The NDA’s inaugural East Coast event took place this past weekend (6/17). Eight teams participated, with six East Coast teams making their NDA debut and two Ohio teams making the trip down after participating in NDA – East Lansing a little over a month ago. There were blowouts, overtime nail biters, and all the highlights you can handle in post-collegiate pinch dodgeballs return to the East Coast.
Midwest Mutiny (6-0-1)
Mutiny arrived at Saturday’s tournament as the odds-on favorite to win the tournament and they did not disappoint. Their team chemistry combined with the addition of All-American Terence Checkett made them a dominant team on paper. The day started in dramatic fashion with a shocking tie against the Baltimore Blue Crabs, but they regained their composure and went undefeated during the rest of round robin. Captain Ginsberg and FA Checkett were key to locking in the #1 overall seed.
DMV Grizzlies (5-1-1)
The Grizzlies were also able to cruise through most of their round robin schedule. They had a electric 1-1 tie with Chaos, where Chaos made one highlight reel catch after another and tied the game in the closing seconds. They also lost a hard fought 2-1 to Mutiny to close out their round robin schedule. They only surrendered one other point (a 2-1 victory over Precision) during round robin and secured the #2 seed. Shawn Sullivan and Zane Durbin headlined most of their games.
Virginia Venom (5-2)
The Virginia Venom were able to recapture the catch-and-run style of play that VCU is famous for en route to a 5-2 record. Their only losses came to top seeds Mutiny (2-1) and Grizzlies (2-0), and while they had close games with Chaos, Blue Crabs, and Precision, they were able to close out wins with their superior patience and strategy. Their best players on the day were Matt Bosco, RJ Morgan, and Zach Parise.
Baltimore Precision (4-3)
The Baltimore Precision arrived with their trademark explosiveness and highlight reel plays in full display, only able to be defeated when the top 3 seeds were able to control the tempo of the game. Captain Marcus Morgan was electric out of the middle, with Jeremy Meadows racking up a staggering 43 kills and 7 catches from the left corner. They were able to finish with the 4th seed despite losing star Akil Antoine halfway through round robin due to a schedule conflict.
Baltimore Blue Crabs (1-4-2)
The Baltimore Blue Crabs entered Saturday eager to show they could compete with older, more established teams. While they were unable to topple any of the top teams at the event, they were able to compete with them and were the only team at the tournament to not lose to Mutiny (1-1 tie). Despite their record this was a successful day for this brand new team. Connor Engel, Max Pagella, and Joey Tiger were the Blue Crabs best players on the day.
Cleveland Chaos (1-4-2)
The Cleveland Chaos were one of only two teams at this event that had played in an NDA tournament before, and similar to the Blue Crabs were eying up the older teams in attendance. While also unable to secure a win against the top seeds, they were able to secure a tie with the Grizzlies behind phenomenal catches from Matt Gonzalez and Branden Stevens. While likely not happy with their final placement, they now know for sure they have the potential to compete with and even beat the top teams at most events. In addition to the aforementioned players, Matt Barnett and Mike Blizco were key to this teams success.
Richmond Protagonists (1-5-1)
The Richmond Protagonists came in to the day with no expectations, and while finishing second to last they surprised some people and flashed some exciting potential. They were able to take a 2-0 lead on Chaos in a game that finished in a tie, and showed some good athleticism in their other matches. PSU captain Cloud Tapia-Manon was their best player, with TJ (last name redacted) and Jeff Kitchen flashing some promising potential.
DC Snails (1-5-1)
The DC Snails were a last minute entrant to the tournament, and the only team with no pinch experience. The lack of experience in the format definitely showed in their last place finish. However, they were still able to grit out a win against the Cleveland Chaos to highlight their day. They were also able to tie the Protagonists. Leadership from Peter Cho and clutch plays from Steve Head helped this team find success.
Mutiny v Precision (5-3 Mutiny W)
This game started out in lopsided fashion, with Mutiny taking a 4-0 lead into halftime. They were dominant throughout with a solid team effort that outmaneuvered their veteran opponents at every turn. Precision made sure the second half would be a very different story. They dug deep and won 3 consecutive points, headlined by spectacular catches from captain Marcus Morgan and a gritty performance by Tyler Steffy fighting through an injury to his throwing hand. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough to overcome the depth of Mutiny and Precision fell 5-3 in the semifinal.
Grizzlies v Venom (6-0 Grizzlies W)
This game also started in lopsided fashion as the Grizzlies took the first two points in a short time. The Grizzlies tried to take their foot off the gas in the third point, and Matt Bosco took advantage. Several kills and catches later the Grizzlies were forced to call a timeout to sub captain Zach Fernald back into the game. About a minute later the score was 3-0 at halftime. The momentum stayed with the Grizzlies for the rest of the 6-0 semifinal matchup.
Mutiny v Grizzlies (7-0 Mutiny W)
Another lopsided match, the decisive moment came in the second point. The first point was all Ryan Ginsberg, rattling off four kills in four throws to begin the game and racking up three more during the point. The Grizzlies rallied in the second point behind an exceptional catching display by Bobby Burton, but ultimately fell once their catching luck ran out. The remainder of the game was as one sided as it gets, with Ryan Ginsberg dominating the Grizzlies right side and Terence Checkett holding back any pressure from their left. Mutiny capped off their undefeated day with a dominant victory and medals around their neck for their first NDA tournament win.
Chaos v Protagonist (5-1 Chaos W)
After tying with the Protagonists (2-2) in Round Robin, Chaos felt like they had something to prove. This was a dominant 5-1 victory. Nick ‘Shaggy’ Norman’s clutch catches and incredible survivability kept Chaos in the game when points got close. Cloud Tapia-Manon was the biggest stand out for the Protagonists. His strong throws and aggressive pressure were the only things that could slow Chaos down. Chaos was able to take firm control of this game once they focused on eliminating Cloud early in points.
Blue Crabs v Snails (9-0 Blue Crabs W)
Was it ever close? The Blue Crabs dominated each point inside and out and never let the Snails catch their breath. The Snails’ lack of experience became more apparent as they got tired towards the end of the day and the final score reflects that.
Blue Crabs v Chaos (3-2 OT Blue Crabs W)
Unlike their round robin matchup, a 2-0 Chaos win, this game was close from wire to wire. These teams traded blows all game and finished in dramatic fashion as Joey Tiger and Max Pagella took out Khacy Evans on a team throw to win the game in overtime and secure their 5th place finish. Matt Barnett was excellent for Chaos in this match, with his 1v1 victory against Joey Tiger sending the game to overtime.