What just happened?!?
Has anyone figured that out yet?
In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, James Madison University played host to a number of schools from across the country in the 6th annual Big East Appalachian Super Tournament, aka BEAST this weekend.
To put it simply, this was one for the ages. Before I dig in on my “reaction” (or should I say: overreaction), here are the results from the tourney:
JAMES MADISON – UREC
JMU def OSU 4-1
UK def Towson 3-2 OT
JMU def UK 3-1
MSU def VCU 3-2 OT
Towson def MSU 3-1
VCU def OSU 3-2
JMU def MSU 3-1
UK def OSU 3-0
Towson def JMU 2-0
VCU def UK 2-1 OT
MSU def OSU 3-0
Alright. So with that over with. Here are my thoughts on this crazy tournament:
- Towson is for real! What more can I say? This team came into a tournament where they were seen as underdogs, and did unbelievably well. This squad started the day off with a tough 3-2 (OT) loss to Kentucky, but after that they were on fire. Towson not only took W’s from JMU and MSU, but they did it by a combined 5-1 score! Yikes. The addition of former RIT star / Elite Dodgeball player Tim Wells has clearly help Towson this year. I could name a lot of Towson players worthy of recognition, but I’ll just say that the leaders of the team deserve a lot of credit. Today was, without a doubt, the biggest day in Towson Dodgeball program history. After their performance at BEAST VI, Towson will probably be “favored” to be a Final Four team at National. Let that one sink in…
- Virginia Commonwealth University! What a day! You know how I said this was the best day in Towson’s history? Same goes for VCU, but even more significant. Folks, Virginia Commonwealth has long been the bottom feeder of not only the East Coast, but the entire league. Watching this group go toe to toe with an MSU team that was ranked #2 in the most recent power rankings was a sight to see. What a moment this must’ve been for the leaders of the VCU squad. They took MSU to OT, beat Ohio State, then took down Kentucky in a thrilling overtime game. Watching Hunter Ford and teammates leaping with excitement after their final win, and Shadeed Drakeford collapsing to the floor for a moment of reflection after that groundbreaking victory, it really put things in perspective for me as a spectator. Today was an astounding accomplishment for VCU. They made a big time statement each game, then made a bigger one the next game. Can’t wait to see this group at Nationals. Noticeably more athletic than ever before. Noticeably more cohesive than ever before. Noticeably more confident than ever before. I wonder if the rest of the league will, well, take notice.
- James Madison is a solid team. I’m not jumping out of my seat in awe by their squad after their dominant wins over Ohio State, Kentucky and Michigan State, but I’m also not saying they should freak out about their 2-0 loss to Towson. In my opinion, JMU is in better position this year than they were a year ago. I don’t see them getting blown out in a quarterfinals game in April (like last year). JMU will enter Nationals with a real shot at winning it all. Let’s not forget their only loss prior to today was an overtime defeat at the hands of Grand Valley State.
- Michigan State. I only got to view one of their games, and it was the overtime thriller against VCU. Well, I don’t want to waste much time here, let’s get this over with. Sure, MSU didn’t have their full squad. With that said, their top guys were there, and they didn’t perform in as dominant a fashion as many expected. When your top 3 or 4 players throw a combined (probably 8 or 9) catches in one game (vs. VCU), don’t expect to look too great as a team. I’m sure the JMU loss wasn’t pretty either. As with the Towson one. Anyway, this team will regroup. They will be hungry when they stroll over to IM West on their home campus for the Michigan Dodgeball Cup on February 19th. Excited to see how they do in that one.
- Kentucky didn’t have their best day. Clutch win over Towson to start (especially in retrospect, since Towson dominated every other team they played). Losing 3-1 to JMU was tough, but UK was about to tie that game 1-1 before the half before some huge catches lifted JMU to a 2-0 lead. It was over at that point. UK beat OSU soundly, which was expected, then just ran out of gas against a VCU team with all the momentum in the world. It is what it is. UK still had an 11-game win streak at one point. They still get to host Nationals 2017. They still are a good team, and one that should contend for a title in April.
- Ohio State. Not much to say here. They are a young team. Not even close to the skill level of their Final Four group from a year ago. I do look forward to what they bring to Nationals, and prior to that, the Ohio Dodgeball Cup (ODC). OSU can still salvage this season, and build momentum for their program moving forward. It certainly helps to have Jeff Starr at the helm, and Felix Perrone as the coach of the team. Don’t write them off just yet.
Well, that was quite the tournament. It’s safe to say Nationals 2017 will be the most anticipated ever. For the first time in a very long time (maybe ever), there will be more than just 2 or 3 teams entering Nationals whom believe they have a true shot at winning it all. Seriously. There might be 7 or 8 teams out there who will drive to Lexington in April, planning to come home with the coveted NCDA National Championship Trophy.
As I mentioned earlier, today was the biggest day in program history for two schools: Towson and VCU.
This was quite possibly the biggest day overall in East Coast dodgeball history. This region is the real deal. They proved it today! How long until they surpass Michigan as the top region in dodgeball? Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Without a doubt, today was a historic one for the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association. As a whole, we took a big step forward as a collegiate sport today. The competition at BEAST VI was amazing. Top to bottom, this league is improving significantly.
The future is bright for college dodgeball. That was very clear to everyone attending or watching BEAST VI.
What a tournament!
What a day!
6 thoughts on “BEAST VI Tournament Reaction (Overreaction)”
Very fun tournament, JMU’S UREC is a ridiculously impressive sight to see! Great tournament, ran very smoothly and perhaps most surprisingly tensions didn’t really rise high at all between any teams. (Besides JMU’S fan base and their tasteful hazing lmao)
Although we came out with a lot of missing players, it was well worth the trip.
The real winners were at the bars on Friday night gettin blitzed
Technical upsets aranged by end exchange weight.
Towson def MSU: 1.532, 24th of 208, 88 percentile
Towson def JMU: 1.406, 56th, 72%
VCU def OSU: 1.207, 109th, 46%
JMU def UK: 1.009, 201st, 1%
VCU def UK OT: 0.746, (1.492 normalized, 37th, 81%)
Recapping some things I noticed with each team:
MSU – Their depth certainly proved to be an issue, but their top talent still performed well enough in most games to keep them in contention. As silly as this sounds I feel like a 2-2 performance is a bit of a “fluke” in the sense that they will more than likely perform much better in future events. On top of that, every team wanted to play them as hard as possible, so each team brought their best game against the Spartans.
UK – Despite the streak being snapped, they are still a very solid team. I was very impressed with Ricardo, Brandon and Drew throughout the day. I still have them as a team that can make it all the way to the Finals.
JMU – They were the team I felt like had the best chance of going undefeated on the day and they were on their way to doing such until they ran into Towson. I still believe that this is one of the top 3 most talented teams in the league.
Towson – I predicted that if Towson lost their first match against Kentucky it would ruin the rest of their day. I’m glad they proved me wrong. Their win over MSU was big, but their best victory was over JMU for sure. Getting the win and silencing their home crowd will certainly be a moment they will never forget. They also got to debut their new uniforms which I have grown to like.
OSU – It’s really tough to compete when you’re down in numbers but there were some good takeaways for this squad. In their match against VCU, they overcame a 13 v 1 deficit and came back to win the point. Yes you absolutely read that right. While the outcome still didn’t fall in their favor, it was a competitive game nonetheless. I’m sure OSU will be out for redemption at their next event, so don’t sleep on them just yet.
VCU – As Kevin said, it was a big day for VCU. I was very proud with our team’s performance on the day and was glad to see our hard work come to fruition. The biggest strength and weakness for us has been playing with emotion. When we have momentum going our way everyone gets excited and fired up so it can be hard to stop. At the same time, when a couple bad plays happen we still have a tendency to get frustrated and down just as quickly. There will definitely be a target on our team’s back going forward but I look forward to being legitimate contenders instead of being “bottom feeders” as Kevin so eloquently put it.
Ultimately, the biggest takeaway from this event is that anyone can compete with anyone this year. I said in a previous article that I felt like the league was a strong as it’s ever been this year, and BEAST VI certainly furthered my case. It also showed just how much the East Coast has developed as a whole. In the past, every team besides JMU was considered an afterthought. Now, with the emergence of Towson and VCU, along with a solid group in Penn State, that is no longer the case. Last thing I can say is, Nationals will be lit.
This was an excellent tournament. Well done by all captains involved, and Joe Bringuier to revitalize this tournament. With all of the East Coast bias in the world I will say, Towson and VCU are now on the map. Like Hunter said, the Dukes look primed to win every game on Saturday. They played their fourth game of the day against Towson who was just in their third, and had their chance to score in either half. Towson, however, held them off in true conservative fashion, (very GVSU-esque game) stalled the game through few transitions, and earned man-advantage through catches. It was a great day to be an East Coaster.