With the pre-season coming to a close, the November 13th-14th weekend proved to be an excellent testing and training ground for the college season. While not always an indicator of the spring, these tournaments help to frame expectations and hone in on who to watch come 2011. Skyd gathered available scores from three of the major tournaments this past weekend and did some quick interviews. Here’s this weekend in a nutshell.
Missouri Loves Company
In Columbia, Missouri, 39 Open teams and 16 Women’s teams took to 24 fields at the Cosmo Park Recreation Complex for what was a windy pre-season tuneup.
Saturday’s pool play saw a couple exciting games with Minnesota beating a fiery Colorado 10-9 in the second round to claim Pool B.
“We started off kind of rough. We had trouble finding our game against Minnesota. We weren’t running tight lines, so it was difficult to find our rhythm,” explained Evan Padget, one of Mamabird’s three captains this year.
Former regional rivals Carleton CUT and the Wisconsin Hodags matched up in the last round of pool play in a close game that saw a 6-5 CUT lead at halftime, before Carleton pulled away for a 11-6 victory.
Carleton advanced to the semi-finals on Sunday, where they met Colorado Mamabird. Mamabird prevailed quickly by a score of 13-5. Heading into the final, Colorado was looking strong. “Our offense wasn’t broken after the first game against Minnesota,” said Evan Padget, Colorado Mamabird.
On the other side of the bracket, the Hodags clawed their way back with close victories over Wisconsin-Steven’s Point (12-11) and Illinois (13-10). Wisconsin’s semi-final game was much of the same, trading points with Minnesota Grey-Duck on the way to a 9-8 victory. Wisconsin then met Mamabird in the final.
In what was a windy game, the Mamabird handlers were able to keep their flow consistent, jumping out to a quick lead of 7-2 at halftime and eventually winning 13-6. “They seemed like they had a lot of difficulty moving it with their handlers. They didn’t really get much motion. Our handlers we able to move it a lot better than theirs in the wind,” said Padget.
According to the Hodags’ Twitter account, part of the difficulty in the Mamabird match-up was the game prior. “Minnesota took a lot of energy out of us,” tweeted the Hodags.
With a strong performance on the weekend that saw victories over big-name contenders like Carleton and Wisconsin, Colorado is focused on the 2011 College Championships in Boulder. “We don’t have a freshman on our team this year. So we have a lot of guys who had a pretty rough Nationals last year who all came back and we’re here to start working towards next year’s Nationals. We just had a pretty firely D-line, so that with a mature O-Line was a nice combo,” said Matty Zemel, a Mamabird captain.
The reason for Mamabird’s pre-season success appears to be a lot of play over the summer. “We were a shallow team last year…this year we have a lot of guys that played Junior Worlds (Jimmy Mickle) over the summer. Also we had guys that played Bravo (Matty Zemel, Jackson Kloor) and played club,” added Padget.
When asked who teams to look out for in the spring will be, Colorado’s Matty Zemel was quick to point out Minnesota.
6. Wisconsin Whitewater
7. Carleton GoP
On the Women’s side, Saturday pool play went essentially according to seed with Wisconsin Bella Donna cruising through to the Championship bracket after two 15-1 victories and a 15-4 win over Arkansas. Colorado Kali and Washington University WUWU took pools B and C respectively, without either team conceding more than 7 points in a game.
Sunday’s Championship bracket saw some interesting turns as Bella Donna fell 13-7 in the semi’s to a explosive WUWU. Although Bella Donna was using MLC as a practice/tryout tournament, and were missing some players, they were still impressed with WUWU’s intensity. “I think everyone played pretty strongly,” recalled captain Emelie McKain, Bella Donna. “(Washington University) came out pretty strong in our semifinals game. I think we weren’t exactly ready for the speed of the game because we had taken things a little slower this weekend and less physical on defense. They surprised us right out of the gate by going up in the game and it was hard for us to recover.”
Wash U went on to win the final against Colorado Kail 15-7.
“They’ve got some good things going on in the fall and could have a good run at their region in the spring,” said McKain.
1. Wash U
Classic City Classic (CCC)
Run by the UGA Ultimate, CCC took place at the UGA Intramural Complex in Athens, GA. CCC saw perfect disc weather this weekend, with calm to non-existent winds, no rainfall and temperatures in the high to mid 50’s.
Saturday pool play saw some close games and upsets with Tennessee going 0-4 and South Carolina beating Virginia 13-12 right of the bat in A Pool. North Carolina-Wilmington saw a close first game against James Madison but were able to take B Pool without much issue. In D Pool, Texas looks to be back in action after four easy victories on the day.
The champs are looking to be on top again, sliding through the Championship bracket with solid victories over Alabama and Texas TUFF. In the semi’s on the other side of the bracket, UNC-W fell to a Virginia team that took Florida to 12-13 on Saturday. Virginia would again meet the Gators in the final but didn’t see the same success, losing 12-9. Florida relied on their familiar deep game connecting with a lot of still strong receivers.
“Our goal for the tournament was not necessarily to win the whole thing. It was just to improve as a team, which we definitely did over the course of the weekend,” explains Florida’s Alex Hill. “For that reason, we feel great about the tournament. Obviously, winning a tournament is awesome so we’re excited about that.”
“There’s still a ton we have to work on,” Hill continues, “And conditioning is probably number one from this tournament. We’ve always ran with a short rotation, so we need to make sure we’re in the best shape in the country, which we are every year. No team trains like we do, and this year is no different, so I expect us to be at that level when it counts in Boulder.”
3T. North Carolina-Wilmington
The ladies provided some clear pre-season leaders in North Carolina-Wilmington Seaweed, North Carolina Pleiades and Michigan Flywheel – each taking their pool with strong victories.
Sunday’s Championship bracket saw UNC-W trounce Texas (who went 4-0 on Saturday) 13-4. On the other end of the semi’s, Michigan brought a tough game to North Carolina, winning it 13-11 after a decisive win over Florida 13-8.
The final saw Flywheel (Michigan) against Seaweed (UNC-Wilmington), two College Championship qualifiers in 2010. Though the score ended in Seaweed’s favor 13-10, with ten rookies on the field, Flywheel held their own and has confidence in their upcoming season. “We really just played our game,” said captain AnnaMaria Paruk. “We need time. That’s all we need.”
UNC-W’s Jessica Patrick concurs on the intensity of the final. “We were so pumped for the final game. We knew whether we played UNC or Michigan, it was going to be a battle,” Patrick continued, “Michigan made us play hard. We had to truly focus on our offense and tighten up our D. It was a really good/fun game.”
UNC-W was strong all weekend to which Patrick attributes a will to win. “We didn’t do anything specific on defense other than play hard,” said Patrick. “We varied our style or defense depending on the team and our rotation of players. Choosing the right style and playing hard no matter what helped us to get the D’s and capitalize on them.”
Also noteworthy at CCC this year, Texas came back to beat North Carolina 13-12 in the 3rd place game after a weaker performance earlier on Sunday.
4. North Carolina
A fall tournament named after its University of Washington host, Sundodger 2010 saw relatively mild weather up in Burlington, WA. The tournament included a wide variety of teams ranging from high school to alumni teams.
With an abundance of alumni and split-squad teams in the mix, the Sundodger Open results are difficult to examine.
The home team, University of Washington went X/Y for the weekend and placed 9th and 11th.
“This was our first chance to introduce our rookies to tournament play,” said Sundodger Phil Murray. “It’s always fun to see big plays from young players. And this weekend we saw that.”
Skyd Magazine has a more in depth Sundodger Open preview due out Tuesday.
When it comes to Washington/BC Ultimate, there are two teams that dominate the scene, University of Washington Element and University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. This year was no different as the UBC Thunderbirds rocketed their way to the final after a Saturday of decimating teams 15-5, 15-3, and 15-0 in pool play. Washington X, although a split squad in name, saw an equally strong, 4-0 Saturday, with no opponent scoring more than 8 on them.
Inevitably, Element X and the T-Birds met in the final. In the end, UBC would come out on top, winning Sundodger for the second year in a row.
“We saw a lot of heart and mental toughness from our team at this tournament,” said UBC’s Katie Berezan. “It is evident that we were not the fittest team there, but made up for this by grinding hard and never giving up.”
Looking at the field of competition for the spring, Berezan sees a lot of potential. “The rookies this year look fantastic. It is evident that teams are still working on their chemistry, but the quality and pace of all the games was impressive.”
Other Tournament Results:
Sean Ryan Memorial Tournament – Open/Women’s
Ivy League Tournament – Women’s
Colonial Ultimate Festival – Open/Women’s
Say WUT?! – Open
Soggy Sock Showdown – Open/Women’s
BG Alumni Tournament – Open
Piggly Fest – Women’s
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