Leading into Nationals, we look to spotlight as many teams as we can in hopes of shining a bright light on standouts from participating teams. These glow-ups include up to 2 of each team’s standout rookies as well as a handful of core contributing players that have gotten their respective team to where they are going into the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s annual finale. Lastly, we get a glance into each participating team’s mindset and expectations going into Nationals.
Zips’ Rookie Spotlight
If you watched our game against Towson at the WAR V, you probably know who Cooper is—the one that made the spectacular double catch in the first point. Outside of his playmaking ability, he plays the game like a veteran. He’s a true student of the game with a high dodgeball IQ for such a young player. Look for him to take his game to a new level at Nationals as he is one of the most competitive players in the game. We will see him in a leadership role next season.
Before reading this, you should go read the Dodgette article highlighting Alexis on the NCDA website. Now that you’ve read her feature article, let me highlight her impact on our team. From the first practices, she showcased her ability to throw with accuracy which is always impressive for new players. On top of the natural talent, she has been one of the most improved players this season. Look for her and the other Dodgettes to keep making an impact on the game—both on and off the court.
Key Contributors for the Zips
Clay Egleston, #69 (formerly #99):
The head captain of the team kept the team together through the year and a half COVID-19 cancelation of dodgeball. His positive attitude and charismatic personality have led to one of the largest recruiting classes for Akron this year. On the court, he has some of the best hands in the league which has been true since his rookie year. In recent years, he developed a deadeye accurate arm and has flourished in his leadership role. The biggest improvement is his increased mobility having lost 40 pounds since his beginnings. Look for Clay to represent and lead Akron on and off the court at Nationals.
PJ Antalek, #17:
If you have watched any of our games this season, you are familiar with PJ. You will always find him running all over the court getting kills on offense and making clutch catches on defense. The man is an insane athlete who is also an avid hockey player. He is not afraid to get hit and has some of the craziest throws in the league which is a deadly combination. At Nationals, look for him to control the court. He took on a leadership role this year and will hold it for years to come. PJ is an animal on the court and the nicest guy off the court.
Tommy Masteller, #95:
Tommy has the most experience of anyone on Akron’s team. With his veteran presence, he has been the key to a lot of our more impressive wins this season. He has such a powerful and accurate throw which is impressive for someone of his stature. His catching ability is some of the
best in the league. He truly uses all of his natural athleticism to his advantage making crazy catches. This is his last Nationals and dodgeball tournament, so look for him to show off his lethal combination of experience and skill.
Matt Young, #24:
Matt has been one of Akron’s most reliable arms this season. He attended every practice during the COVID-19 cancellation, and it shows. With one of the most improved throws on the team, he can make plenty of kills with ease. Perhaps the most improved part of his game has been on display this year—catching. He has been catching like a madman this year in both games and practice. With Matt standing over 6’ tall and having long legs, he has adapted to make some tough catches. Look for him to bring energy to the court like no other at Nationals. He also stepped up into a leadership role this year.
Reece Bowman, #3 (formerly #76):
Reece is a name you might not think of when you think of Akron, but you should. He is the one of the most underrated and consistent players in the league. If you call on him to make a throw, it is always accurate and timed well according to the situation. Like most of the veterans on our team, he has a very high dodgeball IQ which always makes him one of the last players alive in every point. With his consistent throws, come consistent catching especially in clutch situations. He is truly a Jack of all trades type of dodgeball player. Look for him to be one of the keys to Akron’s success at Nationals this year.
Mindset for Nationals – Anonymous Zip
“We hope to make this Nationals the best one yet by competing at a high level and having fun both on and off the court. This is the most competitive the top 16 teams have been in a long time, so it’s anyone’s National Title. Our mindset is simple: Zips by a million. Automatic. Still is.”