Comeback propels dodgeball team past SVSU

GVL Archive / Nicole Lamson
Senior Brennan Hunt aims at his next target

GVL Archive / Nicole Lamson Senior Brennan Hunt aims at his next target

Greg Monahan

It has been an up-and-down year for the Grand Valley State University men’s dodgeball team against its biggest rival, but the Lakers got the last laugh on Saturday against Saginaw Valley State University

GVSU beat Saginaw Valley 3-1 over the weekend, taking down the Cardinals despite losing the first point of the match.

“We were worried, because we know how tough a 2-0 deficit can be,” said senior Greg Trippiedi. “We were able to tie it up by halftime, but if they had been able to hold out and taken us to half down one to nothing, it would’ve been a completely different game and we might have lost. We knew if we didn’t win that next point, it would’ve been big trouble.”

The match was the first for the Lakers since a 3-0 loss to Central Michigan University on Feb. 27. The Lakers were a bit rusty to start, but the team got back in the game after the first point.

“I think it’s helped that we’ve lost a couple games and lost a couple points to team, so we don’t let losing a single point get in our way,” said senior team captain Jimmy Stokes. “To begin the game they played a style we weren’t expecting them to play, and it threw us off balance, so we had to reorganize a little bit, which the team did perfectly.”

After losing to Saginaw Valley earlier in the year, the Lakers have now bested their cross-state rivals in two straight. It was Senior Night in University Center, Mich., and the Lakers were glad to play spoiler.

“The 3-0 loss in November was probably a low point for our program, at least as long as I’ve been around,” Trippiedi said. “To go on the road and beat them in the last home game for a lot of their players definitely made it sweeter.”

Stokes said it was GVSU’s approach that made the difference between the loss in November and the win on Saturday.

“For the entirety of the season, we’ve had this style of play where we just wing it and run around and try and get as many people out as possible,” Stokes said. “But (Saturday) we had an actual game plan, so everyone knew what was going to happen and we were all on the same page.”

This was the third time the teams had squared off this season, with GVSU winning 2-1 in February after the 3-0 loss back in the fall. Junior Dan Lesley said it helped that the team had already played the Cardinals two times heading in to Saturday’s match.

“We learned from what we did wrong the first couple of games and tried to improve upon that and not make the same mistakes,” he said. “But this time we played as a team and communicated effectively.”

The Cardinals and Lakers are rivals not only because that’s the nature of all GVSUSVSU match-ups, but also due to some tense moments in past games. The teams have even gotten in the middle of a shouting match on court in the past, arguing over whether or not a player was out. Stokes said Saturday’s game did not follow suit.

“It was an extremely honest game,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had that honest of a game with Saginaw Valley ever. It was a real classy game, so it made the win fun and felt well-deserved because there wasn’t any cheating going on.”

Next up for the Lakers will be the national tournament in Bowling Green, Ky. The two-day tournament starts on April 9.

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