On November 11th the University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP) hosted the following teams at the Pioneer Classic: University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). We also saw some of the University of Wisconsin Stout players come down to play in the alumni games to get a little experience in. Let’s take a look at the results below and hear the captain’s thoughts from the day.
UNL (3-0)-UNL wanted to come out and put on another strong performance in their second event of the year and they did just that. For the Cornhuskers, they have several players that can take over at any point during a match and that is what makes it hard to compete against them. The best part for UNL is that they have not been at full force yet so we have not even seen this team at their very best. They got a ton of experience for their rookies and this will help fill in the holes in their roster to compete when it will matter most.
UWP (2-1)– For UWP, this was the first tournament that they were able to have a full roster with a good mix of veteran and rookie players. This was important as it allowed the Pioneers to build chemistry and get a better idea of where they stand as a club. They know that they need to be more consistent in their play and make smarter decisions on the court so that they don’t put themselves in bad positions to give up points.
UIUC (1-2)– This was UIUC’s second tournament ever and they picked up their first win as a club. They are a very fast paced team that loves to take chances, which at times cause teams to break from their strategy and make mistakes. They are going to challenge teams in the future once they figure out a more controlled game strategy. UIUC will be a fun team to watch this season.
CUW (0-3)– Although they didn’t see the results they wanted, this team looks even better than the last time that they played at the Pioneer Classic. Their throws look faster and they are throwing harder. For CUW, they just need to get more games in so that their rookie players can get reps and better understand how the game is played. If Concordia can build up their team chemistry, they will pick up some wins and they will be just fine this season.
The following questions were asked of the captains.
Erik Zander- How did you feel about your team’s performance?
Connor Knott (CUW)-Our new roster got some experience which is very important for the development of our team. Although we didn’t win any games, we came away with points which is something we were unable to do at last year’s UWP tournament. I am proud of the team and the way they played.
Charles Cardenas (UIUC)-Our team played exactly as we expected. We gave it our all, showed our skills, and tried our best to compete with the more experienced teams. As a captain, player, and friend of each teammate, I am very happy with our performance and determination throughout the competition.
Nicholas Stocks (UWP)– Platteville’s performance at the Pioneer Classic showcased some of our strengths along with some weaknesses. When we worked as a team communicating effectively on court, we were the dominate force countering the other team quickly and setting up team throws. When our communication fell through, the team crumbled, and our players got out quickly. We also need to individually work on the little things, me included, like blocking and court awareness.
Caleb Fowler (UNL)– Coaches felt pretty good about the weekend for our team, only dropping our first point of the year. We raised our point differential to 30-1, which is absolutely stunning. Overall, as a team we showed a lot of patience in times where things got hectic, which is what we wanted to work on between Iowa State and now.
EZ- What players on your team stood out?
CK– Paul Brock and Ethen Hiland stood out this tournament. They both proved to be play makers and leaders on and off the court. I look forward to seeing them both progress. I think Paul Brock is one of the most underrated players in the league.
CC– Each of our players had highlights of their own, but some notable performances include Ehis Eromosele’s dominance and Konnor Del Mar’s snipes. Both players had other teams talking throughout the day. Additionally, I’d like to mention Daniel Moskal’s clutch plays, and Daniel Kalai’s hard-fought kills in his final NCDA appearance.
NS-Dylan Fabry was a solid player for us as a thrower and providing pump fakes, even after taking a couple hard hits he continued to provide for UWP. Zak Lathrop was another who was a team player providing coverage by getting blocks for his teammates and pump faking to slow the progression of the other team.
CF– A few players that stood out to me were Gabe Moseman and AJ Benemerito. They took the helm of controlling the pace of the game, which is no easy task. Another player I want to highlight is Noah Arent. He kept his cool in a 1v1 situation against UWP, and won us the point, pushing our momentum even further in that game.
EZ– What do you plan to work on to improve for the future?
CK– We need to find our identity as a team. We played scattered and disconnected. Our future practices will hopefully solve these issues. We are looking for our coach to develop a play style that matches our teams strengths.
CC– Our plan is simple. We have great talent in our players, but our experience and coordination is still immature. This was brought to reality when facing Platteville, who surprised us with their cohesive playing style. Once we start to look like one single unit, we will undoubtedly improve as a team.
NS– As a team, we must keep up the on-court communication if we want to succeed so continuing to work on the continuous on-court communication. We will also keep working on the fundamentals like blocking and catching, because everyone struggled in different areas. Once we lock down those areas Platteville will be a force to be reckoned with.
CF– The things that we need to work on are transitions, offensively and defensively being able to attack and get back so other teams have to play our pace. We did this at times on the weekend but I believe we can be more disciplined on moving as a unit. Also, our team throws were not up to our usual standard, not necessarily just timing but also accuracy, it took balls over to really setup an effective team throw most times and we were not able to get them accomplished in pace of play.
EZ– What are 3-4 players that stood out to you on the other teams?
CK-These were the following players that stood out to us from the other teams: Caleb Newell #7, Tomas Zander #25, Charles Cardenas, and all of Nebraska.
CC-A couple players who gave us a hard time throughout the day include #30 Noah Willey on UNL, who had a powerful presence on the court and just as powerful a throw. Next, Connor Knott on CUW was a great threat with his nasty throws, slick movement, and court leadership. Finally, #31 Bryden Hundt on Platteville did an excellent job of pump faking to pose a threat the entire match.
NS– UNL all around has solid players who can catch, block, and throw. Caleb Fowler has done a great job continuing to lead a strong, competitive UNL squad. From UIUC, Charles Cardenas played well and was also a great leader for his team on the court. His team did great given how new of a club they are, give UIUC another semester or two to continue refining their skills and they won’t be a team to under estimate. CUW has grown tremendously since we played them a year ago. Connor Knott has done a great job leading his team to better themselves and work as a team to compete with other squads.
CF-The following players stood out to us at the Pioneer Classic: Charles Cardenas, Connor Knott, Caleb Newell, and Caleb Laux.
Final Thoughts- This was a great weekend filled with some awesome games and an opportunity to see the central region in action. If you didn’t get to see the games they can be found our the YouTube channels below, make sure to subscribe. Also, check out the link below as well to see pictures from the day!