One of the more historically competitive sections of the series, the first coming of the Carolina Conference should be no different this weekend in Greenville, NC. With only 3 bids to Regionals, and at least 6 teams worthy of a spot, one can only imagine that games will be some of the closest played this weekend. Without further ado, let’s break it down by pools.
UNCW has been on the outside looking in as far as nationals contenders go this year. They’ve shown the ability to grind out impressive wins against top tier teams from time to time, such as Minnesota at Easterns. There should be little doubt about them advancing, taking the 1st place finish and most likely number 2 seed at Regionals.
South Carolina – A2
The Gamecocks were quite the team to watch early in the season at Joint Summit Classic. With Chris Van Thiel providing the deep cuts, and Jacob Evans doing a lot of hucking, this team loved to score quickly. While they had a quiet regular season, these guys are definitely in the thick of things to get to Regionals. They utilize the horizontal stack very well, with several guys being able to just out run their defenders deep.
Duke was on the outside looking in all season in terms of competing with in the conference. Unfortunately, they are one of the teams most hurt by the loss of bids due to paperwork. They are a young club that was able to reach the finals of a lower level tournament, IUP Nutbuster. I can imagine that they are much more polished than they were in earlier in the season, especially with the presence of their coach, Christian Schwoerke.
App State didn’t have a great season, but were able to pull out a 1 point victory over Charleston to gain the 4th seed. They went winless at QCTU, so I don’t think they’ll be able to pull off too many upsets here.
College of Charleston Bums sport one of the more creative jerseys in college Ultimate. Adam Bailey leads the crew, and while they are very patriotic, are going to have a tough time staving off elimination in this tournament.
Everything is going to hold seed here with the exception of maybe Charleston and App. State.
Darkside is led by stand out Thomas Sayre-Mccord, who has used his size to come down with 50/50s all season long. The remaining studs are a bit younger with sophomore standout Tristan Green and possible AC Freshman of the Year Christian Johnson. I was hoping to be able to see a good match-up for the title game between UNCW, but throughout the season UNC’s inconsistency has been their downfall. With Noah Saul out for the season, it’s going to be hard for UNC to come out on top.
The Joint Chiefs have had a roller coaster ride through the regular season, nearly winning big games against Georgia while losing to some teams that they should have beaten. James Cox and Michael Parks provide the leadership while Christian Gaeta and Kyle Corley provide some jukes from the handler spot. Unfortunately for the Joint Chiefs, some players may not be able to attend this weekend which could hurt their chances in depth. Notably “Callahan” Nominee Miller Yoho will be out of town.
The Irates are looking to return to Regionals in consecutive years, and are led by Joey Cretella. Cretella definitely deserve a vote for all conference, especially the way he can throw upwind with his backhand. Mark Saba and a set of athletic young cutters make a vertical stack formation run smoothly. This team is successful when it is swinging the disc and using both sides to spread the defense out. The only downside is that this team is short on depth, which could hurt them late in a tournament.
North Carolina State-B4
Brandon Jones leads a physical and scrappy at the main handler spot. This club has found ways to be in games late against better competition consistently this year. Most of the team I consider to be no-name, but somehow they manage to keep fighting. Look for them to give a couple of the higher seeds tough games, and that could be a factor later on.
I have UNC winning the pool, with Clemson or ECU finishing 2 or 3. I could see a three way tie for 2nd place if NCSU could pull out a win. I would call this the pool of death, but with UNC Greensboro the only one risking elimination on day 1, the higher seeds are going to move on.
I would be surprised to see UNCW not win this conference, and thus I’m going to assume they finish number 1. The big match-up will probably be USC vs. UNC in the semi-finals, and I have Darkside moving on. Whichever team from pool B finishes second should probably make sure they rest their starters for the 2nd place bracket, because I don’t see an upset against UNCW.
The 2nd Place Bracket is going to be too tough to call, and I think it’s going to come down to USC, Clemson and ECU. Either way this works out, is going to be quite the amount of competitive games. ECU nearly came back on USC way early in the season while both teams were lacking depth at the time. Clemson has a large squad but may be missing some key players. I may be receiving angry emails from Clemson and ECU, but I’m going to go with USC as the favorite for the third spot.
- App. State