I was recently linked to a point-by-point real time video of this year’s New Years Fest final. For those who don’t know, NYF is a long standing offseason tournament held in Tempe, Arizona. It’s where you’ll usually find the best West Coast club open competition prior to the Davis Ultimate Invite (DUI) in April. In the past, college teams looking to have a big season have attended NYF in order to play at a faster pace early in the season (see Colorado in the middle of the last decade and UCSD 2005). This year’s final featured an offseason/shorthanded San Diego Street Gang against what looks like a fully loaded Colorado Mamabird. Before we get to the video, I have a couple of notes:
- There aren’t many breaks in the game, it’s partially a product of the good conditions, but I think it’s more the product of not so good conditioning.
- Two of the Streetgang players are currently playing college with SDSU. They are the tall lefty #21 and the redhead with the cutoff jersey and the knee brace.
- The whole point of watching this video is, as Neeley put it in the Monday Links post, “thinking about the game in ways that you might usually not.” Highlight videos are all fun and good, but they are, for the most part, not useful (and they’re repetitive).
- Because it is the college season, I’ll keep my focus on Colorado.
Here is the video, check back in 5 points for some initial thoughts.
After 5 points the game is on serve and we already have some take home notes about each team’s game plan. At this point SD is 2/3 on offensive points, and 3/6 on possessions, Colorado is 1/2 on O and 2/5 on possessions. I won’t be directly tracking these stats here, but consider tracking conversion rate on break chances, possessions, and O points. Strategically, SD has played a box zone on both of their defensive points, generating a turn on the first go around. Colorado was able to get past the zone by going over the top to a receiver in the space between the 2 mids and the 2 deeps. For those familiar with Colorado’s training and drills, their use of hammer’s on three consecutive possessions starting at 2-1 SD should be no surprise. Other notes: Colorado runs an endzone set with three handlers back and looks to cut up line after throwing a dump to the open side. They seem to have success with their up-line cut when dumping from the middle lane to the sideline, but not when going from the break side to the middle because of the defender in the open side lane.
Lets get back to the video, check back in at 8-7 SD.
SD and Mamabird proceed to trade out to take half, with most of the points ending quickly (the sign of offenses settling in and tired D legs?). Streetgang continues to use the box zone to stop any pull play from Colorado, and Colorado goes over the top a couple of more times. The most interesting strategic point in this stretch of the game comes about 50 seconds in to the point during which Mamabird evens the game at seven all. Here we see a Colorado player with the disc on the break side looking to throw a dump. Instead of having both dumps set up even with the thrower, Mamabird has the far side dump set up slightly downfield. This does two things for the offense: First, the center dump cutter now has more space to cut away from the thrower if he choses to. Second, the second dump cutter has a larger angle to cut for a soft break throw, and because of this threat it becomes easier for him to get the disc even with the thrower in the center of the field instead of loosing yards and//or staying on the sideline.
The second half starts very sloppily; the first three points can be found here.
We see a couple of more hammers, a couple of rushed huck turnovers by Streetgang, and Colorado’s first huck not in flow (a turn). We also see a resurgence by the D of each team, a product of the half time rest? The conversion stats for both teams aren’t looking good at this point.
At 9-9 the play picks up a bit (and the video sequencing gets a little messy). Streetgang gets a break off an early count poor choice by Colorado #30, then Mamabird comes back and evens the score at 10 with solid, patient O. On both of these O points, Streetgang comes down man and Colorado runs a pull play that turns into a side stack. Also, we still see a lot of up-line cuts from the Colorado handlers and a lot of hammers from both sides. As play continues into the later stages of the game, Streetgang uses a force middle//return to slow Mamabird’s handler cutting which seems to slow down the Colorado offense and allows SD to get a couple of turns on the dump sets.
Streetgang winds up winning the game 15-13, their victory is fueled by a three point run starting at 11-11. Even though Colorado looses by a small margin, and they are in the game late, they should have wrapped the game up in the fist half. Games are often won or lost in the final third, but they can also be won in the first half. Colorado left a lot of break opportunities on the field in the first half, with a higher conversion percentage early in the game, Mamabird could have put this one out of reach.
Please contribute your own analysis//thoughts in the comments section.