I learned my lesson at Joint Summit Classic and brought my winter jacket-sweatshirt combo. It ended up being a slightly chilly day with extreme windy conditions at time. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of zone being played. Day 1 concluded with a few upsets and some great games.
Virginia Tech Burn (A1):
One of the signature tall men for VT, Evan Kline went down in the first game with an ankle injury. As a result, Burn would look a little shaky on offense from time to time, but faced no real challenge from any team on day 1. With the gusting winds, their patented 1-3-2-1 zone would generate turnovers the majority of the day. With Scott Forrester playing the middle of the wall, or cup depending on formation, offenses were unable to throw over the top.
Burn separated themselves from the 2 seed in the final game of the day after being tied at 3’s. Forrester used his length to get a hand block with half looming. Alex Krull had an absolutely spectacular bid for an open side grab to preserve possession and take half. Video is currently being uploaded and will be posted later for Krull’s satisfaction. Tech ran away with the game and secured the one seed for day 2, winning 13-8.
Clemson Joint Chiefs (A2):
Clemson used their defensive depth early to build big leads against their lesser opponents. Switching from 2-3-2 zone looks to 4 man cup confused the lower seeds. James Cox and Miller Yoho supplied hammers to the corners against other teams zones. #3 Joseph Bell always seems to find himself in the right spot as a cutter. However, Clemson has a tendency to relax midway through games, often making them more painstaking than needed. They were up 10-4 on UMD, but it was as close as 12-10. I left halfway through the BC game with them up 7-3, only to come back to it being 11-11. Wake Forest also managed to keep it close, giving Clemson three tough games.
Clemson found ways to navigate VT’s zone in the final game, but couldn’t find the end zone. With two key injuries, especially #27 Shuba, the Joint Chiefs didn’t have enough firepower. AJ Holloway was an threat from time to time, but this second year player still needs to develop into a dominant cutter. None the less, Clemson still put themselves in the championship round against a 3 seed.
Wake Forest Womb (A3):
Wake Forest had a tough day, losing all four games. They never lost by more than 4, but like the past have had troubles putting complete games together. Previously, I had mentioned Cory Casarella as the fire starter for WOMB, but due to a number mix up I was referring to John Malloy. John Malloy provides the offensive weaponry, with break throws, deep cuts and big hucks. Elliot Issac provides consistent handling, allowing the offensive to find the soft spots in a zone. They were able to make VT sweat it out, bringing the score to 10-9, but Burn closed it out. Keep working WOMB, success will start to come.
UMD had a successful day 1, breaking seed, and either winning or losing by 3. Down early to Clemson, the “Bastards” showed their heart coming within 2 after being down by 6. Evan Ponchick was often the primary target for the UMD handlers. I was impressed by the quick movements by the primary handler, #5 “Freddie”, who led the offense down the field. Maryland’s day would reward them with a spot in the championship round.
Boston College (A5):
BC had a great color scheme for their Jerseys, but that is as much as I saw of them. The maroon marauders broke seed by beating Wake Forest, giving them the 4th seed and a shot a the title. They also offered me Krispy Kremes if I wrote a favorable write up. I didn’t get any donuts, but still sorry I couldn’t do you guys more justice.
Georgia Tech (University) (B1):
I found the Tribe down to NCSU early on in the tournament. After being tied at 4’s State took half 7-5. Tech’s offensive miscues would continue leaving them facing a 10-7 deficit. With the wind gusting, State would start using a 1-3-2-1 zone. This was a mistake with Nick Lance being able to find the holes relatively quickly. Most of the time, Lance would stare down the defense until they adjusted, leaving the cross field hammer open or the blade flick. Hogan McHugh would be the primary deep target, but also providing break throws to initiate the flow on offense.
State would get a score, but Tech brought it to 11’s. After trading to 12’s, soft cap was called making the game to 14. The wind gusts hit their high for the day as GT was able to take the last two points. Lance would would work with Hogan to find an opening up the left sideline, allowing the Tribe to escape unscathed. After beating Duke by 3, they would find themselves trying to hold seed against UNC.
The game of the day would determine who would get Clemson in the semi-finals in the championship bracket. UNC would go up early 3-1, and extend that lead 8-4. The tribe was out of sync early and often, but would find a way to crawl back into it. Lance and Hogan would provide the deep throws, bringing the score to 9-8. The plays in this game were ridiculous, with it culminating with a great catch by Sean Balla. I will be forcing you to read the description in the game of the day, link below. The teams would trade points to 11-10, when UNC would get the break. With that, the Tribe went down to the overall 3 seed and would be forced to go through VT in the semis.
North Carolina (B2):
Darkside would cruise in it’s first two matchups on Day 1, showcasing their deep game and lightning fast attack. Roswell Sayre-McCord was the most impressive, either in bringing down the hucks, or not hesitating to send one deep. In the game against NCState, McCord was not phased by a zone in front of him, and would send back hands over the deep for numerous scores. When he was receiving it was usually from Tristan Green, the small and incredibly quick handler. Christian Johnson, #6, would provide the auxillary cutting and throws, proving to be a great second option.
Darkside was able to keep the intensity high against Georgia Tech. They used their physicality on defense and contested almost every in cut. This led to a lot of D’s, and ensuing hucks that would help them build their lead. Their vertical stack was well maintained with cutters providing a multitude of different options. The most impressive thing was their handling movement, which allowed them to spread the field in dump swings. UNC certainly looked like the best team on Saturday, and would be rewarded with the easier semi-final.
The wolfpack was led by Brandon Jones’ handling, who found ways to dish the disc to his cutters. Unfortunately, State’s defense was not up to snuff most of the day, relying on turnovers and mistakes by the other teams. NCState often was playing in chippy games, playing physically. The Wolfpack would get a TMF as number 46 would lay out into Nick Lance early on. They had a chance to put away Georgia Tech, but lost 14-12. They kept things close against UNC, but were not really in the game. They kept face by beating UNC B, but lost to Duke.
Duke broke seed by beating NC State, and play close games. I did not get a good look at the Blue Devils, because I did not stay for the showcase game at 8:30. The young team from the UOA’s looks like they made some improvements, and like Wake Forest, is some hard work away from making some noise.
UNC was incredibly impressive and surprising, showing that they will be contending for the top spots at regionals. I got my first look at Georgia Tech, and was impressed by their top players as well as their depth. VT didn’t roll like I would expect them to, but I still expect them to make the finals on Sunday.
The observers were calling active travel, counting stalls, but not doing up down unless it was referred. The travel calls were welcomed, but the majority of them were do to ground taps. I saw the observers reminding the players to ground tap as they were approaching the line. This was frustrating to watch, and while some advantage could be gained by not ground tapping, that should be the responsibility of the defender.
Photos, Videos, Day 2 Recap, and Game of the Day Analysis coming.