We pick the winners and losers of day one.
March 20, 2016 by Patrick Stegemoeller in Analysis, Recap with 6 comments
Some winners and losers from the action on Saturday at Easterns.
Stanford is the big winner coming out of Saturday, as they took down Pool B’s top seed UNC Wilmington in one of the day’s biggest upsets. Entering the weekend seeking a marquee win to prove their contender bone fides, the west coast squad got just that and then some.
Assisted by a rough first half from Wilmington’s Xavier Maxstadt, Bloodthirsty jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the intermission and were able to hang on for the win. With the score 14-11, senior handler Josh Kapilivsky sent a probing huck into the endzone that Wilmington’s Jack Williams just missed, and landed in the hands of an awaiting receiver to clinch the game. Elliot Chartock was dominant for Stanford, leading the offense and crossing over for every one of the D-line’s breaks.
With the win and pool secured, Stanford are moving on to their quarterfinal matchup with UNC tomorrow morning. “These are the kinds of games we’re going to be playing five, six times a tournament if we want to meet our goals, to go deep at Nationals.” said Stanford head coach Ryan Thompson. There is a lot of ultimate still to be played this weekend, but Thompson and Stanford got the point across today that they are ready to give any team in the country a run for their money.
Loser: Mid-Majors Busting Brackets
There was speculation that one of the lower seeded teams this weekend could storm their way into quarterfinals, but instead we got chalk; Georgia sneaking in on point-diff over Harvard was the only nominal “underdog” team that made it into the championship bracket.
Virginia Tech was able to pull out a win over Michigan in the opening round, but it was all downhill from there for Burn, as they got manhandled by UNC and Pitt by a combined score of 30-11. Coming in at #22 in the USAU rankings and looking to make a splash, Tech could still certainly hop up into strength bid territory with a big day tomorrow, but they showed that at least for now they don’t have what it takes to hang with the best teams in the country.
University of Missouri came into this weekend with big hopes of winning a strength bid for the South Central region. Led by Jay Froude, they started hot with a 15-14 win over Carleton but couldn’t carry their momentum into later rounds. They played a tight 8-7 half against UNC-Wilmington before losing 15-10, as well as dropping their last two games of the day to Stanford (15-10) and Arizona State (15-10).
Carleton’s win over Arizona State knocked Missouri down to finish 5th in the pool, placing them in a consolation with the other 5 seeds, which jeopardizes their path to a strength bid.
Loser: “Year of the Freshman”
Coming into the weekend it seemed like this year’s sterling rookie class had a chance to make all of the headlines, but after Saturday is seems like the young guns still have some learning to due before they are ready to seize the spotlight.
The FOTY frontrunner Tanner Johnson showed some growing pains in UMass’s game against Colorado, showing carelessness with the disc that we hadn’t seen before. While Johnson made an impression both good and bad, fellow heralded freshman Mike Ing of Pittsburgh was quiet for much on the day. Both of their teams played well, but the freshman took a backseat to the veterans who were largely responsible for the success.
Elijah Long of UNC was up and down, playing excellently against Michigan, but showing his youth with a few mental mistakes in Darkside’s final game of the day against Pittsburgh. All of these players will likely rebound this season, maybe even on Sunday, but today was a reminder that sometimes outrageously talented freshman can still play like fresh faced rookies.
Winner: Pool D Madness
Pool D ended up being decided by a three way tie that left Minnesota on top and Harvard on the outside looking in.
Minnesota cruised through most of the day with big wins over Harvard, UConn and Central Florida. In their first game of the day against UCF, the Ben Jagt-Ryan Osgar proved unstoppable all game long. Coach Tallis Boyd has his players throwing smart, high-percentage 40 yard deep shots to Jagt and once they get in the redzone, they’re incredibly stingy with the disc. Late in the game, they gave up two quick breaks to UCF with careless turnovers against a 3-3-1 zone. The last few years, Grey Duck has run a 2-3-2, a 1-4-2, as well as a more traditional 4 man cup, so it’s interesting to see them struggle against other team’s zones.
Georgia is on the upswing after a 3-1 day of pool play at Easterns. Nathan Haskell, Sam Little and Parker Bray anchored the team with big hucks and consistent D. Jojah ran a combination of horizontal and vert to isolate their big athletes downfield, often scoring in just three or four throws. They got a big 16-14 win over Minnesota and took care of business against the lower seeds in Pool D (15-6 over Uconn and 15-8 over UCF).
Despite their big upset win over Grey Duck, Georgia collapsed against Harvard in the third round of the day, giving up 5 straight points in route to a 16-14 loss. Georgia played 95% of a complete, signature game against Red Line up until 14-11. A drop in the endzone and a few careless reset turns later, the narrative of the game had completely changed. John Stubbs and Mark Vandenburg willed their team through the comeback, playing almost every point in a 11-6 second half. Vandenburg had a dominant offensive performance with 11 assists.
Georgia’s Parker Bray proved to be one of the most dynamic players at the tournament with a combination of downfield speed and great hucks. Late in the second half, Parker skied a pack of Harvard defenders including John Stubbs, but came up injured after the play. He would not return to the game and his presence was sorrily missed by Jojah.
Georgia had a great day overall and put themselves in a position to earn the Southeast a much-needed second bid. They’ll face off against Massachusetts in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.
Loser: Metro East Apologists
It was not a banner day for UConn Grind, the white knight of the Metro East, as they went 0-4 and were thoroughly beaten, failing to reach double digits in any of their contests. Grind looked out of sorts, and seemed unfocused compared to the team we saw at Warm Up that scored some quality wins over Carleton and Auburn.
While they have the chance to regroup tomorrow and potentially salvage some of the weekend, the supposed saviors of the Metro East’s respectability are, for the moment, looking completely out classed by their competition. The good news for fans of the Metro East is that the Southwest teams still aren’t going to get their auto bid.
Winner: Wisconsin Moms
After the Wisconsin moms piped it up at Stanford Invite, the bar was set pretty high for parental enthusiasm, and after today we can confidently say that Wisconsin moms stay winning. Pittsburgh’s parents made something like 12 cardboard signs with half-bars of not so hot fire lauding the merits of players on En Sabah Nur. For example, one read “P money, so honey” which likely did not have the desired intimidating effect on Pitt’s opponents. For now at least, the title of best parental participation still rests in the clutches of Wisconsin Moms.
We get to see Wilmington and Pittsburgh renew the best rivalry in college ultimate tomorrow morning. Tune in at 9 AM Eastern because we’re all winners.