Despite going 7-3 with a +40 point differential at Warm-Up, no other team has received as much heat for that weekend as Carleton. The true story is that at times, Carleton did look a little shaky in early February. Without one of their main handlers in Jonah Herscu, CUT seemed to rely on their star power a little too much, abandoning their the famous mechanical style of play in big moments. Herscu returns from Varsity Basketball this weekend to help CUT defend their Stanford Invite title. The Carleton Knights work with Herscu, Justin Norden and Sam Keller as their offensive handling core, with Mike Clark, David Long and Julian Childs-Walker hitting the cutting lanes. JCW’s style of play looks eerily similar to Grant Lindsley, which makes sense since the two were paired together for the past few years.
During Warm-Up, Nick Stuart had been playing a lot of points for CUT’s offensive line, but it seems to me that his athleticism and big throws would be more fitting for the defensive side of the disc. NexGen’s Simon Montague is the main cog for the defensive line, either as the center handler or starting as the initiating cutter. Will Herold, Hai Ngo and Logan Weiss make up the core of d-line handlers that support Montague, finding targets like Tyler Mahoney, Clay Dewey-Valentine and Freshman Louis Cohen up-field. With UCSD not really posing a threat to the top 3 in the pool, CUT should have no problem advancing to at least the Pre-Quarters. However, holding the top seed in the pool will be difficult as California and Whitman are no joke as any team that escapes Pool D will be sure to do some serious damage in bracket play.
The boys from Berkeley are the number 1 team in the Southwest and with good reason. Posting a 12-1 record thus far with 1st and 3rd place finishes in their two tournaments, California has been absolutely dominant this season. Their only loss has come at the hands of Dartmouth, who bested UGMO on universe point in Semi-Finals of Presidents’ Day. Led by the crafty James Pollard and the explosive play of Andrew Hagen, Cal has been dominating the west coast, taking down Washington and San Diego State twice as well as UCSB 3 times. Running a consistent vertical stack, UGMO likes to focus on hitting the break-side as much as possible before sending it deep to one of their athletic receivers. California does not slouch on defense, playing with tight man-to-man and relying on playmakers like Carson Schultz to get the job done.
The Whitman Sweets are one of the biggest topics this season, at least internally amongst the Skyd staff. The Sweets are a talented team that has returned almost everyone from their inaugural Nationals roster where they placed T-15th. Lead by Ben McGinn, Stephen Stradley and Jacob Janin (All Region, FOTY) Whitman boasts beating a short-manned Rhino 15-11 in a friendly scrimmage as well as playing Oregon tight 12-15. Also on the roster is Jeremy Norden who has been an All Region player for the last couple of years, a two-time Junior Nationals player as well as Captain of the recent Canadian Mixed Nationals winner, Team Fisher Price. With a star-studded roster that has tons of chemistry, Whitman is looking to make more of a dent in the college scene this year attending both the Stanford Invite and College Centex in mid-March.
It will be an absolute battle for positioning between the top 3 teams, but the good news is that Pool D crosses over with Pool A. Thus, the two seed will most likely play the winner of Texas and Stanford while the three seed will face Minnesota. Given the power that this pool has internally, neither option seems insurmountable.
California-San Diego Air Squids
Similar to Harvard, the California-San Diego Air Squids find themselves in a bad position where advancing from pool play is pretty out of the question. A young team that is still rebuilding after consecutive trips to Nationals, UCSD has the solid opportunity of getting a lot of big game experience for their younger players. While this may not pay dividends this year, unless the Southwest gets 3 or more bids, being able to attend elite tournaments like Stanford could be the experience that San Diego needs to bring themselves back into the top echelon of College ultimate.
- Carleton College
- California-San Diego