March 6, 2013 by Nicholas Bravos in Recap with 4 comments
ST. LOUIS, MO – With the hopes of finally breaking out of the gym, the 2013 Midwest Throwdown attracted a flux of Women’s (32) and Open (20) teams from around the region. Because Kansas City’s Free State Classic was cancelled due to severe weather, this was the first opportunity for many teams to head outside – in addition to getting some vital sanctioned game time under their belt.
Ever since the inaugural tournament in 2008, it’s no happenstance that weather’s been an issue, as “the Midwest is notorious for its unpredictable weather,” said Michelle Ng, Tournament Director. But many open regionals level teams, amid being in the adolescent stage of their season, proved the work they did in the off-season developing defensive formations and offensive fluidity solidified their seeds.
With temperatures in the low 30s, steady winds around 10-12 mph and fat snowflakes that fell sideways, it was clear consistent defensive performances and capitalizing on upwind breaks with patient, methodical offenses would be the formula for success during pool play.
Top seeds Washington University (Contra), North Park University Lost Boys (#12 – DIII) and Truman State University (Jujitsu) all won their respective pools and finished the day with 4-0 records. However, two-seed Saint Louis University (Archangel) won out over University of Notre Dame (Papal Rage) with a 12-11 universe point victory during the last game of the day to take Pool C.
“The loss against SLU was definitely a tough one,” said Jonathan Koch, Papal Rage senior captain. “We came out strong and were well on our way to a victory, but at the end we just tried to get too fancy and started to veer away from our fundamentals.
“At the end we were up 11-7, game to 12, and instead of being patient and working the disc down the field, we took big shots we didn’t need to and made little mistakes […] It was tough to see that one slip out of our hands but it was a great motivator for Sunday.”
However, when milder weather moved in Sunday morning with brighter skies and lighter winds, bracket play produced a more athletic touch to things, as many teams began changing their defensive strategy from zone to man.
The Championship Bracket showed an exciting flux of play – the two teams that would eventually appear in the finals each had to endure long universe wins in order to get there.
Two-seed University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Cornfed) started off play on Sunday doing just that by advancing to the semi-finals after a 17-16 universe win over North Park in quarters, then delivered a 12-10 semis loss to Archangel.
Sunday proved to be a successful day for Papal Rage, as they began by defeating Jujitsu in a 15-10 quarterfinal victory, and then in the semi-finals sent a determined Contra to the third-place bracket after a hard-fought 14-13 win at universe to advance them into the finals.
Players from around the tournament gathered for the showcase game at mid-day – Papal Rage hit the ground running with an early 3-0 break, but Cornfed would return with a few unanswered breaks to lessen the gap after trading a few points. Both teams displayed a strong physical style of play as they continued to trade in the short-short-long game – the teams threw a few zones, but continued to fall back to man. Much of the game would continue in this similar fashion, and Rage would eventually pull away in the second half to end the game 15-11.
“I think winning Throwdown has really given us some great momentum heading down to Florida for the Tally Classic,” said Koch. “Now it looks like we’re getting our feet back under us quickly, and can hit the ground running as we take on the rest of our schedule.”
If you want to see more Midwest coverage, don’t forget that Ultiworld will be at the Chicago Invite March 22-23.