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Easterns 2010 – Round One – UGA Jojah vs. UVA Night Train

UVA's Andrew Wilkes grabs a disc in front of a bidding Peter Dempsey on the way to a Virginia victory. Photo courtesy of Jesse von Fange. http://www.unitesports.biz

Easterns 2010 wasted no time in getting competitive and interesting. In the first round two of the heavyweights from the Atlantic Coast region squared off in an excellent game.

Georgia was coming in off a disappointing finish at College Terminus and Virginia was coming into Easterns with a similarly bitter taste in its collective mouth after finishing poorly at the Wilmington 8s. Both teams were ready to start off on a new foot and it showed in the play as the game, which ended in a capped, double game point style in Virginia’s favor, 10-9.

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Easterns 2010 – Previews – UVA Night Train

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.”

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Tally Classic 2010 – Finals – Notre Dame Papal Rage vs. UVA Night Train

(ed. note: We completely forgot that we hadn’t finished the coverage of Tally until we received an e-mail from UVA’s captain, Tyler Conger, essentially said, “Hey, what happened to finals?” Here’s the recap, complete and unedited.)

At the end of a long and arduous weekend of play at the 2010 Tally Classic, only two competitors remained standing. Both had followed similar paths to get to the finals, losing their crossover games Saturday night and therefore facing a much tougher road to the finals.

However, the teams would battle hard through the elimination bracket, Virginia facing Michigan State, the team in the field that had had the best season up to this point and Notre Dame facing Clemson, the cinderella story of the tournament. When the dust settled, each team knew that only one opponent stood between it and a $1000 check.

Notre Dame ended up being the team to take the check home as it prevailed over Virginia by a final score of 15-10.

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Tally Classic 2010 – Semifinals – Virginia Night Train vs. Michigan State Burning Couch

While Notre Dame and Clemson battled one field over, Virginia and Michigan State were embroiled in a dogfight of their own for the right to compete for $1000. Suffice to say that no one was looking past semis to the finals at the Tally Classic because each of the semifinal games were epic contests in and of themselves.

Michigan State had little trouble with any team over the course of the tournament, Burning Couch’s closest game, a 13-11 victory over Notre Dame, wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Meanwhile, Virginia had struggled mightily in the ACC bracket, going to double game point with Clemson once, before getting trounced by the Joint Chiefs in their second meeting and struggling out of the gate against Georgia-B, even going down two breaks to start.

However, the past was the past when the two highest seeds in the tournament met a round before they were expected to and Virginia gathered its wits together and prevailed, 13-11.

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Tally Classic 2010 Previews: Virginia Night Train

Weather plays a factor in any outdoor sport. However, in terms of Ultimate frisbee, the stakes are upped a little bit more than in other field sports. Without the following and respect that soccer, football or even lacrosse have, Ultimate tournaments are bumped at even the first sign of damage to fields. Field owners and managers have no other choice, as they have to keep their fields in shape for the more popular, thereby more lucrative sports.

This preseason in college Ultimate has been rife with rain and snow causing tournament cancellations. From Trouble in Vegas to the Hellfish Bonanza, no region of the country has been spared Mother Nature’s wrath this season. While we all know that some teams function without practicing outside (no really, we know, we get it, you don’t get to go outside), there are some teams that this is a brand new experience to. One of those teams is reigning AC Regional Champion, Virginia Night Train.

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