I was lucky enough to get in touch with Ariel Jackson, a former Rutgers captain that spent his fifth year playing with Stanford. He filmed Stanford’s game to go against San Diego State, and was kind enough both to share the video and write a bit about Stanford’s road to that final game. The following is all Ari…
After beating UC-Davis, Stanford was set to face Cal in the back door semis at 2011 Southwest Regionals. These two teams play each other a lot every year, and this year was no different. Going in, Cal had the upper hand at 2-1 vs. Stanford during the regular season and Conference Championships. Despite the fierce rivalry between the two schools (notably between the football teams), there is a lot of mutual respect between Ugmo and Bloodthirsty.
Stanford started the game by running off 3 straight breaks to go up 3-0, but Cal came right back. The game was tight most of the way, with Stanford slightly ahead most of the time. Moderate wind and good defense by both teams led to long points and halftime was reached with only about 30-40 minutes before the hard cap was set to go on. With Stanford up 11-9, the hard cap went on, sealing the game for Stanford. Cal would score the last point to bring the score to 11-10 Stanford, with Stanford finishing 1 net break ahead of Cal.
On the other field, a tremendous comeback by UCSC had the Slugs up 14-13 as the hard cap went on. SDSU scored to bring on double game point, and with the overtime rules, each team had exactly one timeout; how exciting can you get?! SDSU pulled to Santa Cruz to start the point. UCSC turned the disc over and SDSU called a timeout, but couldn’t put it in. UCSC scored to win 15-14 and complete a huge comeback after being down 5-0 to start and 8-5 at half.
After all that, SDSU now had to play Stanford for the Southwest’s final bid to Nationals; SDSU had just lost after being up huge in the game to go, and Stanford was coming off a win and playing their best ultimate of the year. At the same time, SDSU had only played UCSC so far on Sunday, while Stanford had to go through a heavily underseeded UC-Davis and Cal to get to the backdoor game to go.
Stanford pulls to SDSU to start the game. After a couple turns each way and bids by Stanford defenders, San Diego State scores and puts them up, 1-0.
Stanford answers back when Jordan Jeffery pulls down a high stall hammer to keep the game on serve.
After getting a turn, Stanford’s D-line scores for the first break of the game.
However, SDSU gets their own D-line back on the field, comes down in zone and gets their break back.
On the next point, Stanford’s Jacob Speidel makes an impressive catch in the endzone catching a huck from Angus Pacala.
Things start to go right for Stanford as their D-line begins rolling, running off 4 straight breaks, including a huge sky by Jordan Jeffery on the 3rd break point.
After these 4 breaks, SDSU’s Kevin Cocks throws an around backhand to the breakside to set up a goal and stop the bleeding. SDSU comes down in a 1-3-3, gets a turn on a throw in which the observer overruled a foul call and then gets a break of their own, reducing Stanford’s advantage to 3 net breaks.
Chris O’Brien breaks free of coverage and Nick Greenfield hits him in stride. A timeout and upline cut later and Stanford takes half 8-5, up 3 breaks.
Coming out of half, San Diego comes down in a hard man D. Timothy Gilligan makes a nice bid on an in cut, but comes up just short and takes an injury sub after the play. Stanford works the disc up the open side to score. 9-5 Stanford.
Chris Hart was huge for Stanford’s defense all weekend and continues his streak with two D blocks early in the second half. Stanford’s Jordan Jeffery comes down with a floaty pass and sends the disc into the endzone where Cody Mills lays out to put Stanford up 11-5.
On the next point, Stanford comes down in zone and stays in their formation even as SDSU works it to their goal line. Jackson Stearns sneaks over to the trap side from the weak side and receives a swing from Richard Prodan for the goal. 11-6.
Kevin Cocks of San Diego and Jordan Jeffery of Stanford trade deep D blocks. Jacob Speidel puts up a bladey huck and Colin VanLang outreads his teammates and opponents, bringing Stanford within 3 points of returning to Nationals.
Braden Murray gets a huge sky over FOTY nominee Jordan Williams, but Stanford gets the disc back as Chris O’Brien goes horizontal to block a pass thrown slightly to the inside of his receiver.
With the disc on the goal line, Stanford handler Nick Greenfield throws an upline dump to Angus Pacala. 13-6. Two points later, Angus returns the favor, hitting Greenfield upline. 14-7. The teams would trade to 15-8 giving Stanford the 2nd bid from the SW region.