My attention always wanders at tournaments and I never end up seeing full games. Luckily, I had Bryan Jones to reign me in for the live stream of USC v. UConn this morning. Read up.
Quarterfinal: South Carolina 15, UConn 14
This game was my personal favorite of the tournament. After South Carolina and UConn traded breaks early, UConn went on a two-break run to take half, 8-6. South Carolina then scored three in a row to go up, 9-6. UConn kept it close, eventually tying at 13-13 and going up, 14-13. A South Carolina hold forced universe point, where UConn had a rare first-throw drop and South Carolina cashed in on the short field to win it.
- It’s very apparent that South Carolina’s core has been playing together for a long time. On offense, the Gamecock cutters do a great job of taking what the UConn offense gave them as well as creating and maintaining space for each other. It’s simple, but the act of keeping their heads up and moving allows them to stay out of each other’s way as well as make great complimentary cuts for whoever is actively cutting for the disc.
- Defensively, South Carolina runs a very well coordinated zone that forces the disc into the middle of the field and denies throws up through the middle. They communicate well, which allows them to cut off continuations and cover space if someone overcommits.
- South Carolina was the surprise of the tournament as far as I’m concerned, and I’m looking forward to seeing their spring performance. They aren’t a very deep team in that they just don’t have a big roster (I counted 16 on their sideline), but this weekend showed that when they’re hot, they win games. Captain Chris Van Thiel is a big body that moves well downfield, and seniors Marshall Walker, Robert Locke, and Jacob Evans show a clear understanding of what it means to step onto the field and get it done.
- Similar to South Carolina, UConn is heavy on veterans, and it shows. While Kamil Skwarek’s hucks and break throws the team’s focal point, Ben Weyers, Brian Varis, and #2 (no name on Score Reporter…) do a good job of shouldering the rest of the load. It’s harder than people think to build a team where everyone knows what they’re expected to do in order to win, enjoys doing it, and trusts that everyone else will do the same. UConn looks like they have the pieces to do that this year.
- I had the following written about a player that I heard was a freshman. Turns out he’s a sophomore. Oh well… he’s still pretty good. Huskies freshman R.J. McFadden was an impressive cutter. He’s good at getting open both underneath and deep against single coverage, but what I really liked was his popping against South Carolina’s zone. He did a great job of following the popper before him, seeing which defender was drawn, and filling into the space that was created. Making that move consistently takes field vision that many freshmen don’t have.