Joint Summit Classic: 2012 Open Recap

by | January 24, 2012, 12:14pm 0

Day 1 was rained out, and a 16 team bracket was used for Day 2 play.


Florida is still Nationals caliber

Travis Catron puts it deep vs. Georgia in the title game. - Photo by Danielle Nystrom

They couldn’t go back to Nationals without Brodie right? Well they definitely can’t go back without Cole Sullivan, Alex Hill, Alton Gaines, and Nathan Sage right? It’s early in the season, but all signs point to Florida continuing their dominance of the South East Region. Despite being down 4-2 to Georgia in the Finals, Florida brought the deficit to 8-7 at half, and then ran away in the second half to a 15-10 victory. How did they do it? Suffocating defense.

Rob Brice, Cody Johns, Jason Silverman, and the list goes on of Florida defenders that are well conditioned, physically imposing, and willing to put their body on their line to get the D. Suffocating because they are able to force opposing offenses into bad decisions. On the other side of the disc, Travis Catron and Brice were typically the players running the offense, which has transitioned from a stagnant style to a continuous use of dump swing down the field. The elements of patient play, using stoppages to recover, are still there, but it’s clear Florida as a whole has adjusted to a new style.

Bobby Ley extends for the grab against Georgia. - Photo by Danielle Nystrom

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of Alan Baird this weekend, which looks to be like their biggest play maker down the field. He hurt his shoulder early on Saturday, leaving him out for Sunday play. Bobby Ley has started to lay claims to the South East Freshman of the Year, and other freshmen add youth into the mix of experience veterans. It may have been the lack of Baird, but the only weakness I saw from Florida was the lack of offensive play makers. In the past we’ve seen Tim Gehret, Kurt Gibson, Brodie Smith, and even Cole Sullivan, but this year it looks like there is an absence of a dominating cutter or handler that will give the other team fits. Against Georgia they relied on their defense to give the offense multiple chances to score. The next test will come at Warm Up to see if Florida’s offense can deliver against another big defense.

Elliot Erickson makes the catch against Florida. - Photo by Danielle Nystrom


While the second half collapse against Florida is some cause for concern, cruising to victory over all other opponents should put Jojah on the right path. I would have liked to see more definitive victories over opponents like William and Mary, but the real impact on the rankings will come at Warm Up and Queen City Tune Up. Out of region victories are extremely critical towards getting a strength bid. While their goal will certainly be to top Florida in the regional final, having another bid available will certainly increase their chances. Elliott Erickson didn’t play until Sunday, and his presence was felt immediately. Charlie Herrig made a couple of huge plays against Florida and will also be big contributor throughout the year. Caleb Edwards and Fletcher Hartline are also going to help share the load.

Stock Rising

South Carolina – After a convincing win over App. State in quarters, USC gave Florida its closest game of the tournament. Despite being down early in the game and losing Chris Van Thiel to a shoulder injury, USC showed mental toughness in fighting till the bitter end. With that being their only loss on the weekend, USC may have just gotten on the right track towards a strength bid. I see similarities between them and Ohio of 2011, which had its hands on a strength bid, but lost it by the end of the year.

Florida State– A 15-12 win over UNC-W vaulted FSU into the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Georgia 15-9. While this shows that they aren’t threatening the top of the South East, being able to score an out of region win over top level AC team means there’s some talent still there. Nick Fletcher was a big part of games as well as Jordan Hutson. Hopefully these early tests will give them the motivation to keep improving throughout the season.

Stock Holding

UNC-W – While they only had one loss on the weekend, it was against a team you would have expected them to beat (FSU). They rebounded and dominated William and Mary as well as SUNY-Buffalo in the lower brackets but didn’t get the benefit of playing Georgia or Florida for a potential out of region win. It’s clear that they are still working out the kinks and will look to peak later in the season. Tommy Lamar is still dominant on offense, and the defense is still as scrappy as can be. We’ll have more details on UNC-W as the season progresses.

William and Mary – They really put their full effort into the game against Georgia and had opportunities to stay in the game late, but couldn’t connect on their chances. While UNC-W really manhandled them in the 5th place bracket, Darkhorse is about where we expected them to be. Cody Johnston certainly justified to me why he was Freshman of the Year, but these guys need to keep working to get towards nationals.

Stock Falling

App. State – I was really excited to see if this was going to be a team on the rise, but I came away a bit disappointed. Not that they didn’t have talent, Micah Hood, Spencer Olmsted and Justin Allen certainly lived up to their hype. The real issue was a lack of depth, which by their roster and preview, seemed like they would have more of. It’s early in the season, but we will certainly need to see better performances to predict that the Nomads will be playing late on Sunday at AC Regionals

Other Notes

Mitch Steiner (Buffalo) lays out on Travis Catron (Florida). - Photo by Danielle Nystrom

• SUNY- Buffalo got crushed by top competition, but managed some wins against mid-level regional squads despite injuries to 5 starters.

• Clemson’s James Cox is a top player, with hucks, patience, and some great grabs deep, unfortunately Clemson looks to be in development mode for this season.

• Didn’t get to watch Alabama, CoC or Georgia State unfortunately due to the format, hope to get word on them throughout the season.


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