Florida State at Tally Classic

by | February 23, 2011, 5:45am 0

While Inside Breaks has focused a lot on the top 20 or so teams in the country, I think it’s often just as interesting to take a look at mid-tier and up-and-coming teams. Ultimate certainly has its powerhouses, but with as young as the sport is, breaking through is very doable, maybe more so than in DI sports since obstacles in the form of funding and legacy are not as deeply seeded.

On that note, I’ve been keeping an eye on Florida State DUF this season. Their new coach, Peter van de Burgt, is a close friend that I played with for four years at Virginia, and I’ve gotten to know a few of their players through him. Given that I come from a college team that saw some serious ups and downs (we didn’t make Regionals in 2007; we went to Nationals for the first time ever in 2009 and finished tied for 5th), it’s been fun hearing about their progress and observing their growth as a team.

After winning Joint Summit and finishing relatively well at T-Town Throwdown, Florida State hit its first real wall at its home tournament. The following is captain Nick Fletcher’s account of how the Tally Classic went for DUF. Many thanks to Nick for putting this together, and good luck to DUF throughout the rest of 2011.

Tally Classic 6

The 6th annual Tally Classic saw a huge turnout to perfect weather in Tallahassee last weekend, as Central Florida dominated both the D1 and women’s brackets. Saturday morning saw some great pool play all around as the Southeast region got a big look at its competition. Here’s a look at how the tournament went from an FSU player’s perspective.

Being the top seed at a tournament was pretty new for DUF, but since winning Joint Summit there was the possibility that we were on the rise. A feeling of deserving the $1000 big check was floating around combined with a curiosity (and doubt) of whether we were going to be good enough. We came out fiery against a Southern Mississippi squad that probably hasn’t gotten enough practice in the last two weeks due to the crazy storms that have been sweeping the country. Our defense sealed it up with big blocks by #10 Michael Cheatum, who put the team on his back all weekend. FSU won 13-2.

Appearing to be ready for our toughest game of the day, DUF matched up against UCF’s Dogs of War. The Dogs of War were loud and bid often, which intimidated us out of our game. FSU’s #35 Elijah Grady showed up big getting a lay out D under on #11 Mike Hickson. The same matchup showed off some great athleticism on both ends, until a huge bid by Grady on a deep shot to Hickson landed Grady on his knee and took him out for the weekend. Grady got the D, but the disc was only mac’d into the air for Hickson to grab in the endzone. The Dogs of War continuously stayed with multiple “defended” discs and the so-called “luck” took DUF out of the game more. Truth be told, UCF had multiple people swarming every floating disc while we seemed to give up early on them. That and some great pressure D on the dumps caused some nervousness in the O-line, and UCF’s speed on the transition let them convert a lot of their points. UCF took half, and though DUF played well in the second, our sideline was nonexistent, and you could sense a sapping of the will to win. UCF won 13-9. Mississippi State was then the target of much of DUF’s frustration, and our D broke them multiple times. MSU had a lot of athletic players, but only a few good throwers to distribute the disc. When we pressured their resets they turned the disc over, and they almost certainly fell the same way to UCF. FSU won 13-9.

The final game of Saturday was Georgia Southern, who FSU lost to in the fall at CCC. Coach Peter van de Burgt got the team fired up on a vendetta, but the O-line saw a little too much red, and forced it into the Southern zone twice. Southern converted both turns to go up two breaks immediately, and never looked back. In the second half, as DUF began clawing its way back into the game, a foul on a throw into the endzone on an FSU possession caused one Georgia Southern player to lose his temper and scream profanity at the FSU player. This nearly caused a fight between an FSU cutter and the GSU player, resulting in turmoil between FSU players, rather than more intense D by FSU. We saw DUF collapse into itself, and lose poorly 13-11. An incredibly silent huddle ended with a calming speech and a faint hope that tomorrow would see a different DUF.

DUF alum and last years captain Daniel Petronio came into the huddle and gave an incredibly inspiring speech, citing the DUF that played in the ACC championships two years earlier and surprised everyone by beating opponents much stronger than themselves. DUF got fired up, but still came out slow and a little weak-minded from the previous day’s play. Our first game against third seeded (5th overall) South Carolina was a must win situation that saw a lack of focus and many poor decisions. The tough no-huck D that put DUF over top of the Gamecocks at Joint Summit was nonexistent, and USC’s conversion rate on turns was incredible. This game saw great play by #14 Marshall Walker, # 22, and the red haired player with the backwards hat (checking on these). South Carolina took half 7-4, and was in complete control of the game at all times. They finished the second half in much the same fashion, and won 13-7. Now DUF was in another must win situation against Valdosta State, who had bested Georgia Southern on Saturday. Both teams traded points until the wind picked up and FSU threw a zone, getting an easy D on a poor huck decision and converted to go up one break. Valdosta converted a throw away a few points later to put it back on serve, and took half 7-6. FSU got fired up after Randy Barcelo gave an inspirational speech, and came out of half with a new found intense and confident demeanor. The O-line put in their one point, and then the D-line broke six straight times to take the game 13-7. This was a great game to get spirits back up, and as we prepared for consolation games and improving the younger players on our team, we found out that we had miraculously made the championship bracket due to a three way tie between us, GSU, and Valdosta State. Thanks to a dominant point diff, we went on to play Alabama in the Quarters.

Alabama is a very small but very strong team of incredibly spirited players. Since taking them to universe at Joint Summit and somehow (still not entirely sure how) beating them to fire us up enough to bring the noise all the way through the finals, we really enjoy playing them. A strong wind picked up and stayed the whole game, allowing Alabama’s small squad to throw zone all game. As disciplined as it was, the zone was obviously exhausted, and the O-line cut through it consistently. Our numbers came in handy as we threw line after line on them forcing big players #8 Tim Brady and #44 Zack Moore to run themselves into the ground. Once the green light was given to defensive hucks we suddenly saw an incredibly high conversion rate, and bested Alabama 13-8.

Ever since we heard that we had somehow made the championship bracket, everybody wanted another chance at UCF, and in the semis, we got it. Starting on O with the wind, we began working it down until a UCF player got a layout D on an under that one of our players did not run through. I don’t remember numbers of either player because it seemed like everyone on UCF got a lay out D on us that game, and that the majority of our cutters were intimidated by the stifling defense that the Dogs of War brought. The fast efficiency on a turn by UCF continued and DUF began collapsing into itself again. UCF was now on D with the wind and they brought a force middle, pong style zone that constantly covered or even double teamed all of our options including the dump. With the strong wind over the top throws were a little out of the question and with too many nervous throws drops and throwaways occurred near the goal line. UCF punched them in immediately and began roaring again. The O-line was able to punch a few in eventually, but rather than falling back into their rhythm and playing their game through the intense defense, they continued to allow the Dogs of War to intimidate them, staying close on every cut, and getting layout Ds. When our defense was able to play they caused multiple turnovers, but were very inefficient on O, and completely abandoned our system at times. Once the disc was turned over again UCF ran the quick turn O and moved very effectively down the field. DUF was down 7-3 at half, but continued to fight through the second half, as UCF stormed relentlessly to take what they deserved. UCF won 13-5.

In the finals the Dogs of War continued the dominance that they’d shown all weekend, taking half 7-3 over an LSU squad that hadn’t lost a game since the season started. The same pressure defense and quickness on turns got them points easy and often. I wasn’t able to stay for the second half, but UCF was able to pull away 13-8.

Some words on DUF
DUF continues to put nationals as its goal for this season, but has some obvious distance to cover if it even plans on making regionals against Florida, Central Florida, and a strengthening South Florida squad. It was obvious that our practices need to be more intense, and that our defense needs to step up across the board. Also, the mental stability of the team needs to make leaps and bounds if we intend on ever playing the game that we practice. All of these things have been said multiple times by coach Peter van de Burgt, and hopefully both he and the players can make the appropriate adjustments that they need before the series.

Other teams


New coach Andrew Roca seems to have the Dogs at his complete command, and is moving them in the perfect direction so far. Younger players have also been making leaps and bounds as usual athletic work horse B-Shaw saw more of a handler position on the D-line, and many players I did not even recognize were able to get layout D’s against our starting O-line. If they can peak properly, we might just see them heading off to Colorado.


USC traded the lead back and forth with UCF for their entire game until UCF got a miraculous goal to win.

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