Labor Day 2011: Open Preview

by | September 1, 2011, 6:00pm 0

Furious' Oscar Pottinger reels in a disc before Revolver's Sam Kanner. - Photo by Andrew Davis

After the disappointing cancellation of Chesapeake Open last weekend, the elite club season will resume this weekend at the Labor Day Ultimate Championships in Santa Cruz, California. We will see some of the teams that were scheduled to compete at Chesapeake, namely Chain Lightning, PoNY and Southpaw, along with elite talent from across the continent in Furious George, Revolver, Doublewide and Johnny Bravo. As an added bonus, the Great Britain National team will be coming stateside to compete. The teams are split into 2 pools of 6, with a 4 team championship bracket. We can expect a high level of competition across the board, as every team will be looking to prove their bona fides in the last elite tournament of the summer. This is also the last tournament that will be covered by UltiVillage’s Elite Team Partnership program.

Pool A:

Revolver is the obvious favorite here. They were dominant at both Cal States and Emerald City Classic, never looking to be out of control of a game. If they lose, it will be a big upset. Expect them to go undefeated in pool play.

Chain Lightning will be an interesting team to watch this weekend. It will be the first time they go up against Elite competition, apart from facing Ring of Fire in a one day round robin last weekend (with just their D-line) and beating them with ease. The return of Joel Wooten and Grant Lindsley should fill some of the gaps from Chain’s roster last year and help them play deep into Sunday.

Furious George is coming off of a double game point victory over GOAT in the Canadian Ultimate Championships. They should take care of the lower teams and challenge the top two teams in the pool for a spot in the championship bracket. The Furious George versus Chain Lightning matchup is the game to watch (or listen to through No Look Scoober) in Pool A.

Rhino's Timmy Perston against Australia at ECC '11 - Photo by Scobel Wiggins

Southpaw will have a chance to prove themselves in pool play. Despite solid victories, they are yet to consistently beat top tier teams. They will be aiming to take out Furious or Chain and should beat Great Britain and Voodoo.

Great Britain is a wildcard at Labor Day considering that we haven’t seen them stack up against any common opponents, much less any of their fellow competitors.

Voodoo will try to hang with the big guns this weekend. While they may not be able to pull out a win in pool play, Ben Wiggins’ coaching should help them give teams a challenge.

Prediction: 1) Revolver 2) Chain Lightning 3) Furious George 4) Southpaw 5) Great Britain 6) Voodoo

Pool B:

Doublewide battles in the fog against Streetgang at Labor Day '10. Photo by Andrew Davis

If you can have a pool of death in a 2 pool tournament, this is it. Every team is very strong and can compete at the highest level.

Doublewide is heading into this tournament undefeated thus far and as the 1 seed in Pool B. They will look to continue their dominance from Colorado Cup where balanced offense and tenacious defense allowed them to get early breaks and put teams away. Their 1-2 matchup against Sockeye will be a game to watch.

Sockeye had a solid ECC, losing only to Ironside and Ring of Fire. They will have their work cut out for them to stay in the top 2 of Pool B with contenders like PoNY and Johnny Bravo in the lower spots. However, if they can continue to convert breaks and stifle other teams offenses they should make it to the championship bracke; just don’t expect them to challenge Doublewide the top spot in Pool B with the offensive play they had at ECC.

Johnny Bravo is yet to post a big win over a major contender, dropping games to Doublewide, Truck Stop and Furious George at Colorado Cup. Their experienced roster will look to mesh this weekend and start to take down the elite teams, especially with the additions of Dave Popeil, Jimmy Mickle and Matty Zemel. An upset over Sockeye could land them in the championship bracket, however, they will have to come to play every single game as the lower seeds in the pool will not go down easily. Consistency will be the name of the game for Johnny Bravo this weekend.

Sockeye's four-man zone surrounds Ironside's George Stubbs at ECC '11. Photo by Scobel Wiggins

On day one of their own New York Invite, PonY faltered, losing to Oakland and Medicine Men only to come stomping back on Sunday to win the tournament. Which PoNY team will we see at Labor Day? They have the ability to play with Johnny Bravo but they will need to be the poised, balanced squad that handled teams on Sunday of NYI in order to do so.

Cash Crop is a young team that will battle for a Nationals bid out of the Mid-Atlantic. They took down Ring of Fire last weekend in a one day round robin, but haven’t put up wins against any other the Elite teams. They will get a chance this weekend to upset PoNY or Johnny Bravo, but they should have trouble sticking with the top 2 in the pool.

Rhino is in a similar position to Voodoo in Pool A. They have Nationals in their past and have challenged for a spot the past couple of years, however, they can’t consistently challenge the top tier. Their experienced roster will make life difficult for some of the higher seeds, but they will have trouble posting a win in pool play.

Prediction: 1) Doublewide 2) Sockeye 3) Johnny Bravo 4) Cash Crop 5) PoNY 6) Rhino

Championship Bracket:

Revolver and Doublewide are the heavyweights of this tournament and they should be able to take care of whomever they face in semis. In what could be a potential Club Championship Final matchup, we expect the two to face each other in the Labor Day final. While Sockeye, Chain Lightning and Furious George are all solid teams, each would need to post an exceptional performance to take out a 1 seed. We expect Revolver to take the title on the strength of their defensive ability. While they may not be able to completely shut down Doublewide’s big guns, they have strong enough defenders to disrupt DW’s offensive strategy and throw them off their game. Revolver’s offense will be solid as usual and they will continue their undefeated 2011 season.

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