Labor Day Wrap Up and into the Series we go

by | September 8, 2011, 12:39pm 0

Revolver, displays dominance on day two

Sam Kanner goes for the D against Nicky Spiva- Photo by Ben Beehner

Despite being handed their first loss in almost exactly a year, I had the feeling that Revolver was going to come back strong on Day Two. On Day One, they played close games with Furious George and Great Britain, and lost to Chain in a game that went back and forth. Once bracket play began, Revolver finally played close to their potential. Convincing wins over Rhino and Chain has left no doubt that San Fransisco is the team with the bulls-eye on their back going into the series. I asked Robbie Cahill, if it was hard to motivate yourself in situations like these? “No, especially not after the loss [to Chain]. It’s just more fun to keep getting better as a team as the season progresses”  More on how Revovler ticks later on.

Chain and Sockeye, battling for position once again

Tim Gehret ready to pull- Photo by Ben Beehner

Both Sockeye and Chain had their moments this weekend, looking very strong, and then dropping games to other opponents. Chain won the pool based on point differential, but still dropped a close game to Furious. Sockeye was up on Rhino in pool play 6-2, before losing 10-9. Having them both meet in the semi final promised an incredible game, with stout defense from both teams. Soft cap hit with Sockeye leading 11-10, and then 12-10 if I recall correctly, Chain scored, then broke to tie the game at 12’s and set up the universe show down. Sockeye worked the disc on the breakside, finding a receiver just outside the endzone. The marker came flying in, laying out in attempt to stop the free throw, but just ended up giving up an uncontested pass. Childs-Walker got a hand on the disc and tipped it right to an awaiting Alex Nord. Nord bobbled it as it fell to the ground, giving Chain new life. Elliott Erickson, who hadn’t received too much play time, was inserted into the Chain line up as a surprise. He streaked deep, being defended tightly by Childs-Walker, as Tunnel put up a 50-50 from midfield. “Welcome to Club Ultimate Elliott”, he ripped the disc out of the air for the goal and the win.

Two-Faced Doublewide

Things did not look good for the boys from Austin, Texas on Day 1, as injuries forced many players, notably stud Kurt Gibson to sit out. Two early losses to Bravo and Sockeye made them look like a tier 3 team. They were down 6-3 to Cash Crop before they went on a run to win their last Saturday game 15-9. Day 2 was a much improved squad, going 3-0 in the rest of pool play. They were denied a bid to the semis on the last point of the Sockeye Rhino game as Dylan Freechild came down with the disc.  It’s clear that this team is going to need a healthy Gibson to challenge for the title. I hear rumors of a hamstring injury, but there was no clear signs other than an injury call. Speculation, but maybe it was the smart move to play it safe.

More on Freechild, Rhino

Matt Melius goes up for the D for Rhino- Photo by Ben Beehner

Rhino was the surprise of the tournament, going 3-0 on day 1, and only losing to Doublewide in pool play. Their resolve was especially impressive vs. Sockeye, after being down 6-2. Freechild made the difference on the final point, snagging the grab up the line in traffic for the game winner. He’s definitely added a spark, playing a variety of positions for Portland so far.  However, the real impact player here is Seth Wiggins. He played the majority of the points against Sockeye, and gives Rhino a real weapon against any team.  According to Ben Wiggins, this is the first year that Seth has been an offensive mainstay. While it wasn’t enough as Revolver manhandled them in the semi finals, it looks like the transition is going well.

Those who did not advance

Bravo started out the tournament with a bang by beating Doublewide easily, only to get one other victory against Cash Crop in pool play. Their defense is certainly respectable, but their offense was misfiring consistently. Especially after forcing the turnover, Jimmy Mickle was often seen putting 50-50 hucks deep. Pony showed some glimpses of promise, but still are a bottom tier team in terms of nationals contention. Southpaw didn’t step up this tournament, unable to squeak out wins against Great Britain and Voodoo. Cash Crop was in the same Position, but they showed promise when they had a 6-3 lead on Doublewide, and came out on top of Southpaw in the consolation game. This Mid Atlantic region is certainly up in the air, with Truck Stop looking like the only consistent team.

Great Britain put up a hell of a fight against all comers, up 12-11 on Revolver early on Saturday before losing 15-12. The guys loved their up line cuts, and sending it deep from the power position. It was the clear strategy vs. Chain early on in the game, but Atlanta was unable to adjust until the second half.  Definitely a formidable foe for any team at Worlds in 2012, but that offense could still some work. Special thanks to all the GB fans tuning in to cheer on their team during my Audio Stream, definitely some of the biggest followers.

Furious George, the sleeper pick to make nationals? And the Northwest.
The Northwest is being robbed this year with only two bids to Nationals. Furious George showed that it cannot be counted out yet, especially with a close win over Chain Lightning. They were booted out of the championship bracket due to point differential, and are definitely looking formidable after their Canadian Nationals win. Their cutters are fun to watch, often going in a triangle pattern of stretching the field deep, cutting break, then going up line or horizontal to initiate. It works a lot of the time, because the defender ends up out of position.  See Diagram below..

Furious isolation cutter scheme

The red circles are Furious handlers, with the green being the Furious cutter at four different positions, and the filled in circle being the man with the disc. The blue square is the defender in four different positions. Often times you’ll see the furious cutter go deep, almost towards the breakside, which is from 1 to 2. Then from 2 to 3, he cuts breaks, sometimes being hit by the handler at this point. If not, he often goes horizontal to position 4, where there has been a breakdown in defensive positioning.  This triangle cut is so successful into ultimate, because the defender is in no man’s land.

Furious seems incredibly sound, especially on offense. They were ready for Canadian nationals, and showed that Sockeye, Rhino better be prepared come Regionals time. Mike Caldwell was out Sunday with a broken nose, and we also saw Skip Sewell managing the sideline. Seattle still has some work to do for Regionals, which is now less than a month away. They are talented, unquestionably, but it just seems to me that we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle still not being used in their optimal spots. Rhino’s confidence is growing, but is Labor Day a sign of consistency? They looked outmatched at ECC. I’m considering these three teams for the second bid, because it’s Revolver’s regional title to lose at this point.

Revolver, 2012 Champions?

Robbie Cahill with the grab - Photo by Ben Beehner

When you have the versatility on offense like Revolver does, and pure playmakers on defense, it’s hard to bet against them in any game. Bart Watson will gather his share of turnovers, but his ability to be a threat on the field as a cutter at any point, and then be nearly equally deadly as a thrower is invaluable to setting up the offense. Defenses are typically reeling from Revolver because they simply don’t know what to take away. Cahill provides incredible stability, most of the time on the back end. However, you’ll see him streaking deep when the option is available. As I’ve stated before, Revolver’s offense is against structure, and they value the decision making ability of their top playmakers.

This is seen in nearly every facet of their game. Try to take away the hucks? Beau is going to come underneath and the offense will be patient. Force them to take the outside short gains on swings? They’ll do that repeatedly until they can find a cutter on the break side. When they are at their best, I see smart athletic players who make the right decisions time and time again. How are they beaten? It’s when Cahill and Watson are turning over the disc, which happened in the pool play game against Chain. These guys are definitely getting the most touches on offense. With the other weapons they have though, it’s hard to just focus on denying them the disc, which is a pretty daunting task in and of itself.

Revolver continues to get by on trust. Trusting their teammates to their job well, going back to teammates who make mistakes early in game. You see veterans out on the field playing with guys like Rasmussen and Wynn who just finished their college careers. For the most part, guys are playing within themselves, (with the exception being the occasional tough throw by Beau). It’s hard to see anyone taking them down come the club championships. That being said, there are a few teams in contention. Below are my “power rankings”

  1. Revolver
  2. Ironside – Lots of turnover, but perhaps the best defense in the country. These guys forced turnovers against Revolver at ECC, but just have to get their offense clicking. Colin Mahoney is also supposed to return for series, last I heard.
  3. Chain Lightning – These guys are athletic, and can huck. Only ones to beat Revolver so far on the year, but I don’t know if I like their chances to be consistent enough to make it to the final.
  4. Sockeye – Talented team, who looked a lot better prepared for competition at Labor Day, than at ECC. If they continue that upward trend, we might see a different team come Regionals and Championships
  5. Doublewide*- *If Kurt Gibson is Healthy, this is a team with the ability to go the semi finals and challenge any team they face. They could easily be number 3 if they beat Chain at Regionals.
  6. Furious George- Yes they beat Doublewide, and right now I’d probably put them above, but the lack of Kurt Gibson hurts them so much. Regardless, these guys are my sleeper pick, and are looking great after Canadian Nationals.

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