One of the year’s biggest tournaments is upon us. With a whopping 10 A-teams and a B-team meeting together at Akron for their 8th annual Pink Out tournament. Schools from 3 regions all around the standings will be competing this weekend. With an additional women’s tournament the next day. There’s no shortage of teams and matchups to talk about going into the weekend.
The hosts of this weekend’s tournament look to replicate their past success at home, with 4 matchups against SVSU, UMD, Kent, and CSU. The Zips held strong against top level Ohio teams at the Buckeye Opener, but will look to turn that into some wins this weekend. As the hosts of the tournament, they are the only school playing against 4 teams on Saturday. So this should be a solid test of resilience for the Zips.However, Captain Cooper Sites, Arik Kavanagh, and coach Adam Pfeifer always keep this team disciplined enough to punch above their weight. Akron-B will also be attending, and will look to be another source of depth and talent for this team.
Penn State makes their season debut this weekend as hopefuls to top the East Coast region. Their schedule should be a strong indicator of how capable they are of achieving that, with games against UC, Ohio, and Miami. Going 3-0 on a schedule this stiff would solidify PSU as the contender that they can be on-paper. All-American Hunter Stewart will look to lead this team and take some massive steps forward as a program. The Nittany Lions have an incredibly deep talent pool, all that’s left is to see what they can put together this year.
Cincinnati will be attending their 3rd full length tournament of the season, the highest mark in the NCDA. Checking in at 4-2, the Bearcats have only fallen short to their rivals from Columbus thus far. This weekend, BOTM Matt Rosinski and Captain Will Hyatt will be tasked with leading a shorthanded roster against yet another tough schedule. Let’s see if Head Coach Wes Peters and his 2 first team All-American hopefuls can guide UC past the likes of Penn State, Ohio, and Bowling Green. It should be duly noted that Rosinski’s Kraken defeated Peters’ Final Justice in a gripping NDA Championship match this past weekend.
Kent State comes off their most successful tournament since 2019, with a 3-0 performance at the Buckeye Opener. Now, the objective for the Golden Flashes is to see if they can repeat it. They get a more difficult schedule than the one they saw at Ohio State, with games against UMD, SVSU, and Akron. The talent is deep on this team, with names like Nathan Keller, Branden Stevens, and Mike Bliczo all turning heads consistently in NCDA and NDA alike. While Rookie Baller of The Month JJ Oldenburg looks to develop into a key player going forward. This should be a good litmus test for the Flashes to see if they can hold consistent success.
Saginaw Valley State is the second team making their season debut this week. They face a very potent schedule with games against Akron, Kent, and Ohio. Captain Cole Machiela will be the face of this team going forward after the departure of Joe Barber. He has done nothing but show up at NDA over the offseason, and should have the rest of this team following suit. But it’s hard to make out what SVSU will look like this season after the graduations they’ve had. They’ll need to rely on a solid rookie class to make an impact for them in order to get some wins this weekend.
The Terps roll into Pink Out coming off a strong opening tournament and a near full roster. The 17 players UMD is bringing are the most they have had at an out of region tournament. This speaks volumes about the veteran leadership this team brings as well as the strength of their recruiting class this season. With a schedule of Kent, Akron B, and Akron, a 3-0 is definitely the goal. However, a 2-1 performance would still be strong for this group and help them break into the top 10.
Ohio has a very good opportunity to rebound from their performance at the Buckeye Opener. With a stiff schedule against UC, PSU, and SVSU. The Bobcats will have one of the top players in the league back in Terence Checkett. Veteran Max Stoeckel and top rookies Emmanuel Miller and Mary Holland will be looking to help get some wins on the table. Going 2-1 or better here would be just what Ohio needs to get their 2023 campaign back on track, but this is another difficult schedule for them to face.
We’ll finally get to see what CSU’s true roster looks like this weekend, as the Vikings will have their full squad here this time around. With key players such as Antoine Lamar, Arman Jocek, and a plethora of new rookies making their season debuts. Their schedule is pretty straightforward, with games against Akron, Akron-B, and a rematch with BGSU. Expect the Vikings to have a much stronger performance this time around, as having a full roster should make a huge difference from the last time we saw them at Buckeye Opener.
The Redhawks will take the court for the second time this season just 2 weeks after attending the Clifton Heights Classic. Miami went 1-2, winning a close match against a tough WMU squad, and battling against OSU and UC but falling short. This weekend they get the chance to show the league what’s next for this young and talented Redhawk roster against regional rivals Bowling Green, title contenders Penn State, and a hungry Akron B team. Led by blossoming stars Cole Ginnochio and Max Edling, who both turned heads at NDA nationals, Miami will be looking to return to .500 or better as they prepare for a trip to Akron
BGSU still finds themselves caught in that league middle ground. Often losing to the top squads and handling those lesser than them with ease. With a moderately difficult schedule of Miami, CSU, and UC, anything short of a 2-1 would be a disappointment for the Falcons. Captains Evan Brown and Kalin Strawther will need to have this group on their game if they are to maybe come up with a perfect day and shoot up the rankings.