Sockeye wrapped up Open Labor Day with a 15-11 finals win over Johnny Bravo. Seattle went 6-0 on the weekend and also beat Bravo in pool play. On offense, Sockeye kept the disc moving by simply always taking the open option; it never looked like they were set on throwing to a specific cut or space on the field, and they were content to dink it around until bigger yards came easily. I really like how whenever they dump the disc, the man who dumped it cuts strike and is often thrown to in power position. In general, I think most teams are pretty good at stopping offenses that are designed around straight lane cutting and that Sockeye’s game plan of breaking laterally over and over and having their cutters watch and move accordingly is a smart way to attack. Defensively, Sockeye players are all heads up and have a good understanding of when they can leave their man and not get burnt.
To be honest, I was surprised to see Bravo lose in the finals. At the US Open, they weren’t just dominant, they were powerful: everyone was fast and strong and they all had an understanding of where they needed to be on the field. Sockeye did a good job of keeping and last back and being heads up in front of the disc, which meant that Bravo didn’t have as much open space to run in, and they really struggled when Sockeye trapped the disc on the sideline. Also, not having Jack McShane on Sunday due to an ankle injury (that’s what the NexGen broadcasters said it was) was huge: he’s a strong defender that they could have used against Phil Murray or Nate Castine, and he’s their D-line quarterback on the turn. Bravo will be better with a healthy Jack and, for Nationals, big man Hylke Sneider.
Speaking of Bravo and the Series, it was fun seeing them square off with Doublewide in the semifinals, where they won 15-14. Barring something crazy, that’ll be the North Central Regional final, and I bet it’ll be close the second time around. The NexGen broadcasters mentioned that Brodie Smith may be out for the rest of the season, but I imagine we’ll be hearing more from Brodie about that over the coming weeks.
- Brodie was out for Doublewide but the rest of the team looked pretty good. Cole is integrating well and the all-Austin offense looks comfortable together.
- Roster-wise, Rhino was been the biggest question mark this year. Jeremy Norden was in Santa Cruz the team but not playing on Sunday; I’m not sure about Saturday. Chase wasn’t there, but Mario O’Brien did told one of our reporters that he’s been practicing with the team and that he’s still a possibility for Regionals and beyond. And on that note, you’ve got to think that Rhino will finish the Sarasota chase this year. Thanks to its strong play at ECC and this weekend and the same from Sockeye and Furious, the Northwest is looking at three bids to Nationals. I think a lot of the community is rooting for Portland, and while Sockeye is riding high right now, that regional will, once again, be pretty exciting.
- The East Coast had a rough weekend. Chain blew an early lead to Revolver in the first NexGen-broadcasted game, and winning that would have put them into semis. Ring of Fire took only six O-line players to the tournament and it showed, with their only win coming against Machine; they look like they’ll be holding onto their bid but I doubt many of them were thinking it would even be in question before the weekend. And Southpaw went 0-for, meaning that the Mid-Atlantic only has one bid. Going from four bids to one is going to make this postseason quite different.
- Machine and Furious had decent weekends, each going 3-4 and setting themselves up for middle-of-the-road seeds in Sarasota. Boost Mobile, who was in the mix to earn a bid for its region (the Southwest), went 2-5. Luckily for them, the Condors, who they beat at SoCal Slammer, are still sitting pretty for a second bid.
A teammate of mine made a spreadsheet to approximate the USAU rankings, and while these calculations are missing a sanctioned game between Zebra Muscles and Fully Torqued, he feels pretty good about his estimate. Check it out:
1) Ironside — 2000
2) Bravo — 1910
3) Revolver — 1855
4) Doublewide — 1830
5) Rhino — 1790
6) Sockeye — 1765
7) Chain — 1765
8 ) Machine — 1720
9) Goat — 1625
10) Furious — 1605
11) Madison — 1575
12) Condors — 1560
13) Truck — 1535
14) Subzero — 1525
15) Pony — 1520
16) Ring — 1515
N/A) Garuda — 1514 (not enough games)
17) Sprawl — 1465
18) Southpaw — 1445
19) Heva Havas – 1440
20) Boost – 1420
Thanks to Ian Toner for the photo from the Labor Day fields.