With contributions from Alex Cooper
This weekend I travel off to Boston for my last stop of the regular season. The New England Open exclusively features teams from the north east, with the Metro East and New England region squaring off. This is the time of the year where you can still make last minute tweaks, and we’ll start to see how teams are really going to look in the series.
How important is top talent?
Can Dartmouth and UConn rely on their stars to take over? Or will it be an entire team effort with the top players sticking to a more understated role. Uconn has studs Ben Weyes, Matt Baum, and Kamil Skwarek while Dartmouth’s top players are Spencer Diamond, Lee Farnsworth, and Ian Engler. If other teams were able to focus their efforts into these match ups, would that shutdown the team completely? If either team is able to make it to Nationals, they would certainly face squads with top defenders that would try that strategy. We won’t see anything close to that ability until we get to the championship bracket, but we’ll have a close eye on those teams when we get there.
It’s not Ice Ice Baby
How are these top seeds going to deal with the mounting pressure? If Boston College upsets Vermont in pool play, that’s one thing, but a win over Harvard in bracket play would mean so much more. Especially with teams like Dartmouth and UConn proving they can win a whole tournament, how Harvard, Boston College, Vermont, and those top two do on Sunday is pretty important for those teams preparation for the series. We’ll get to see a variety of these match ups throughout the tournament.
Don’t call it a comeback
How will those teams that are somewhat on the outside looking in handle competition ranked higher and lower than them? In the past, New England has been full of teams that will give up to “better” competition after going down 4-1, just because they accept the loss early. Teams that will be dangerous in the series will be those who find ways to fight through those deficits, put their mistakes to the back of their minds, and end up with some big wins doing so.
Pool by Pool
- Uconn looking like the easy pick to take this pool, very athletic squad.
- Rhode Island and Northeastern should be the game of the pool with the latter coming off of a tournament win at Steakfest
- Watch out for Jesse Harris of Northeastern and Travis Winter of Rhode Island to make some big plays.
- Dartmouth has been on a downward trend, but has been playing difficult competition. This should help get their groove back.
- The next three teams are locked in a Metro East showdown. We have last year’s finalists, NYU, a semifinalist, in Columbia, and a quarter finalist in Yale. Yale is returning a large amount of players, looking to improve off of last year’s finish. NYU is still confident, led by Sean Childers, but the results haven’t look as promising. Columbia has faltered a little bit with the losses of Kerry Chang and Milo Synder.
- Vermont and Boston College will face off in the most anticipated match up on day 1. Both squads have put up some impressive wins, but had some suspect losses. Weather can also play a huge factor in this match up, but things seem relatively calm for now.
- Dylan Wolff is a player worth watching for Boston College, freshman who has started to make an impact right away.
- Can Amherst High School take anyone down? Excited to see this famous school play.
- Harvard looks like the easy favorite to take this pool, mostly because Middlebury has had struggles throughout the season. Will Harvard make a late challenge at regionals? They still have some pieces to the 2011 puzzle, Whitt Virgin-Downey and Jeremy Mudd, but they’ve done a good job of not relying too much on those players.
- Middlebury has had a rough season, and looks like they could be upset in this pool. Just too many losses from 2011.
- Buffalo and Wesleyan are two Metro East teams that played in consolation last year. Both have large returning rosters, with the experience nod going to Wesleyan. First game of the day is a big one as both face off. Going to have to wake up quick.
We’ll have live streaming on Sunday and I’ll be tweeting from @No_Look_Scoober be sure to tune in. Check out New England Ultimate’s preview for another look at this weekend!