Viking Clash Recap

On December 4, 2021 at the Viking Clash, four teams went head to head at the Cleveland State Recreational Center, three from Ohio and one from the Midway region. The teams that went head to head were: Cleveland State University (CSU), Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Kent State University (Kent) and the University of Wisconsin Platteville (UWP). Let’s take a look at the results on the day.

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CSU vs Kent6-0CSU
UWP vs Kent6-1UWP
BGSU vs Kent6-1BGSU

CSU vs Kent– The first match of the day started out much better than I expected. In the first half, their were only two points scored and Kent came close to getting both of them, but CSU had some timely catches that allowed them to go up 2-0 at half. The second half, CSU settled down and came out with more intensity and started making less mistakes. They were able to take the next four points with ease to get the win 6-0.

BGSU vs UWP– The Falcons in their first game of the day wanted to make sure that they got off to a fast start. They did not want to take anyone lightly. At the start of each point, they were able to get ball control and were able to keep and and maintain control of their attack line throughout. Platteville got off to a slow start and it wasn’t until the fourth point that things started clicking and they were able to make the next points competitive for BGSU. They had some great catches and excellent kill shots in transition that made points close, but BGSU’s experience was always able to take over. UWP was able to get two points on them and BGSU won 7-2.

Kent vs UWP- Both of these squads were only able to bring eight players on the day, and with each with their first game in both teams were warmed up and ready to go. Several points were close at times, but Platteville seemed to be able to just get catch after catch when it was needed the most. At half time, the Pioneers were only up 3-0. To start the second half, Kent came out swinging and was able to make it 3-1, but UWP settled down and continued to make catches and never allowed Kent to get hot to take the win 6-1.

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BGSU vs CSU- This was the game of the day and as I expected it was much closer than the first time around. Both teams had full squads and matched up with each other well. The score at half time was 1-1. In the second half, it looked like CSU was going to take the point as they had BGSU down to a few players, but the Falcons started catching and were able to force the Vikings to step out with just under seven minutes in the half. CSU played aggressive to try to tie it up but BGSU was able to secure another point to prevent any comeback to win 3-1.

CSU vs UWP- At this point in the day, this was UWP’s last game and they were tired, but they were still making good plays, but it wasn’t enough to put enough pressure on CSU to keep the game close. CSU went up 3-0 at half time and Platteville was able to get a point in the second. It was not enough as CSU was able to close it out and put two more points on the board winning 5-1.

BGSU vs Kent- This was the last game and BGSU took care of business to make sure that they got the last win of the day. They controlled the game from their attack line and made Kent State come up to them to throw to get them in transition. Kent had a lot of good catches, but wasn’t able to put enough pressure on the Falcons to keep the game close. BGSU went up 4-0 at half time and in the second they finished it off winning 6-1.

Captain’s Thoughts
Nina Lozada (Kent)- I think our team played well for the amount of people we had. Not to mention that our team consists of players who have little experience and players who just joined this year. There were some points we could have taken, but the recognition of what needs to be done in a point will happen over time. No doubt do I think we have potential. I believe we’ll be a solid team once we get more recruits.

The other teams we played against are definitely up there in skill. What is sad is that COVID-19 affected a lot of teams so looking for people to join and commit is a great need. Playing with 8-9 people is definitely a struggle on all parts. From the offensive side and defensive side. It’s impressive when you see a team carry a point against a full roster. Once everyone has done the necessary recruitment, I see the future of the NCDA being great.

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Kyle Wiesmore (CSU)– CSU is very happy with our performance at the Viking Clash, all of our players got out there and played their best. For many on the team, this was only their second tournament and they put the experience that was gained at their first to good use. The team also appreciated having Joe Walsh join them on the court again. To name a few players, Joe Walsh and Kevin Premsook did a great job keeping up the pressure with well timed counters, Jordan Jones was always where he needed to be, and Antoine Lamar coming into his first tournament did a fantastic job of keeping his throws low and hitting peoples ankles. We are very proud of the whole team and how far they have come since the beginning of the season. It was great seeing the other teams come to CSU. The only team we had played this season was BGSU but we had played Kent before in a scrimmage. Only BGSU was able to have 12 people on the court for each game, with both UWP and Kent bringing only 8. Kent State and UWP had many talented players, many of them being very good at catching; both teams would benefit from a full roster and some more powerful throwers.

Jacob Sebranek (UWP)– I thought our team performed well with only 8 players. We still need to work on surviving to halftime or the end of games as we still lose to many points with little time left on the clock. We also throw too many balls on occasion. However, our throws continue to get lower. The new guys are growing more confident and it showed on the court. We also scored points on all three teams with only 8 players and got our first win of the year.
I thought Kent State played well with only 8 players. Despite the numbers they never looked tired. I think they have a lot of potential to get better and their blocking was good.
Despite losing to BGSU, I thought CSU was the most complete team at the tournament. Everyone caught, threw, and worked well as a unit. Their captains did a good job of directing the team on the court. BGSU had strong throws and they played confidently on the court. They got timely catches that helped them win points and their matches.

Gabe Carrington (BGSU)– The Viking Clash was a ton of fun and we are so thankful that CSU was able to put on this showing. For us, I am happy with the way we played. Going into this tournament we were without two key arms in Cole Wilson and Easton Huffman, but we were still able to play our game and come out 3-0. Shoutout to Tyler Webb, Evan Brown, Joey Irwin, and Camen Cline for filling those holes. I loved getting to get some of my freshmen a lot of playing time, and a lot of them stepped up and put in some solid work. Shoutout to Josh Boyers for having the catch of the tournament against Joe Walsh. That catch turned that point around, and gave us momentum for the rest of the game. The final point against CSU is where I think we showcased the style we really want to play. The plan originally was to stall out and let the time run out, but after a big amount of catches and kills, we went for the point. It was a game where we had very few errors. The only complaint I have from the tournament for us is that we got wild at times, we let chaos take over and we lost ball possession. Against teams like GVSU and Cincinnati, that stuff won’t fly and we know that going into next semester. I know our young team is going to finish the season as one of the top programs in the country. The final shout out I want to give is to Riley Brady, someone who has developed a great arsenal of talent over the past few tournaments. This tournament he really showed up and played amazing. His throwing and catching abilities are coming all together to be a huge threat in the NCDA. He’s developed a great court awareness and he’s sneaky and can catch you from anywhere on the court. I can’t wait to see how he finishes this season and how far he can go in his career.

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UWP is a team I love playing anytime we get to, we’re happy to play teams from other regions and we’re blessed to have them at this tournament given the 9 hour drive. Having only 8 players was tough, however of those 8 players Jt Warren (#34) & Caleb Laux (#13) had some decent placed throws and some great timely catches. I’d love to play this team again at full strength. Their game plan was something we had to adjust to, and we were able to make those adjustments to win. UWP can stand with several teams in the NCDA as long as they have a full roster.

I have nothing but respect for CSU, they are a team that always comes in and plays their heart out. We knew going in that one, Joe Walsh was going to be there and two, we could not get cocky after we beat them 6-1 in Akron. CSU has some rookies that are very impressive and I give props to Kyle Wiesmore for recruiting and coaching them to where they are. The arms are there, and the catching ability of the team is improving every time they play. Kevin and Will are two guys who I love playing against and hate playing against, such great talent and great attitudes. The team has growing to do, but in a years time, this team will be scary.

Finally Kent, I’m from the Kent area myself and so seeing Kent at this tournament warmed my heart. I love seeing this team still surviving and still playing good dodgeball. The team can catch the heck out of the ball, it’s now just about getting those key arms and organizing a good game plan for the future. I know that in the coming years or even next semester, this team can get more bodies on the court. With some more recruits and more arms, this team can do some damage.

Final thoughts
BGSU accomplished what they set out to do and that was to go 3-0 on the day and get their new players valuable experience. This will be important come next semester as the Falcons will be looking to show that they can hang and contend with the best teams in the country. A strong performance at this event keeps them in the top ten to end the semester.

CSU ended the day 2-1, although they would have loved to get all three wins, they did end the semester on a high note. They put up a fight against a top ten team in BGSU and took care of business in the other games without much trouble. CSU is glad to have Joseph Walsh back as his presence is felt on the court, which allows their new players to try things and develop their skills.

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UWP finished 1-2 on the day. They came in and did what they wanted to do. They got the win against Kent State, played teams outside their conference, and played BGSU and CSU tough. Both teams had to work for their points and adjust to UWP’s playing style. The Pioneer’s first year players played extremely well. Alex Cutty (#32) had some big time catches and Jalen Sims (#10) had some great kill shots in transition. Cody Larson (#81) picked up where he left off at the Cornhusker Clash, and Cadin Froemming’s (#3) throws looked great and provided excellent coverage for his teammates. It is going to be exciting to see what this bunch is able to do next semester!

Kent went 0-3 on the day, but was able to get their first tournament of the year in to help them get ready for next semester. With such a young and inexperienced squad, they played better than expected. There catching is what kept them in a lot of points and made them close. Vanessa Hudson (#12) really stood out for her catching ability and to bait players to throw at her. I can’t wait to see them in action again next semester to see how they progress as a team and keep building their talent.

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