The following was written by Michigan State’s captain: Colin O’Brien:
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has thought highly enough of me to included me on his overtime roster. It is a great honor to have your peers want you on their team, but it sure is harder to not be the subject of team throws now. With that said, I thought I would offer up my opinions on who I would choose for my overtime roster. (And I apologize to the East Coast schools; I have only had a few opportunities to see them in action)
All of the players on my overtime roster impress me every time I watch them play. My support for these players is more anecdotal in nature rather than a rigid analysis of their skillset. Nonetheless, I am fully confident that an overtime roster comprised of these players would have no trouble winning the point. These are six complete players, each can throw and catch with the best of them.
Kevin Bailey – GVSU
I don’t know what else can be said about Kevin at this point. He’s the captain of a team that hasn’t lost since the MDC last year. He almost singlehandedly defeated my entire Spartan team to prevent overtime at the MSU Invite back in November. I think he killed eight minutes or so to end a half by himself last year at DePaul. So I would say I would want him on my overtime roster. His survival skill alone would warrant that, but combine it with his overall talent and there’s no question about it. He also owns the most crushing thirty seconds in dodgeball I have ever experienced. Back in my freshman year, Kevin faced a two versus one in overtime against Eric Paul and Chris Kramer. Bailey dove in midair and caught Kramer’s throw, just to witness his brought-in teammate throw a catch to Paul. Kevin then hit Eric in the foot and set up a one v. one against Alex Acton. On simultaneous throws, the two hit each other but Bailey’s thrown ball hit the ground first, handing GVSU the victory. He took out two of the greatest players I have ever played with in a matter of seconds. That crushing overtime defeat alone guaranteed Kevin a spot on my overtime roster.
Connor Ford – JMU
I have only been able to watch JMU play a couple of times in my career, but every time Connor impresses me. It’s easy to be wowed by the power arms of JMU and the catching ability of Joey Cardella. But each time I was able to watch JMU, Connor seemingly did everything right. He can catch, he can throw, and as an assistant captain for JMU, he can lead. Bailey talked about him as one of the underrated players in the league, and I agree. I look forward to seeing him in action again at the CMU tournament in March.
Trevor Nordberg – GVSU
Trevor can get overlooked due to the other stars on Grand Valley, but in my opinion, he is one of the best players in the league. There are only a couple of players that I always keep in mind where they are on the court, and Trevor is one of them. He has a great throw, one that I’ve been on the receiving end of a few too many times for my liking. Trevor’s also my first target I go after whenever Grand Valley has already secured a win late in the second half. I know if I can throw him out, then my arm is feeling good. More often than not, though, he gets the better of me with a catch. An all-around complete player, Trevor is a big reason as to why GVSU has yet to lose this season.
Andy Lieblich – MSU
Andy is one of the timeliest catchers in the league. He is an exceptional catcher, but what sets him apart to me is his ability to make the clutch catch. He almost singlehandedly won the defining point when we had ten men against Kentucky this year through multiple catches in the span of seconds. He coupled that with a flurry of catches during our most recent match versus GVSU to almost give MSU the victory. Andy also has a deceptively fast throw with good movement. He also provides valuable leadership on the court for our team, making him an easy pick for my roster.
Drew Greenawalt – UK
I think Drew is the best overall catcher in the league (sorry Wes). He has made some of the most acrobatic catches I have ever seen. He has been on the ground and turned and dove to catch a ball. I once threw at his teammate three or four times in a row and kept getting the rebound back. On the fifth throw, Drew jumped in front of his teammate and caught my throw. It was incredible. I’ve seen a team throw of four accurately thrown balls fail to hit him. If my team was down to just Drew, I am positive at least one person is coming back into the game.
Wes Peters – CMU
Known throughout the league for his catching ability and as the captain of Central Michigan, Wes makes my roster for a number of reasons. First, his catching is top notch. I’m sure everyone who has played against Wes has seen him make at least one ridiculous catch. The first tournament of the year last season at Kent State, Wes was alone against Noe Galaviz and myself. We team threw and as Noe’s throw went high mine was barely an inch off of the ground towards the outside of Wes’s foot. He dove towards the ground and caught my throw with only his hands, and then got up and fired at Noe to win the point right before half. We weren’t able to recover after that and CMU took the match. Obviously Wes has great skill, but what sets him apart in my mind is his tactical ability. In the Spartan Invite this season, we had CMU down to 2 men with nine seconds left after a CMU shot clock violation. After a timeout, Wes had one of his men hide behind the other. We hit the first, but ran out of time before we could get a solid throw off on the second. The strategic mind of Wes, along with his talent, is the reason why he makes my overtime roster.