Easterns 2010 started in a different way than most tournaments of its ilk. Six teams met at UNCW’s fields on Friday night for three total games. The games featured three out of Region matchups, UNCW vs. San Diego State, Ohio State vs. Cal State – Long Beach and Duke University vs. Williams College.
The weather, which is always a factor in Wilmington, was toying with the players on the field. The wind swirled in the first half of the games, never developing a consistent direction or speed and in the second half of the games, a strong wind turned the games quickly into upwind and downwind games.
UNCW Seamen vs. SDSU Federalis
San Diego State Federalis gave no favors to the host Seamen in their first game of the weekend. Federalis came from behind, at one point losing 7-4, to steal a victory from Wilmington.
The game started with UNCW battling against a Federalis zone and its own rust. Both teams traded turns but the Seamen gave up a second turn on the point and the Feds cracked through the Wilmington O-line’s defense to opent the game with a break. SDSU led 1-0.
Wilmington refused to be rattled by the break though, as the Seamen answered right back. Going through the throw that caused the turnovers on the first point, UNCW launched a hammer that sent SDSU’s zone into panic mode and led to the Seamen’s first goal, the game was tied at 1-1.
The teams traded their next points to bring the score to 2-2 but a huge, well-placed pull from UNCW led to a shortfield turn from SDSU and Wilmington punched the goal in to get its break back and take a 3-2 lead.
The Seamen then launched into all out attack mode, earning another break on the next point to take a 4-2 lead. The Feds would score to close the gap to 4-3 but UNCW’s captains took over, Ingold-Smith brought down a huck to return the deficit to two goals and UNCW captain Steve Bender got a layout block that led to the Seamen taking another break and extending their lead to 6-3.
After the teams traded scores to 7-4, SDSU started to turn things around. It started with the Feds throwing three straight breakmark throws for the score to move the score to 7-5, on the next point an Ingold-Smith hammer got blocked and SDSU’s Lobster Bernstein caught the score to bring Wilmington’s lead to only one.
The Seamen stemmed the tide by taking half on the next possession, 8-6. However, the Feds came storming right back after halftime, trading scores with Wilmington to 8-7 before a Seamen drop led to a fastbreak score that tied the game at 8-8.
By this point the wind was really beginning to play a factor in the game. Both teams were throwing their best zone defenses on the field and it began to be a test of wills. At 9-9 Wilmington showed they could be patient with the best of them by calling a timeout during a marathon point and punching in the score to take a 10-9 lead.
That lead would be the last the Seamen would have as the Feds would break to a 12-10 lead. Ingold-Smith tried to rally his team by reeling in a full field huck to bring the score to 12-11 SDSU but it was in vain. SDSU tightened up its zone, throwing a four man cup at the Seamen and combining it with nasty pulls that forced three straight short field turnovers from the Seamen and the Federalis broke UNCW out, winning 15-12.
After the game, Bender lamented the rustiness of his offense and the team’s lack of competitive experience thus far in the season.
“We haven’t played many high level teams in the last two tournaments we’ve been to,” Bender said. “Our offense struggled a little bit with their four man cup, they started tightening it up a little bit and made some good plays on defense.”
On the other side of the field, SDSU’s captains were proud of the way their team stayed patient in the face of a deficit, high wind and a tough opponent.
“The best thing about the game was that it was a physical game,” Federalis’ captain J.T. Power said. “A lot of teams that we play out in California play pretty soft but these guys are slamming you. It was a good game against a great team.”
“(The key to the game) was just being really chilly with the disc and we weren’t trying to force our throws, especially when the wind picked up in the second half,” Power said.
Ohio State Leadbelly vs. Cal State – Long Beach Stalkers
On the next field over, Ohio State was facing off against one of the other West Coast teams that made the trip this weekend. The final score, 15-7 OSU, proved that the Stalkers were a bit overmatched by Leadbelly but for the first half of the game CSULB kept OSU on its toes.
Leadbelly started the game off with a break after the opening pull landed within feet from the backline and a Stalker turn gave OSU a shortfield. LB would answer right back as one of the Baumann brothers experienced the lowest of lows and highest of highs in a single point, dropping the disc on offense, point blocking his mark and catching the score to give Ohio State a 2-1 lead.
Leadbelly would get its second break of the game on the next possesion as a Long Beach throw got caught by the wind and went out the back of the endzone. With Ohio State leading 3-1 Long Beach went to its bread and butter, the teams traded the next three goals each, with all three for the Stalkers coming courtesy of throws from Keith Reschke and catches from Jacob Baumer.
With the score standing at 6-4, Ohio State took the next two points to take a halftime lead of 8-4. Long Beach wasn’t going away quietly, the Stalkers tried to put together a comeback, breaking Leadbelly twice out of halftime to shrink the lead to 8-6. There wouldn’t be much more noise from the Stalker sideline though, as Leadbelly ran through the rest of the half, scoring three times before CSULB scored again to take an 11-7 lead and then scoring the final four goals of the game to win, 15-7.
Once the wind started to pick up, Ohio State showed a distinct advantage, specifically in its ability to throw different defensive looks at the other team.
“We ran a lot of transition zone, transition man to get them out of any kind of groove they were in,” Ohio State captain Josh Botti said.
Despite the good looking score, there were certainly aspects of the game that Ohio State walked away wanting to improve upon.
“We just threw a lot of hucks that were upwind and would float,” captain Phil Cherosky said. “Even when there was wind we still played like there wasn’t wind. We just need to be chilly, we can beat people under if we need to.”
Duke Brimstone vs. Williams WUFO
We only caught the end of this game but Williams defeated Duke on Universe point in the hardcap. 12-11.