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Michigan State Dodgeball: Freshman star Matt Barriball Speaks on national title

What a win.

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Michigan State dodgeball
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State dodgeball won its first-ever club national title and we got to speak with star freshman Matt Barriball.

Michigan State Dodgeball won its first-ever national title in club history last Sunday, April 16. In a rematch of 2022’s title game, the Spartans were able to get their revenge against Grand Valley State, winning in dramatic fashion in overtime. Winning a national championship in any sport, let alone one as fun and as exciting as dodgeball, is no easy feat, but MSU was able to do it in style completing the first undefeated national championship season in college dodgeball history.

I was able to catch up with star freshman Matt Barriball and he shared just how amazing this accomplishment truly was.

Everyone remembers how exciting dodgeball was in middle school gym class growing up. The thrill of running to center court to try and be the first player to get someone out brings back so many great memories. But this is no grade school gym class dodgeball, these athletes take it to the next level athletically and strategically.

When asked about the biggest differences between competitive dodgeball and what we knew growing up, Barriball stated, “Back then it was all just ‘everyone do whatever you want to try to get the other team out.’ At this level, there’s so much more strategy and thought that goes into each game.”

According to Barriball, a lot of strategy that comes into play is very similar to more popular sports like basketball and football including maintaining ball possession, when to throw for an out and when to throw just to kill the shot clock.

Heading into the national tournament, Michigan State dodgeball held the overall No. 1 seed, and with that came a lot of pressure. That pressure is something that this MSU squad wanted and expected from the beginning season.

“We had a loaded senior class and an extremely talented rookie class,” said Barriball. “Throughout the season we had many smaller goals set for strategy and game plan, but our final goal was obviously to win a national championship.”

And that they did.

“We knew we had the potential and were the best team in the league, but we never strayed away from always getting better, Barriball said.

To me, it sounds like they are embodying MSU Football’s mantra of ‘Keep Choppin.’

The feelings and emotions were “awesome” according to Barriball after MSU clinched its first national title in program history.

“The whole team and crowd went crazy. After we got back home we went over to our coaches house to celebrate and watch the replay of the game.”

He also said that the team also was very emotional after the tournament was over “with everything we’ve been through this year and that being the seniors last game, so that win meant a lot to us.”

Barriball already has his sights set on next season, one that will come with challenges of its own.

“We have to keep getting better and never stay complacent,” Barriball said. “We had the skill and talent needed to win a championship this year and so we have to start recruiting early in order to stay at the level we are at now and keep getting better.”

With that mindset, the sky is the limit for this program.

So next time you’re at your local YMCA and see some dodgeball being played on the basketball court, be sure these guys are nowhere near… you won’t stand a chance.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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