As the Spikeball Roundnet Association (SRA) season heats up, roundnet players are headed down to Dallas for the second Southeast Tour Stop of 2018. The Dallas Tour Stops of the past have brought intense action and this weekend should be no different.
Nine strong Premier teams will be battling it out in a double-elimination bracket full of both established teams and mash-ups. With the presence of the Premier Division, the 24 teams in the Advanced Division will be competing for Premier qualifications. Another 24 teams are joining in the Intermediate Division.
Dallas has hosted a Tour Stop since their inception back in 2014 and this weekend's Premier Division is looking similar to the 2016 event. The 2016 Dallas Tour Stop contained a stacked field of teams. The tournament was taken home by the mash-up of Skyler Boles and Ian Golembeski (who would eventually become Chico de Gallo in 2017). En route to their victory, Boles and Golembeski defeated the #3 team Origin Vengeance (Chris Hornacek and Dylan Fogarty), #5 Safi (Peter Jon Showalter and Josiah Zimmerman), and #12 Artificial Flavors (Grayson Ayres and Zach Danyla).
The rest of the 2016 top 8 was Origin Groan (Patrick Drucker and Joey Hafertepe), Tejas (Logan Cornelius and Tanner Willows), Golden Set (Harding Brumby and Eric Zishka), and Origin Chaos (Matt Bohnen and Ryan Weiler).
Ten of these sixteen players will be returning to Dallas this year. Of all eight teams in the 2015 top 8, though, Origin Vengeance is the only team coming back.
Like 2016, this tournament may be won by a mash-up team. That team is worcestershire (Skyler Boles and Peter Jon Showalter). Boles eliminated Showalter two years back but now the two are forming a team of two roundnet National Champions. Showalter has won three Tour Stops this season and will be looking to do so again with Boles.
Skyler Boles of worcestershire dives after a hit in San Diego.
The team that has the biggest chance to stop them is Origin Vengeance. This #3 ranked team has fallen to Cisek/Showalter twice this year, including last weekend in Madison, WI. Defeating Showalter and Tyler Cisek is difficult, but defeating Showalter and Boles is definitely in the realm of possibility and may be expected by some. Defensive chemistry between Showalter and Boles as well as Boles' serve returning are the big factors in this match-up. Origin Vengeance must also capitalize on errors as failure to do so hurt them in Madison.
#11 Tetelestai (Logan Cornelius and Jesse Throw) landed on the podium last weekend in Madison and is favored to do so again in Dallas. The other Power Ranked team with a good chance to find top 4 is #12 L.E.D. (Harding Brumby and Grayson Ayres). L.E.D. placed t-5th at both tournaments this season.
There are three Premier mash-ups that are wildcards for Dallas. Phlegm (David Gonazles and Zach Danyla) unexpectedly placed third at the 2017 Dallas Tour Stop. Despite that placement, the team will be doubted heading into this weekend as Danyla has not been seen at many tournaments since.
David Gonzales of Phlegm serves a ball in San Diego.
Another 2017 Dallas podium finisher, Patrick Drucker (of Origin Impact at the time), is teaming up with Eric Zishka as The Lumberjacks. This is the first tournament for Zishka since 2017 Nationals, but peak play from these two could certainly compete with Tetelestai and L.E.D..
The third mash-up is Daub-ermetrics, the combination of Skylar Shibayama of Spiker, No Spiking! and Nick Daub of Origin Flow. These two players faced off in the Advanced Division finals one year ago at the 2017 Dallas Tour Stop, where they earned their Premier qualifications.
Two Texas-based teams are also joining the fray: Phoenix (Brian Childs and Sam Konstanty) and aggressive (Bradley Thompson and Joseph Burchett). Phoenix is formerly known as “The Fire Extinguishers” and although the team has not competed in a while, Konstanty has found success in college roundnet recently with Ayres of L.E.D.. Aggressive is a Baylor University roundnet team and placed top 8 at College Nationals last month.
Vote for who you think will place top 4 and top 8 in the Premier Divsion in the Prediction Poll!
With Dallas hosting a Premier Division, the Advanced Division gains intensity as four Premier qualifications are up for grabs.
Two teams with a good chance to take them are Sons of Thor (Luke Christopherson and Taylen Peterson) and Dragon Thunder (Chris Bradley and Ethan Datwyler). Sons of Thor is traveling from San Francisco to compete and Dragon Thunder is coming from Chicago. Dragon Thunder has placed just outside of top 8 multiple times and Datwyler earned Premier at Midwest Regionals last season.
Taylen Peterson of Sons of Thor moves under a ball in San Diego.
Other teams to look out for are Colonel Sanders (Jesse Stoltzfus and Zac Hummel) and The Hustle (Kale Weaver and Brandon Good) of Lancaster, PA and MO Spikes (Grant Longland and Brett Dorrance). The #4 Women’s roundnet team MOXIE (Julie Haselton and Jenna Coleman) is playing in Advanced as well. Coleman is one of two women Premier players and earned her qualification placing third in Dallas last year.
Vote for who you think will place top 4 and top 8 in the Advanced Division in the Prediction Poll!
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