The U.S. Open’s proximity to Colorado Cup 2012, both in date and location, took a lot of wind out of the tournament’s sails. The lightning took the finals.
Since 2003, Colorado Cup has been an elite tournament featuring an abundance of Club Championships level teams. The 2011 version showcased seven Championships qualifiers. Each year’s Colorado Cup champion has gone on to make quarters or better in Sarasota. The 2012 version only featured two teams currently ranked in the top sixteen, one of whom was host Johnny Bravo.
Bravo was joined in Power Pool A by San Diego’s Streetgang, Madison Club and Inception, the U.S. Open fill-in team from Denver. Other squads of significance in the sixteen team field were Kansas City’s Prairie Fire, LA Renegade, and Phoenix’s Sprawl.
Pool play saw Bravo dominate their foes with 15-5 and 15-7 wins over Inception and Streetgang, respectively. In the Saturday night showcase game, Bravo took down Madison Club 15-9.
“That showcase was quite windy, especially in the first half,” said Bravo captain Ryan Farrell. Madison broke us upwind on at least two occasions, but we were able to punch in the subsequent upwind offensive possession to prevent the consecutive breaks.”
In the Saturday play-in games Prairie Fire beat Chicago’s Haymaker 13-9 and Houston’s Space City Ignite beat LA Renegade 12-8 for the final spots in quarterfinals Sunday morning.
On Sunday extreme heat rolled in as it was almost 90 degrees at the start of the first round. Johnny Bravo dispatched Space City 15-9 with pressure defense and an efficient offense. Sprawl won their fifth game of the weekend, beating Inception by a score of 14-10. Spawl and Bravo would meet in semis as the only undefeated teams left in the tournament.
In the lower half, Madison Club easily beat Boulder Gun Club 15-7. Madison brought a relatively small squad to the tournament. The team was missing some players to injury and others to previous obligations such as Colin Camp, who is currently on the NexGen tour bus. The last quarter was a mild upset with Prairie Fire besting Streetgang 14-11. Prairie Fire features a number of former Kansas Horrorzontals including captains Andrew Wimer and Joe Nickels.
“Our defense made huge strides over the weekend. The pressure we were able to put on teams forced them away from their traditional offensive motions, which created defensive opportunities for us. As far as improvements, we need to work on making sound decisions with the disc,” explained Wimer.
Semifinals began with temperatures near 100 degrees. Sprawl, unfazed by heat, came out strong and broke Bravo on each of the first two points. That would be it for Phoenix’s highlights as Bravo regrouped and went on to win 15-9. Bravo’s Josh ‘Richter’ Ackley continued to prove unguardable and was open cutting towards the disc at will. In the other semi Madison’s experience and steady offense proved too much for Kansas City and Club beat Prairie Fire 15-8.
As excitement for a Bravo-Madison rematch gathered so did the clouds.
An outburst of lightning and rain left the tournament organizers no choice but to cancel the last round of play across the board, including the finals in all divisions.
“We were obviously disappointed about having to cancel the finals due to lightning; there is no doubt that the finals would be tighter than our game against Madison the day before,” said Farrell, who served as the Open Division Tournament Director as well.
“They are a spirited and relentless group.”
Despite the lack of conclusion, the teams still got an opportunity to play good games against solid competition.
“This weekend was a great opportunity for us to work on a few things in a game environment. We’ll use the time we have between now and Labor Day to work on defenses we’ve implemented and fine tune our O sets,” said Richter.
While Bravo waits for Labor Day, Prairie Fire and Madison Club may meet again at Chicago Heavyweights where Space City Ignite, Haymaker, Inception, LA Renegade, and Sprawl will play as well. Madison will also attend Labor Day.