Going into the series, if you asked most people around the country who would make it out of the Southwest Region, Stanford Bloodthirsty probably didn’t come up on many people’s lists. After failing to qualify in 2010, and a slow start to the 2011 regular season, it looked like the bids would most likely being going to California Santa Cruz and San Diego State. However, there was a prevailing attitude from leadership on Bloodthirsty that the only tournament that mattered before Nationals was Regionals. As a result, Stanford focused on growth, not results.
Jordan Jeffery, “We set a goal at the beginning of the season to improve at every tournament we attended. A lot of the season was spent developing our younger players. This was also compounded with the fact that many of our veteran players, (myself included), were injured for the majority of the season. Our early season results reflect this, with perhaps underwhelming results at early season tournaments such as Santa Barbara and Stanford Invite.” While the ultimate goal was to peek at Regionals, Stanford came together on Saturday at Terminus. “Terminus was the first tournament where we really had all of our core players playing together, a tournament I believe we would have won after going 4-0 on Saturday had it not been canceled on Sunday. Ever since Terminus we have only improved with our entire team playing together.”, Jeffery said.
Stanford certainly had everything to prove coming into Regionals. After cruising through pool play, they missed out on the chance to win the tournament, losing to Santa Cruz in the semis. On Sunday, Bloodthirsty faced a scenario of winning three games to qualify for Nationals. Jeffery would recalled, “During the 07-08 season (my freshman year) we were faced with the exact same situation. That year, we had players like Mark Sherwood and Tom James put the team on their back and we rode them to nationals.” Drawing from that experience, Stanford knocked out UC Davis, and held on to a 12-11 win over California. “This game was also a dogfight, we opened up with 4 breaks, Cal came back to take the lead 7-6, but we broke for half, taking back the lead at 8-7. The second half went back and forth, but we ended up with an 11-9 lead, and hard cap came on during the following marathon point with multiple turns for both sides, giving us an 11-10 win after Cal scored the final point.”, said Jeffery.
Sacrificing early season success paid off by preparing a large roster to play in the biggest games. SDSU was coming off of a universe point loss to Santa Cruz, where their studs hadn’t rested much in the second half. “Our depth and our emphasis on hitting the track showed up particularly well during the second place game-to-go against SDSU. Despite playing an extra game that day, our guys felt fresh and came out of the gates hard. We received contributions from literally everyone on our roster, it seemed that SDSU’s big players were worn out as the game went on, and we won 15-8.”, said Jeffery.
Stanford’s attitude is high going into Nationals,with a young crew gaining experience and ready to battle. Jeffery states, “We spent time in our season developing our young players, and it payed off in a big way at Regionals, with many first-year members of Bloodthirsty getting footblocks, scoring goals, and getting D’s. When we step up and play our game, we can beat anyone in the nation, and that’s our goal going into Boulder. That’s Stanford Ultimate.”