So with a 28:57 second half (instead of the standard 25:00), the Spartans and Lakers were refreshed and ready for action.
While game one took up most of the first half, both teams played with a much quicker pace to start. An early mistake by Girling sent him to jail, but Matt Barriball filled in nicely, highlighted by sacrificing himself to make a play to get one of GVSU’s top players, Josh Hill. Things turned ugly for the Spartans after both teams traded kills and missed shots.
The bad news was that MSU was down to just three players. The good news is that it was three of their best four with Butler III, Kramer, and McClean.
With just 19 minutes remaining in the season, the Spartans had to play it safe. With a near hit on McClean, he stayed composed and catches a ball, bringing Girling back in and brought the totals to four per side. If the Spartans were going to come back and win a dodgeball national title, it’s these four players you want leading it.
With a catch of a dodgeball, Girling swung the momentum and lead to 5-3 Spartans, leading to a GVSU timeout. A ball thrown by Girling was caught, but it didn’t deter the Spartans, taking Game 2 with 10 minutes left in the second half.
Grand Valley 1, Michigan State 1
With the pace that this series had gone, it looked like game three would decide the national championship. The Spartans started strong, taking a 6-4 lead seconds after the rush. What started as a kids’ game now turned into a heavy weight title fight.
Both teams traded kills, catches and spectacular dodges. Barriball made a clutch catch to bring back Girling, which would prove to be a huge move later in the match. With four minutes remaining, Girling clipped GVSU’s Owen Israels on the heel (after official review) giving MSU the 8-7 advantage.
After a 10-second shot clock violation on GVSU, they had to throw all ball over to MSU’s side with 1:33 left, which is a huge mistake according to the announcers. MSU had an opportunity to deal some real damage but while they had some good shots, it didn’t result in any eliminations.
Both teams were in prevent formation and strategy to take the 2023 National Collegiate Dodgeball Association Championship into overtime.
Grand Valley 1, Michigan State 1 (end of regulation)