Special thanks to Stefan Dicker for his contributions
Metro East D-III regionals look to be a very different affair than last year. In D-III, the Metro East has made big strides since last year. With one bid in 2011 and a shallow field Regionals didn’t have the same competitive feel that the build up to 2012’s Regionals has had. Teams such as RPI, Stevens Tech, Ithaca, Marist and SUNY-Cortland have had little to no turnover after solid finishes last year. A new power house in SUNY-Fredonia has emerged. Last year’s National’s qualifier, Connecticut College, although losing some players from 2011, has still proved themselves to be right in the mix this spring. With two bids to nationals every team feels like they have a great opportunity this weekend to turn
heads and earn a spot in Appleton.
With a field of 12 solid schools, teams are going to face a challenge that they didn’t have to deal with at conference championships: can you play 7 intense games and still have gas for that all important game to go?
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
# of Bids: 2
SUNY-Fredonia (15-3) (A1)
Conference: Western NY
Key Wins: Connecticut College, Colgate, Ithaca, Hamilton
Key Players: Greg Wakeman, Kevin Quilan, Doug Urbino, David Ward
With Princeton and Wesleyan opting for the D-I route, SUNY-Fredonia is left as the clear top D-III team in the Metro East. With a core of players from the AUDL franchise, the Buffalo Hunters, Fredonia has some great experience playing at higher levels. With one of the bigger teams both physically and in numbers Fredonia can dictate the speed and style of game. They rely on handlers Greg Wakeman and Kevin Quilan to move the disc and look for their athletic cutters Urbino and Ward to win matchups down field. One of the few things Fredonia still has yet to prove is the disc skills of their 5-14 guys. The challenge for their opponents will be to force anybody else but Wakeman to beat them. If opponents has the personnel to deny Wakeman the disc, Fredonia will have to prove their depth to keep winning games. So far Fredonia hasn’t showed weakness in D-IIIs except for a narrow win at conference championships over SUNY-Oneonta in the first round. With expected cold weather this weekend, catching Fredonia early in the day before they have gotten rolling might be pool A’s best chance. Because if conference championships is any indication, once Fredonia gets rolling, they’ll start blowing teams out of the water. (15 -3 win over Colgate in the conference championships finals).
Stevens Tech (16-5) (B1)
Conference: Metro NY
Key Wins: Vassar (x2), College of New Jersey (x2)
Key Players: Mason Compton, Chris Fairfield, Marques Brownlee, Andrew Misthos
Though they’ve only played in three sanctioned tournaments thus far they’ve definitely earned a top seed making the finals at Layout Pigout, Garden State Open and Metro NY D-III Conferences. They’ve proven they can stick with top teams like Princeton and Bowdoin having taken them both to universe points late in the season. As a team with little roster turn over from the past two years they’ll essentially be the same team that competed at regionals (taking 3rd) last year but with significantly more experience and a few extra key players. Freshman Marques Brownlee, a recent Columbia High School graduate who has an excellent understanding of the game and brings a new facet of experience and athleticism to Stevens. Brownlee joins Junior Chris Fairfield to form a formidable cutting pair. Fairfield is a speedy cutter who has added even more offensive weapons to his game over the past year. Also, look for 3-year leader, Andrew Misthos, to use his ups and consistency to ground this young team. But most important to Stevens’ success will be senior captain, Mason Compton. You can see the sort of impact he had last year at regionals where he missed Saturday (6-15 loss to RPI, 7-15 loss to Ithaca) but was playing on Sunday (11-15 loss to RPI in semifinals, 15-8 win over Ithaca in the 3rd place game). Compton will have to play at his top level all weekend though since Stevens will rely on him to both generate turns on defense and then run the offense. As Stevens’ most trusted thrower, Compton will be called on to step up in clutch situations all weekend. Stevens’ depth could become an issue for them over the course of what will be an intense weekend.
RPI (11-8) (B2)
Conference: Hudson Valley
Key Wins: Connecticut College, Ithaca, Marist, Vassar
Key Players: John-Henry Hosmer, Dan Donovan, Chris Persichilli, Chris Blum, Russ Katz, Max Dyer
RPI has been known as a Metro East D-III powerhouse for several years now having competed in 4 out of the last 5 D-III nationals and lost to Connecticut College on universe point in the game to go last year. Despite a disappointing 5th place at D-1337s this spring, RPI has all the pieces to put together a Nationals caliber team. RPI’s two biggest advantages are their experience in club ultimate and their depth. RPI arguably has the deepest team in terms of disc skills. Not many other teams will be comfortable running as many as 21 guys a game which will be very important for resting players for the games-to-go. Offensively, RPI utilizes their throwing to run lines of 7 guys very comfortable with the disc in their hands. Chris Blum leads the offense from the center handler position feeding speedy cutters Russ Katz and Max Dyer. The defensive line is lead by 3 experienced club players in John Hosmer, Dan Donovan and Chris Persichilli. Look for these guys to be playing hard, relentless defense all game as they force offenses to take shots and make plays they normally wouldn’t have to.
RPI is in a risky position though having to face Marist and Colgate to start Saturday. RPI has struggled in their first games earlier this spring and with such parity in the Metro East every game is a potential upset. RPI will need to be firing on all cylinders from the captains’ meeting to survive pool play.
Connecticut College (15-5) (A2)
Key Wins: Colgate, Marist, SUNY-Cortland
Key Players: Max Weigert, Jesse Moskowitz
Last year’s regionals winner Connecticut College returns to a very different scene in 2012. This year Conn College will have to pull off multiple upsets to repeat as Nationals participants. They are also in a dangerous position in Pool A with 4 teams
behind them gunning for their spot. How much energy will they have to put into chasing Fredonia after fighting through their first 3 rounds? Offensively, Conn College will rely on Jesse Moskowitz and other cutters to win 1 v 1 matchups out of their ho-stack. Max Weigert will be playing the majority of the points running the offense from the center handler position and doing his best to shut down a primary option on the D-line. Weigert vs. Wakeman of Fredonia might be the most fun matchup to watch in pool A. As with many teams, depth could become an issue for Conn College but they have the advantage of going through this tournament before with enough gas to win it on universe point last year. With plenty of confidence, Conn College is another dangerous team to see on Sunday afternoon.
Colgate (12-8) (B3)
Key Wins: RPI, Ithaca (x2), SUNY-Cortland
Key Players: Kevin Hoercher, Dan Gerber, Mike Girard
It appears the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place spots in pool B are much closer than they are in pool A. After not having qualified for regionals last year Colgate has geared up and become a top contender having beaten RPI and narrowly lost to Conn College at D-1337s. The team runs through primary cutter Kevin Hoercher who has the ability to get open at will on the field. They run a tight, well-oiled system with captain handlers Gerber and Girard feeding Hoercher upfield. Colgate is willing to patiently work it with under cuts and penalize weak marks by attacking the break side. At D-1337s they seemed to have RPI’s number so this weekend’s rematch will be very interesting and important to the outcome of the pool.
After Colgate’s win over RPI at D-1337s they seemed to struggle as the tournament went on with the continued high level of play. Hoercher will be one of the more dominant players still Sunday afternoon but the question becomes how will the rest of Colgate being doing? Will we see the pre-series team that didn’t win a game on a Sunday? Or with a bid to nationals on the line will Colgate take care of business and end some teams’ seasons? Either way, unless someone finds an answer for Hoercher, Colgate is a very dangerous team to see this weekend.
Marist (4-2) (B5)
Key Wins: Vassar (x2), Siena
Key Players: Henry Zhang, Robbie Kohler, Pat Cummings
Marist is likely the most underseeded team at the tournament. Facing tough losses to both RPI and Conn College at conferences Marist was able to handily defeat Vassar in the game to go despite running short lines. Look for junior handler Henry Zhang to make athletic grabs across the field and Robbie Kohler to get big in the endzone. When Marist is fresh they can put up numbers against any of the bigger teams at the tournament. They are capable of beating any team in pool B and first round Saturday Marist will get a chance for revenge against RPI.
The College of New Jersey (8-11) (A6)
TCNJ is probably the biggest unknown at regionals. Like Ithaca last year they are a bottom seed in a pool after getting in off the waitlist. Last year Ithaca came in and took 2nd in their pool finishing 4th overall. Out of all the teams at D-III regionals TCNJ only has played against Stevens which was at CCs. In pool play they lost 6-13 but in the semi-finals they took Stevens to universe, losing 13-14. If TCNJ can take the 2nd seed to universe that makes them a team to keep an eye on.
Feature photo of SUNY-Fredonia player over a Bentley defender at D-1337s – Photo by Mitul Shah.