Schweppes (Micah Zimmerman and Jesse Showalter, second), Easily Dug (Andrew Card and Travis Core, first), and Coup d'Etat (Grayson Ayres and Sam Konstanty, third) pose for a picture after College Nationals.
The collegiate Spikeball™ roundnet season ended with College Nationals at Ohio State University. The two-day tournament kicked off on April 28th with the Individual Team Tournament. Four teams from the April Open Power Rankings were in attendance: Spicy Rubi (5), Easily Dug (7), Schweppes (11), and Recrem (17). On April 29th, the teams returned to compete in their respective squads in the Club Tournament.
The Individual Team Tournament Pool Play was divided into Power Pool and non-Power Pool teams. There were two Power Pools, each consisting of five teams; each of those teams had to have placed top 2 at their respective Sectional Championships. Out of the nine sections, only six of them were represented in the Power Pools; the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and East Bay were absent.
The two Power Pools are as follows:
Spicy Rubi - University of Massachusetts Amherst - New England
Schweppes - Rosedale Bible College - Central
Recrem - Mercer University - Tropic South
MKE Infinite Entropy - Milwaukee School of Engineering - Great Lakes
Sola Fide - Ohio State University - Central
Easily Dug - University of Tennessee Chattanooga - Atlantic Coast
Coup d'Etat - University of Texas at Dallas - South Central
Last Resort - University of Georgia - Tropic South
as competitive as you wish you were - Baylor University - South Central
Almost Ambidextrous - Marquette University - Great Lakes
Placement in the Power Pools guaranteed a top 10 seed in the bracket. Earning a top seed was important, as to not get stuck with the 4, 5, or 6 seed. The non-Power Pool teams were left to play it out for the remaining seeds.
As expected, the most exciting matchup in Power Pool A was Spicy Rubi vs. Schweppes. The hard cap of 21 favored Rubi, who won the game 21-20. Both teams went on to win all other games in their pool.
In Power Pool B, Easily Dug vs. Coup d'Etat was the match to watch. Unlike in the match between Rubi and Schweppes, the game ended in an upset, with Coup d’Etat winning 21-16, making their team name quite fitting. Card and Core of Easily Dug found trouble against Ayres’s serve, which helped Coup d’Etat win with a higher point differential than expected. These two teams also won all other match-ups within their pool, making them, along with Rubi and Schweppes, clear contenders for the semifinals and finals matches.
In the non-Power Pools, multiple teams with the chance of making top 8 dropped pool play games, including UTC's Arthicio (David Gonzales and Stephen Welch) and Asbury's Asbury White (Peter Jon Showalter and Jonathan Waterman). Despite poor pool play performance, teams like Arthicio and Asbury White have the potential to upset teams with higher seeds during bracket play.
These were the top 16 seeds heading into bracket play:
- Spicy Rubi
- Coup d'Etat
- Easily Dug
- Last Resort
- MKE Infinite Entropy
- as competitive as you wish you were
- Sola Fide
- Almost Ambidextrous
- Check, Please
- Whift Cream
- Asbury Black
- Hakuna Matata
Because of the results of pool play, Asbury White got the 20 seed and Arthicio the 24.
These seeds indicated that if all went as seeded, there would be rematches between Spicy Rubi and Schweppes from Pool A and Easily Dug and Coup d'Etat from Pool B. Two strong non-Power Pool teams were also set to face one another in Round Two: Asbury White and Nighthawks (Matthew Bohnen and Nick Daub).
The first round went as seeded in all matches except for 37 seed Sour Path Kids upsetting the 28 seed Cane's Chicken. There was a small upset of the 33 seed Oh Don Do It over 32 seed Short and Long. In this match, both teams were representing UGA.
In the Round of 32, Asbury White was able to take out Nighthawks thanks to a strong performance by Peter Jon Showalter of the number one Open Power Ranked team, Cisek/Showalter. Arthicio was matched up with the Power Pool team Sola Fide of OSU. Contrary to the seed difference, Arthicio was expected to take this match and they did so in three games. Power Pool team Almost Ambidextrous was also upset by the 23 seed Touch and Go of UTC.
Unfortunately, all the teams that made Round of 32 upsets were stopped in the Round of 16. Schweppes eliminated Asbury White while as competitive as you wish you were outlasted Arthicio and MKE Infinite Entropy defeated Touch and Go. A new team made an upset, however. Whift Cream of GCU, who earned the 12 seed by going undefeated in non-Power pool play, took out 5 seed Last Resort of UGA to make it into the top 8.
A group photo at 2018 College Nationals.
In the quarterfinals, each of the higher seeded teams moved on in two games, setting up these two semifinals:
Spicy Rubi vs. Schweppes
Spicy Rubi and Schweppes had not played before this tournament, but their close pool play game indicated that this series would be tight. In Game 1, Rubi came out strong with good hitting and defense to win 21-16.
During most of Game 2, neither team was getting a lead over the other. Rubi was eventually able to find a two point lead at 16-14. Late in the game, Schweppes came back. At 20-18, match point for Spicy Rubi, McPartland hit a serve that cut hard to the left. Showalter dove and found a good touch on it and after a set from Zimmerman, he got the kill. Rubi, after seeing the far serve, slowed their play and was not able to react to this strong return. This strong play from Schweppes gave them new energy.
At 20-19 in favor of Rubi, Showalter of Schweppes aced McPartland with a drop serve to tie the game at 20-20. Now in extras and without the limitation of a hard cap, Schweppes saw their opportunity to get revenge on Rubi. Schweppes fought back to take Game 2 with a score of 28-26 and had the momentum heading into a Game 3 situation.
In the third game, Schweppes was able to play good defense and get good body-ups, which helped them to upset Rubi with a final score of 21-19.
Coup d'Etat vs. Easily Dug
The start of this semifinals was looking like pool play. Coup d'Etat found a solid lead early in the game. They lost their lead when Core of Easily Dug turned on his service game, which put them back on the board. Core and Card ran with this and were able to take Game 1 from Coup d'Etat with a score of 21-19. Easily Dug found confidence and won Game 2 (21-19) against the frustrated Coup d’Etat, who won with a high point differential in pool play.
The finals were thus set: Easily Dug vs. Schweppes. At the beginning of Game 1, Schweppes took an early lead, in part due Zimmerman’s strong left-handed hitting. In addition to that, Core gave poorly placed sets to Card, who could not put the ball back onto the net. Easily Dug then tightened up play to earn some points back. At 12-11 in favor of Easily Dug, an ace from Core solidified their lead and never let Schweppes come back. Core and Card won Game 1 with a score of 21-18.
Right out of the gate of Game 2, both teams were missing serves. Easily Dug scored their first multiple break lead at 5-4, as Card picked up a short hit of Zimmerman. Later in the game, Core aced Zimmerman with an impressive cut serve to give Easily Dug a three-point lead. Core then aced Showalter with a drop serve, making the score 13-9. Towards the conclusion of the game, players were missing serves again, which put pressure on both teams. In the end, Zimmerman put a good serve on the net, but Easily Dug was able to return it and Core was given the game winning kill. After winning Game 2 21-19, Easily Dug became the new 2018 College Roundnet Champions.
Coup d'Etat defeated Spicy Rubi to take third place.
The University of Georgia (third), the University of Tennessee Chattanooga (first), and Asbury University (second), pose for a picture at College Nationals.
The club bracket was set using Saturday's results.
- University of Tennessee Chattanooga (UTC)
- University of Texas Dallas (UTD)
- Grand Canyon University (GCU)
- University of Georgia - Black (UGA Black)
- Ohio State University (OSU)
- Asbury University
- Mercer University
- UGA Red
- Western Kentucky University (WKU)
- UGA White
- UTC B
The number one seed and favorite going into the Club Tournament was the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, led by the winners of the Individual Tournament, Easily Dug. The University of Georgia (UGA) brought an impressive number of teams to compete, but because a “squad” may have a maximum of three teams, they had to split into Red, Black, and White. Eyes were also on Asbury—Peter Jon Showalter in particular.
UTC moved through the the upper left hand side of the bracket and met UGA Black in the semi-finals. and found a win to move into the finals. In each of their matches leading up to the finals, their third team Touch and Go failed to win a series, putting the pressure on Easily Dug and Arthecio to win games.
Asbury met GCU of the Southwest Section in the Round of 8 after defeating UTC B.
After beating GCU, Asbury went on to play UTD where Showalter and Waterman of Asbury White played Coup d’Etat. During most of the first game, UTD had the upper hand and led by a few points. After some aces from Showalter, Asbury White caught up, sending the game into extras. In the end, Ayres and Konstanty won Game 1 27-25. Game 2 went the same as Game 1, though Coup d’Etat this time won without going into extras. Despite this close win for UTD, Asbury Black defeated UTD's second team, and without a third team for UTD, Asbury moved on to the finals.
In the club bracket finals, Easily Dug, the top team for UTC and the winners of the Individual Tournament, faced Peter Jon Showalter and Jonathan Waterman, the top team of Asbury University. In matches past, Asbury White’s opponents took advantage of Waterman’s inexperience. Easily Dug did the same. Despite a weak link, Showalter dominated play and Asbury White was able to take out Easily Dug in two games and put another win on the board for Asbury University. This meant that Arthecio and Touch and Go had to win their matched for UTC to win.
In the third-tier match, Touch and Go (Peyton Sparks and Caleb Wood) found their first win of the day as they defeated Asbury Purple (Drew Cooney and Thomas Miller).
Several prominent roundnet players were facing off in the realm of the second match as David Gonzales and Stephen Welch of UTC’s Arthicio and Zach Webb and Zeke Friedeman of Asbury Black faced off.Game 1 went to Black (21-18), but Arthicio came back to win games 2 (21-15).
At the start of game three the players were clued in to the fact that their series determined the club champion. A crowd gather around this intense match. At the start of the game Asbury Black found a small lead. Later, though, Gonzales stepped up his serving to score multiple breaks for Arthecio and give them the lead. Gonzales and Welch held on to win 21-18 and clinch the club championship for UTC.
In the end, UTC won the Club Tournament after losing the A game and winning the B and C games. UGA’s number one Squad, UGA Black, took third place over UTD. After the leading the pack, Easily Dug brought home pitchers and a trophy for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Got something related to roundnet that you want to know more about? Have any topics you want to be discussed on the podcast? Contact Mike White at firstname.lastname@example.org or @mwhitey17 on Twitter.