Atlantic Coast Regionals 2012: Open Preview

by | May 4, 2012, 2:36pm 0

This preview and the 2012 College Tour are presented by Spin Ultimate

One of the more interesting one bid regions takes place in Axton, VA this weekend. With South Carolina as the surprise one seed, and the early season favorites peering in behind them with North Carolina and North Carolina Wilmington, James Madison is hoping to bring about another major upset in the series. This region is also filled to the brim with teams that are hoping that they can string together their best play to make a huge run. Lets get right to the story lines!

Location: Axton, VA
May 5 – May 6
# of Bids:
Full Schedule

Who is South Carolina? Talented is what they are.

Rewind 3 months previously to Joint Summit Classic where Florida and Georgia tussled for the title. Was there hint of a good season for the Game Cocks? Yes. They were the closest to Florida that day, mounting a comeback to make the score 15-12. Unfortunately, one of their studs Chris Van Thiel went out with an elbow injury and we didn’t hear much until Terminus after a disappointing Easterns Qualifier. Then came Conferences, with them taking down both North Carolina AND North Carolina Wilmington? Time and time again we are fooled here (mostly me), thinking that the regular season means so much now, when teams are still waiting to seize the moment by peaking at the right time.

South Carolina consists of a heavy amount of upperclassmen talent with a loaded offensive line. Andy Moore is their primary handler who has the lateral movement to keep things going. Jacob Evans loves to put it deep with his flick hucks. Chris “Andy Dwyer” Van Thiel could be mistaken for a tight end, but will be filling in for the other athletic cutters. Those other speed demons are Chuck Turner who returned from playing abroad in Australia and Marshall Walker. Cannot forget Woody Paschal and Robert Locke as they round out the senior talent.

Do these guys have what it takes to win the whole thing. Definitely. An offense that will hold throughout most of their games will give anyone a shot. Their defense isn’t relied on, but will need to find a way to come up with critical breaks. The problem that can arise from this style is the there is little room for error. If the offense fails, who picks up the slack? Either way, it’s great to be sitting pretty as the first seed going into the weekend.

The early season favorite? North Carolina

At the beginning of the season I had these guys in the drivers seat, and they mostly didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for the deepest team in the region, you’ve found it. Deep enough to win a backdoor bracket against North Carolina Wilmington in conferences after Thomas Sayre-Mccord goes down with a knee injury. That’s a good sign for a team that lost their stud thrower and receiver in pool play.

Darkside still has plenty of weapons to rely on. Marshall Ward will help guide things, normally from the handler spot. Captain Justin Moore is a standout shutdown defenseman (yes it’s hockey season). Tristan Green is dynamite in a bottle with the agility to get the disc and the huck to find receivers down field. I cannot really do this North Carolina roster justice, because there are a lot of role players that will go unnoticed. Don’t discount their chances even if Sayre-Mccord isn’t out there.

North Carolina Wilmington

Wilmington has been at the top of the region for several years now, but was bested by Virginia in 2011. Tommy Lamar and Dave Macurak are the two studs to watch out for, and of course their vaunted zone defense is sure to stymie opponents this weekend. Wilmington had opportunities just as good as anyone to gain a strength bid for the region, but fell short after making the finals of Queen City Tune Up. This is a dangerous squad that’s more than capable of taking any game, but my concerns are mostly with their depth. Can they survive 3 Sunday games against opponents who are no slouches? This means playing efficiently and ending games early. Coaches Greg Vassar and Tully Beatty are sure to have something up their sleeves.

I think they can? James Madison

After winning the Virginia Conference definitively over Virginia, James Madison has to be liking their chances to make it to the final. After years of being considered mid tiered at Regionals, this is their best opportunity in recent memory. Captains Jordan Albro and Quin Sweeney lead a squad that could be considered a bit top heavy. Kyle Fredericks is a beast of a cutter on the field with other athletic play makers to run down hucks. Definitely the wildcard out of this top group, JMU will be looking to surprise the nation like others who already have.

The outside looking in?

The defending champs Virginia are still trying to find a way to return to last year’s form. With the departure of many play makers, the struggle this season is no surprise. Ian Toner has been coming into his own as a handler with cutters Brian Kiernan and Aaron Mullins creating space down field. They’ve been there before and sometimes experience is the trump card. Virginia Tech is high flying like always with John Andrukonis, Josh Smith and other athletes leading the way. They will live and die with the huck and possibly a tall zone. Maryland has been just under the radar throughout the season with Freddie Tsai, Marshall Schroeder, and Walker Hatchett. Eric Biggs is a freshman to certainly keep your eye on. Delaware sports two big play makers in Matt Jerry and Nate Hess, who will break you relentlessly.

We can’t forget about Georgetown, who is now coached by Ryan Thompson. Like every other team, hope for nationals is abound. Mike Malloy and Ben Feng lead a team built on defense, and if Thompson is any indication, this team’s offense should be built around fundamentals. Clemson is a squad that’s been on the way up with the help of Coach Ben Slade and standout James Cox who certainly deserves all region consideration. Cox has a quiet way about playing but can gain position to make tight deep catches and throw it to his other receivers as well.

The Best of the Rest

No one ever knows what to expect from NC State other than a never say die attitude. Duke has finally broken through to regionals with a handful of Ring players including Cameron Albin. Towson loves to mix up the zone defenses and work through the offense with smooth handling from Shelby White and Joe Dipaula. William and Mary is back with Andrew Fickley and 2011 Freshman of the Year Cody Johnston. College of Charleston made regionals for the first time and is looking to send their seniors out on a high note. George Washington will get great plays from Chris Kocher, Adam Sprachman and Leo Senai. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some upsets as the level of play in this region seems very close together.

If you’re twisting my arm to make a prediction, I’m going to go with North Carolina. If I could be in two places at once, I’d have one eye glued to the action here while I’m in Atlanta watching the South East unfold.

Thanks for the help from Mike Malloy, Cody Johnston, Ryan Thompson, and Jonathan Neeley.

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