GV club dodgeball team wins sixth NCDA title
Lakers outlast SVSU, win trophy in back-to-back seasons
From 1990-1998, it was the Chicago Bulls. From 1997-2008, it was the Detroit Red Wings. For the better part of the last century, it was the New York Yankees. Since 2005, it’s been the Grand Valley State University club dodgeball team.
Dynasties, all of them.
GVSU won its second National Collegiate Dodgeball Association Championship (NCDA) in as many years over the weekend by beating rival Saginaw Valley State University 3-2 in the championship match on Sunday.
GVSU finished the year with a 32-1 record. Its only loss came to SVSU in the regular season.
“At the start of the season, we were thinking, ‘It’s time to go back-to-back,’” GVSU senior and president Mark Trippiedi said. “It worked out perfectly to face (SVSU). It’s almost poetic how sports do that sometimes.”
While it’s true that one good year does not make a dynasty, GVSU has plenty of other accolades on the dodgeball court to support the claim. Since the founding of the program in 2005, GVSU has won six nationals championships, including back-to-back victories in the past two years.
The top-seeded Lakers had a full schedule with six games in two days after their first-round bye, and after advancing out of pool play, they took on the University of Maryland in the quarterfinal round. The Lakers found a way, then proceeded to eliminate James Madison University in the semis by a resounding 5-0 score.
Then, in a scene fit for Hollywood, the Lakers were slated to take on SVSU for both in-state bragging rights and an NCDA title.
In order to gain a point in an NCDA game, a team must eliminate all fifteen players on the opposing squad. The team with the most points at the end of the second half is declared the winner.
In the first of two 25-minute halves that make up a game, the Lakers took a commanding 3-0 lead. GVSU notched the first point of the match just five minutes in, which seemed to set the tone.
At halftime, the team adjusted its game plan to take on a more conservative stance to avoid any potential Cardinal comeback attempts. SVSU made a bid, though, and closed the gap to 3-2 before the final whistle blew.
“We played really smart in the second half, not taking too many risks and staying alive,” GVSU captain Kevin Bailey said. “This is something that means a lot to us. Winning is nice, but it’s obviously nationals that’s going to define your time.”
GVSU, which won every national title from 2007 through 2010, experienced a dip in its national prominence for a few years but certainly appears to have reclaimed its place atop the national dodgeball scene.
The success is apparent, but what caused the resurgence?
“The majority of our success comes from having some established seniors and upperclassmen and having them be able to show the young guys the ropes and how we play here,” sophomore Aaron Terenzi said.
The seniors went out on a high note, and the leadership they provided figures to live on in the GVSU program for years to come.
At least for now, the dynasty lives on.