Three (nearly) full tournaments were played this weekend, in what proved to be the first weekend of the preseason that was not severely affected by inclement weather. That being said, teams attending Queen City Tuneup had to deal with snow and shortened round times while teams attending Mardi Gras had to deal with bayous encroaching into the middle of the field. Meanwhile, President’s Day frolicked out West like one would expect Californians to.
After the jump is this weekend’s recap. It may be of some interest to many of you but we are making some efforts to get in touch with the UPA, Mike Gerics and George Mason’s Ultimate program to try and sort out just what went down this last weekend. It would be somewhat of a tragedy in our opinion if the UPA decided to go through with what, at the moment, seems like a rash and harsh decision.
Perhaps we shouldn’t say anything in order to avoid alienating any of the parties involved but we wanted you, the readers, to know that we’re on the case to get the story from all involved. Good luck to all teams searching for sanctioned games.
If your first instinct is to cringe when you see a playing field in such a state. Then don’t bother to look at this next picture.
Both captains we spoke with, Wisconsin’s Jake Smart and Notre Dame’s Andrew Schroeder had similar things to say about the weather in Baton Rouge last weekend.
“We had to use an alternate field site,” Smart told us. “About half the fields at the tournament were a mud pit, where if you stood in one place your cleats would completely submerge.”
“The fields we played on Saturday were more or less swamps with large pools of standing water,” Schroeder wrote in an e-mail. “Made it pretty hard to pick feet up out of the mud and therefore, run. The extra exertion definitely took a toll on our legs by the end of the day Saturday and on Sunday.”
Reports were that some fields were nicer than others but, in the end, results were more or less what one would expect them to be. Wisconsin won the tournament over Illinois 13-4 after storming through bracket play on Sunday, winning every game by at least five goals.
“I was least surprised by Wisconsin’s results as they have won this tournament for a number of years in a row now,” Schroeder wrote. “They play tight man defense with extremely aggressive marks.”
However, some things did not go as expected, with Wisconsin losing during pool play to a well documented (internet-wise) but relatively unheard of North Park team.
“We showed up about five minutes before game time and it showed in our play,” Smart told us of the loss. “Played some sloppy offense in the mud, struggled to adapt to the slippery conditions on D, their receivers made a lot of plays to maintain possession. There was a single break in the game that, obviously, they got.”
Also on the unexpected side was Texas’ 0-4 performance on Saturday. TUFF has had a stronghold on the South region for a while, taking at least one of the region’s bids to Nationals for the last five years, but things may shake up a little bit differently this year. UT managed only one victory on the whole weekend, a first round bracket play, double game game point victory over Grinnell.
“Texas surprised me the most on the weekend,” Smart wrote to us. “I knew this would be a rebuilding year but it’s rare for a perennial strong program like that to go 0-for at a tournament like this.”
Alabama may have surprised a few folks by finishing in the top eight of the tournament and we’ve never heard Iowa State’s name called before but ISU finished with a loss to Illinois in the semifinals. Alabama might not be the only team from the AlaBama section looking to unseat LSU this season, Vanderbilt also finished in the quarterfinals.
On a couple individual notes, we were told that Evan Klane has continued his spectacular run as a handler for Wisconsin. Klane dished out 34 assists on the weekend. No surprise to anyone, Michael Arenson from Minnesota also got a mention for his great play and Illinois’ Walden Nelson made an impact on the Hodags’ captain despite the brevity of the finals.
“(Walden) touched the disc on every other throw for their offense,” Smart wrote. “Lots of throw and goes, he’s got a quick first step. He was the one guy on Illinois that didn’t get tired, despite playing every point and putting in a lot of mileage.”
Overall, it looks like Mardi Gras was a great tournament despite the weather. Good on the TD as we know he was looking for backup fields months in advance and it appears that decision paid off big time. Perhaps some people* would be well off to follow suit.
President’s Day saw the rise of a new champion as the UCSD Air Squids won their home tournament for the first time in who knows how long. UCSD defeated Cal UGMO in the finals by a score of 15-13.
The tournament was a fine weekend of sunshine and Ultimate, perhaps the first of its kind in the college Ultimate world this spring. Much like Mardi Gras, aside from the few surprises here and there President’s Day played out pretty much to seed. No teams from outside the power pools advanced to semifinals and only one (Cal-Poly SLO) finishing in the top eight.
While many might not find the results too surprising, an in-depth look from TD Eric Hsu provides some inside information that shows there’s more to this tournament than meets the eye.
“SDSU’s semifinal run can be of surprise to people outside the Southern California section,” Hsu wrote us in an e-mail. “Their game style operates in a spread offense, where they can utilize their tall, athletic receivers to maximum potential. If UCSD is not careful at Regionals, they could fall upset to the SDSU Feds.”
Meanwhile, it appears that UCSD is prepared to take the reigns in Southern California due to an experienced roster and some quality pickups over the offseason.
“UCSD’s victory at Presday comes of no surprise to me,” Hsu wrote. “A 2010 class (8 starters) along with 2 grad students (1 from UVA Night Train, the other (former) captain of Purdue) makes UCSD an extremely strong team.”
Hsu was more than impressed with some of the individual displays of Ultimate prowess on the field by players such as UCSD’s Justin Elliot and Josh Nickerson, two 6-foot-plus players that create a deadly matchup for any team, and UGMO’s Kris “Mateo” Thomson. Thomson, according to Hsu, is “deadly, because he is both a handler and a cutter.”
Hsu also dealt a large amount of credit for the Federalis semifinal berth to Kyle “Splash” Gordon.
“(He) is the heart and soul of SDSU’s team,” Hsu wrote. “Splash marks up on the other team’s best player. If SDSU makes noise in later tournaments, don’t be surprised to hear about Splash making all sorts of plays.”
Perhaps the biggest news of the whole weekend, much like at Mardi Gras, is the apparent fall from grace of one of the Region’s biggest names. The UCSB Black Tide went 1-3 on Saturday and after taking down the Carleton Gods of Plastic in the first round on Sunday, were unceremoniously booted from the tournament by the upstart Feds.
“UCSB’s loss of six seniors has hurt them tremendously,” Hsu wrote. “A lot of their players now (except for their captains and probably 3 other players(ed note: actual total of six players)) are all either 2nd or 1st years. Last year was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Black Tide. However, they somehow managed to get through the season and go to Nationals with 8 vets. Now the consequences of playing an extremely tight rotation is seen with an inexperienced Black Tide 2010.”
Queen City Tuneup
Weather was certainly a factor at Queen City Tuneup, in case you cannot tell from the above picture. NC State’s Ken Porter isn’t playing beach Ultimate, that’s snow the boy is laying out into.
All of Saturday’s games and the first two rounds on Sunday were shortened to give the fields time to thaw out. You read that correctly, the TDs thought it was in the best interest that the fields not be, literally, frozen during play. Yikes. That didn’t stop Georgia from claiming the Charlotte fields as their home fields for the second year in a row, beating Michigan State Burning Couch in the finals, 15-7.
“The snow on Saturday made for weird results,” Georgia’s Taylor Nilan wrote to us in an e-mail. “Sunday was a lot better conditions but the fields got pretty mushy.”
Weird results indeed. CCC surprise Georgia Tech struggled mightily in the snow, losing on universe to Michigan State before falling to Pitt by nine goals. However, Pitt did it’s own fair share of struggling, going 2-2 during Pool Play.
Michigan State surprised just about everyone by winning its pool after being seeded third in the pool and then trashing the bracket on Sunday until it ran into Georgia in the finals.
However, many of these strange results might be attributed to the shortened rounds, as early breaks could make the difference in a game.
East Carolina continued to do its best to get the Carolina section a couple extra bids to Regionals by beating an undermanned Jojah team in pool play.
“They played great and they looked like they wanted it more than us,” Nilan wrote. “They didn’t stop their cuts, we did. They made smart throws, we didn’t. They moved the disc all around the field, swinging it everywhere, they played well.”
However, UGA’s confidence was high after giving a solid ECU team a good game with only half the team present due to car trouble and general snow trouble.
“When the reinforcements go there, I felt great,” Nilan wrote. “After the ECU game, some of our big players just got to the field and we were full strength for William and Mary (ed. note: Hence the 11-0 victory).”
For more results, check out Jojah’s site and the score reporter page. As it stands, we’re at 1600 words for one weekend and we have the GRE to study for.
Phew. What a weekend!
Not much going on in the Ultimate world this weekend. There are (now) only two sanctioned tournaments as the UOA has had the green highlight ganked out from under their feet on the score reporter page.
We enjoyed watching Virginia Tech play Ultimate last year at Regionals and they put together a sweet video for Five’s sponsorship this year. As a result of a combination of all those things, they’ve been given the top seed at this tournament. Let’s see if they can live up to it.
Hellfish Bonanza cancelled because of snow.
We don’t know anything about the teams playing in this tournament other than the fact that Vandy played better than an 8 seed last weekend at Mardi Gras.
As always, if you’d like to be our contact at a tournament (we’ve got none at any tournaments this weekend) hit us up via e-mail.