Today was more or less the perfect day for an tournament. While, in our opinion, wind severly detracts from the fun that is had while playing it does add an element to play that is not present with still air.
There were no large upsets to mention, the teams that were expected to go undefeated (Georgia, Emory and Georgia Tech) did so and did so with ease. Possibly the most hotly contested pool was the D pool, where Charleston upset South Carolina on universe point to steal the No. 4 seed going into Sunday. Not only that, but we found that SCAD was the most underrated team in the field. Buz gave Charleston all they wanted and a little bit more before playing with South Carolina for the entire first half.
As it turns out, it is much harder to cover an ultimate tournament that one is actually playing in. We managed to speak with the captains from every No. 1 and No. 2 seed in all four pools except for a representative of Kennesaw State and Clemson. We will touch on all six of those team’s performances and post some photos below.
If you ask Georgia captain Peter Dempsey, things went a little bit better for the Dawgs than the above photo would suggest.
“We played like we should have,” Dempsey said. “We really didn’t have too much trouble except at the beginning of that Kennesaw game. We played smart. We didn’t try to do stupid stuff against teams that we could do easy stuff against.”
Georgia was all business as it ran through its pool by scores of 13-5 over GCSU, 13-5 over Charleston-B, a big win over SPSU (In the interest of full disclosure, we don’t have the score but we know it was big) and a 13-5 win over Kennesaw State. Demspsey was by no means surprised but he was certainly pleased with the outcome.
“We’ve been turning over the disc a lot and not taking care of it very well,” Dempsey said. “I was just happy to see us do that and make smart decisions.”
“There really wasn’t much a low point today,” Dempsey said.
The Dawgs have a lot of things to be positive about and Dempsey expects those positives to carry over into elimination play on Sunday.
“I think if we keep doing what we did today then we’ll be fine,” Dempsey said. “Our most important thing is to limit the turnovers and we’ll be good.”
Emory set a nice pace for itself in hopes of hitting a stride in time for its potential matchup with Georgia later this tournament. Emory began its day with 13-5, 13-4 and 13-6 wins over Georgia Tech-B, Georgia State and Georgia Southern-B, respectively.
“We’ve been to some good tournaments this year where we’re used to playing a lot of good teams,” junior Arvil Nagpal said. “I guess we were in a big pool with a lot of B teams so it wasn’t the type of competition that we are used to. So everything was gearing up towards Clemson and let me tell you, those kids can fucking ball.”
Emory has stuggled against the Joint Chiefs in the past, especially last year, but this year was going to be different. While Clemson fought hard, Emory proved to just have a little bit too much and Emory emerged victorious 11-6.
“We always respected them,” Nagpal said. “I’m real happy about (the win). We were super intense and we need to carry that over.”
Indeed Emory has quite a stuggle ahead of it as Georgia and Georgia Tech both proved that they have a lot of talent on their respective squads and are expecting big things throughout the rest of the weekend.
“I think that a lot of these games are just about us,” Nagpal said. “I think we have the athleticism and talent level to beat anybody but a lot of times we kill ourselves.”
Georgia Tech began its day auspiciously as Georgia-B came out hot after halftime and took the first couple of points. The Tribe would get things back under control and end the game at a score of 13-7. After rolling over Clemson-B thanks to a strong zone defense The Tribe rolled 13-1. Finally was Georgia Southern.
The Eagles looked to come out and break seed big time by taking The Tribe down and it appeared that they were going to do just that when they opened the game with two breaks and began 2-0. The Eagles would eventually build their lead to 5-2 but the second half would be a different story.
The Tribe would take half after that and then proceeded to stomp the Eagles in the second half by a count of 13-5.
After an up-down-up kind of day Georgia Tech expects to be able to play well on Sunday. If anything, they learned going into Sunday that their game against Georgia Southern is proof that they are capable of putting on the afterburners when necessary.
“We have to take that we can turn it on like we did against Southern,” sophomore Victor Lesniewski said. “That if can actually get our heads straight that we can run against these teams.”
South Carolina played well until in-state rivals College of Charleston rained on their parade, beating the Gamecocks on double game point 14-13. It was a tough loss to take as USC lost its seeding to the Bums but captain Kevin Anderson doesn’t see the day as completely lost.
“I’d say we did pretty decent for the most part,” Anderson said. “Overall I’d say this bodes well for our play on Sunday.”
The pivotal part of the day for the Gamecocks was when, down by 6 to Charleston, they were able to score five points in a row and get another break to tie the game at 13. Anderson believes that his team will be able to translate the level of play that they were at during their comeback into some success on Sunday.
“I’d say that comeback at the end of the game set us up for some good play on Sunday,” Anderson said. “We were playing hard D and playing some pretty solid O, making good decisions. I’d say if we can carry that over to Sunday then we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
The Bums came into this weekend with plenty to play for. They were seeded fifth in the tournament and knew that five teams go to Regionals. It would be crucial for them to break seed and give themselves a little room to breathe. They would also need to make sure that they did not play down to any competition.
“The past two tournaments we’ve gone into we’ve seen our brackets beforehand,” CofC captain Justin Gaeta said. “You can call it laziness or you can call it something else but we would look and just expect to beat teams. Then it would turn out to be a really close game and we would get tired and get down on ourselves. Today we had a close game against SCAD but we didn’t go in saying, ‘This is the bottom seed in our bracket so we’re just going to roll this team.’ So instead we went in there and played our hearts out.”
The Bums squeaked by an underrated SCAD team and then rolled on Georgia-D. All in preparation for their crucial matchup with South Carolina. Charleston would start strong, building as much as a 5 point lead on the back of a zone defense that USC could not handle, only to see the Gamecocks come back and tie the game at 13-13 for double-game point. For the second half of the game, Charleston’s main concern, its offense, was on fully display.
“The low point was offense,” Gaeta said. “Especially for (the USC) game when we got tired our offense has always been real weak. Whenever a team really cracks down on D, there’s three or four playmakers on the team and everyone else, I don’t want to say they just run around but they only have one side, they’re only in or they’re only deep.”
While the Bum offense was not up to Gaeta’s hopes and expectations he still was excited that Charleston could pull out a victory against its in-state rival and put itself in a good position for tomorrow’s play.
“We’re real happy,” Gaeta said. “Tomorrow we’re just going to go back in with the same level head and play our defensive game.”
We unfortunately did not record our interview with Ryan Randall of Georgia Southern. We apologize for the lack of in depth coverage but playing and reporting on a tournament, as we said before, is more difficult then we expected. Hopefully, as the field slims tomorrow, we’ll be able to get more information. Later tonight we will post more brief recaps along with some photos and tomorrow’s schedule.