UVA captain Tyler Conger scans the field at UPA College Nationals 2009. Photo courtesy of Ian Toner.
Every Ultimate program loses leaders. Such is the plight of college Ultimate, you have four (or five) years to be the best you can be and every year you lose the people on your team who have worked the last four (or five) years to be the best they can be.
However, a program rarely loses a leader like Robert Runner. Runner’s final year at Virginia was last season, when he lead Night Train to a Nationals berth for the first time in UVA’s history. He was last seen playing a large role in Chain Lightning’s championship run in the UPA Club Series.
“Robert was one of the most composed people I’ve ever been around,” UVA’s current captain, Tyler Conger, wrote to us in an e-mail. “That being said, when he was serious, you knew it was time to buckle down. I think everyone who played with Robert picked up on how calm he stayed in almost any situation. Also, his commitment to this team was something that I think we all try and replicate on an everyday basis.”
Delaware poses as a team after last year's UPA Colonial Sectionals tournament. Photo courtesy of Sean Keegan.
Complacency can be a dangerous emotion for any athletics team. A team, successful or unsuccessful can easily become comfortable in its role in a sport and this can lead to an underperformance at any level. Such may be the story of the 2008-2009 iteration of Delaware Sideshow.
After making consistent appearances at UPA College Nationals for the last have of the 2000s Sideshow missed out not only on Nationals but Metro East Regionals as well. The team became complacent in its place as a leader of the Colonial Section and, in two quick games, UDel was toppled and a team that expected to go to Nationals, was sent home packing.
Kanas huddles up. Photo courtesy of Kansas Ultimate.
We’ll get right down to it. The second we looked at Kansas’ score reporter page, we raised an eyebrow. The HorrorZontals are a storied Ultimate program with plenty of experience and success in the past. Needless to say, we were a little surprised to see a lot of red and very few games on the page.
We knew how our line of questioning would start off for the Kansas captains, where have you been this year?
Of all the teams that are making the trek to Easterns in Wilmington this weekend, the Cal State-Long Beach Stalkers are making one of the longest. Although sectional rivals, San Diego State, will also be in Wilmington, the Stalkers presence has to make one ask questions. When tournaments like Presidents Day, the Santa Barbara Invite and the Stanford Invite are going on a mere days travel or less from the Stalkers’ campus, why fly all the way across the country? If your school is located in Los Angeles, it certainly can’t be for the weather.
Well, turns out there’s a pretty good explanation.
Posted in Easterns 2010, previews, previews, Ultimate frisbee
Tagged cal state-long beach, easterns, marcos perez, san diego, stalkers, stanford open, streetgang, Ultimate
The first encounter we had with Virginia Tech Burn was at UPA College AC Regionals in 2009. We were watching Burn take on the UCF Dogs of War. Both were teams that no one was giving much of a chance to and the game was, to say it gingerly, pretty boring. That is until about mid way through the game.
UCF received the pull and VT threw a zone for the first time in the game. It appeared that Burn was forcing to the middle of the field, a type of zone we had rarely seen in college Ultimate. With three players, all easily above 6’4″, in the cup the Dogs were being slowly pushed backwards. A risky hammer moved the disc to about midfield but Burn’s zone caught up. Over the next 15-30 throws, UCF slowly worked the disc between its handlers, going nowhere but backwards until the Dogs turned the disc, the thrower stood 5 yards deep in his own endzone.
It was an impressive display of team defense and a slow deconstruction of an offense. Virginia Tech’s rise as an Ultimate team has been quite the opposite of that slow, lumbering, zone defense. Instead it has been a meteoric rise that has Burn putting Nationals on its list of tournaments on its website.
Pittsburgh will be riding the No. 1 overall seed into Easterns this weekend. Aside from winning a National Championship, this type of seeding and recognition is evidence of the culmination of the rise of an Ultimate program that has been a long time coming.
A glance at En Sabah Nur’s website’s history section reveals a team that has made the trip to UPA Nationals for the last five years but missed going to Metro East Regionals only six years ago. In those five years, Pitt has never ventured past the quarterfinals, while many would consider this a frustrating experience, En Sabah Nur sees it entirely differently.
Peter Dempsey gets a layout block against Wisconsin in the CCC 2009 semifinals. Photo courtesy of Chad Borer. http://www.frameatatime.com
“TRAP! TRAP! TRAP!”
Peter Dempsey’s bellowing voice could be heard over all the other noise at CCC 2009. Georgia was on defense against Delaware and Dempsey’s cutter had made the mistake of cutting too close to the thrower. Dempsey flashed into the lane and ordered the mark to prevent the dump or anything other than an upline throw.
Stall 6, the thrower looked IO, Dempsey was there. Stall 7, the thrower looked for a loopy OI forehand, Dempsey was there, Stall 8, back to IO and Dempsey was somehow still there. stall 9, the thrower launched a flick right into Dempsey’s chest.
“When I’m playing D, I guess I just think about playing O at the same time,” Dempsey wrote in an e-mail. “I don’t just try to get inside the head of the guy that I’m guarding, I try to figure out what all 7 guys are the other team are thinking.”