Top-ranked team topples nat’l champs

“Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!”

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Jess Ellison

The dodgeball team defeated Central Michigan, the defending national champions, by a score of 2-1 on Saturday in the Cardinal Gym. With the win, the team takes over the number one spot in the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association rankings.

Since the winter of 2006, this is exactly what SVSU’s club dodgeball founder Bryan Janick and the team has been doing.

Along the way, the team has had to face challenges with gym time, player availability and funding. However, each season the team faces the challenges presented and enjoys its time on the court.

“It’s still difficult today to get a lot done,” captain Spencer Jardine said. “But we have a lot of people that come out.”

After a rough start to the season, Janick and Jardine were optimistic going into Saturday’s matchup against Central Michigan.

“This Saturday will really show us what kind of team we are,” Janick said. “We used to beat them all the time, and last year they just came out of nowhere to win the national championship.”

With last year’s loss on their minds, the Cardinals took vengeance on the number one-ranked CMU dodgeball team. Even though SVSU came out slow, losing the first point, the Cardinals play turned around with the help of senior Mike Soulliere and freshmen Zach Phelps’ key kills in the opening rush.

“In the first half we made a lot of mistakes, and Central Michigan had several catches,” Janick said. “After that we dominated every point.”

After Soulliere and Phelps started off the second point strongly, Torrie Peplinski made a nice catch to finish the point and tie the game up at 1-1.

“Mike Soulliere picked up several demoralizing head shots on key CMU players throughout the game,”  Jardine said.

With eight minutes left in the first half, SVSU led the way with ten players while CMU only had three.

“CMU did a very good job killing the clock and we went into half tied 1-1,” Jardine said.

In the second half, the team won the point with ten minutes left in the game. This was due to some great catches and key plays from sophomore Max Siler and junior Grayson Hood. Janick also noted that seniors Josh Brettrager and Jason Stein had great performances.

“It got a little scary in the last point because we were trying to kill the ten minutes off and hang on with a 2-1 lead,” Janick said. “This was the biggest win of the season.”

As always, one of the key components in this matchup was the fans. Due to their outspoken nature and high energy, the fans were crucial in creating a home-court advantage in Saturday’s matchup.

“It was really nice having the home crowd there,” Janick said. “They were really getting to the nerves of CMU players and definitely played a part in our victory.”

With the victory, SVSU takes over the number one ranking in the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association. Their next competition will be at the Chicago Dodgeball Open in January, where they will be sure to face rivals Grand Valley State again.

Additionally, the Cardinals have secured home-court advantage for nationals.

While many teams were in the running to hold this tournament, SVSU came out on top and will host the National Tournament on Friday, April 6, 2012.

“The Cardinal Gym is the perfect dodgeball gym compared to everybody else’s,” Jardine said.

For the past few seasons, the Cardinals have fallen short of winning at nationals by a margin of only a few points. This year they hope to turn things around. “We definitely want to win the championship,” Jardine said.

In the next few months, the team will prepare for the huge opportunity of having the home court advantage.

“We’ve been so close, so many years in a row,” Janick said. “We missed it by one point, or one catch, and it’s been really frustrating for the past couple of years, so we really would like to win it on our home court here in front of all of our fans.”

Regardless of where the team is at now, it is constantly evolving and looking for students interested in joining in on the fun. Practices are held from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Ryder Center and 4-6 p.m. on Sunday in the Cardinal Gym.

“If you want to play, just come out and play,” Jardine said.

For additional information, students can stop by one of these practices or contact Bryan Janick at [email protected].

This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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