I wasn’t taking notes this weekend, but focusing on tweeting scores and taking video when I got the chance. As a result, this coverage is going to be a lot more opinionated than factual. If you’re looking for more of a game review, head on over to Easterns.org.
Here is some quarterfinals footage for your pleasure.
Pitt came out firing in this game and went up 2-0 quickly. They also broke out of half to make the game 9-7 and essentially trade from that point on. Their offensive defense was quite impressive towards the end of the game, essentially securing the win late, 15-13.
Colorado is impressive with their tenacity on defense. It’s hard to say what else separates them from the other teams, but they do seem to have a bunch of go-to guys. Jimmy Mickle has monster backhand hucks that were seen throughout the weekend. Timmy Beatty has good moves from the handler spot. It was an underachieving Saturday for this squad, but they have nothing to hang their heads on in losing to Pitt.
Pitt grinded this game out very well. They looked like they were in control, and one step ahead of Colorado. This is the type of thing you expect from the upper echelon of teams. Playing with composure, taking care of business, a workmen like effort. More to come on them.
Unfortunately, Oregon has not been able to put together an entire tournament this year. Starting with Prez Day, where they dropped out late due to travel, and Stanford, where they let Harvard come back huge, they could not protect an 8-5 lead. Oregon last year ran like clockwork when they were on, but made a ton of unnecessary mistakes when they were the least bit out of sync. I just wonder if they have a gunslinging attitude. The pieces seem to be there, but I wonder if they have the consistency to go deeper than quarters at nationals.
I found people not expecting Michigan to do well, while I had predicted them at least making quarters (Yes, tooting my own horn, I also had Minnesota so I was very wrong on that account). I was fortunate to see how they reacted at Queen City Tune Up. I didn’t think they would do well because of how amazing their offense or defense was, but that they just are just the essence of what any team should be. They trust each other, they don’t blow up when things go bad, and they keep chugging along. I think because they lack flash, that people don’t end up rooting for them. I think they’re going to make quarters at Nationals, and depending on their match-up have a great chance to make semis. How can you bet against a team that was a point away from facing Florida in the semis last year, and brings that tradition and experience.
Harvard played up and down to opponents all weekend. I think their lack of depth won’t hurt them at nationals, because of the timing of games. George Stubbs should be the Callahan award winner this year. I think he has everything anyone is looking for. Class, Skill, and seems to be a great teammate. I was more impressed of how he played with his teammates, rather than being a risk taker who just hucks it from anywhere. Harvard has guys that can hang with anyone, and if Andrew Vogt can get back in time for Regionals, the ceiling is going to be a little higher for this crew. Can’t wait to see what they look like in Boulder.
CUT is a machine. An offensive machine that will roll you if you can’t keep up with their 7th man. It’s that saying, you’re only as good as the worst guy on the field. Well, CUT is that, they will beat you with anyone available. Their depth is incredible, and I love watching the flow they generate on offense. Defensively, they haven’t seemed to force turns as much as the other teams. One of favorites to win it all for sure.
Florida is quite the case study. I enjoy watching this team because everyone plays a distinct role so well. It’s as if they’re running a basketball model for frisbee. One person is the point guard, one is the power forward, etc. Cole Sullivan delivers hucks and breaks from anywhere on the field, Alex Hill has an incredible flick huck, and the list goes on.
I remember hearing about Florida back when my frisbee world involved just Buffalo. The stories about how they were a bunch of ogres just all going deep. That isn’t the case. They maximize the deep game because it’s so hard to go 70 yards in ultimate. They train specifically to play with shorter rotations, people that have high retention rates, and to be incredibly skilled with the disc. I think it’s frustrating for other teams, because they beat you with a “simpler” style. The fact of the matter is, they train to be able to hang with anyone on D, catch, and throw better than the other guys. I think the way you stay with these guys is respect their breaks, their throws, and make them go 70 as much as possible. Colorado seems to have had success by just sticking with them man on man, beat them to the disc., but we’ll have to wait for Nationals to see if people can beat this formula.
Wisconsin can beat any team at any time. However, I question their ability to dominate a tournament. They have a good assortment of players, Ben Feldman, Dayu Liu, and many others. I just don’t see much variation out of them in terms of strategy. If they execute well, they’re going to win. This is one of the teams that benefits from a strong region. For them, Sunday at Regionals should be like a preview of nationals. They’ll have the chance to polish their game, and come out strong. I still put them in the 5-10 crowd, with a lesser chance to go deeper in the tournament.
Michigan unfortunately took themselves out of this game early. With Pitt leading 8-3 at half, there was a very small chance of a come back. Michigan wasn’t connecting early on, and dropped a pull right before half. The final score might have been closer due to Pitt cruising on offense, but I focused on the CUT Florida game.
A very offensive game, with Florida getting the lead early in the second half. Cole Sullivan received his second PMF after a dangerous layout and was ejected. With Florida up by 2, CUT was able to get back into the game. However, a scoring controversy had the official score being 12-10 at the end, rather than 11-11. CUT had a chance, if they were to score quickly enough to beat hard cap, but Florida scored the last point.
Florida definitely has CUT’s number right now. They take CUT out of their game and find ways to get breaks. With these two teams likely getting the number 1 and 2 seeds, it’s possible that we’ll see a national final like this again. I think that CUT just has to play their game, play hard man D, and fluid offense. With the way they have dominated the rest of the college landscape, they really have to game plan for one team. I don’t think they’re going to look past anyone, but no one has been able to challenge them this year besides rival Wisconsin and Florida.
Title Game: Florida Pitt
I said on Breaker’s Delight that I think Pittsburgh is the most talented team in the nation. They have so many play makers on offense in Alex Thorne, Eddie Peters, Chris Brenenborg, Tyler Degirolamo and they’re defense is right up there, if not number one. That being said, they don’t seem to get up for games until it’s clear that it is crunch time. Maybe they relaxed a bit with Cole Sullivan being out for the first half. I’m not sure, but for whatever the reason, I didn’t see them play as hard as they could until it was 13-10 Florida.
After Florida took the lead 13-10, I commented to a friend that it might be game over. They were up two breaks, and were a few hucks away from ending it quickly. Pitt scored to make it 13-11, and then it was as if a beast was awoken. They seemed incredibly hungry, denying resets to Florida, and getting far more D opportunities. The game went from average paced, to very exciting within a few minutes. Pitt would tie up at 13’s.
Florida would catch a break when Lenberger would come seemingly out of no where to lay out for an over thrown huck. Pittsburgh would tie it up to set up one of the most dramatic endings I’ve ever been witness to.
Alex Hill hucks it around the light pole, disc tipped by Cole Sullivan into Nathan Sage’s hands. One more pass for the win, and Florida is on top of the College Ultimate scene.
What this means for the nationals landscape
I wanted to do a piece on the “four horsemen”, but I really see 5 title contenders at the moment with their respective strengths
The crowd that could play the underdog role well, and get deep into the tournament is…
Unfortunately with no chance to see UBC play, I can’t give you much on them. Florida and Pitt seem to have the most pure talent at the top, while CUT has the most depth by far. Colorado has some great defense, and just needs to find ways to be more consistent.
I like making predictions, even though I know I’m going to be wrong. This is how I have nationals playing out.
Pre Quarters Mentions: Virginia, Oregon (there will be more, but too tough to tell)
Quarters: Florida, CUT, Pittsburgh, Colorado, UBC, Harvard, Michigan, Wisconsin
Semi-Finals: Florida vs. Colorado, Pittsburgh vs. CUT
Finals: Pittsburgh vs. Colorado
2011 Champion: Pittsburgh
I don’t think that Colorado is the second best team, but I think they benefit from the match-ups within the tournament. UBC is the other team to watch, and could easily replace one of those four. I picked Pittsburgh way back in early Fall/Summer, and I’m going to stick with that.
I know I’m late to the game on coverage, but that’s just how this works for me. I’ve got 6 weeks left at working 60 hours a week, once I go down to 40 I’ll be able to update things faster. Would love for comments or questions from anyone!