Much has changed between 2010 and 2011, with the Northeast club open region being no different. First and foremost, Bodhi, who was last year’s 3rd place finisher in the region (losing in both the final and backdoor game-to-go), disbanded after going 4-10 at Cazenovia and the Boston Invite. Surfing and Swayze aside, two other squads out of the seven other quarter-finalists, Sons of Liberty and Replicants, were not present for the 2011 season, creating a large drop off between the tiers of teams at this year’s regional tournament. Essentially, this weekend is going to be a battle between three teams, who are battling for the coveted two spots to Sarasota, and a chance to bring the National Championship back to the east coast.
With that, let’s turn to the Tale of the Tape: Ironside vs. GOAT vs. PoNY
Regular Season Records
(Note: Ironside and GOAT’s record include their NexGen games, and GOAT’s record includes Canadian Nationals.)
Ironside: 26-3, 89.7%
GOAT: 32-5, 84.4%
PoNY: 20-14, 58.8%
2011 Head to Head
Ironside vs. GOAT: 3-0
- Cazenovia Pool Play: 14-12
- Cazenovia Finals: 15-11
- Boston Invite Finals: 15-12
Ironside vs. PoNY: 4-0
- Bell Crack Pool Play: 15-8
- Bell Crack Finals: 15-7
- Cazenovia Pool Play: 13-8
- Boston Invite Pool Play: 15-10
GOAT vs. PoNY: 3-0
- Cazenovia Pool Play: 13-10
- Cazenovia Semi-Finals: 15-14
- Boston Invite Semi-Finals: 15-11
Mind Over Matter
Out of the three teams at the top of the region, PoNY will be playing with the most emotion. New York’s defensive line, led by Joe “Smash” Anderson, is known for their tenacious attitude, high energy and an unrelenting fighting spirit. With strong cutters in Dan Heijmen and Jack Marsh supplemented by a handler core of various experience in Milo Snyder (WUGC 2008 Junior, 2011 USAU Metro East 1st Team All-Region), Seth Crockford (WUGC 2008 Silver Medalist) and Kevin Riley (2007 and 2008 College National Champion), PoNY has the ability to do some serious damage to just about any opponent. PoNY’s horizontal stack generally looks for the deep ball, hucking off of an in-cut from either Heijmen or Tim Macgougan. While they only played a few more games than their counterparts, New York is the only team out of the three to play in a tournament since August 14th. This late season trip earned them wins over strong opponents in Great Britain (15-13) and Colorado’s Johnny Bravo (13-11) at Labor Day. From watching their game against Bravo on the ETP series (seriously, if you have not purchased this from Ultivillage yet, you are seriously missing out on hours of incredible and high definition footage), PoNY seems to thrive on the quick strike off of turns. When Bravo forced them to work the disc, New York had issues with their flow and consistency which led to long points and almost gave Colorado the game. New York’s late season success should give them a morale boost heading into regionals, where they will not have to face Boston until the finals. However, with a 0-7 combined record against both GOAT and Ironside, the odds are certainly against PoNY as they square up to fight for one of the tickets to Florida. Though their future hangs in the balance, one thing is for sure: Whether the pride is down by one or five, this pack will be ready to pounce just the same.
After an early exit and universe point loss to PoNY in the backdoor semi-final of 2010 Regionals, Toronto is back with a vengeance. Similar to their 2007 season, which was the last WUGC qualifying year, GOAT has had strong results, winning 32 out of 37 games in their short 2.5 month regular season. Their offensive line is anchored by the tall and lanky John Hassell and Andy Ouchterlony who seem to be always getting open whether it is underneath or on a deep strike. With only two truly powerful teams in all of Canada, GOAT is blessed with depth and a solid core of veterans that make up their faceless army. Lesser known players like Derek Alexander, Anatoly Vasilyev, Scotty Nichols, Patrick Mooney and Kirk Nylen round out this stacked group who was able to best NexGen, Madison Club, Truck Stop, PoNY and Furious George. In addition, Toronto has one of the most under-talked players in the Northeast in Jeff “Linq” Lindquist who is both a dynamic thrower and a powerful receiver. While GOAT has been attempting to mimic Boston’s possession style of offense, they will resort to their deep game when pushed into a corner. When GOAT does choose to play a consistent style of offense, their main handlers will utilize break scoobers and around forehands to stretch the field and sustain control over the disc. Furthermore, it should be noted that with the cancellation of Chesapeake, GOAT has not played a full tournament against elite talent since the end of July. Their mid-August universe point to Furious was not only devastating, but it was GOAT’s last listed score until sectionals in early September. While they have had the time to recover from losing the right to represent Team Canada in Japan at WUGC 2012 (where they were up 14-13), a defeat like that could derail even the most experienced of teams. However, the last time Toronto had this strong of a roster participating in the US series, they placed 3rd at Nationals.
Heavily Armed, Ready for War
2010 was certainly an impressive year for Boston, with only one loss (10-15 to Revolver at Club Nationals) in their 45 game season (including the series, excluding worlds). When stars like 2009 Callahan winner Will Neff left Ironside, many believed that the 2011 season would not be filled with such great success and the idea of representing Team USA in Japan would be farfetched. Boston has done well to suppress these thoughts, only dropping three games (including their NexGen loss), on the way to 3 out of 4 tournament victories (Ironside lost to Revolver 12-15 in the semi-finals of ECC). On offense, the battleship is heavily armed with Matt Rebholtz and Mike Zalisk at the handler position and Danny Clark, Peter Prial, Jim Foster, Josh Markette and 2011 Callahan winner George Stubbs as cutters. Though they typically run a possession style offensive out of a horizontal stack, Ironside has frequently ended points quickly with an in-cut from Stubbs, leading to one of his perfect deep shots. When grinding is the better option look for the athletic Prial and the deceptively fast Clark to be the major workhorses of the line. Of course, don’t forget Foster, whose skill as a deep cutter is supplemented by his impressive throwing ability. Despite all of this power from the o-line, the true heart of Boston this year is their defense, which is stacked with Brandon “Muffin” Malecek, Jacob Goldstein, and Seth Reinhardt, along with two big 2011 additions from Bodhi in Jon Hirschberger and Christian Foster. With huckers like Hirsch and Muffin, the defensive offense of Ironside looks to punish quick off of turns. Boston has also picked up late season additions in Colin Mahoney and former UNCW baller Rusty Ingold-Smith. This coupled with the fact that Ironside has not played since mid-August, may lead to some early game rust and a lack of chemistry. There is no reason to fear if Boston does find themselves going uphill quick, as they will be able to rely on their incredible defense to bring them back. To see this for yourself, check out the ETP game where Ironside battles back from a 5-1 defecit on the way to a 13-10 win over Sockeye. While Ironside has been able to handle PoNY all season, GOAT will certainly provide them with a strong challenge. In their last meeting, the two powerhouses traded until Boston broke to take a 10-8 lead. While the last few games of the weekend are sure to be close and exciting, this is certainly Ironside’s region to lose and with their stacked lines and late pickups, no one is expecting time to lose. 3…2…1…BOOM!
Check out these links to footage of GOAT, PoNY and Ironside playing against one another at the Boston Invite, courtesy of sox798:
I will be covering Sunday of the Northeast Open Regionals, so please keep an eye out for me on Twitter (@Skyd_ZackSmith). If you can’t wait for that long, be sure to follow GOAT at (@GOATUltimate), PoNY at (@PrideofNY) and Brandon Malecek of Ironside (@bigmuffnuts) for twitter updates.