearance their last time out at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup.

Pool D has this year’s #1 team in Kent State, and last year’s National Champion in Central Michigan, to go along with Moody Bible and Western Kentucky. All four of these schools have the capability to go deep into the tournament, and this could be the toughest pool to predict. Kent State set a record for most games played, but they lost their games to the three Michigan teams they played. Central Michigan played only five games all season, coming out 3-2, but they may have the most talent in the league. Western Kentucky didn’t play an out of state team all season, finishing 2-2, but they’ve shown in the past that they’re a powerhouse. And Moody Bible is always a tough team to play with their talent and smart play.

This year’s Nationals could be the deepest one yet, and every team is capable of making a run in the tournament. Whoever comes out on top will certainly have earned their way to the title, and its looking like it could be a great tournament.

AJP #20: An Inbetween Average Joes’ from DePaul

Average Joes' Podcast Logo…DePaul hosts the Average Joes’ Podcast.

In Episode 20, we discuss:
The upcoming Nationals, bids for Nationals 2013, final season rankings, some injures, rule changes, ball sponsorships, and general fun.
Hosts: Spencer Flynn, Zigmas Maloni, Pierce RAVE McBride, Becky Seemann

Recorded on a Rockband Logitech USB Microphone (bought used for $5)
Minimally edited in Audacity
Hosted on NCDAdodgeball.com/ajp/
51MB, 36:56 minutes

Rough production time:
37min recording, 1 hour of personal audio review, 5 minutes receiving the soundbites from Raymer, 30 min of editing, 15 minutes saving, uploading, and writing these posts
= total time 2-3 hours

Play

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

BOTM: 2012 February

Kyle FitzPatrick – Kent #72

Kyle FitzPatrick with a capital P is a lovable mainstay of the NCDA. He has helped lead Kent State into a formidable force: the member team has:

  • Defended the top standings for a strong part of the season
  • Helped with a crucial east coast expansion
  • Won two NCDA tournaments, the first and second title wins in the team’s history
  • Holds a record breaking amount of season wins by a member team
  • Placed in the 1st seed for Nationals

2012 MDC Preview

Michigan State Dodgeball’s Sam Hiller

*All rankings are based off the standings as of January 27, 2012

The 2012 Michigan Dodgeball Cup may be the most loaded field in the history of the tournament. Typically the second biggest tournament of the season for Michigan schools, the MDC has six schools for 2012, including the top three teams in the nation and the defending national champions.

Last season’s defending MDC champion Grand Valley State are off to a 8-0 start in the early season, with a point differential of 36 points through those 8 games. Last season’s National runner up, GVSU is ranked #1 after going 3-0 at the Chicago Dodgeball Open, and are led by captain Mark Trippiedi. The Lakers have a strong team and could very well be the favorite to win both the MDC and Nationals this season. The Lakers open their tournament with a match against CMU in a matchup of the last two National and MDC champions.

The #2 ranked team in the country, Saginaw Valley, is heading strong into Nationals with an 8-2 record, with their only losses coming to GVSU. They also went 3-0 at the Chicago Dodgeball Open, knocking off DePaul, Moody, and Nebraska. Their captain, Spencer Jardine, is one of the best all-around players in the country and they’ve played consistently well for the past few seasons, but could this be the season they make the leap to being an elite program and winning either the MDC or Nationals?

The host school, #3 Michigan State, is wondering the same question. This year they’ve beaten both of their Big Ten rivals in Ohio State and Nebraska, and have posted 48 points in 11 games, the most points scored this season by any team to this point. However, the Spartans have still yet to beat GVSU, and haven’t beaten CMU in 4 years. Captain Sam Hiller is hoping to make a statement and beat those two schools and turn the State program into a National title contender. The Spartans will go up against local rival LCC and will also face Saginaw Valley.

Defending National Champion Central Michigan has only played one game all season (a 2-1 loss at SVSU) but they’re still one of the favorites for the title. Featuring a bunch of cannon arms to go along with some solid catchers, the #19 Chippewas want to win a second Michigan Dodgeball Cup title. Possibly the deepest team in terms of talent, and having some of the best all around players in the league like Bryce Corrion and Eric Sweet, the Chips are going to have to fight off some tough competition and are no longer the hunters, but the hunted.

After making their first MDC appearance last year, the Lansing Community College Silver Stars are hoping to pick up their first win in the history of the program. They have some elite players at the top, featuring captain Kevin Nguyen, but their depth is an issue. They’re playing their first games of the season in the tournament, so it will be interesting to see if they have any cohesion and teamwork, but their top six players can go toe to toe with anyone else’s top six any day.

#14 Eastern Michigan has had a turbulent season. They’ve played in just one tournament, the MSU Invite, where they dropped all four games they played. They’ve only scored three points in four games, and they’ve had a leadership change. However, the Eagles are still a dangerous team and could possibly sneak up on a team at the MDC and take them down. There’s plenty to like from this team, and they could possibly win their first game this season at the MDC.

The 2012 Michigan Dodgeball Cup will be an absolute battle for the title, as the top teams in the nation will be in attendance and there will certainly be a number of great matches.

A Major Gale in Allendale

 #2 Spartans, #4 Lakers Prepare for Battle

Traditional powers clash on December 3rd when the #2 ranked Michigan State Spartans head into Allendale to take on the #4 ranked Grand Valley State Lakers. The Lakers are 4-0 in the young season, having already beaten arch-rival Saginaw Valley State twice. Michigan State is 5-1 and recently won the MSU Invite and beat Big Ten rival Ohio State. The winner of this match may be in the driver’s seat towards getting a good seed at the always important Michigan Dodgeball Cup, seeing as the winner will be the highest ranked Michigan team going into the new year.

The Spartans have never beaten the Lakers, but this could be their best opportunity yet. Senior Ian Childs says We’ve got a lot of returning talent this year. We’re motivated to win. This season is the last chance for our seniors to win a title and the road to the title goes through GVSU.” Michigan State’s Zach Bauer agrees with Childs, saying that “GVSU is a good team and they don’t make many mistakes. It is important for us to play to our potential and minimize any mistakes. We have the ability to win, we just have to show up and play.”

Grand Valley hasn’t played Michigan State in their home gym since 2009, so it should be interesting to see how MSU does on the road in a hostile environment. The Spartans have had some trouble on the road in the past, and GVSU has played phenomenal at home throughout the history of their program. The Lakers are trying to build off a season where they won the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, but lost in the National Championship game in a thriller to Central Michigan. After losing players like Jimmy Stokes, Caleb James, and Greg Trippiedi some thought this may be a rebuilding year for Grand Valley, but sophomore Mark Trippiedi has a solid team that has already won the Bowling Green Invite. The Lakers expect to be there for a chance at a 5th National title in April. GVSU and MSU will also have a JV match, which could shed some light on the futures of these two programs. All eyes in the dodgeball world will be on the Grand Valley-Michigan State duel for this match with huge National implications.

U of Maryland – 3 Teams join the NCDA

Kent State Dodgeball’s Kyle FitzPatrick

5:30pm November 12th 2011. Fifteen Kent State students assemble in a parking lot preparing for a 6.5 hour drive to College Park, Maryland. It’s our 3rd tournament in 4 weeks and the roster is thin. Many of our usual players drop for a variety of reason: a lack of $$ due to the other tournaments, being overrun by projects and exams for school, and a flu like illness that eliminates some of our dependable players. Our Co Captain Ryan is on Injured Reserve due to a knee injury occurring at the MSU Invite. So we looked to some of our untested freshmen to step up and fill the much needed roster spots. We arrive at the hotel around 11:30 and cram all 15 members of our family into 2 smaller than average hotel rooms. As we warm up in the Armory (yes, the name of the building we played Dodgeball was the Armory, bad ass). A sense of nervousness, that subconscious the whole trip becomes very tangible. We are the only battle tested team in the tournament, but that didn’t necessarily mean we were the best. For all we knew we were walking into a slaughter from unknown east coast teams. It was the 1st tournament that I didn’t have any Intel going into the games. I didn’t know how the teams played, what numbers were gunners, who the catchers were, and tricky players to keep an eye on… nothing. It lead to a swirling combination of frustration and excitement.

Our 1st opponent of the day was James Madison University, They sported sleeveless (basketball style) Dodgeball jerseys, DePaul would have been proud. JMU was a very passionate team that never gave up in any of their matches. They seemed to change their strategy multiple times throughout a single point. Sometimes they would hang back making clutch catches, until they had 7-8 balls then they would storm forward and perform an all out team throw towards ½ the court. And other times they were right in your face coming at you no matter how many players stood against them. Hess, 69, backwards hat, and the Assistant captain (sorry I forgot most of the numbers) individually stood out, but the entire team played well. Especially considering it was their 1st match ever.

Towson University was next on the schedule. We lost the 1st point in about 3 minutes. These guys started the game like bats out of hell; I’m talking about some pedal to the metal Dodgeball! That first point was probably one of the most chaotic games I had ever played. Their entire team was relentlessly attacking from every direction. I don’t recall anyone on their team pinching, but afterwards some of us talked about how to develop throws and get used to pinching/gripping. They slowed down a little bit throughout the match. But a team with such a high paced playing style combined with the knowledge of the pinch could turn into a dangerous ambush style team.

University of Maryland was our last opponent of the day. When you line we lined up against this team there was a distinct feeling that they had done this before. They looked confident, most of them had a very athletic build, and their Jerseys (black with red) were rather reminiscent of SVSU’s. Again Kent lost the 1st point. This team had some real potential for individual talent, 00 and 4 had some serious hands, while 8, 20, Chris V all had rather impressive throws, although they were plagued by the inaccuracy of adapting to the pinch. After watching and playing against this team I got the feeling that they would quickly adapt and over a year or two come to thrive in the NCDA, mainly due to the athletic potential of their team.

These teams are 3 great additions to the NCDA, and as a born and raised Delawarean, I personally am very excited to see the potential rapid growth of the NCDA on the east coast. It was a great weekend, with many 1st’s. JMU, UMD, UMD JV, & TU all played in their 1st NCDA tournament. All (except UMD JV) got their 1st victory, as well as their 1st losses (but that’s part of the process). And Kent State won its 1st NCDA tournament. And due to the wins from the tournament it was the 1st time Kent has ever been ranked 1st in the NCDA. I’m proud of our team, as well as the NCDA for gaining three more teams that will continue to contribute and shape the NCDA of the future. We look forward to crossing paths with these teams again!

Kent State Co-Captain,
Kyle FitzPatrick

Season Preview 2012 – Round 2

Kent State Dodgeball’s Kyle FitzPatrick

Top 3 matches we want to play: DePaul, UK, OSU (T), BG (T)
Teams we haven’t seen in awhile: GVSU, MSU, Miami OH, UoL, WIU
Teams I have never played: MBI, UWP

1. How many players are returning for your team?
Kent is fortunate that nearly all of its players are returning. With the exception of the mighty King USSH. However several of our players have picked up additional obligations outside of Dodgeball. Resulting in some changes in leadership. Matt Klembara stepped down as Co Captain, a void now being filled by Ryan Menn. However our team is now mainly veterans so finding young blood is vital this year.

2. What strengths/weaknesses do you anticipate going into the season?
We have a very different style than most teams, and we have a core of veteran dodgeballers that have played together for years and some young players with raw talent. Some of our weakness is scheduling conflicts, different priorities in the game, and hangovers

3. What are the areas you’ll look to improve when scouting new players?
We plan on being more active in recruitment this year. And have already had 254 freshman sign a sheet of interest. We hope to find freshman that are more athletic than Kent players traditionally have been. But all new recruits must have the heart of a dodgeballer.

4. What are you goals for this season?
To play Dodgeball. Against fellow dodgeballers. In general see a better spirit to the game. Faceshots. Good times. Etc. Another goal is I want to see every game finished this year! Play out the last point. Whether we are down 1 game or 11 Kent will always play out the game, I hope every team will show us that respect as well.

5. Why should other teams be scared to play you?
We have plenty of raw talent on the court. Even without ball counting strategies and team throws we could pull some upsets.

6. Which teams would you like to play?
ELE means everybody love everybody. But EPE means everybody play everybody. We will play anyone. But since that is a generic answer here’s some more breakdown.

DePaul Dodgeball’s Brian Weinert

DePaul’s tournament showings last season found the Court Jesters contending with the league giants.  While maintaining undisputed Jesterdom, DePaul also showed that their antics and goofy shenanigans are not compensation for lack of skill, but rather the result of apathy towards their own more serious abilities.  In short, we saw that when the gloves come off DePaul holds their ground. Although the club lost many adored senior veterans, the new lineup of officers who took up the torch exemplify a bright future for the club, or at least one consistent with what is expected.  The new officers: President- Mick Cielesz; Vice to the President- Brian Weinert; Secretary-Troy Dixon; Treasurer- Brandon Polaskey.  The opening night turnout was good, and freshmen recruitment seems more promising than it has been in years.

Goals for the year are few but attainable.  DePaul plans to attend as many tournaments as logistically and financially possible, and to shape our Freshmen into dodgeball-wielding machines of inflated rubber death before the advent of the first tournament.  DePaul’s other goals remain congruous with their attitude: have more fun than anyone else in the league (all challengers welcome), remain undefeated (piece of cake), and regain possession of the fabled “Moustache Ball”.  EMU, we will have our Moustache Ball, make no mistake.  DePaul has the heavy task of making up for lost senior talent with freshmen recruits.  But, already judging by the new talent, which can only improve, the Court Jesters are looking forward to a great season of showing the rest of the league how to really play dodgeball.

With all due respect and friendly competitiveness,

– Brian Weinert, V.P. #24

Season Preview 2012 – Round 1

GVSU Laker Dodgeball’s Mark Trippiedi

A vast majority of the Laker roster in 2012 will be more or less the same as in 2011. GVSU graduated 4 seniors Jimmy Stokes, Caleb James, Jeff Olsen, and Greg Trippiedi from its 2nd place finish at nationals last season. In particular, losing previous captain Jimmy Stokes and Senior Caleb James is going to hurt. It’s hard to replace great players. With that said, GVSU does not enter 2011-12 hurting for throwing arms, athleticism, or roster depth. Pending a strong incoming freshman class, the complete turnover of Grand Valley State University’s Dodgeball Club from it’s first generation (2005-2010) to it’s second generation (2011-) has pretty much already occurred.

In 2011-12 team will be led by Sophomore Mark Trippiedi. Trippiedi will have the luxury and ability to lean heavily on seniors for additional guidance. The group of fourth years is all that remains in terms of starters from the last GVSU National Championship (09-10).

Many would think that Grand Valley will be down a little this year after the graduation of All 3 captains from last season as well as another senior. However the youth in the club from previous years has continued to gain experience as well as improve their skills. So with a talented group of juniors and sophomores, along with the National Championship winning experience of the 4th years. GV Dodgeball will not miss a beat and will expect to appear in the clubs 7th National Championship appearance, and compete for their shot at a 5th National Championship

MSU Dodgeball’s Sam Hiller

Coming off of back to back Final Four appearances, Michigan State has an even higher goal this season- winning a National Championship. The Spartans only lose one player, and are expecting to bring in another great Freshman class like they have the past few seasons. Sophomore Mike Van Ermen says “There is no reason with the talent we have returning that we shouldn’t be able to bring home the trophy.” MSU also brings back all six All-Stars. While former captains Ian Childs and Cameron Massmino will still be playing, a new group of captains will be leading the charge this year for State, Assistant Captains Andy Malnor and Andrew Koczara and Head Captain Sam Hiller.

Along with winning a National Championship this year, MSU has a few other goals. Among them are playing more games than they did last season (when they played 20 matches), winning the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, beating Central Michigan and Grand Valley State, and winning the MSU Invite for the second straight season. Van Ermen wants another shot at GVSU and CMU, saying “Not only are they the best teams in the league, they’re also a lot of fun to play and really respectable guys.” Juniors Alex Acton and Will Hack also want the Spartans to play some out of state schools. “I’ve been wanting to play OSU since I’ve joined but we haven’t had the chance yet. They’re a good team but we can definitely beat them. Overall it would be a good match for both teams” says Acton. Hack says “Everyone wants to play Depaul, they are supposed to be the most fun. I’d also like to play the far-away teams, like K-State and Nebraska.” Hack also thinks that “the NCDA is playing the highest level of dodgeball played” right now, which means that the 2011-2012 season has the potential to be the best yet.