With only four teams left in the hunt for the Easterns title there was yet to be anything that anyone would consider a big upset. Of the four teams that were still alive, Virginia was the only one that was not a No. 1 seed in its pool and that pool was the only pool that had three teams advance to quarterfinals.
Both semifinal games seemed like they were going to be the first example of the big upset but in the end, both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the tournament pulled out victories and moved on to finals. Wisconsin came out on top of Middlebury 13-9 and Pitt beat out Virginia by the same score. However, that wasn’t before the Pranksters and Night Train gave the Hodags and En Sabah Nur a good scare.
Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur vs. Virginia Night Train
Virginia jumped out to a suprising lead in this game, getting a break on the third point to take a 2-1 lead. Night Train held on to that lead for quite some time, going as far as just before halftime holding onto a strong 7-4 lead.
However, that’s when Pitt started playing its game. En Sabah Nur scored its next offensive possession and then broke UVA two straight times to tie things up at 7-7.
Virginia would stem the tide of Pitt’s momentum for just a little while longer, scoring to take half 8-7. The teams would even trade all the way until 9-9 but Virginia never looked the same in the game. The throws were more timid and the defense was less aggressive as Pitt took over, scoring four straight goals to win the game at the cap, 13-9.
That was all she wrote for Night Train, who broke seed to a greater extent than any other team in the tournament. Pitt moved on to the finals to face the winner of Middlebury vs. Wisconsin.
Wisconsin vs. Middlebury
Up until this game, Wisconsin had more or less coasted through the tournament, unchallenged by anyone. Just by taking a glance at Middlebury one would hazard a guess that the Hodags would be able to make it through the semifinals unbothered by the Pranksters.
However, even with captain Joe MacDonald limping around all morning and hopped up on untold amounts of Advil, the Pranksters had the usually boisterous Hodag sideline quiet after two points.
The game started with the Hodags pulling to the Pranksters, with the wind at their backs the Pranksters wasted no time in hucking it to MacDonald who came down with the catch over his defender to give Middlebury a 1-0 lead.
While that wasn’t too surprising, considering Middlebury’s talent and the wind, what was suprising is what happened next. The Pranksters forced a turn from Wisconsin and punched the disc in for an upwind break to take a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin would get on the board with its next possession but the Pranksters weren’t done yet. Middlebury scored its next offensive possession and then broke the Hodags again to take a 4-1 lead. Madison quickly signaled for a timeout to gather itself and the decision paid dividends.
After the timeout Middlebury wouldn’t break Wisconsin again, the teams either traded scores or UW was breaking Middlebury. The Hodags took half 8-7 and finished the game on a 5-2 run to earn the victory 13-9.
While the semifinals did not provide us with an upset, it did provide us with what may have been the most entertaining exchange that we saw. That was MacDonald attempting to talk Wisconsin’s Matt Young into letting Middlebury wear the Hodags’ blacks for their game. Young seemed semi into it (perhaps he knew the history for Middlebury and wearing other team’s jerseys at Easterns) but coach Hector Valdivia was having nothing to do with the defiling of Wisco’s blacks.
An entertaining moment nonetheless.