On Sunday, November 2, an annual dodgeball tournament started by former captain Ian Childs was held in East Lansing. The premise of the tournament was to showcase good teams and encourage out-of-state teams to come play early in the season.
This year, Western Kentucky, Grand Valley, Central Michigan and DePaul University all attended the early season tournament. Each team played each other once. The Spartans were able to win two of four games.
The opening match of the day for the Spartans started off with Michigan State facing DePaul University. Although competitive, DePaul is known more around the league for fun.
“So DePaul is a fun team,” junior captain Colin O’Brien said. “They have some really good players, but they’re known more throughout the league as a team that likes to have a little more fun.”
In one instance against the Spartans, the two teams traded players. In another off of the break, the 14 players for DePaul proceeded to drop to the ground and all do the worm.
Michigan State prevailed 7-0.
The Spartans’ second match of the game was against Grand Valley State University, a familiar foe, who they have not won against in their history.
Grand Valley came out with a strong opening run to the ball first, but MSU quickly replied with a few quick outs.
After the initial strong pushes from both teams, the game was back and forth with both Grand Valley and MSU trading outs.
Five minutes in, Grand Valley had the first scoring chance with eliminating all but six Spartan players. However, the Spartans battled back eventually bringing it to a 7-6 man standoff still in favor of Grand Valley.
A timeout was taken at the nine minute mark with Grand Valley having eight players left and the Spartans having five.
Out of the timeout Grand Valley eliminated two Spartans, making it an 8-3 man advantage.
The last Spartan standing, O’Brien, was able to catch a ball and bring back a player, but Grand Valley soon eliminated both and scored the first point of the game just before the halfway mark (12:23).
Grand Valley had another scoring chance around the 20:30 mark, getting the Spartans down to only three men standing. The Lakers then eliminated two of the three remaining players for Michigan State, leaving only one left with 3:57 left in the half. Eight Lakers against one Spartan is a tall task to ask of any seasoned player and Grand Valley scored again at the 21:46 mark.
The teams went to halftime with Grand Valley up 2-0
Two minutes into the second half, each team took hits leading to only four Spartans and five Lakers for each respective team.
With two players remaining for each team, the Spartans were able to get a catch to eliminate one of two remaining Lakers.
On the next sequence, a Spartan was able to catch a ball 5:45 into the second half and put the Spartans on the scoreboard.
The Spartans continued bringing the intensity after getting on the board with a combination of good pushes, catches and throws that left the Grand Valley team with only five players left at the 13:30 mark.
With only two remaining players for Grand Valley, the Spartans’ biggest enemy was the clock. The two remaining Lakers ran back and forth along the backline, dodging many attempts from the Spartan throwers.
The two remaining players for Grand Valley then miraculously combined to eliminate all the remaining Spartans and score again with only 3.2 seconds remaining in the game to solidify their victory 3-1.
In the Spartans’ third match of the day, they took on the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Spartans and Chippewas traded hits early, with no team having a distinct advantage over the other in the first five minutes.
Ten minutes in and it was still the same story, with neither team being able to pull away and each team having a little more than a few players each.
The Chippewas’ first scoring chance came with a little over 14 minutes into the first half. With only three Spartans remaining and a host of Chippewa players, the Chips were able to score 15:17 into the half, making the score 1-0 in favor of Central.
Coming out of the score by Central, Michigan State was able to gain some momentum by eliminating opposing players and catching others to return previously outed players.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, Michigan State had all 14 players on the floor compared to only five for Central.
With only 2:48 remaining in the first half, the Chippewas called a timeout to discuss strategy with their five remaining players.
With 12.6 seconds remaining in the first half, the Spartans were able to eliminate all but one player before a reset.
After the reset, the Spartans were still unable to hit him and went into halftime trailing 1-0
The second half began with Central doing much of what Michigan State did once Central had scored earlier in the game. The Chippewas eliminated seven Spartans while still having no members of their own team out within the first five minutes.
By nine minutes into the half, only two Spartans remained. Central had gained momentum with consecutive caught balls, which eliminates the opposing player who threw the ball while at the same time allowing teammates to return.
At the 10:03 mark in the second half, Central made consecutive throws to get the last two outs to put them ahead 2-0 with 14:57 left.
With 11:00 left in the second half, both teams were making great throws and catches to keep the game close, but Central still held the lead 2-0.
With 2:50 left in the game, it came down to a one-on-one. Both players rushed to the front and threw the ball. The Spartan player went to catch the ball and was unable to make it, thereby resulting in a score for Central Michigan.
The last match of the day for Michigan State had them match up against Western Kentucky University and the Spartans were able to win 4-1.
“The Michigan region is full of top level teams… all stiff completion, they’re great games,” O’Brien said. “Some close losses today, we’ll build on it and next time come out and get the W.”
Seth Kinker is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: MSU Dodgeball