The Lakers defeated rivals Michigan State, Central Michigan
By Brady McAtamney | 3/1/17 11:04pm
The No. 1-ranked Grand Valley State club dodgeball team defended their home floor in victories over the Central Michigan Chippewas and Michigan State Spartans by scores of 3-1 and 2-0, respectively. The matches were part of the Blast from the Past Tournament held at the Fieldhouse Arena Saturday, Feb. 25.
"It was big. The other two teams, CMU is No. 2 and MSU is No. 7 (in the nation), but they deserve more than No. 7, they're a good team," said sophomore captain Brandon Meisel. "It was a good game all around, we took two points in the first half and took another point in the second half and at that point it was basically over."
Though CMU was the higher ranked team, the Lakers had their sights set on the battle with rival MSU.
"For the most part it's due to the close games. We've had some go into overtime and they like to talk a lot of trash while they're out on the court so that makes the game a little more fiery," said senior captain Logan Rohloff. "It's always nice to win a game against a team that's like that."
With the trio of teams seeing each other several times over the course of the season, there is always bound to be some strong feelings, especially since the Spartans have handed GVSU two of their three losses this year.
For junior assistant captain Sam Stockdale, though, the wins were business as usual.
"I would like to say it's something exceptional, but we play these teams a lot. We play especially Central and State a lot so we've seen them a lot," Stockdale said. "Any win is a big win but I'd say it's just like any other. Taking care of business as usual. Taking that one seed into the final tournament that's in Lexington, Kentucky this year."
Following the bouts with the in-state rivals, the Lakers took on some more familiar faces—the GVSU Lakers alumni team.
The alumni squad was comprised of alumni from both recent and distant pasts, and the old guys did not hold up on the younger team and beat them by a score of 3-1.
"Most of them at one point were top six, top five when they played (at GVSU). Some of them still do play in Elite Dodgeball, the semi-professional league so they definitely bring it when they come to play us," Rohloff said. "It's always a lot of fun. I know pretty much all of them, a couple of them are from a little bit older but it's nice to have some of the older guys show up and teach some of the newer guys things because they don't know any of these guys."
The 19-3 Lakers will begin preparation for the NCDA Nationals at the University of Kentucky.
The Lakers have won the last four national titles, so there is certainly plenty of pressure on the GVSU crew to get things done, and they feel they have the preparation plan worthy of living up to their lofty expectations.
"Something we like to do is we do tournament practice. Us three captains, me, (Meisel), and (Rohloff), we basically pick our own teams amongst the whole entire club and we play each other and keep a points system and that keeps it competitive," Stockdale said. "We like to think that's one of the things that gives us an edge over the other teams."
Their plan of attack plus the time granted from spring break to rest their arms will give the Lakers plenty of time to prepare for a chance at their fifth straight championship. Nationals begin in Lexington Saturday, April 8.