The Pain Train is a comin’
Dartmouth decided that they liked the nice weather so much that they would go and win the whole thing in dramatic fashion. While they had a convincing win in the finals, the semis and quarters were in very much doubt. After going up 7-4 on Cal Poly SLO, Dartmouth let them back into the game, nearly letting it slip away. At 14-14 a turnover by SLO gave a chance for Dartmouth to break. They did, twice, for a 16-14 victory. In a tight game against California that featured lots of zone and hammers, Dartmouth prevailed 15-14 to reach the finals against Washington. Needing to reach their 7 pm flight, Dartmouth laid the hammer down in the second half to come away with a 15-11 victory.
The finals were my first real in-depth look at this New England squad. Despite the absence of standout player Spencer Diamond, Dartmouth played cohesive as a unit and showed an array of play makers. Ian Engler, Ian Adelstein and Lee Farnsworth dominated on the offensive side of the disc. These three guys were able to be dual threats, cutting and throwing, while a solid handling corps distributed the disc to to the main play makers underneath.
Farnsworth was the recipient of our second Spin Ultimate Red Jersey. At 6’3” he was too tough to handle for just about anyone on the field. He had the ability to put it deep from the handler spot when he did come back for the disc, but also took his defender deep for scores when they would creep in too much. He and Dartmouth certainly showed that they belong in the national landscape. Want to know who might have been Dartmouth’s biggest fan? Tufts. While there is confidence on both sides, there’s certainly a healthy amount of respect. Two bids may be coming for the New England Region, which might remove a little bit of the drama come May.
Southwest… Separation Anxiety?
After this tournament, we can’t help but look at the Southwest crew in bunches. California under performed in that they didn’t make the finals, but had no significant losses that should damage their ranking. James Pollard kept launching hammers against the Dartmouth zone, and the rest of the squad methodically worked it up the field on each possession. Carson Shutlz and Andrew Hagen anchored the defensive line, both standout defenders. Despite getting break opportunities, the defense left chances on the table.
Santa Barbara had the look of a faceless army, great defensive plays, but it was hard to point to just one play maker. Lots of depth from a team who reportedly has 9 Condors players, but supposedly they were mostly on the defensive side. It’s hard to point to an offensive stud that they can turn to when the going gets tough, but that just might mean they will be big threat as a team.
Cal Poly SLO featured two big play makers in Peter Raines and Jake Juszak. Drawing comparison’s to Thunder and Lightning, Earth, Wind and Fire, and now composed, fluid, and smooth Peter “Keystone” Raines and and the gigantic skys and explosive plays by Jake “Jacuzzi” Juszak. Raines’ is very stoic on the field and doesn’t look like he’s exerting too much when he puts up backhands or forehands deep for his two talented rookies Matt Nelson and Zach Stargensky. Juszak usually starts out on the defensive line, but he is a stud receiver that gives his line a chance whenever there is a turn. Unfortunately, the results don’t look good for SLO with a 15-6 loss to Vermont in consolation and coming up short in a big game to Dartmouth. They were missing Mike Founds this weekend, who is sure to make a difference upon his return.
Washington, a third bid for the NW?
After expecting a drop off from last year’s pre-quarters performance Washington is showing that they are still relevant by making it to the finals. Michael Capaleto and David Benkeser do a great job of keeping things steady from the handler positions. Jesse Macadangdang played a huge role on the defensive line, able to manufacture turns and show great vision by repeatedly hitting the inside break down the field. Duncan Linn might have been my favorite player to watch as he’s only 5’6”. Despite the small size, Linn dominated the underneath lanes and wasn’t afraid to go deep either. With only three tight losses this season, Washington should be well on their way to getting a third bid for the Northwest with Whitman and Ego.
Colorado… out in the quarters?
In the shock of the tournament, Colorado went out in quarters to Washington. Mamabird certainly still has athletes, but playing turnover ultimate can take it’s toll. Jimmy Mickle is forced to play both sides of the disc as a young squad is going to grow into themselves. The game against Washington was sloppy by both teams, but one team was more patient in the end than the other. I expect them to rebound, but they are not looking like a title contender right now.
The best of the rest
- Vermont (not just for skiing anymore) looked like a formidable foe and could have an outside shot at New England Regionals
- SDSU and Sonoma State played the game of the tournament, with SDSU winning 17-16 in pool play.
- Steve “Blardo” Milardovich and Jermiah Auer went toe for toe in that pool play game under the lights. Both made absolutely disgusting grabs, and are two players that should be on the all-region list come May.
- Sonoma was limited after the loss of other stud Wyatt Amend who presumably went out in pool play with a hamstring injury.