Johnny Bravo’s David Belsheim was kind enough to write a preview of this weekend’s Colorado Cup. Belsheim’s stuff is always informative and insightful, so enjoy.
Thirty-three teams from across North America descend on Boulder tonight for the Colorado Cup. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Michelle Ng, the women’s elite division has expanded to include 16 teams this year with the top five teams from last year’s USA Ultimate Club Championships headlining the tournament. With teams like Fury, Capitals, Brute Squad, Riot, Traffic, Showdown and Colorado’s own Molly Brown, Saturday’s pool play looks more like last year’s power pools at Nationals. If you’re looking for the most exciting women’s match on Saturday, be sure to check out the first round game on field 2 at 11am between the Ottawa Capitals and Vancouver Traffic. Both teams have been preparing for the upcoming Canadian Ultimate Championships which will take place in just two weeks. Only one will be representing Canada at next year’s World Ultimate and Guts Championships. The women’s division pools are set and you can follow the action here.
This year’s showcase match will be between Brute Squad and Molly Brown. Molly Brown played Brute last year in power pools in the closest game of the pool, with Brute pulling off a 15-12 victory, eventually placing 3rd in the Championships. Molly Brown captain Anna Schott was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on the upcoming showcase game against Brute and Saturday pool play.
David Belsheim: What’s the history between Molly Brown and Brute Squad?
Anna Schott: Being a new team, Molly Brown doesn’t have a lot of history with anyone- but we did have a long and hard fought game with them at Nationals last year. Brute’s offense proved to be stronger in that battle so Molly Brown is looking to change the outcome in this game.
DB: Why Molly Brown and Brute in the showcase game?
AS: Molly Brown is excited to be in the showcase game to give our local friends and families an opportunity to see us play- we invited Brute to play in the showcase game with us because they were fired up about it and were one of the first elite teams to commit to attending Colorado Cup. We thought they would be a great match-up for Molly Brown and we are psyched that they wanted to play the showcase game with us.
DB: How do you think the game is going to turn out this year?
AS: They have had a good amount of roster turnover this year so it will be exciting to see how some of their younger players step-up and fill new roles. Likewise, Molly Brown has added a lot of talent to our roster and it will be exciting to see how those new players contribute.
DB: Any other games Molly Brown is excited about?
AS: Really, we are excited about all of our pool play games. It is always fun to play Fury- they are an athletic team and it will be fun to run with them, hopefully they won’t be quite adjusted to the altitude during the first game ;) Underground is sort of an unknown entity to us right now since Molly Brown and Underground have never played, but they had a strong showing at Solstice (which earned them a spot in Div I for Colorado Cup) so it will no doubt be a challenging game. Again, we are excited to see Brute Squad this year to see if our strengthened roster will be able to avenge our Nationals power pool loss in 2010.
DB: What is Molly Brown’s focus going into the tourney?
AS: Our focus is going to be to get experience playing with each other and to get stronger as a team. We have an incredibly deep roster and it has always been important to us that we use the talents of all of our players. Especially this early in the season, we expect everyone on our roster to fill multiple roles and contribute on both sides of the disc. We know that this is the time to take some risks and push ourselves a little out of our comfort zone on offense, and with a bigger roster (by 6 players) than last year there is an even higher expectation of going all out on defense. We’re sad to be missing 4 of our squad due to injuries and other personal commitments, but we have several more months to show what we can do at full strength.
Thank you Anna, and good luck this weekend. Fans can follow Molly Brown on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/mollybrowntown or search for or #CoCup2011
In the elite men’s division, we have teams from all six club regions represented. Doublewide returns as the favorite to win this year, after falling to Revolver 15-13 in the semifinals. Dub looks strong this year, look for them to have a great weekend. Doublewide reached the finals in 2003, 2004 and 2009 but has thus far been unable to take the Cup. A victory this weekend would be sweet for many of Dub’s veterans. Meanwhile, Truck Stop aims to defend their title from last year. Truck finished 5th at Nationals and they had a stellar performance against NexGen last week. They showed up last year looking great and beat every team on route to a 15-11 victory over GOAT in the finals.
Just as in the women’s division, the two top Canadian teams take their first look at each other in a prelude to the Canadian Ultimate Championships. GOAT edged out Furious at Colorado Cup last year in an exciting 16-14 finish, though Furious had a stronger run at the end of the season. Home team Johnny Bravo hopes to build on a strong finish at Nationals last year, where they finished with a strong 5-2 record but a disappointing 9th place finish. Madison Club also finished strong last year and may have more chemistry than any other team at the tourney. Sub Zero remains an unknown as they have undergone tremendous roster change over the past two years. Bay Area’s Boost Mobile and the new Los Angeles Renegade (no relation to DC’s Renegade) round out the elite division. You can follow the elite men’s division on score reporter here: http://scores.usaultimate.org/scores/#open/tournament/8909
The men’s division is headlined by Houston’s Space City, which had a great performance at the Boston Invite a few weeks ago. Joining them will be Denver’s Inception and Prairie Fire out of Kansas. Oklahoma’s Rawhide and Arizona’s Sprawl could also have great weekends.