Warm-Up Thoughts

by | February 15, 2011, 11:59pm 0

Last weekend gave everyone a great look at how the best teams in the nation matched up against one another. While I wasn’t there, I was following the weekend along on twitter and was given some stories by a friend on one of the top teams.

The Gators walk away with a performance that they should be ecstatic over. Cole, Alex and Sage stepped up and answered the critics showing that Florida has what it takes to hang with the best of the best, without Brodie or the Gibson brothers. In terms of style of play, I was told that Florida basically worked the disc between Travis Catron and Alex Hill in the backfield until a deep look opened up for Cole, Sage, Baird or Glenn Lenberger. Their poachy defense also reared its head and judging by the scores of their games, it was very effective.

Losing twice to finalist Colorado is not something to get bummed out about since Mamabird looks like they can be an early frontrunner for the national title (despite their 3 losses on the weekend). Looking at the loss to Wisconsin, I saw some tweets that spoke about the game being chippy, which is to be expected of both of these squads. My guess is that Wisconsin is a squad with more depth in terms of both conditioning and disc skills.

The boys from Gainesville should come away confident, but hungry for next month’s Stanford Invite.

Coming away with a tournament victory and only two losses is pretty impressive but not too surprising. CUT has shown the country that they are still one of the teams to beat despite losing many good players. I’m not surprised at their pool play loss to Wisconsin and even less surprised that they avenged their win, as CUT doesn’t mind a few early season losses. Unfortunately, they didn’t get a second shot at Florida, which makes me excited at the prospect of a rematch at the Stanford Invite. From Twitter updates, it seems that everyone was getting a piece of the action but the Peter Roberts to Grant Lindsley connection was working all weekend.

Carleton is stacked full of exceptional talent, so outside of a few names like Lindsley, you shouldn’t expect to see focus on any individuals since CUT likes to come off as a strong team, rather than a collection of ballers. From what I heard, Carleton had the fastest, strongest and most physical man defenses at the tournament. Other chatter said that Carleton has one of the best cutting corps in the nation. CUT’s youth was shown at their handling position, where players like Justin Norden often had decision-making issues.

Overall, this weekend was a great one for Carleton, showing that even during a rebuilding year, they are still the real deal.

Unfortunately for the Metro East, Cornell had the weekend that most people probably expected them to have. However, the Buds were able to put up points on some of the best teams in the nation with a short squad of young players. Don’t count out the New York crew as they come away with some fantastic experience and will hopefully be more of a threat next time around. Cornell will be heading to College Easterns next, where they will face off against a lot of these teams in an event that will help define where the college nationals bids will be allocated to. All 8 elite teams that attended Warm-Up will be attending Easterns in Wilmington, so I’ll cross my fingers for some interesting rematches. All in all, Cornell should be confident and looking forward to the rest of their season, learning from their losses and hopefully peaking at the right moment.

North Carolina-Wilmington:
While I think a lot of the above advice can be applied to the Seamen, I think these guys are flat-out too competitive to be content with losing any games. The Seamen walk away from Warm-Up winning and losing the games they should have. Without Rusty Ingold-Smith, they may lack that extra element that makes the good teams great. Unfortunately, the Seamen would have looked stronger if they didn’t lose to a tattered Harvard squad. With Easterns coming up next, the Seamen should look inward, focusing on heavy conditioning and adapting their strategies to whatever they learned this past weekend. With 2 losses to Virginia, UNCW’s enemy is a lack of nationals bids. But with the AC probably getting 2 bids, Wilmington shouldn’t panic, as it doesn’t seem that the other Atlantic Coast teams have the talent to challenge them.

Colorado had been playing up to the hype until the end of Saturday, when Carleton would win the first of their eventual 2 meetings. Mamabird comes away winning 6 games and dropping 3, with a surprising loss to Virginia Night Train. Since Colorado was able to take out top competition in impressive style, the only thing that I can think of would be that either some key players got hurt or they just got tired. Having played in New Years Fest (and finished second behind San Diego Streetgang), it would not be unreasonable if Colorado was not conditioned to go to the distance at a 3 day tournament. These guys are my pick to win Nationals in a few months and I think they’ll be back with a vengeance at Stanford and Easterns. As the only team of real strength in the South Central, I don’t think anyone is going to contend with Mamabird should their region only get 1 bid to nationals.

Red Line had a frustrating weekend for sure, but it seemed like it was due to injuries. According to Twitter, Harvard was without Adam Fagin, Andrew Vogt, Whitt Virgin-Downey and others by the first game of Saturday. The fact that this team was able to beat some talented squads like Wisconsin and Virginia without such quality players, makes me think that when Harvard is at full strength, they’ll be one of the teams to beat come May. Stubbs seemed to be mentioned in every tweet that involved Red Line scoring. Harvard is slated to compete in both the Stanford Invite and College Eastern so hopefully they’ll be at full strength so we can see what they are really capable of.

The Hodags had a fantastic weekend, finishing tied for 3rd with Florida. While they were able to topple over Florida and UVA, they would fall to Harvard and Colorado. Wisconsin would also split a two game series with Carleton. From what I’ve heard, ex Carleton GOP player, Eric Alexander along with John Bergen and Pat Donovan were some of the heroes of the weekend.

An interesting note regarding the Wisconsin-UVA game was the fact that after the Hodags scored to make it 12-11, UVA had no idea that they had just lost the game. Apparently the fact that the game was capped and it was universe point at 11-11 did not reach Night Train. So when that game ended, you can only imagine the anger and frustration that erupted. Safe to say, the next time these two teams meet, it should make for quite an emotional battle for Virginia. To see the Hodags side of the story and to also read about how the tournament amenities were lacking, check out this blog entry from someone who was there:  (http://dopacetic.blogspot.com/2011/02/sufficiently-warm.html).

This young team won games with their famous conditioning along with their formidable tenacity and disc skills. According to their own writeup (http://www.hodags.org.prod.ngin.com/news_article/show/78810?referrer_id=251584), Wisconsin is going to focus on working on zone offense, marking and swinging the disc in an effort to become more consistent. On a final note, I heard that Wisconsin also had some issues being a unified squad. In one instance, negativity seemed to go over the top, past teammate to teammate heckling when members on the sidelines expressed their discontent with some turnovers colorfully . Hopefully on field issues won’t hinder Wisconsin’s effort to rise back to the top.

Like most teams, the boys in baby blue will be attending the Stanford Invite as well as trying to defend their College Easterns title from last year. Wisconsin played like last season’s early exit in Nationals was a fluke and did a great job at helping show that the North Central is one of the better regions in the country.

Night Train came up big this weekend, with their most notable games being a universe loss to Wisconsin and a huge upset over Colorado. UVA looks like they have a great shot at heading to Boulder this May and they might be able to get relatively deep if they keep improving. Hopefully Night Train has their sights set on something greater than just qualifying for Nationals because it doesn’t seem like anyone outside of Wilmington is going to give them issues. These guys are one of the teams that I’m pulling for and hopefully I’ll catch one of their games at Easterns in March.

South Florida:
These guys put up more points than I expected them to, so hopefully they’ll be able to contest some teams and make the jump to regionals this year. Thanks for getting all of these teams together as this was a fantastic tournament to follow! Good luck Scallywags!

~Zack Smith

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