South Region 2019-20 Preview

*All regional rankings based off the content team’s preseason power rankings

2019-20 Projections:

Order of Finish:

1. Kentucky
2. North Georgia
3. Northwestern State
4. Georgia Southern

South Region OT 6:
Daniel LaJeunesse Jr. (UK)
Royce Hogg (UNG)
Casey Alfultis (NSU)
Brett Storie (GSU)
Tyler Kratzer (UK)
Jake Jarrett (UNG)

Team Previews:


2019-20 Projections: National: 18 /// South Region: 1

Location: Lexington, KY
2018-19 Record: 10-11
2018-19 Finish: #17 in Power Rankings, T-9 at Nationals

Season Preview: Kentucky has already kicked-off the South Region’s season with their trip to the Early Access Tournament hosted by MSU. Although they didn’t pull off any varsity wins at the tournament, they are already showing their strength with strong matches against the likes of SVSU and CMU. They have a lot to prove this season after an early upset last season at the hands of the University of North Georgia, but based on what we have seen so far it looks like the Wildcats plan to take back over as the “Kings of the South.”

Good News: They have solid numbers to fill out that roster this season with a good number of them being returning underclassmen. With veterans Daniel LaJeunesse Jr. and Tyler Kratzer at the helm, they have a good bit of experience under their belt to have a strong season.

Bad News: They’ve lost some pretty heavy hitters from the ranks over the past season, including saying goodbye to power player Evan Kachelhoffer after Nationals last season. Hopefully they don’t let the pressure of having to prove themselves get to them.

Our Call: If the Wildcats have consistent numbers and continue improving on what we’ve already seen from them this season, there is no doubt they will rule the South Region with an iron, uh, claw. They will also be a team to lookout for in the league.

North Georgia

2019-20 Projections: National: 19 /// South Region: 2

Location: Dahlonega, GA
2018-19 Record: 8-4
2018-19 Finish: #16 in Power Rankings, T-9 at Nationals

Season Preview: The Nighthawks will once again start their 2019-2020 season with a double-header against their in-state rivals, Georgia Southern. This program has steadily progressed each season, showing time and time again that they are more than capable of stepping up to any challenge they face. With an upset over Kentucky and their first trip to the second round of National’s bracket play last season, they have a lot to live up to this season in order to keep their title as the “Kings of the South.”

Good News: UNG hasn’t lost all of their power players just yet. Team leaders Royce Hogg and Jake Jarrett, along with a few other seasoned veterans, are more than enough to make opposing players think twice about throwing solo against this team.

Bad News: With the loss of Thomas Clements and Bailey Hankins at the end of last season, UNG’s on-court leadership and throwing power took a heavy hit. They also have a fresh group of young players who will need to get some real experience quickly if they want to stay competitive.

Our Call: If the Nighthawks can continue playing as consistently as they have since they joined the league, then they will have another strong season. They’ll need to work harder at traveling and getting more experience against teams outside their region throughout the season if they want to show up and perform well at Nationals this time around. No doubt they will do what it takes to prove they are still top dogs in the South.

Northwestern State

2019-20 Projections: National: 22 /// South Region: 3

Location: Natchitoches, LA
2018-19 Record: 1-8
2018-19 Finish: #20 in Power Rankings, T-17 at Nationals

Season Preview: This club is on the up and up with some surprising performances from last season. NSU is becoming a more consistent team and it shows with each match they play. The 2019-2020 season will be their chance to show how much they have grown from their experiences, and to get some more recognition in both their region and throughout the league.

Good News: Captain Casey Alfultis is a seasoned player, leading the most experienced Northwestern team in a long time. This squad has shown they can go toe-to-toe with some tough opponents. They also continue to grow their club and add new talent to their roster.

Bad News: It is still a challenge for this team to get consistent experience throughout the season. If they can’t play more matches against teams from around the league they will continue to plateau no matter how many new recruits they pick up.

Our Call: NSU seems geared up to travel and get the experience they are currently lacking to be a powerhouse in the South. If they put in the work, then even UNG will need to watch out for this team.

Georgia Southern

2019-20 Projections: National: 25 /// South Region: 4

Location: Statesboro, GA
2018-19 Record: 2-12
2018-19 Finish: Unranked in Power Rankings, T-17 at Nationals

Season Preview: Georgia Southern will start their 2019-2020 season by hosting their in-state rivals, UNG, for a double-header this weekend, as is tradition. Hopefully, the tradition of losing to UNG won’t continue this time around. Georgia Southern has definitely shown improvement over the past few seasons and begun to close the gap by taking some big points against teams throughout the league. Their willingness to travel to play in bigger tournaments has given this squad a lot of experience. They have also worked hard on building the club and adding new talent to their ranks which may help round out their roster.

Good News: Georgia Southern didn’t really lose any of their top brass players in the off season, which means that on top of their fresh recruits, they have some seasoned vets leading the team. Captain Brett Storie, Matt Faulkinberry, Sam Copland, and a few others, have really toned up their game. We will also finally see the emergence of their secret weapon, Joshua Manning, who is returning to the court from injuries.

Bad News: This team can’t seem to stay consistent throughout the season. It comes down to having a consistent and committed starting twelve with some spare arms rounding out the roster. Until the Eagles can play each match with the high-energy and solid teamwork we have only seen glimpses of so far, they will continue to struggle against teams they should be taking into OT.

Our Call: GSU can definitely rise in the national rankings this season and start to get more wins for their program. They have strong, young talent and they don’t give up easily. Once they have a solid starting lineup, they could be contenders to take over in the region and finally get some big wins on the national level.

Author: Zach Rivera

Founder and former Captain of Georgia Southern University Dodgeball (#3).

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