At the Pioneer Invitational, UWP, DePaul, UNL, and SIUE competed to see who was the top team in the Midway conference. The games were highly competitive and entertaining to watch. The following are the results from Saturday:
UWP def SIUE (6-1)
UWP def DePaul (6-0)
UNL def SIUE (5-1)
UNL def DePaul (6-1)
Alumni def UWP (3-1)
SIUE def DePaul (7-0)
Alumni def SIUE (3-0)
UWP def UNL (2-1) OT
Robert Gabel (UNL)– I was very happy with the tournament overall. It was great to see the entire Midway conference playing together, and I believe every team benefited and learned how they can improve. For UNL, we learned that we can still play competitively whether we are at home or traveling. We haven’t had a chance to look at statistics, but I was very impressed with Colby Chohrach and Alex Johnson’s performances, considering this was their very first tournament. I think our entire team agrees that we need to work on catching more. Overall, I had a really good time and am incredibly proud of the huskers’ performance.
Zachary Jung (SIUE)– This tournament was the most fun that most of us had at a tournament in SIUE’s time in the NCDA. It was also a great introduction to a mostly new team to the Midway Conference and what its like to play against more defensive teams. Overall, SIUE got more experience and a better feeling on playing teams close to our level. We have improved greatly in a month since we played at Miami. We got our first win of the season against DePaul, which got everyone excited. That win sparked a fire in player’s interest and wanting to learn how to become better dodgeballers. In preparation for next semester, we will be practicing rubber dodgeball more and running some more throwing drills as we did have a lot of catches against us. Some stand out players for us were Josh Dale and Esmir Karabas (2 and 3) for being great defensive players. Also, Will Phillips and Victor Ortiz (21 and 31) for having a good eye when it came to picks. As for the other teams, we would like to give a shout out to Austin Kurey (32) and Daniel Brogli (5) from UWP, Joel Luciano (10) and Gavin Swartz (43) from DePaul, and lastly Xander Cox (7) and Colby Chohrach (22) from UNL. You all were great in your own respective fields whether it was blocking, catching, or having some nasty throws. You are all respectable players. Thanks for providing us with a great tournament and we are looking forward to seeing you guys next semester!
Daniel Brogli “Dirty Dan” (UWP)– This weekend’s tournament was exciting. Everyone had a great time, and I hope they all learned a lot. I know we have. This was the first time seeing SIUE and DePaul play, and it was nice to see where they are at. Saturday was the second time that UWP played UNL this season. It was an intense game, and I believe both teams learned from this experience. I know that we will be hosting another tournament in spring, and I hope to see everyone there again!
Joel Luciano (DePaul)– I think the tournament went extremely well, all things considered. We were down a few people and had a few injuries throughout the game but we did extremely well and almost scored a few points against various teams. We gained a lot of experience. Additionally, the new players got a taste of that competitive style dodgeball and the things that come along with it. Next semester we intend to have a full roster and use the experience gained from this tournament to grow both as a team and community. With that being said, I think the other teams did amazing too. Off the top of my head, #6 (Daniel Skoumal) from UWP had a tremendous arm. From UNL, #16 ( Dustin Sprunk) had a spectacular throw as well as timing on team throws. #22 (Colby Chohrach) surprised me a lot as well with his performance on the court. He has a really good presence as well as tactic on the court. The captain from SIUE #13 (Zachary Jung), was one of the most accurate and strongest throwers on the team. And #3 ( Esmir Karabas) was an outstanding catcher. Overall, I think all teams did spectacular and I look forward to hopefully facing them in nationals with a better and far more DePaul-esque team!
All Tournament Selection Team-The following players are the individuals that stood out for me at the tournament. These individuals were a big part of why their teams had success on court. In no particular order or ranking, the following individuals were selected to the Pioneer Invitational tournament selection team. Everyone better watch out for these guys next semester because they are only heating up!
UNL-1. Robert Gabel (#17), 2. Colby Chohrach (#22), 3. Jonathan Huebner (#21), 4. Dustin Sprunk (#16)
UWP– 1. Logan Stevenson (#9), 2. Ryan Wall (#19), 3. Noah Larscheid (#1)
SIUE- 1. Zachary Jung (#13), 2. Esmir Karabas, (#3), 3. Josh Dale (#2)
DePaul– 1. Joel Luciano (#10) 2. Christian Prato (#64)
Honorable Mentions– 1. Austin Kurey (#32-UWP), 2. Victor Ortiz (#31-SIUE)
Final Words– Overall, this was a great weekend for all the teams involved. The teams picked up on a lot of things and developed their skills further. All the teams did an excellent job helping referee and helped where it was needed. I’m looking forward to seeing these teams again next semester as I know that the level of competition is only going to increase. Keep up the good work everyone!