The University of Akron hosted their second annual Pink Out Tournament this Saturday which featured Akron, BGSU, Kent State, UK, OU, VCU, and WKU. Needless to say, it was an exciting tournament overall and a chance to see a ton of competitive dodgeball. After taking a 7.5 hour drive back to Richmond, it gave me time to think about the tournament, and the key takeaways from this weekend. Here are my biggest observations.
League Parity Has Probably Never Been This High
As intense and competitive as the college dodgeball world normally is, this might be as evenly matched as teams have ever been. This was evident with the 4 overtime matches over the weekend, UK vs Kent, VCU vs Kent, OU vs Akron, and OU vs BGSU. Even a team like Ohio which struggled for most of last season found themselves playing very competitively, and were only a couple plays away from walking away with multiple wins. This is exactly what the league needed. We now appear to be in a position where schools ranked 1-20 can all play in tightly contested matches, and this truly competitive environment will only force teams to become better.
A great example of this was from the performance of WKU. They were the only school to finish undefeated during the tournament with wins over OU, BGSU, and Akron. While initially considered one of the “lower tier” teams at the beginning of the season, the Hilltoppers are now 4-1 on the year and moving up in the rankings. This shows that you can’t be too certain this season about any matchups.
Kent State and UK Can Be Dark Horse Final Four Teams
These were the two highest ranked teams going into the tournament, and both walked away showing signs of greatness. For UK it was their catching ability they showed off the entire day. Ricardo Menchacha and Mario Siliceo put on a catching clinic against VCU, and the rest of the followed suit during the day as well. The only blemish was their lone loss, a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of Kent State. UK also only competed with 14 players during the entire tournament, being a player down every point.
As for Kent, they displayed their firepower with some of the strongest arms at the tournament. Logan Baird and Evan Less looked impressive throughout the day, amassing a lot of kills and key plays for Kent. The biggest thing Kent will need to improve on however is making more attempts at catching. If they are able to adjust to that mindset, then that, along with their already strong arms will be able to propel them forward to the very top of the league.
Nationals Will Be Unpredictable and Exciting
We are barely a month and a half into the season and we have already seen upsets, tons of overtime games, and plenty of new teams step into the league. It is hard to imagine this changing throughout the year. With more schools looking to have inaugural matches later this semester, and some veteran teams yet to play this season, there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered. The only thing I can guarantee going forward, the best has yet to come.
Akron def OU 3-2 OT
Kent def BGSU 2-1
VCU def Akron 2-1
WKU def BGSU 3-0
WKU def OU 3-1
Kent def UK 3-2 OT
BGSU def OU 3-2 OT
UK def VCU 5-1
WKU def Akron 4-2
VCU def Kent 2-1 OT
UK def Akron 5-0
UK, Kent, VCU 2-1