Previewing The War V

University of Akron (7-5)

Overall War Record: 11-7 (.611)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Four
Matches Scheduled: UWP (Sat, 12:00), Towson (Sat, 2:30), GVSU (Sat, 3:45), SVSU (Sun, 12:45), OSU (Sun, 2:00)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. OSU, 1-0 vs. UWP, 0-1 vs. Towson, 0-1 vs. SVSU
Fun Fact: Akron has only tallied a losing record at The War once, at War II where they went 2-3 on the weekend.

Akron has historically performed strongly at their annual home tournament, granted they don’t have many “quality” wins. They are certainly consistent in defeating teams they should and losing to teams that are considered to be superior. If this holds true to form, expect the Zips to come out with their 2nd losing record at The War. However, they’ve shown themselves to be strong enough to hang with “upset” wins over Michigan State and Bowling Green, and played top-5 ranked OSU very close in the fall. Depending on which Akron shows up, we could be in for some interesting results.

Bowling Green State University (9-4)

Overall War Record: 9-3 (.750)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Four
Matches Scheduled: Ohio (Sat, 9:30), GVSU (Sat, 10:45), SVSU (Sat, 3:45)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. Ohio
Fun Fact: Bowling Green has never lost at The War to an opponent from the Ohio region.

The Falcons find themselves in an intriguing position this weekend as they make the trip across I-90 Saturday. If I’m in their shoes, especially after a strong performance at the Ohio Dodgeball Cup, I would be confident in our chances going 3-0 this weekend. They squeaked by Ohio, who, while unpredictable, are a team they can beat again. Grand Valley is battling some serious injuries to a couple of key players and lack depth this season. A tough task to be sure, but not impossible. Lastly, Saginaw Valley has been quietly gaining invaluable experience all season, taking their lumps against the aforementioned Lakers and the Michigan State Spartans. We expect this to be the most competitive match of the day for BG. While 3-0 could be considered by some to be a lofty expectation, we on the content team don’t look at it as an impossibility by any stretch, especially considering their past performance at The War.

University of Cincinnati (11-2)

Overall War Record: 1-2 (.333)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: One
Matches Scheduled: SVSU (Sun, 11:30), Towson (Sun, 12:45), CSU (Sun, 2:00)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: N/A, All New Opponents
Fun Fact: Thanks to their 6-1 victory over UWP, UC has both scored and surrendered 9 points at their only War appearance.

Cincinnati waltzes into the weekend coming off a monumental high, winning the Ohio Dodgeball Cup just three weeks ago. The number one ranked Bearcats will, however, be without Captain Brett Liming this weekend, as he enjoys a well deserved vacation on a beach somewhere in Florida. That means we will have to see a lot of the supporting cast can step up and attempt to fill their captain’s shoes. As they ought to be against Bowling Green, expect the Cardinals to prove to be a pesky team to beat this weekend. They’ve got nothing to lose and all the experience in the world to gain going up against the Bearcats. Furthermore, the still technically defending champs Towson have been chomping at the bit to prove they are still the best team in the league as they too will take their best shot at Cincinnati. In UC’s last match of the day, Cleveland State will look to avenge the overtime loss they suffered in fall 2019.

Cleveland State University (3-3)

Overall War Record: 3-9 (.250)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Four
Matches Scheduled: Miami (Sat, 10:45), UWP (Sat, 2:30), Ohio (Sat, 5:00), UC (Sun, 2:00), OSU (3:15)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 0-1 vs. Ohio, 0-1 vs. Miami
Fun Fact: Cleveland State has not surrendered a point in their three victories at The War (1 forfeit victory).

Cleveland State will get a lot of much needed experience against tough opponents this weekend, and will also likely leave Akron with one or two, if not three wins under their belts as well. After missing out on the Ohio Dodgeball Cup earlier in the semester, they plan to more than make up for it by scheduling five matches this weekend. Four of the five will be against Ohio region schools, so again, making up for staying home from the ODC. Their most winnable matches will be on Saturday, as they play two teams they’ve already beaten soundly earlier in the year, but starting with their match against Ohio, wins will become a lot tougher to come by. 2020 All-American Joe Walsh is back in the fold for the Vikings, so expect some fireworks this weekend.

Grand Valley State University (10-2)

Overall War Record: 3-0 (1.000)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: One
Matches Scheduled: BGSU (Sat, 10:45), Towson (Sat, 1:15), Akron (Sat, 3:45)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: N/A, All New Opponents
Fun Facts: This will be Grand Valley’s first War appearance since 2017. All of their opponents will have records above .500 coming into the tournament.

The Lakers find themselves in an unfamiliar position at this point in the year. Sure, their record is strong at 10-2, and they’re undefeated at the only War they’ve played at previously. However, they have a tough schedule this weekend, and they come in licking their metaphoric and physical wounds after blowing a 3-0 lead against Michigan State two weeks ago. Grand Valley will once again be without Captain and 2020 MVP Ben Smart on the court for them, and will need to find leadership elsewhere so that we don’t see a repeat of the MDC. With all that being said, Grand Valley will always be Grand Valley until proven otherwise. The Lakers don’t care who they play, and who they have missing from their lineup, they will come in trying, no, expecting to go 3-0.

Miami University (0-6)

Overall War Record: 7-2 (.778)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Three
Matches Scheduled: SVSU (Sat, 9:30), CSU (Sat, 10:45), UWP (Sat, 1:15)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. CSU
Fun Facts: Miami’s only two War losses have come at the hands of East Coast region powerhouses Towson and James Madison. Miami has never faced a team from Michigan at The War prior to 2022.

The RedHawks have got to be the most sympathetic team in the league this season. They have lost damn near every single player from their roster in the 2019/20 season aside from Captain/President Anna Moellenbeck. The job she has done to keep this club afloat and put them into a position to be rebuilding is both admirable and commendable. While we expect Miami to have a resurgence in the near future and do their current historical War record justice, this weekend that 7-2 record is going to take some dents. They are deeply bereft of experience and game understanding, but will gain some of both of those things this weekend as they play Saginaw Valley, Cleveland State, and Wisconsin-Platteville. Don’t expect the RedHawks to be looked down upon for long.

Ohio University (2-4)

Overall War Record: 5-9 (.357)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Three
Matches Scheduled: BGSU (Sat, 9:30), SVSU (Sat, 12:00), CSU (Sat, 5:00)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. CSU, 0-1 vs. BGSU
Fun Fact: Ohio played four matches at The War II in 2018, all four were against teams from the East Coast region. Ohio went 1-3 on the weekend, defeating Penn State but falling to Virginia Commonwealth, Towson, and James Madison.

Just as Miami should be commended for beginning their rebuild this season, Ohio should be equally as commended for frankly retooling. Though the Bobcats lost a ton of their roster to COVID-19 induced graduation, they did not get setback quite as far as Miami. Max Anthony and graduate transfer Alex Jonauskas have done a phenomenal job of recruiting this season and finding talent to replenish the cupboards left bare by two years worth of graduations. Historically, Ohio has not done super well at The War, but they have a very real chance to bring that record close to .500. It is probably fair to say Ohio, Akron, Bowling Green, and Saginaw Valley are all around the same level of skill and so we expect every match between these four clubs to be absolutely awesome to watch.

Ohio State University (8-4)

Overall War Record: 0-3 (.000)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: One
Matches Scheduled: Towson (Sun, 11:30), Akron (Sun, 2:00), CSU (Sun 3:15)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 0-1 vs. Akron
Fun Fact: Maybe a not-so-fun-fact here, but OSU is the only Ohio region team to never record a win at any War.

Expect that fun fact to change this weekend, as Ohio State has proven themselves to be a top tier team all season long. When they came to The War in 2019, they were in a bit of a retooling year and took some lumps playing against strong lineups from Kentucky, Akron, and Miami. This time around, it may be the Buckeyes who are the ones giving out the lumps. OSU is undefeated this season against Akron, but have yet to play Towson or Cleveland State. Can the Buckeyes continue their winning ways this weekend, or will they finally be overtaken by the Zips? Is it possible they are hunted down by an ambush of Tigers? Could they run out of gas at the end of the day and be pillaged by the Vikings? Tough to say, but if this OSU team has its eyes set on a championship in April, they’ll need to prove once and for all they’re a final 4 caliber team this weekend in Akron.

Saginaw Valley State University (3-9)

Overall War Record: 6-1 (.857)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Two
Matches Scheduled: Miami, (Sat, 9:30), Ohio (Sat, 12:00), BGSU (3:45), UC (Sun, 11:30), Akron (Sun, 12:45)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. Akron
Fun Facts: Saginaw Valley is 1-1 against Towson all time at The War, and the score for both matches has been 3-1. Saginaw Valley’s first ever match at The War went to OT, where they defeated James Madison. They went 4-0 on the weekend.

Another fun fact about Saginaw Valley, they’re a fun, young team to watch! They’ve historically done outstanding at The War, coming in with the second highest win percentage (aside from Grand Valley with their one appearance) of any team competing this weekend. While we don’t expect the Cardinals to go undefeated this weekend, they stand a really strong chance of leaving with a winning record on the weekend given that out of the five teams they play, one is Miami, and the other three are right around the same tier if you are a believer in the experience SVSU has gained this season through getting beat up on by the Lakers and Spartans. Either way, we’re in for some exciting matches involving the Cardinals on both Saturday and Sunday.

Towson University (7-2)

Overall War Record: 7-2 (.778)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: Two
Matches Scheduled: GVSU (Sat, 1:15), Akron (Sat, 2:30), OSU, (Sun, 11:30), UC (Sun, 12:45)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 1-0 vs. Akron
Fun Fact: At The War III, two of Towson’s four matches went to OT. They split the difference here, defeating Miami 2-1 and falling to Michigan State 3-2.

No team comes into this tournament feeling more disrespected, with a bigger chip on their shoulder, and perhaps with more to prove than the Towson University Tigers. They have a murderer’s row lineup of matches this weekend, and want to show that their performance at the Happy Valley Throwdown was a fluke, and not what we should expect for the rest of the year from this team. Historically, the numbers are on Towson’s side as they have a stellar winning percentage at War’s past. Will history back them up on the court this weekend? We will certainly find out soon, as the four teams Towson is slated to play are likely planning to give the defending 2019 National Champions their best shots.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Overall War Record: 0-3 (.000)
War Appearances Prior to 2022: One
Matches Scheduled: Akron (Sat, 12:00), Miami (Sat, 1:15), CSU (Sat, 2:30)
H2H Record w/Scheduled Opponents: 0-1 vs. Akron
Fun Fact: UWP has only gone to The War once before (2020). While they were winless, they improved score-wise throughout the day. Falling first 5-0, then 6-1, and finally 4-3. You love to see consistent improvement.

Like Ohio State, expect Wisconsin-Platteville to no longer be winless as they depart for the lengthy journey back home Saturday evening. They draw a favorable set of matches, particularly against rebuilding Miami, and a young but scrappy Cleveland State team lead by the returning Joe Walsh. Akron will prove to be a difficult match for the Pioneers, as they have shown themselves to be a solid top-10 team all year long. UWP will need a quality showing this weekend as they look to climb their way back up the league standings ladder.

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