Pre Season Record: 21-6 Series Record: 12-8
End of Season Standing: 17th USAU College National Championship eliminated in pool play
Coaches: Kevin Stuart (2008-Present), Matt Parisi (2011)
2010 Tournaments: Santa Barbara Invite, Presidents Day Classic, Stanford Open, Centex
The 2010 Air Squids had a very successful winter season with tournament wins at the Presidents Day Classic and the Stanford Open, but the team did not carry their preseason dominance into the 2010 Series. The Squids fell to Long Beach State and UCSB at Sectionals and UCLA at regionals. Still, they secured the 3rd Southwest bid to Nationals with a dominant 3rd place game win over UCLA to end Sunday.
College Nationals witnessed UCSD’s most impressive and inspired single-game performance since their 2005 National Semifinal appearance. UCSD and Oregon traded 32 straight offensive points in the south endzone until UCSD pulled on double game point, caused a turnover on their own goal line, and worked the disc 70 yards for the 17th seed-over-1st seed upset (note that this is the greatest upset possible in pool play with a 20 team format). They could not recreate that game’s brilliance however, and went on to lose to the rest of their pool and to their rival, UCSB, en route to a close 17th place game over Texas State.
Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:
The 2010 Air Squids had a large core of graduating seniors. While Josh “Forge” Nickerson will stay to captain this year’s team, Guy “Kattan” Hughes, Stephen “Pumba” Hubbard, Andrew “Coppa” Yu, Pat Metz, and Brooks Taylor ended their eligibility at Nationals. 2nd year Danny “Didj” Broberg is transferring to Texas at Austin . And of great significance in the Southwest, Captain Justin “Bobble” Elliot will play his 5th year of eligibility at San Diego State as a graduate student.
While Josh Nickerson was the only member of the team to gain experience on San Diego’s Streetgang, many younger players put in work with the club team La Jolla BAGS in the effort to gain experience together.
Of note, UCSD regains the services of Daniel “Roget” Cox, a gifted defender who was the Southwest FOTY in 2007.
It is been no secret that UCSD loves the long game. With its core of tall receivers coached by the trigger happy Kevin Smith of Mischief and Streetgang, UCSD has been very successful with the deep ball over the past two seasons. Their complex spread offense looked to isolate favorable match-ups going deep while eating up large chunks of the field with long cuts down the middle. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to implement this offense given this year’s very young roster.
Youth does not imply a lowered average height, however, as UCSD again seems to be able to either recruit or train 6’3 athletes. Thus, they should continue to throw their gauntlet of various zone defenses in 2011, especially their fourman cup (which the similarly tall 2010 Florida used to much success).
Fall 2010 Performance:
UCSD took a tryout team to Sean Ryan where they lost in Quarters. SoCal WarmUp was partially rained out. The only other fall match ups were at a small round robin at San Diego State where UCSD won all their games.
Scheduled Regular Season Tournaments:
Santa Barbara Invite, Presidents Day Classic, Stanford Invite, Centex
2011 will be a true test of the strength of the UCSD Ultimate program. After 2 years of Nationals appearances, a young but capable squad will be challenged with the additions of many great teams that previously resided in the Northwest Region. If their new coach and 27 man roster can fix the kinks in the strategy that got them to Madison but essentially and disappointingly no further, they may be able to find themselves with a bid to Nationals again. But while some local teams have weakened with graduation along with the Squids, Santa Cruz, Cal, Stanford, and San Diego State have not.
UCSD will be great team to watch this year as there is a lot of potential to be harnessed. Coach Kevin Stuart expressed overwhelming positivity in regard to their early work at the track and in the gym. Thus, when this young team pulls out upsets this year, expect those games to be rough around the edges but full of big plays.