DISCLAIMER: For the 100th time, if you haven’t already please check the forums and look at the new rules that are being proposed that will be voted on for THIS UPCOMING SEASON! There are some massive changes that could be approved that will drastically change the way our beautiful (yet in big need of improvements!) game will be played!
Without further ado, here’s my painfully early, and blatantly biased top 20 for the NCDA as of this second.
- Grand Valley State University
What is there to be said that hasn’t already been proven time and time again by the Lakers? They are three time defending national champions. Will they be hurt by the loss of Dylan and Trevor? Absolutely they will. Despite what Kevin thinks about his team being able to reload just as well or better than anyone (truth), you cannot just replace the talent and leadership that those two players brought to the table! With that being said, they do have Kevin Bailey himself, along with Aaron Terenzi and Austin Morley at the head of the team, with a boat load of other very talented players right behind them, so I would think it is safe to say, we will likely see them again in the championship game next April.
My children, the time is now! Despite our painful loss to Grand Valley in the championship game, I think this team is the most poised of any of the others to take the Lakers down next season, and don’t be surprised with the number of games both these teams will likely once again play if it happens more than once! While losing Brett and myself hurts, as far as I’m aware, THAT’S IT. From top to bottom, this team is absolutely STACKED with talent!! Under the leadership of Shane Willette and Zach Bachner, the sky is the limit with this team. Look for players such as Mike Heller and Alex Holzgen to take the next step this season to become top 10 (yes, top 10) players in the league as this now experience laden Central Michigan team looks to prove they are the best team in the nation, and that they are here to stay.
Michigan State comes in at number three in my undeniably biased opinion for next season. Yes, everyone, I am attending this university in the fall in pursuit of my Master’s degree. But so what? I’m not the only player on this team. This is another team that is going to be chock-full of talent that cannot wait to prove itself to the rest of the league. While they lost a heartbreaker to an ever-resilient Saginaw Valley Cardinals team in the quarterfinals of these past nationals, this is a team that played Grand Valley excruciatingly close to the final buzzer in nearly every game they played against them last season. While losing veteran players such as Brawley, Robson, Massimino, and Lieblich hurts, Michigan State could have the incredible fortune to be picking up a couple of elite dodgeballers who are also seeking their Master’s for the next two years. The Spartans are definitely going to be the most interesting team to watch for next season in my opinion.
Coming off a very tight OT loss to the Chips in the semi-finals at Nationals, the Dukes look ready to reload and make another deep run at nationals. Losing Gromer and Cardella will undoubtedly hurt, but they will probably pull some more people off the street that can somehow throw 75 mph and end up being just fine. Seriously though, this school recruits better than any other, always filling holes left by veteran players with more talent. I predict yet another final four appearance, despite the potential amount of youth fielded by James Madison when we get to April.
Fifth I have the Ohio State Buckeyes. This team had an incredibly underwhelming Sunday at nationals 2015, but they are still an incredibly good team, and like a lot of teams, not losing too many players either. To say the Buckeyes are well positioned to do big things in 2015-2016 is an understatement with key players returning such as Ben Albert (this kid SHOWED OUT against JMU day 1), Josh Laney, Jeff Starr & Sam Palumbo. I see only big things for this team this fall, and I expect them to make a much better show of nationals 2016 than they did this season.
At number six, I have the Cardinals. The past two years, many people (including myself) have said things like, “oh the Cardinals are losing so many players, they’re screwed”, and both years they have proved everyone wrong. While there wasn’t a second national title for the Cardinals either year, knocking out Michigan State and playing Grand Valley very tight in the semifinals was a huge accomplishment for this team. I have learned in my five years never to count Saginaw Valley out, and I expect them to recruit very well this fall and be in position to make another deep run at nationals.
I honestly wanted to rank this team a lot higher, and I think they might deserve to be ranked higher with the amount of talent this roster has. Despite an early exit just like the their Ohio brethren, Kent State looks very menacing for 2015-2016 if you consider the only big talent they lose is Steven Cassittee and Dylan Brumfield. This is an extremely young team, with star talent like Albert DePerro, Jon Demharter, Logan Baird, James Paltani and Robbie Janezic (Shotgun Rob) all coming back, looking to lead this team on a very deep run at nationals. This team is DEFINITELY my dark horse to make a big run at nationals next year.
After an incredibly questionable change in the matchups determined the night before nationals, this Towson team managed to exceed any and all expectations, taking out a heavily favored Ohio State Buckeye team in the first round, securing Towson’s first trip to the quarterfinals at nationals. Never have I seen a team that has so much free flow yelling amongst all their players on the court at once have so much success. Seriously, it seemed like every player was screaming, and with each and every out they got louder and more excited as they all realized they were actually going to do it. It was probably as exciting for me to witness as any other match I saw at nationals. With that said, this team looks to build upon that success, only losing two starters for this season, and don’t be surprised if they take that next step, perhaps finally securing that elusive victory over JMU they have been yearning for years.
This proved to be a very competitive Kentucky team all weekend at nationals, taking a tie into the half with Grand Valley as well as beating Maryland 3-1 in the first round on Sunday, DESPITE bringing twelve (12!!) freshmen to nationals. Captain Zac Brown and company had to have left Bowling Green thinking this was an incredibly successful weekend for their club. Definitely look for this team to grow, just as Central Michigan did this year with all of their freshmen becoming sophomores. Trust me, the experience they got at nationals was invaluable for their young players, and the leap forward their individual talent will take will be absolutely staggering.
Easily the most disappointing team at nationals 2015, Maryland still squeaks in at number ten for me. I have been told they were missing at least 5 of their regular starters at nationals, but an 0-4 record across both days doesn’t lie, no matter the roster you bring. While I do expect this team to make a big improvement from this year to next (give me a break East Coast, I only saw UMD and Towson once!), they are going to have to pick up some more arms. Relying on Rohan to throw everyone out proved an impossible task at nationals 2015. With the addition of a couple throwers, this team could leapfrog several teams very fast.
- Bowling Green State University
- DePaul University
- Penn State University
- University of Wisconsin-Platteville
- Western Kentucky University
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Stevenson University
- Akron University
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- University of North Texas
Note – If Rochester Institute of Technology can get their club going with our league, look for them to be QUITE good. They have a lot of talent within their club, I’ve seen it first hand in other style tournaments.