Aug 02, 2022 06:00 AM PST

Tornadoes Keep Playoff Dreams Alive Despite Heavy Losses

After not making playoffs during the 2021 season, the Dallas Tornadoes came into the 2022 season hell-bent on making it all the way. With crucial additions like Peter Cannole, Joseph Grosh, and Sam Schuldy, and returners like Felix Chapman and Angel Rivera, it seemed that everything was coming together for the Tornadoes. However, things would quickly turn out to be a turbulent season, with the Tornadoes sneaking into the postseason only in the 5th and final regular season Event. 

Dallas came into the season ready to go, immediately sweeping newcomer Colorado Kraken in Event 1. They would drop a 3-1 decision to the Utah Stingers to go 1-1 on the weekend, but the future seemed bright. Event 2 would start with a sweep of the Inland Empire Matadors before being swept by eventual regular-season champions Team Freedom. While a 2-2 start wasn’t ideal for a stacked team, they seemed to grow stronger with each match. Event 3 saw them go the distance with Southern Exposure, pulling off a 3-2 win with Felix Chapman carrying the team and setting an NVA record of 36 kills. 

But sadly, with great heights comes even greater lows. An unfortunate hiccup in their season came against Seattle Sasquatch. As Seattle was the bottom-ranked team, the Tornadoes dropped a 3-2 loss to the new franchise as Chapman had to leave mid-match. The experience seemingly shook every member of the Tornadoes to their core. They entered a challenging Event 4, where they had to face both Las Vegas Ramblers and the OC Stunners. While Dallas took a set off both teams, they didn’t seem to be able to get into the groove of team chemistry they were showing earlier on in the season. 

Going into Event 5 with a 3-5 record, a rematch against the Stingers and Kraken seemed likely to go in their favor, especially with most of their missing pieces back. They struggled again against the Stingers, losing 3-1, before going into a sudden death match against the Colorado Kraken, with only the winner moving forward to the playoffs. With Kraken looking for their first win since Event 2 and Dallas carrying their chip on their shoulder from the year prior, Dallas was able to pull it off in five sets. The match was a nail-biter as both teams rallied into extra points in the fifth. Dallas eventually took the game and the last remaining playoff spot. 

Their quarterfinal matchup will be a rematch against Team Freedom, who is currently the number one overall seed and has yet to lose a match this year. Will the absence of top scorer Ian Capp and the return of Angel Rivera in the middle for Dallas be enough to pull off the upset of the year? Tune into ESPN 3 on 08/05 at 3PM PST to find out!

- NVA Staff Writer