This past weekend saw James Madison University, The University of Akron, and West Virginia University travel to Penn State to take part in the Rally in the Valley Tournament. There were many great moments this weekend, as most of you have seen the play that Steve Herrick of PSU pulled off to save Penn from an overtime. It was a great turnout and we thank Penn State for hosting, below I will review each teams performances throughout the day.
JMU def PSU 3-1
Akron def WVU 4-0 (Called Early)
PSU def Akron 4-2
JMU def WVU 4-0 (Called Early)
JMU def Akron 4-1
PSU def WVU 4-0 (Called Early)
James madison: 3-0: The Dukes left State College 3-0 for the day. They handled each team as many would have expected, defeating Penn 3-1, Akron 4-1, and WVU 4-0, (Called early). JMU is in the position to keep their winning streak rolling this semester after an impressive showing at PSU.
Penn State: 2-1: PSU also faired well at their home tournament with their only loss coming from JMU. The Nittany Lions managed to save themselves from an overtime match against the zips in their 4-2 victory with seconds left. They also handled WVU with a 4-0 victory. This tournament should help Penn rise in the ranks, where they belong.
Akron: 1-2: Admittedly, not a great start for my Zips. With losses coming from JMU and PSU. However, the scores of these matches do not reflect how competitive both of these matches were. JMU and Penn both know now just how talented this team is. What was lacking was the ability to close out those close matches. Hopefully this could be a learning experience for the Zips.
West Virginia: 0-3: After 3 tough losses, I have decided that this team has the heart and talent to be a competitive team within the league, they just have to put more pieces of the puzzle together. traveling more and playing more diverse teams should help them with that.
Evan Eschenburg (JMU): After going into this weekend with one practice under our belt for the semester, I felt we came out fairly strong against Penn State. Our arms continued to be our strength when our catching failed us, which it did, a lot. We’ve prided ourselves this year on being a catching team but I think the lack of practice beforehand caught up to us throughout the day and we were dropping balls and making poor decisions. Favorite part of the first game was definitely getting balls over and then throwing 9 of the 10 immediately afterwards. West Virginia is a fun team to play against and it’s tough to see such a big school fail to add new members, which I’m sure is not the fault of the club but the lack of student involvement with anything not involving drinking. As for Akron, boy did we get tested every single point. We lost the first point after being up 5-3 numbers wise with 2 of our captains and that had me feeling pretty dejected. After that each game continued to come down to the wire with big plays being made over and over again by both teams. At 2-1 I believe we had a massive catch by Jacob Myers on a team throw to get Adam out and cementing a 2 point lead. That may have also been the same point as the legendary double catch on a team throw by Harry “you’re a wizard” Potter. Our team was going crazy at this point and were completely dumbfounded by the feat. Overall on the day, I’d say we were able to get through it with the depth of our roster and the typical JMU arm strength but we have to become more consistent catchers if we want to compete with the top teams in the country like we want to.
Jake Nasiadka(PSU): First time we really played with a solid strategy for all 3 games. We dropped quite a few easy catches against JMU, but still played a strong game overall. The game against Akron was the most intense in this club’s history. We stuck to strategy for the 1st half, and it worked perfectly. However, Akron quickly gained ball control in the 2nd half and pinned down to make it 3-2. The game looked like it was going into OT, but late game heroics from Steve Herrick and JT Kling sealed our first win on the day. Playing WVU is always fun, but we stuck to strategy for every point of the tournament and ended up overpowering their throws to win. All in all, this was a fantastic tournament for PSU. But there are a lot of flaws in the strategy and gameplay that need to be fixed if we ever want to be a top tier team.
Corey Nasiadka (WVU): Going into this weekend, we knew that we were missing some of our key players. Knowing that we were only going to have 12 total at best, we still decided to go to Penn State. Getting more reps and experience will only help this team and that’s definitely what we need to move forward. Our expectations weren’t necessarily low, we just realized that this was more of an opportunity to learn from playing some tough teams. With that being said, we preformed much better than any of us thought we were going to. Although we dropped all 3 games 4-0, we put up a fight in all of the games. Some of our more inexperienced guys got a lot of time on the court which was definitely good for the team. Being that we played some of the better teams in the league this weekend, we really were able to learn so much from playing them. We will definitely be taking what we learned to practices and other aspects of recruiting and leadership positions within the team. We realize that we’re not going to be one of the best teams in the league right away. Although some of us were skeptical about coming to the tournament with low numbers against tough teams, I’m really glad that we went. We are taking everything one tournament at a time to learn everything we need to learn to help us grow this into a successful program for the years to come.