Tally Classic 2010 – Finals – Notre Dame Papal Rage vs. UVA Night Train

(ed. note: We completely forgot that we hadn’t finished the coverage of Tally until we received an e-mail from UVA’s captain, Tyler Conger, essentially said, “Hey, what happened to finals?” Here’s the recap, complete and unedited.)

At the end of a long and arduous weekend of play at the 2010 Tally Classic, only two competitors remained standing. Both had followed similar paths to get to the finals, losing their crossover games Saturday night and therefore facing a much tougher road to the finals.

However, the teams would battle hard through the elimination bracket, Virginia facing Michigan State, the team in the field that had had the best season up to this point and Notre Dame facing Clemson, the cinderella story of the tournament. When the dust settled, each team knew that only one opponent stood between it and a $1000 check.

Notre Dame ended up being the team to take the check home as it prevailed over Virginia by a final score of 15-10.

Often times, the story line of a game is difficult to find or see. This was not the case for the finals of the Tally Classic. When it came down to it, Papal Rage was ready to come out of the gate firing and Virginia… was not.

“We came out slow and that’s one thing we’re going to work on,” Conger said. “Even against UGA-B, they came out and broke us first. In (the finals) we went down 3-0.”

It could be seen as the team’s broke the huddle to start the game. Notre Dame gathered in a circle and began swaying back and forth in rhythm, chanting, “Big Checks, Big Checks,” into a crescendo that showed the Papal Rage boys were still amped for the game. Notre Dame could see the difference on the field as well.

“They were just slow coming out in the game,” Notre Dame captain Andrew Schroeder said. “That’s not Virginia.”

All that mentality and spirit amounted to Notre Dame starting the game off with a 5-1 lead, on the wings of great play from Schroeder, fellow captain Michael Banning and a team defense that shut down Virginia’s offense. UVA’s dysfunctional offense was a sign of a bigger problem for Night Train, making the wrong adjustments at the wrong times.

“We thought we knew what would work,” Conger said. “We threw something pretty poachy at first and hoped for something bad from them. They actually threw a pretty swilly, bladey backhand but after that it was done. That easy score started it and then we came out vert agaist Notre Dame because our vert worked so well against Michigan State but it’s obvious we should have gone horizontal. Just a bad game plan.”

Just like any good team, Virginia refused to go quietly. Night Train scored its offensive point after ND took the 5-1 lead and the gap was closed to 5-2. After a Notre Dame miscue gave the disc back to UVA, Alex Dagley got up big in the endzone to snag a disc over Banning and give Night Train its first break of the game, 5-3.

With the score within two, a new life was given to the UVA sidelines but it would be short lived as a Notre Dame handler broke the mark to find Schroeder in the endzone after a long possession, 6-3 in ND’s favor.

The score went back and forth all the way until halftime. Virginia was getting all its players involved, well-timed hucks from captain Matt King and junior Tom Licitra both found their receivers in the endzone, and Notre Dame was keeping things cool and staving off repeated Night Train attempts at a comeback. Papal Rage would take a three point lead into halftime, 8-5.

Papal Rage would not let up in the second half either, Schroeder put the team on his shoulders by getting a catch block three throws into the second half and throwing the score himself after resetting the stall count and getting the disc back. Notre Dame now led 9-5.

At this point, the stars started to come out for both teams, as Conger was putting on a one man show and Schroeder was catching goals via full field hucks and short field cuts. Through it all, Notre Dame maintained its four point lead until the final point, when Papal Rage finished the tournament on the best of notes, by breaking its opponent to win, 15-10.

Virginia walked away from the loss still feeling good about what they had accomplished over the weekend.

“(The goal of) this tournament wasn’t really to win $1000,” Conger said. “It was to get a lot of experiences and start playing some real frisbee.”

Meanwhile, Papal Rage was walking on Cloud 9 and already discussing what the “Big Check” was going to.

“We’re going to buy a boombox,” Schroeder said.

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