The Illinois Region has not historically been home to the NCDA’s best teams. In fact, this season no Illinois Region team made it past the first round of Nationals. Despite that statistic, it was not that bad of a year for this region. Wisconsin Platteville emerged as a serious contender this year, with close matches against SVSU, CMU, and MSU throughout the year. DePaul once again played host to some of the best tournaments of the regular season, and performed well at Nationals despite playing against stiff competition all weekend.
UWP had one of the most impressive performances at Nationals by a team that is not traditionally a powerhouse. In their first round matchup against Michigan State, UWP held the lead in the first half before falling to the Spartans in a very exciting second half. Despite losing in the first round, Wisconsin Platteville proved to everyone, that they have the talent to compete with the best teams in the NCDA.
Most Improved Team:
The most improved team in this region also goes to Wisconsin Platteville. UWP started the year 5-0 before losing some close games against some of the best teams in the league. Out of all the teams in the Illinois Region, UWP made the biggest improvement from last year to this year.
Most Valuable Player:
Niko Nodal (DePaul)
Nodal is not a very well-known player around the league, but he deserves to be. He is one of the most talented players in the entire NCDA, and is a key player for DePaul. He is a very reliable catcher and has a dangerous throw, making him the best individual player in the Illinois Region in my opinion.
Team to Watch Next Season:
This team only played a handful of matches in 2013-14 (their first season in the NCDA). Since they were a new team with little experience, I expect them to make huge strides next year. SAU, might have had a quiet 2013-14 season, but keep an eye on them next year.