First, tomorrow starts quarters where Jonathan Neeley of Inside Breaks and I will be giving you commentary of the surprise South Carolina vs. Uconn from the Metro East. From there we will cover both Semis, so keep track if your team makes it! We’ll be streaming from this link.
We already have a video recap of today’s action, but we did want to put down a little bit of written word for our thoughts.
South Carolina was the surprise of the tournament, and I have to give a shout out for former Callahan Nominee Miller Yoho for saying that they were going to be good. A lot of free style movement led by veteran Chris Van Thiel led to a big win over regional contender UNCW, and we cannot forget the 15-4 smashing they delivered to Ohio State. This team is built upon having fun, and not taking the games too seriously. Hear it for yourself in an interview with Chris Van Thiel.
Seeing a composed North Carolina squad? Completely unexpected. Coached by the competitive Mike Denardis, I expected this team to go on runs, both good and bad. However, we saw a calm, collected squad led by Thomas Sayre-McCord who helped his team navigate the 25+ mph winds. Christian Johnson is playing a larger role this year, coming off a season with Ring of Fire and Marshall Ward provided stability at handler. In addition, Ward was the anchor of the 4 or even as high of 5 man cup by holding down the mark. UNC Darkside has been playing together since August, and their chemistry shows.
Good but not Great
NC State continues to be a scrappy team led by Brandon Jones. They keep battling with some of the most physical D you will find at any college tournament, and will find ways to win games that by all rights they “shouldn’t” be winning. Case in point, they were down 12-6 to Penn State in the cross over game and rallied to score 7 straight to win. On the last point, Chris Kelly streaked deep and ripped down the disc between two Penn State defenders to seal the comeback.
Ohio may be along in the upper category, but they fell to UNC in the cross over game as they relied very heavily on their starting lines to get the job done. This team is ready to battle and will be a “tough out” for any team come regionals time. Delaware also falls into this category as they essentially gave up on winning their cross over game against USC because it was just for seeding. An interesting decision, but it appears that Delaware is saving their legs for the championship bracket.
Uconn made it through to the championship bracket by running the train through JMU in the cross over game. They survived a come back by Penn State, after leading 7-1 in the first game of the day. It should be fireworks in their quarters game against USC as both teams love to play fast and loose. Kamil Skwarek continues to impress as the main handler and was entrusted to throw over the top against zone all days long.
UNCW survived to make it to the championship bracket as this is their first tournament with their A team. I have to say that the potential on this team seems to be a little scary. There are 3 freshman with high school experience and they all look like veterans on the field. Come spring team, we will really see what this team is made of, and it just might be something worthy of nationals.
I didn’t get to watch too much of Carnegie Mellon, but they made it through. Hope to learn more tomorrow.
Virginia was expected to struggle with the amount of turnover they had, but they were not expected to look like they didn’t belong. They were unable to handle zone and the winds as the mistakes mounted. Going 0-3 in pool play put them in the losers bracket and leaving them to focus on development. This team could still be good, as they have some talent left over from their nationals run. This is the time they need to decide as a group what team they are going to be.
Penn State was one of the best looking teams on Saturday, and yet they are relegated to pursuing 9th place. They break the mark so effectively, and seemed to have the patience to navigate a zone, but were just a little ways from victory. Against UConn they overcame a 7-1 deficit to lose 12-11 on universe. Against UNC they couldn’t get an upwind break and let that game slip away. They were rocking it against NCSU, up 7-0 and then 12-6 before losing it 13-12.
By the end of the day, there was evidence that the team was frustrated and taking it out internally. The same offensive line was used time after time, with Jeff Kiel, James Greeno, Tom Allen, Tom Bassett, Brian Magerr, and Scotty Wright playing the majority of points. This team has talent, but days like today serve as warnings. Stick together as a squad and you’ll find success. The good is their talent, where breaks come easy to Kiel, Allen, Bassett and Wright. Just a matter of putting it together for a full game.
The other squads that showed some talent that found themselves not in the championship bracket were William and Mary and Ohio State. William and Mary found some victories over Carnegie Mellon and Virginia but fell to UNCW. Ohio State is still in the tryout process, and brought 28 players with half of them being rookies. I’m not likely to pass too much judgement on OSU until we still a full A team.
Make sure you tune into our coverage for tomorrow! Me and Neeley will be at the fields with the live stream and you can ask questions at No_Look_Scoober on twitter.