Ohio Region Preview 2022-23

The following was prepared by the NCDA Content Team:

Another season of college dodgeball is nearly upon us. To start our series of regional preview articles we will look to the first region scheduled to compete this fall: the Ohio Region. With a Miami v. UC doubleheader on Sept. 11, the Buckeye Showcase on the 18th, and the RedHawk Classic on the 24th, Ohio schools will see plenty of action over the next month.

In 2021-22 Cincinnati stole the show in the Ohio Region. In only their fourth year as a club, Cincy was the class of the region, going 21-4, winning the Ohio Dodgeball Cup, and reaching the Final Four. Outside of the Bearcats, a few schools (Ohio State / Ohio) had some bright spots throughout the year but made it no further than the Quarterfinals at Nationals. Akron, which lost in the round of 16 at Nationals, did pull off a major upset over Michigan State but failed to stay consistent throughout the season. All in all, the Ohio Region had plenty of solid teams but only one that was a national contender. In 2022-23, seven schools will look to change that narrative and show how deep the region really is. Read our full Ohio Region preview below:


  1. Cincinnati
  2. Ohio
  3. Ohio State
  4. Bowling Green State
  5. Akron
  6. Cleveland State
  7. Miami
  8. Kent State


Program on the Rise: Miami

Biggest Unknown: Akron

Most Underrated Player: Brannon McGinn (UC)

Coach of the Year: Wes Peters / Brandon Engelman (UC)


  1. Caleb Arnold (Ohio)
  2. Cory Heitmann (UC)
  3. Matt Rosinski (UC)
  4. Ryan Ginsberg (OSU)
  5. Alex Jonauskas (Ohio)
  6. Terence Checkett (Ohio)

Team Previews


Preseason National Rank: 3

Preseason Regional Rank: 1

2021-22 Record: 21-4

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Semifinals

Returning Starters: 9

Coaches: Wes Peters, Brandon Engelman

Captains: Cory Heitmann (C), Ryan Engelman (A), Isaiah Montgomery (A)

Standout Players: Cory Heitmann, Ryan Engelman, Isaiah Montgomery, Brannon McGinn, Matt Rosinski, Brett Liming

Key Departures: Adam Holtz, Luke Grace

The Good:

Cincinnati vaulted into the upper echelon of programs in the NCDA in 2021-22 with a stellar 21-4 season record and a Final Four appearance in only the second Nationals the team has attended. The Bearcats bring back an embarrassment of riches following last year, led by a handful of players that have been on the team since the very beginning for the program. This team should once again own the Ohio Region and push for a National Title. Oh, and did we mention former Akron star Colby Briceland is taking grad classes at UC and joining this already loaded roster?

The Bad:

Really not much to be said here, so we’re going to nit-pick. A few issues arose on Championship Sunday at Nationals last season that are worth mentioning. Cincy didn’t have enough dynamic arms / arm depth on the roster to stay playing their best late in the tournament. They were a shell of their normal self in games against elite talent (see: losses to JMU and GVSU). If Cincy wants to take that massive next step as a program they will need to shore up their arm depth and be prepared to perform at the top of their game on a certain Sunday afternoon in April.

Our Call:

With a veteran-laden roster filled with so many seniors that have been around since UC’s first season, this year feels like ‘the year’ for Cincinnati. For all the NCDA historians out there, it is very reminiscent of the James Madison 2014-15 roster, though for UC’s sake hopefully it ends in a title. Retaining the entire OT-6, and adding a seasoned vet in Briceland should make this team strides better than the 2021-22 roster that went 21-4 and entered Nationals at #1 in the country.

“After a year of dominance and growth our team is coming back close to full strength and with a hell of a lot more tournament experience. The expectation is simple for our team: Win every single match, and finally win the national championship we feel like we have worked for and deserve.”

Matt Rosinski


Preseason National Rank: 4

Preseason Regional Rank: 2

2021-22 Record: 9-8

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Quarterfinals

Returning Starters: 10

Captains: Alex Jonauskas, Caleb Arnold, Max Stoeckel, Terence Checkett

Standout Players: Aex Jonauskas, Caleb Arnold, Max Stoeckel, Terence Checkett, Daniel Van Fleet, Garrett Carbullido

Key Departures: Max Anthony, Jon Rupp

The Good:

Ohio Dodgeball put itself back on the map this past season. The Bobcats look to return 3 key veterans and a multitude of talented soon-to-be sophomores. 1st team All-American Caleb Arnold will help lead the offensive charge along with seasoned veteran Alex Jonauskas. Senior Max Stoeckel who will look to take the next step in his game as he continues to be a serious threat with a ball in his hands. With this talented and vastly experienced core, Ohio plans to be serious championship contenders. OU boasts a number of talented young players looking to make a sophomore leap. This includes the promising all around play of Daniel Van Fleet and Terence Checkett, paired with the natural catching ability of Garret Carbullido and Judson Jones, along with the eye-popping arm talent possessed by Sean O’Donnell, Austin Bensman, and Hunter Humphries.

The Bad:

Some might say that Ohio is rather top heavy, some might say that they’re still too young; they would say you’re wrong. On paper the Bobcats are still one of the younger teams in the NCDA, however as last year’s rookies get their second year of experience this concern holds less validity. Ohio does lose two on-court leaders this year and will need some younger guys to take another step in their dodgeball sense and communication skills.

Our Call:

OU certainly has the talent to go all the way, the experience is still coming around, but this year presents the clubs best chance in it’s history to bring home a title. The perfect storm of young players looking to break out, along with household NCDA names playing some of their final games has Ohio in a position to turn heads this year, its all in their own hands. All roads lead through Athens!

“I think we have 4 guys who could genuinely challenge for first team All-American, I think we might have the best catching in the league, and I know for a fact that I’ve never been apart of a more hungry team.”

Max Stoeckel

Ohio State

Preseason National Rank: 8

Preseason Regional Rank: 3

2021-22 Record: 14-6

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Quarterfinals

Returning Starters: 9

Coaches: Felix Perrone, Sam Palumbo, Dan Shackelford

Captains: Ryan Ginsberg, Ethan Lehmkuhl, Ben Dardia, Evan Utterback

Standout Players: Ryan Ginsberg, Ethan Lehmkuhl, Ben Dardia, Evan Utterback, Derrek Kemper, Elijah Thomas

Key Departures: Dylan Greer, Sam Palumbo

The Good:

Ohio State had strong core of young players on the 2021-22 roster, many of whom were active in the 2022 USA Dodgeball Premier Tour over the summer. Expect that group of players to make a big jump this NCDA season. Ryan Ginsberg is set for a true breakout year, Ethan Lehmkuhl has improved immensely since mid-season 2021-22, and the Buckeyes get All-Rookie stud Derrek Kemper back from injury.

The Bad:

The Buckeyes lose a few big time stars from last year in Dylan Greer and Sam Palumbo. That’s quite a bit of production and leadership they need to replace. Does this group have enough ‘top throwers’ to be an explosive team offensively?

Our Call:

The Buckeyes looked outmatched at times last year when facing top competition. They need to make a big jump in team communication and execution to be able to compete with the elite tier in the NCDA. Lots of role players will need to take a major step forward. With that said, OSU should have better overall depth than last year, and if they can play to their potential they can make some noise in 2022-23.

“We’re excited to see how well we will match up with stacked teams like UC and MSU this year and how teams who lost major contributors will bounce back (Towson, JMU, BG). Most excited to play UNL and UC.”

Ethan Lehmkuhl

Bowling Green State

Preseason National Rank: 10

Preseason Regional Rank: 4

2021-22 Record: 12-8

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Round of 16

Returning Starters: 8

Captains: Easton Huffman, Joey Irwin, Evan Brown

Standout Players: Evan Brown, Josh Boyers, Easton Huffman, Evan Maynard, Joey Irwin

Key Departures: Cole Wilson, Gabe Carrington, Brandon Feltner, Josh White

The Good:

BGSU is returning 8 starters from their 2022-2023 Season. Captains Easton Huffman, Joey Irwin, and Evan Brown will lead a young BGSU team that is eager and ready to prove they can hang with anyone in the league. This season will provide the Falcons a great opportunity to build off of last season. After ending their season with a loss to Penn State in bracket play, the Falcons are coming back hungry and are looking to the sophomore class to take a step forward. Seniors Joey Irwin and Easton Huffman will lead the Falcons this year; keep an eye out for 2021-22 rookie standouts Josh Boyers and Evan Maynard as they continue to develop and become corner stones for the Falcons.

The Bad:

With the Falcons losing their two best throwers and two best catchers, there will be growing pains the first few months of the season. Having to replace offensive weapons Cole Wilson and Brandon Feltner will not be an easy task. Players like Easton Huffman and Evan Brown will be looking to take the reigns on the offense. Josh White and Gabe Carrington were not only the best defensive players but two of the biggest leaders and teachers on the team. Losing this veteran presence means this young team is going to have to find their own identity and learn to play with each other if they want to have success on the court.

Our Call:

For the Falcons, their 2022-23 season will fall on the shoulders of the now sophomore class. There are big shoes to fill, and the question heading into the season is: who’s going to fill them? The Falcons are no stranger to reloading. If their captains and veterans can help this young team develop, don’t be surprised when the Falcons are up there with the best teams in Ohio.

“This year is going to be a great year for the Falcons. Every single person on this team believes in our ability to win against any team we face this season. We are keeping the pedal to the metal and we are ready to prove the league wrong and show them that BGSU is going be a hard team to beat.”

Joey Irwin


Preseason National Rank: 12

Preseason Regional Rank: 5

2021-22 Record: 11-11

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Round of 16

Returning Starters: 8

Coaches: Adam Pfeifer

Captains: Clay Egleston, Matt Young, PJ Antalek

Standout Players: Alexis Schultz, Matt Young, PJ Antalek, Jeremy Faircloth, Ryan Curtis, Alex Acevedo

Key Departures: Brandon Snyder, Tommy Masteller, Logan Sims, Michael Hinnebusch

The Good:

Akron is in a great place right now with lots of returning talent, veteran leadership, and young players. Last season they played 22 total matches and broke even in wins and losses while also picking up a few keys wins throughout the year. The experience they gained last year will pay dividends in 2022-23.

The Bad:

This team has a lot of great pieces, but struggles to put them together for a win at times. It seems like they can do everything well, but not at the same time or in the right moments. Will they have enough offense to keep pace with other teams in Ohio?

Our Call:

Akron had some stellar moments in 2021-22 (beating MSU in OT) but also had some inconsistent performances. The main thing to keep an eye on with Akron this year is how consistent they can be and how disciplined their role players can play in big games.

“People will be surprised to see our level of play this year. We can’t wait to show what Akron is made of from our returning veterans and large recruiting class.”

Matt Young

Cleveland State

Preseason National Rank: 14

Preseason Regional Rank: 6

2021-22 Record: 6-11

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Round of 16

Returning Starters: 10

Coaches: Leon Rockamore Jr, Kris Haas

Captains: Jostein Sagnes, Jordan Jones, Kevin Premsook, Willaim McCartney

Standout Players: Jostein Sagnes, Antoine Lamar, Kevin Premsook, Willaim McCartney, Arman Jocek, Jordan Jones

Key Departures: Kyle Wiesmore,
Joe Walsh, Will Fraizer

The Good:

CSU boasts 10 returning starters, all with the experience and drive needed to push them farther this season. Eight of the 10 starters are only in their sophomore year so they have plenty of room to grow as a young team. To back up such a young team, CSU has amassed a host of veteran leadership through many alumni players from a few different NCDA teams. A lot of these players have been playing all throughout the summer to improve their game, so look for their previous rookies to come into this new season at a different level. Like many schools this year, CSU looks promising, and plans to bring in more rookie talent this year to keep the team fresh for years to come.

The Bad:

It’s no secret Joe Walsh was CSU’s star player, and a key tool in their offense. Losing him will definitely put CSU behind if they cannot find someone to fill the many roles he filled out on the court. While being young has its advantages in the long run, it remains uncertain how well that will fair for the Vikings this season in particular. CSU’s biggest struggle last year was finding a game plan that suited their roster and sticking to it, which resulted in losses and close games that should’ve had much more distinction on the scoreboard.

Our Call:

Cleveland State has a long way to go in terms of acquiring new talent and developing existing talent. Their biggest strengths currently could also be considered their biggest weaknesses. It will all depend on how CSU operates with all their resources this year. Looking closer at their roster, they have some legit candidates for All-Ohio. With the right game plan, this could be a dangerous team. If CSU can pull off a winning record this year, it would be a massive step in the right direction for the future of this club.

“This year, CSU is taking their rightful place in the upper echelon of the NCDA. We are young and hungry, a team to watch closely this upcoming season.”

Jostein Sagnes


Preseason National Rank: 20

Preseason Regional Rank: 7

2021-22 Record: 1-13

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Round of 16

Returning Starters: 10

Captains: Elly Schipfer (C), Connor Smith (A), Katie Mei Williams (A)

Standout Players: Jay Patel, Cole Cinocchio, Max Edling, John Rick, Ben Albrecht

Key Departures: Anna Moellenbeck, Jake Parks

The Good:

With a new year comes a new opportunity, one the Miami RedHawks are planning to capitalize on. The team is returning the most starters of any team in Ohio this year. Captain Elly Schipfer, Connor Smith, and Katie Mei Williams are leading the way for the RedHawks this season with players like Jay Patel and Max Edling looking to make a name for themselves. The young team began to find their footing as last season came to an end with a win over Kentucky at Nationals. Now, as this team’s second year together begins, they are looking to keep the momentum going forward into the season. They have focused heavily on team bonding and building trust in one another. Miami has gone from winning 1 game to top 15 in one season before, can they repeat it?

The Bad:

Last season was rough for the RedHawks. The team was hit hard by the gap in seasons and lost most of their talent. They recruited well and the team fought all year long and was able to get their first win of the season on the second day of Nationals. The RedHawks lose Captain Anna Moellenbeck and Jake Parks but have a strong sophomore class that is ready to prove that they are building something great. If they can continue to recruit and develop players we should see a different Miami compared to last year.

Our Call:

Miami is more than capable of bouncing back from their 2021-2022 season. With their young roster having a full year under their belt, the RedHawks are going to be a team to watch as the season goes on. Miami should be able to build off of last season and find success in the win column. This is a team to keep your eye on.

“I mean someone has to win, right? Might as well be us.”

Elly Schipfer

Kent State

Preseason National Rank: 21

Preseason Regional Rank: 8

2021-22 Record: 0-3

2012-22 Nationals Finish: Did Not Attend

Returning Starters: 4

Captains: Vanessa Hudson, Nina Lozada

Standout Players: Vanessa Hudson, Nina Lozada, Nathan Keller, Donny Matthews

Key Departures: None

The Good:

The talent that Kent State retains this year is formidable and very underrated. Despite only being able to bring 8 player’s to CSU’s Viking Clash last season, they were able to show they would not go down easily. With the right surrounding talent, we can see this team back on their feet with a few wins under their belt this season. They seem to be off to a hot start with recruiting.

The Bad:

Kent State’s absence from Nationals and their losing record last season can be tied directly to the lack of players on their roster. The gap from COVID hit this team hard. While the players they retained have considerable talent, they haven’t had the ability to develop those talents in competition. Their directive this year will no doubt be recruitment and rebuilding before they can chase down a winning record.

Our Call:

As one of the founding member teams of the NCDA, it hurts to see Kent where they are now. This will most definitely be a rebuilding year for them. This team’s future is not yet set in stone but hinges on how they will bounce back this year. Getting a full 12 players and being able to travel to tournaments is what we’ll be looking for from Kent State. If they can do that, then look out for their veteran players to display some of their hidden skills on the big stages.

5-season Trends

Author: Kevin Bailey

Current NCDA Chief of Content. Former Captain for Grand Valley State University (#4).

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