This weekend, February 12th and 13th, the Queen City Tune Up will be taking place in Charlotte, NC. 24 teams from up and down the east coast will likely be partaking in their first major tournament of the spring. Many of the teams in the south have already gone through some tournaments, but this will definitely be the test for some big names.
I watched the Tribe pretty intently for 3 games during ACCUC. As everyone should know by now, Nick Lance is their on field leader. He distributes the disc incredibly well, looking for breaks when the opponent guards the hucks. He’ll switch to being a receiver when he finds a favorable match-up to keep the defense honest. I could go into more detail about Lance, but you’d be missing the bigger picture.
Without Lance on the field, Georgia Tech is no slouch. Hogan McHugh is the other notable offensive player, boxing out people deep with his size. He is quick for his height, and a very competent handler. He often breaks marks with his reach, hurting teams when they don’t focus on him. Victor Lesniewski can be found handling the disc and putting it deep options Sean Balla and Gabe Miranda when the opponents focus on the big guns.
The Tribe will roll with a vertical stack for most of the tournament, only going Ho to isolate Lance on the first cut. They’ll look to break the mark often and spread the field. Once teams creep in tightly to contest in cuts, one of their experience cutters will put it deep. Expect big things from Georgia Tech, beating some high level opponents for sure. My worry is their reliance on Lance and McHugh, and they may play some close games against lower level scrappy teams.
University of North Carolina
Besides Noah Saul (Who may still be injured with a stress fracture), there are three players worth watching on UNC Darkside. Thomas Sayre-McCord is the predominant cutter, using his physicality to fight through tough match-ups and get the disc deep. Tristan Green creates space with short agile cuts, often getting the disc in a power position. Christian Johnson provides consistent secondary cutting off of Sayre-McCord, and may be the easy pick for ACC freshman of the year. Keep your eyes on Paul Corbett and Schuyler Klystra that will play big roles in games for Darkside.
Expect UNC to run a lot of vert stack with cuts coming from every which way. There isn’t much time for the offense to be standing around. While they have patience to work it up the field when the opposing team poaches or force middle, their first look is definitely deep. I would love to see VT and UNC square off in a game, with both of them sending deep hucks, it would be quite a show. Defensively, they won’t hesitate to show multiple looks, with different zones.
Darkside should be able to hang with anyone in this tournament. My concern is their fundamentals, and resiliency. They are a very young team, and can sometimes suffer from being sloppy with the disc. When they are fired up, they get turns and score quick. If they can maintain intensity, watch out for some upsets.
The all out aerial attack managed to beat the teams they were supposed to ACCUC but looked mentally checked out against Georgia Tech. They beat teams with their 1-3-2-1 zone the majority of the tournament, but didn’t have enough man defense to keep up with the Tribe. Evan Klein was out with an ankle injury after the first game, and I hope he’s ready to play after 2 weeks off.
Klein and Scott Forrester lead the way for Burn, providing height, hucks, and difficult zone match-ups. Early in the season, when the weather is bad, VT has a huge defensive advantage. VT likes to spread you out on offense with a horizontal, and continuously look for deep shots. They have several smaller players who can be deceptive and take less experienced players deep. When Forrester and Klein are putting hucks out in front, it’s hard to defend. Troy Ukrop and Alex Krull are some of the secondary players that you’ll see making plays. Krull has single handedly help boost the hits on this site with his layout from ACCUC.
Look for Burn making it into Day 2. This is one of their early season chances to show if they are for real. They have to find away to keep their intensity up the entire tournament and play hard man D if the weather is nice. This is one team that could benefit hugely from a veteran coaching presence. I wonder if their reliance on zone takes away from the intensity needed to compete throughout a tournament man to man.
Notre Dame has consistently finished near the tops of the great lakes region over the last several years. I know first hand that they extend their tryout process into November, and thus it’s no surprise to not see any results from them. Last year they had very solid players across the board, not featuring any one person at one time. Looking at their roster for this year, it seems to consist of a lot of seniors and juniors, so expect a deep roster. They should be capable of beating the teams below them, with a good shot to make it to the top 8.
These guys have been building their program for the last several years. They’ve made noise at some tournaments, and last weekend was no exception. They were the only team to challenge OSU in their pool and lost 15-12 to Florida in the quarter finals. This team is capable of taking down a top seed, no doubt. I’ve actually played this team, and usually it required beating a 1-3-2-1 zone. This will not be an easy game for anyone in the tournament, and I expect them to be in the quarters.
This tournament is going to show if these guys are contenders in the ACC. They were able to beat Georgia at CCC’s and give Texas a decent game in the quarters, losing 15-10. I played this team at the UOA 8’s last year, and they were very solid. Expect tough team defense and scrappiness in their attempt to upset some of the big guns. It will be iffy on them making quarters, a top team may be able to overcome their intensity.
East Carolina University:
These guys made it deep into Joint Summit Classic, with big plays by Joey Cretella. He is certainly their main gun, touching the disc more often than not. He’s a very versatile player who consistently makes play after play. His biggest asset is his backhand huck, but good luck just trying to guard him. Mark Saba is a smaller but quicker handler who isn’t afraid to go deep if you’re not paying attention. Chris Motsinger is intimidating height wise, but will often stay back to handler and guide the vertical stack.
The Irates will most certainly come out in a vertical stack and play tough man to man D. They spread the field very nicely taking advantage of the horizontal space available. They have several young athletic cutters that will likely get open deep if the Irates can keep the disc moving between their handlers. They will not be a light opponent for any of the top teams, but their youth could get the better of them.
The Joint Chiefs are led by
Miller Yoho James Cox and company. Yes, guys, I know Viper is the other captain, and he’s angry or something. Anyways, Clemson has looked good on D all season, giving their offense multiple chances to score. They had some injuries at ACCUC, but made it to semis anyways. Hopefully some of their bigger offensive weapons like Zack Shuba will be healthy enough to go. Unfortunately, young gun AJ Holloway will be celebrating his birthday in Clemson, and won’t be joining the Joint Chiefs. Apparently, Ultimate isn’t a great way to celebrate turning 22.
I hope that Clemson brings their intensity this weekend and shows that they can beat some top teams. They’ve shown early on that their offense needs to be more consistent. Joseph Bell’s purposeful cutting is the way that every player on this team needs to play. These guys have a lot of fun, but sometimes seem to lack a little focus. Hopefully the early season Callahan watch Miller Yoho is ready to go on that bum ankle. These guys will probably be in pre-quarters, but are going to have come out strong for a spot in the quarters.
Give these guys credit, they made it to quarters at ACCUC, losing 15-12 to the eventual winner, Georgia Tech. Evan Ponchick told me that they had heart, and they certainly showed it. They battled back in all of their games that they were down to make it close. They play well when they have nothing to lose, and that’s how they should feel at this tournament. It was only a couple years ago that they were in the backdoor game to go to nationals against Pittsburgh. They would have had the opportunity to do some damage in a weak Metro East, but now they are in the ACC. Along with Ponchick, Freddie Tsai is the one to watch at the handler spot. He’s quick and will direction the offense down the field.
I’ve been hankering for a viewing of True Grit for a couple weeks now. Tim “True Grit” Brady and the Tide nearly upset Georgia at T-Town Throwdown, losing 15-14 in the quarter finals. At the moment, these guys are terribly under-seeded at 16. They have looked bad at occasion, because of their reliance on Brady and Zack Moore. The Crimson Tide have pretty solid depth, but still rely on Brady and Moore to break the mark in a vertical stack to get the offense rolling. Depending on who they match-up with in pre-quarters, they could pull off the upset and make into the final 8. If they have enough left in the tank, this team could be the surprise in semi’s.
With the lack of field space, the pools are being done a little bit differently. While there are 6 teams, there are only 3 pool play games. The 6th seeds will be eliminated, while the 4th and 5th seeds will play for the right of pre quarters.
Pool A: I don’t expect Ohio State to be threatened here after how Virginia Tech looked last weekend. Supposedly the weekend weather should be amazing so I don’t see VT’s zone working too well. Penn State is a sleeper in this pool and I could see them grabbing the second seed by beating ECU, and ECU beating VT. Appalachian State is going to be the odd man out most likely, with ECU or VT playing in the cross over to survive for Pre-Quarters. This is really only due to the nature of the pools, and I’m still a little confused on how it’s going to work.
Pool B:I think this pool should be really competitive across the board. While Wake and NCState aren’t up the same level as the other teams, they are scrappy and will keep games close. Ohio was impressive at T-Town, and I expect them to beat Notre Dame. If only they had a shot at Georgia, that’d be the game to watch. Lets see if Clemson can bring the intensity the whole time and not have to play the crossover. I bet Wake is going to be the odd man out in this scenario, but you never know.
Pool C: I don’t know a thing about Washington University, so this pool could get a little hectic. Georgia Tech is going to be challenged by Michigan, and by no means has a lock on this pool. If Alabama can avoid the cross-over by beating Washington, then they’ll have a shot to do damage on Sunday. Cincinatti is a young team and UPenn is in rebuilding mode, so I don’t expect much from them. Alabama vs. Georgia Tech is going to be a fun game to watch.
Pool D: This pool may be the pool of death, because all of those teams are capable of making pre-quarters. MSU played UNC at CCC’s, beating them narrowly, so expect another close contest. Tennessee has started slow, but I think they could be a dark-horse. While NYU is from the Metro East, they did do well last year, and should be a competitive game for anyone. James Madison beat Georgia at CCC’s, and are on the rise. I could see Tennessee being knocked out early on, and maybe James Madison upsetting UNC.
There’s a ton of talent in this tournament, which is going to be great to watch.
I like these teams to make quarters, match-up depending of course.
- Penn State (Some Former Metro East Love)
For semi’s I like these teams.
OSU, MSU, GT, Ohio being the surprise
It’s going to be a close one, with Ohio State making the finals for the second tournament in a row. Georgia Tech won’t have enough left in the tank to compete, giving MSU the birth. The word going around is that MSU didn’t lose much from last year.
Michigan State over Ohio State in a close one. 15-13
I’ll be tweeting point by point coverage throughout the weekend. If you have any requests, or any other info please post as always.