We don’t think that we’d be going out on too much of a limb to say that few expected to see Georgia Tech and Delaware matching up come quarterfinals of this tournament. Tech, as we mentioned yesterday, hasn’t been to Nationals in quite some time and failed to make much, if any, noise at AC Regionals last season.
Delaware, on the other hand, is a team that has had some good finishes to start off this season and to see them make it thus far in the bracket wasn’t much of a surprise. GT survived one of the easier, and more confusing, pools in the tournament to make it here while Delaware won second on a three-way tie in order to advance to the A-Bracket.
However, this unforeseen matchup left little to be desired as the two teams squared off in a rough and tumble battle of a game.
Meanwhile, one field over, Wisconsin and Notre Dame prepared to fight for their lives. Notre Dame trying to salvage a day that ended quite poorly and Wisconsin trying to continue its dominance of CCC.
Delaware vs. Georgia Tech
The quarterfinals began without much fanfare as Georgia Tech (Tribe) and Delaware (Sideshow) traded points to 2-1 Tribe lead.
However, GT went to work early and before Sideshow knew what hit it, Tech had a 5-2 lead thanks to team defense and several deep hucks by junior Nick Lance and deep catches by junior Andrew Fish.
Georgia Tech was playing with a mission, Tribe’s sideline was pumped up and the boys from The Dirty South were playing hard defense with aggressive marks and “in-your-shorts” man defense. Clearly, GT had Sideshow rattled early on.
“We just came out on fire,” senior captain Michael Spear said. “I think that initial burst of energy from us just put them on their heals.”
However, if we learned one thing about Delaware yesterday, its that they weren’t a team to be trifled with, and that they wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Even though all-star Sean Keegan spent most of the first half on the sideline, Delaware fought back to 6-5 thanks to smart throws from junior Clay Heinzel-Nelson and an assortment of other players.
Sideshow’s proximity would be short-lived as Lance went back-to-back points being on the receiving and sending side of hucks and Georgia Tech took half by a count of 8-5.
The teams traded scores to get to 10-7 before Keegan began to make his presence known. Keegan brought down a huck for a score but Georgia Tech answered back with one of their own from senior Hogan McHugh, to bring the score to 11-8. On the next point, Keegan found the endzone on another huck and GT again answered quickly. Seeing that the third time was in fact the charm, Delaware pumped yet another huck to their lead man and Keegan brought down a score over the third Tribe defender in as many points.
With the score at 12-10 it was clear that Delaware had to do something and it had to do something fast if it wanted a shot at winning this game. Sideshow, which performed well under pressure all weekend, answered the call, summoning up the reserves to get a break back, narrowing the gap to 12-11.
Georgia Tech refused to make the win easy on Delaware, by marching the disc down to Delawares goaline and then seizing opportunity as a Sideshow defender mixed up the force on the goaline and Tribe hit the breakside cutter for an easy score to go up 13-11.
Keegan, still seemingly in control of the game, decided to try out the other end of “this hucking thing,” hitting a Delaware cutter that was streaking into the endzone to keep things close.
However, just as well as Keegan could take over the game, Tech’s Lance proved that he was just as capable. Lance pulled down a huck in the corner of the endzone to bring Tribe to game point, 14-12. Sideshow would score one more time but GT proved that it was here for the long run and Lance put a hammer right into the gut of a wide open receiver for the Tribe win. 15-12.
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin
Meanwhile, just one field over, Notre Dame Papal Rage and the Wisconsin Hodags were in quite a battle. While we, admittedly, didn’t pay as much attention to this game as the other one, we are able to bring you the most exciting parts of the game.
Papal Rage spent much of the first half to three quarters of the game giving Wisconsin quite a bit of cushion through various miscues and turnovers. The Hodags, in typical UW fashion, seized the oppotunities thrown their way and spent most of the game up by two or three breaks.
That being said, much like Delaware on the other field, Notre Dame refused to go away and, even once the score reached 11-8, kept fighting.
Notre Dame earned a break back after a beautiful Andrew Schroeder layout block and closed the gap at 13-12. At this point, the hard cap came on and Wisconsin was receiving the disc needing only one score to advance to the semifinals and leave a pesky Papal Rage behind.
A Hodag victory would not come easy as Notre Dame earned its third straight break to tie the game at 13 all. It was double game point.
Notre Dame lived true to its spoken strategy and came out with a poachy zone that forced a lot of throws, on high stall counts, from Wisconsin handlers. Finally, desperate to break crack through the zone, a Hodag handler sent a hammer too high into the wind and a Papal Rage defender came over the top of the intended Hodag receiver to get the block, less than 20 yards from Wisconsin’s endzone.
Cheers erupted from the camo-dressed Damers but they would be too early. Wisconsin’s receiver called a foul on the defender and, despite jeers and boos erupting, the Hodags stood strong on their call and, after being contested, the disc went back to the original thrower.
After that scare, the Hodag handlers played a bit more conservatively and ND wasn’t able to force another block. UW marched down the field and punched the disc in to win and move on.
We caught up with Schroeder after the game and though he didn’t have much to say about the foul at the end of the game, he did tell us that he was “disappointed” with the way the game ended.
From the far fields, Virginia beat Alabama handily and Georgia handled Clemson without much difficulty, leading to semifinal matchups of Virginia vs. Georgia Tech and Georgia vs. Wisconsin.