On October 23rd, four teams from three different regions made the trip to Lexington, Kentucky to compete in the Kentucky Invitational. The teams in attendance were Ohio University, Ohio State University, Saginaw Valley State University, and University of Kentucky. Every team played against the other three teams for some exciting cross-regional play.
Ohio 4-2 OSU
Ohio 10-0 UK
Ohio 4-0 SVSU
Ohio came into this tournament as the top ranked team and with the expectation of winning all three matches. Their first match of the day was against Ohio region rival, OSU. Ohio came out with lots of energy leading to a quick 2-0 lead. They were able to hold this lead throughout the rest of the match using their experienced arms and top-notch catching ability. Their next two matches were against shorthanded UK and SVSU. They handled these opponents with ease using lots of catches en route to two shutout victories.
Ohio proved once again that they should be thought of as a top tier team in the league. With their second 3-0 performance on the year, they’ve improved their overall record to 8-1 on the year. Ohio will play at Akron’s Pink Out with some more cross regional play likely, giving them another chance to prove they should be considered National Championship contenders.
The Ohio State University
OSU 2-4 Ohio
OSU 4-1 SVSU
OSU 7-0 UK
Ohio State came into the day looking for their first 3-0 tournament this year and revenge against Ohio after they lost in the final second on their home court. However, OSU came out very slow in their first match against Ohio, losing two noncompetitive points. The energy picked up for the Buckeyes – winning a point and reducing the deficit to one before half. They had a chance to tie the match at 3-3, but lost the point in close fashion, leading to a 4-2 loss. The Buckeyes used their strong arms and catching to win their next two matches with relative ease.
Ohio State once again fell short against a top team, then beat up on teams ranked below them. Their third straight 2-1 performance has them ranked below top teams but above most others. Captain Ryan Ginsberg will be back eventually and Derrek Kemper is still working his way to full health after an arm injury. Will these additions to the lineup and development of young players be enough to launch OSU into a National Title contender?
Saginaw Valley State University
SVSU 6-1 UK
SVSU 1-4 OSU
SVSU 0-4 Ohio
Saginaw came into this tournament looking for a win against tough Ohio region opponents. They also came in shorthanded, missing four starters to injuries. They handled their first opponent, UK, with ease. However, they would then struggle to compete with OSU and Ohio. Being short handed and having few throwers led to their issues. Opponents were able to focus on their top talent, and SVSU struggled when they were on the outline.
SVSU showed some flashes with their catching ability. Cole Machiela and Joe Barber made great throws showing the ability to lead a team to victory. How much will the four starters they missed be able to add to this team still has to be shown. Will it be enough to upset some top teams and make a run for the Final Four?
University of Kentucky
UK 1-6 SVSU
UK 0-10 Ohio
UK 0-7 OSU
Kentucky came into their home tournament playing their first matches of the season. Due to some injuries and other conflicts, they were only able to have a roster of 8 players on their home court. This led to lots of struggles in all 3 games they played. David Mead was their standout player, showing a strong arm and good survival skills. 2022 Women’s All-American Skye Marvin also showed the ability to get crucial plays.
Although this team was very shorthanded, they were able to take a point against SVSU using their catching ability. If this team can bring a full roster to future tournaments and build on the impressive catching ability they showed, there is definitely lots of room for growth with this team. They also have alumni stepping in to help coach which is crucial for a rebuilding program.