Over the weekend, DePaul University hosted their annual Chicago Dodgeball Open. This year was a bit different than CDOs in the past thanks in large part to the terrible weather. A tournament that usually involves five or six teams, only had three teams in attendance. Central Michigan, Grand Valley State, and host school DePaul competed in a three team round robin. Wisconsin Platteville could not make the trip due to the bad driving conditions on account of the Blizzard [-Ed., ZM]
The results from the tournament were as follows: GVSU went 2-0, CMU went 1-1, DePaul went 0-2. Here is my brief recap from this year’s Chicago Dodgeball Open:
CMU may have lost their only tough matchup of the weekend (a 3-1 defeat at the hands of GVSU), but this shouldn’t take away from how they looked at the CDO. Central has impressed me every time that I see them play, and that didn’t change this weekend. This team looks more and more athletic every time I see them, and with their younger players starting to hit their stride, they will be a very tough out at Nationals 2015.
The Chippewas once again had the luxury of relying on their elite catching skills during this tournament, but as a whole, this team is turning the corner in terms of their arms. In their match vs. DePaul, CMU looked like a power throwing team. Top to bottom, their roster was playing extremely aggressive, and they racked up some quick points in that match thanks to an efficient offensive performance. Even in the match against GVSU, CMU showed they had some fire-power. In the one point that CMU won against GVSU, it took only eight minutes for them to eliminate the Lakers (likely the quickest point taken on GVSU all season).
As I stated in (my all-underrated team) Ian Ryan is a huge part of CMU’s success. While their usual top players all made an impact, from my viewpoint on the sidelines it seemed like Ryan was one of the best players on the court.
As always, CMU has their top-tier players that always are a part of their success, but another player of importance, who may not always get mentioned, is Kris Kohler. Kohler made several clutch catches in the game against GVSU, and was a big part of the reason why they were able to take the first point of the second half from the Lakers. I also need to mention that I have been impressed by the rookies on this team. Alex Holzgen and Joe Kobis were two of the three “rookies” to start for the Chippewas this weekend. The other rookie was Kaleb Haney, who had a bit of a breakout performance against GVSU in my opinion. He came up with a few big catches to help shift the moment for CMU. Despite the loss, Haney was someone who made a positive impact for CMU.
Overall, it is clear to me that when this team is clicking on all cylinders they are very hard to beat. If CMU can put together a consistent performance at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup in a few weeks, they will be in good position to take home the trophy. Central now stands at 19-7 on the season, with only three of those losses coming to a team not named Grand Valley.
Grand Valley State
As always, I’ll try not to be biased in writing my recap on GVSU, but it is hard to do since I am their captain. First off, GVSU was unable to bring their full roster to this tournament due to injuries to a few of their top players, and the snow storm keeping some others from making the trip. While this wasn’t exactly the Lakers’ best roster, it didn’t seem to make a huge difference.
The most notable performer for GVSU was Trevor Nordberg who played arguably the best half of dodgeball of his career during the second half of the CMU game. With the game tied at one, Nordberg basically took over the game down the stretch with a number of clutch catches and few throws that missed target. He was easily the best player on the court during the second half, helping GVSU get two point over the last 17 minutes of the game to earn the 3-1 win. Jalen Gardner also had a good game, with several big catches down the stretch to help the Lakers seal the victory.
DePaul earned a 0-2 record.. Despite the two losses, I was pleased with what I saw from DePaul. Star players Niko Nodal, and “Howitzer” played well for their team, as did Captain Sam Murphy and Brian [#55].
DePaul actually held the man advantage midway through the first point in both their match against CMU, and against GVSU. Unfortunately they were unable to get a single point this tournament, but their ability to balance the competitiveness, and fun in the sport of dodgeball was once again on display.
One thing worth noting about DePaul is that they have tremendous support from former players when hosting a dodgeball event. DePaul had many alumni on hand, with enough supporting people to have a head ref, assistant ref, two counters, and a “twitter jockey” without having to ask participating teams in the tournament to sacrifice their rest period by working as a ref or counter. I hope that someday this becomes the norm instead of the exception. It is certainly something that other teams in this league can learn from DePaul. Thank you Zigmas Maloni, Mario Romanelli, Troy Dixon, and Kevin “Champ” Hill for helping run the event (apologies if I forgot any others).