Despite some extremely close and exciting matches between teams during the first round of playoffs, the clear favorite to take the dodgeball title is the defending champions, Blitzkrieg 31.
Every team left in the playoff hunt immediately acknowledged Blitzkrieg as their toughest competition, due to their dodgeball experience and smart game play.
“No other team really played as well as them during the season,” Assistant Intramural Director Ryan “Moe” Matteucci said.
Going undefeated in the regular season, Blitzkrieg earned a bye during the first round. However, the majority of the team was present in the gym, watching the games and measuring up their competition.
“We’re here to defend the title and we’re just excited to be in it,” junior Tommy McGrady of Blitzkrieg said.
Blitzkrieg’s biggest competition will be American Heroes, who defeated a four-person Team America squad in the first playoff match, 3-1. After beating Team America soundly in the first game and leading the second with a 5-1 player advantage, American Heroes looked as if they would win easily.
Despite being the last person on his side, Team America senior Dallas Post did not give up and caught two balls, evening up the numbers on each side. With a new sense of energy, Team America turned the tables on American Heroes and won the second game.
However, Team America’s second game comeback was not enough for the rest of the match, as American Heroes won both games three and four of the best-of-five match.
“We have a pretty good chance,” sophomore Phil Clark of American Heroes said. “The teams are all tough, but I think we can pull it off.”
Perhaps the most surprising and intense match of the night was between #3 New Milwaukee and #6 Jesse Krotzer. During the regular season, Milwaukee defeated Krotzer 3-0 and were thought to be one of the top contenders to knock off Blitzkrieg.
Krotzer, who only won one match during the regular season, came into the game wanting to prove that they were better than their previous record. The teams each won two games, and the fifth game ended with both teams having four players still in play during the last minute, when boundary lines are extended.
For anyone watching the match, the last minute was complete chaos, with multiple player exchanges for both sides. Opponents were only a few feet apart, yet still able to catch balls thrown from such close proximities. In the end, Krotzer simultaneously knocked out the last two Milwaukee players.
“It was the comeback of the century,” sophomore Dave Christenson of Jesse Krotzer said.
Team namesake first-year Jesse Krotzer said that the final game was simply amazing and that he was surprised that his team was still in it during the final frenzied minute.
“We just didn’t want to show off our natural talent during the regular season,” Krotzer said with a laugh. “I’m pretty sure whoever we play (next) is going down.”
The final match was between #4 Arnold’s Pizza Shop and #5 Team Mugatu. Two of the games went into overtime, something that never occured during the regular season. The teams split the first four games, winning two each, with Mugatu pulling out the fifth game victory.
“We just overcame two overtimes, so I feel really good,” said sophomore Sean Von Bloch, better known on campus as Burlap Jones, of Team Mugatu’s chances. “We got a lot of momentum going.”
Team Mugatu took on American Heroes, who they defeated 2-1 earlier in the season, in Tuesday’s semifinals. Blitzkrieg faced off with Jesse Krotzer for the second spot in the championship game, which was played immediately after the semifinals.