2010 Pre Season Record: 14-3 Series Record: 13-5
End of Season Standing: 16th at College Championships, eliminated in pre-Quarterfinal (12-15 to Michigan)
Coach: Josh McCarthy (2004-present), Jacob Goldstein (2010-present)
Tournaments attended: 5th at Centex, 2nd at Yale Cup, 2nd at Sectionals, 1st at New England Regionals
After missing Nationals in 2009, Harvard turned in a strong regular season in 2010 and an even better Series performance. While any quality team hopes to advance to Nationals, the best will tell you that it is a mistake to set sights beyond Regionals. In New England, this is particularly important: sloppy conditions typically force organizers to schedule the tournament a week later than the rest while the fact that there has been no back-to-back Regional Champion since 2006 attests to the abundance of experienced players and quality coaching in the area. With this in mind, Harvard turned in its best performance of the year at the right time, riding Andrew Vogt’s superior throws and the dominant play of George Stubbs to a 13-6 Final win over Middlebury.
At Nationals, Harvard took down eventual runners-up Carleton in the second game of pool play by a score of 15-12, their second 2010 victory over CUT (the first being a 9-4 win at Centex). Redline went on to reach the pre-Quarters, where they fell to Michigan 12-15.
Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:
Harvard loses three players from 2010: a handler and cutter from its offensive line, and a defensive handler.
Harvard’s most noticeable club experience lies in that of Stubbs and Vogt: Stubbs, a Paidea product who first played for Chain Lightning while still in high school, played his third season with Boston Ironside in 2010 while Vogt joined the team as a rookie. Continuing the Ironside connection, Boston coach Josh McCarthy is returning to coach Harvard for the 8th year in a row.
A big pick up for Harvard is 5th year player and graduate student Adam Fagin, formerly of Carleton. In addition to playing with CUT during their 2009 National Championship run, their 2008 Semis appearance, and their 2010 second-place finish (though he went down mid-season with a torn ACL and was unable to play at Nationals), Fagin brings a ton of experience. He can be counted on to do the “little things” that take a team from very good to great: his dump defense is outstanding, and on a turn, he does a good job of getting open and distributing. As long as he stays healthy, count on Fagin to bolster Harvard’s play wherever McCarthy needs him.
In the past, Harvard has run both vertical and horizontal stacks. Not all that different from many college teams with a strong handler-receiver combo, McCarthy describes Harvard as a team that likes to “attack the break side and look to go downtown.” Since he returned from knee injury in 2008, one thing has been clear: watch out for Stubbs. If he establishes himself as a scoring threat early, Stubbs has little trouble getting open all over the field, and with Vogt throwing to him and others looking to work off of him, he is dangerous in whatever spot he picks.
This fall, Harvard attended the UOA Ivy League Championships as well as Huck a Hunk O’ Burning Pumpkin. They were unimpressive at UOAs and lost to Tufts on universe point in the Quarterfinals at Burning Pumpkin, but neither result means much, as they were without Stubbs, Vogt, and Fagin for much of the fall due to club commitments and injury treatment, and McCarthy will not join the team to coach until the spring. As is the case with many small liberal arts schools, Harvard does not have the luxury of an overabundance of athletes that want to focus on a new game: to the contrary, most of the people interested in Ultimate at Harvard either make the A team or move on to another interest. The fall, therefore, is mostly about evaluating player improvement from the summer and attempting to teach the game to the few athletes that come into the program.
Florida Warm-Up, Stanford Invite, Easterns, Yale Cup
A big challenge for Harvard will be overcoming its offensive heaviness. By putting all of its talent eggs in one basket, Harvard leaves itself susceptible to losses on days when Redline’s defense cannot generate breaks or its offense is playing poorly. Furthermore, while Stubbs, Vogt, and Fagin are multi-talented, Harvard does face a drop-off at the fourth or fifth player on the line, so the team will need to play well as a unit if it is going to challenge more athletic teams.
Looking around the Northeast, Harvard has many of the pieces that it needs to defend its title. Redline’s veterans are experienced, and they have the stoppers needed to defend playmakers like Ryan Holmes (UMass) and Sam Kittross-Schnell (Tufts). Beyond Regionals, Harvard is certainly looking to improve on last year’s Nationals performance. Do not be surprised to see Redline playing its way into Quarterfinals or beyond.