Happy Holidays everyone, are you listening…? Dodgeball is back as the NCDA heads up to Kalamazoo, Michigan for the 2nd Annual Dr. Peter Broe Classic on Sunday, December 3rd. This tournament will be very busy as there will once again be 9 schools attending, who are all looking for an extra present this holiday season as the semester will wrap up following this event. This tournament will see schools from Michigan, Ohio, & Wisconsin face off against each other and as per usual, we have a preview for each team attending.
By Mitchell Porter (Kent), Owen Israels (GVSU Alum), Erik Zander (UWP alum), and Ethan Lehmkuhl (OSU)
The Chips are coming into this contest off a rough showing at the Victory Cannon Doubleheader losing twice to WMU by a combined score of 16-0. The young Chips squad is looking to have a much improved performance in their second showing of the year. With two games against similar skill/experience level teams in CSU and CUW, Central will look not to just take their first points of the early campaign, but look to secure their first W of the year. Last year at this same tournament CMU got a win verses what was an extremely young CUW team, so don’t be surprised to see a competitive match-up between these two. If CMU pulls off a win in this tournament, their communication and court awareness will be what sways the outcome. If they are talking with each other and not giving away ball control they will give themselves a chance this weekend against their similarly ranked opponents. Then with a tough game vs perennial national power GVSU, CMU will have to do their best to not let the Lakers run away with this one.
Cleveland State enters the DPBC2 with just one win so far this season, and I don’t think the league expected anything different out of this team. While CSU are heavy underdogs in their matchups against UWP and MSU, it will be interesting to see how they perform against a rebuilding CMU squad. A 1-2 performance on Sunday would certainly be a positive day for the Vikings.
Concordia will be competing in their second tournament of the season at DPBC II. Look for them to be much sharper and put up even more of a fight than they did at the Pioneer Classic. With their first tournament of the year out of the way, they were able to learn a lot and really figure out what they needed to work on to get more competitive. Their opponents are MSU, SVSU, and CMU. The MSU game will really challenge them but it will get them ready for the next two. If they can play together they will make the SVSU game interesting and this time around get a win against CMU.
Grand Valley State
The Lakers come into their 3rd tournament of the year with a 5-0 record. Most recently adding a 3-0 performance a few weeks ago in Saginaw with wins vs SVSU, WMU, and CSU. A repeat 3-0 day is the expectation for the Lakers as they will be facing off against WMU, CMU, and MSU. The Lakers will start off their day against in-state opponent CMU. This is a game that the Lakers will look to get warm, jump out to an early lead, then give younger players in-game experience. This one shouldn’t be close. The second game of the day for the Lakers will be WMU. While GV beat WMU a few weeks ago pretty handily, at the time WMU wasn’t at full strength with only 9 players in attendance. With this being WMU’s big home tournament I’d expect a better attendance from the Broncos. The game might end up being tighter than their matchup in Saginaw but I’d think a majority of the country expects GV to roll. In what will most likely be the game of the day, the Lakers take on MSU in what has been quite the matchup the last few years. The Lakers early in the season took control of the rivalry for the year as they defeated the Spartans on their home turf, getting some early season revenge for the National Championship loss last year. This is a game that will be swung by the depth of each team. Top talent on both sides essentially cancels each other out, swaying in GV’s favor depending on who you ask. It’s those middle 5-12 in this game that’s going to decide who wins. Keep an eye on younger players to step up to take a little bit of the load off of higher caliber ones.
Inconsistent but cohesive and passionate. Those are the words that Captain Nathan Keller has used to describe his squad. The Flashes are 6-7 on the season and are coming off “One of the most intriguing 0-3 days in NCDA History” (Credit – Rylan Close, Kent St. Coach) following a blowout loss to BGSU, but very close, hard-fought losses against top teams MSU & UC, 3-2 & 3-1 respectively. The Golden Flashes will be arriving in Kalamazoo with a strong motivation to go 3-0 this weekend with a slate of games that see them play hosts Western Michigan, Saginaw Valley State, & Wisconsin-Platteville in that order. Kent has been led by a 3-headed Hydra of Branden Stevens, Mike Bilczo, & Jacob Florentine, but they have seen rookies such as Rayshawn Shepard & JJ Oldenburg step up. Kent State has struggled to find a true tactical identity so far, but after their performance at the Tyler Webb Memorial, that might have changed. With the DPBC II being the final tournament of the fall semester, the Flashes will look to finish it with a winning record for the first time since 2019 when they went 9-7.
The Spartans enter the 2023 Dr. Peter Broe Classic with a respectable 7-1 record. With a nice 4-0 showing in Bowling Green a few weeks ago, the Spartans look to add onto those 7 wins this weekend. The Spartans Saturday slate includes games against CUW, UWP, CSU, and GVSU. All of which are games MSU can win. The Spartans have already faced UWP this year and took care of business in East Lansing and that should be the case again in Kalamazoo. Two new foes for the Spartans in this 2023-24 include CSU and CUW. With both these opponents, MSU can jump out to an early lead and take control of the game. This will be a valuable opportunity for MSU’s depth to gain experience as they continue to master their play style and game. To finish off the day the Spartans take on in-state rival Grand Valley. Earlier in the year, the Spartans fell to the Lakers 3-2 in East Lansing. They’ll look to come out firing in this matchup, jump on the Lakers early, and not let them gain any momentum. As usual for MSU teams the expectation is to go undefeated on the day, and going 4-0 is all the Spartans have on their mind. Will the neutral site, added experience, and desire from the early season loss be enough to propel the Spartans to a win? Tune in Sunday and find out.
Saginaw Valley State
Saginaw has struggled heavily this semester with numbers, but they have managed to put up a 2-4 record to this point in the season. If the Cardinals can get healthy and get players to this tournament, I would see it as no surprise if they went 3-0 on the day.
This is a tournament that Platteville has been planning for since the start of the year. The last event of the year to provide them with an opportunity to see what type of team they will be going into the next semester. For the Pioneers, it will all come down to the fundamentals and making sure that they use them. It will also come down to their ability to not only communicate with each other but their ability to listen as well. UWP needs to stick to their game plan and use their strategy. They need to do it throughout all games and not just at certain points. If they can do this, they will compete with every team they come up against. They play MSU, CSU, and Kent and are hoping to go at least 2-1 on the day and end on a high note.
WMU enters Sunday with a 5-3 record on the year. Despite being above .500, the Broncos have no big wins to their name. After dropping their last match against SVSU by a score of 6-0, I am expecting this team to come out looking with more motivation than ever. One advantage for WMU is that this will be a home tournament, and they have shown to perform much better in Kalamazoo with a full roster. With All-American hopeful Ryan Allor back, this team could realistically end the day 2-1.
Final thoughts–This is going to be a great weekend filled with some awesome games! Court 1 will be streamed on the NCDA channel, Court 2 on WMU channel, and Court 3 on UW-Platteville channel. The links to each one are below! Make sure to follow and subscribe to the channels so that you notified when we are live!