New England Regionals 2012: Open Preview

by | May 3, 2012, 6:41pm 0

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

After a season full of surprises in the New England region the question entering this weekend is… Can anyone upset Tufts for the lone bid to Nationals? Tufts has spent most of the season as one of the top teams in the nation, while Vermont and Dartmouth unsuccessfully fought for another bid to Boulder;  one bad game and you’re out and all signs point to it being Tufts bid to win or lose. With contributions from TAK.

Location: Hanover, NH
May 5 – May 6
# of Bids:
Full Schedule


It’s been asked all year if Tufts truly deserved a top spot in the USAU Rankings, but before they answer those critics they have to prove they’re the best team in their region. To get a top spot (finishing the season at #4, and the 1 seed this weekend) they had a rather impressive season – winning at Queen City Tune Up over Atlantic Coast region favorite UNC-W, tied for 3rd at Centex, 4th at Easterns, and a win at the late season Booty Call. If you haven’t heard, one of the reasons this season has been so impressive for the E-men is because they put in work with Tim Morril of Morill Performance. He’s certainly increased their athleticism, as they were able to battle through 4 close games with wins at Easterns including a thriller against UNC on NGN.

A sign that Tufts is going to peak on the way to Boulder – everyone is now healthy, and playing well. On Saturday their biggest challenge will be a Middlebury team that isn’t nearly as impressive as years past, helping them save their legs for the three games on Sunday.  Tufts has an O-line that boasts three All-Region nominees: Adrian Banerji (Andre Bonjari) (Ironside), Sam K-S (Ironside, Sockeye), and Piers MacNaughton (QCTU MVP) who lead a line with immense chemistry. Alex Cooper is the main distributor that utilizes his inside breaks to help make the vertical stack flow. When needed, all three can transfer to D-line but All-Region nominees Lloyd Olson and Jack Hatchett (Ironside) along with the returning Eric Wilburn lead a strong crew that enjoys throwing different defensive looks including various zones and transitions. Straight man to man shouldn’t be overlooked though, as Olson and Hatchett have shown that they can match up against the best the nation has to offer. They’re my pick to take the bid, and make some noise at Nationals, as even if they’re forced to play close games they have proven the ability to win late on Sunday with their athleticism and raw talent.

Dartmouth & UVM

After a strong early season showing, Dartmouth looked to have secured a 2nd bid for the region. Their early season play included a close loss (14-11) to Tufts and a tournament win at Presidents’ Day Classic. But since Centex at mid-March, Pain Train hasn’t been playing their best ultimate and they fell from the rankings. They came out of Centex with only 2 wins -Arizona State and regional-rival Harvard – Easterns with 1 win over San Diego State, and loses to both Vermont and Harvard on Sunday of New England Open. They’re lead by playmakers Ian Engler and Spencer Diamond, and anchored by Lee Farnsworth  (Who was injured during the regular season at Centex) and Ian Adelstein. If there’s any wind this weekend, watch out for zone and transition looks to wreak havoc on the opposition. And on the offensive side of the disc, they too boast a strong chemistry leading to flow that has most of the region envious.

As Dartmouth faltered and lost their grip on a strength bid down the stretch, the University of Vermont was almost able to secure a 2nd bid for the region in their late season play. Their season wasn’t built around strength, but they had an impressive tournament win at New England Open over UConn – including the previously mentioned win over the Pain Train in the semi-finals.  They have a high energy offense and defense lead by Sam Hart, Ryan Rzepka and Jake Saunders that can overwhelm the weaker team in the region. On D, they play some of the tightest man-to-man looks you’ll see, which on top of quick breaks can help put them ahead before you know it.

For both teams it comes down to if they show up to play their best ultimate, and make of the most of the 1 bid that New England has to Nationals. They seem to be the two biggest challengers for Tufts. Dartmouth comes in having just defeated Vermont at Conference Championships 15-10, giving them the upper hand in seeding and all signs point to them as peaking at the right time.

Williams & Harvard

Both Williams and Harvard are two teams in very different situations in Pool D of Regionals. Williams looks on the up & up, having played very well in South New England Conferences and early in the season against Tufts. Earlier in the year, they finished 2nd to Ohio State at College Southerns, and finished 3rd after a loss to Georgia Tech at College Terminus. They’re another team that plays a strong zone D, causing a lot of turnovers for the other team giving them break opportunities against any team. Their player to watch is senior Jack Chen, but I’ve been told that they’re peaking at the right time making every player dangerous.

Of course it’s hard for any team to build off of losing George Stubbs – the problem Harvard Red Line has faced this season. They haven’t looked as impressive as years past, but still have an impressive lineup. Watch-out for Whitt Virgin-Downey on offense, and Allen He on defense. Misha Herscu and Jeremy Mudd have innate chemistry, which often results in Herscu sending the deep shot. While they may not have had a great season, Red Line is still pushing for the bid Nationals and should not be overlooked. They have the experience, and could upset Williams and take Pool D.

The Best of the Rest

Boston College entered the year looking to make some noise, and for a bid to Nationals. In Skyd’s Regional Preview, they were pegged as having what it took to punch their ticket to Boulder. In games against the upper echelon, they were able to keep things close with Tufts, 13-11, while losing the next game big to Harvard. That speaks to a team that has had trouble finding consistency, and their results echo that sentiment. Still, they could look to upset Vermont in Pool C – lead by Chuck McBride, Savi Tuber, and FOTY candidate Dylan Wolff (who plays for RI Rampage). BC still has their eyes on the prize, and if they find themselves in close games on Sunday they might just ruin someone’s day.

UMass shouldn’t be overlooked in Pool B with Dartmouth. At Booty Call, they gave Tufts their closest game. Their team is built on a mixture of youth and experience, and won’t be a pushover for any team. Northeastern is led by Tim Spittle, and high energy. If they get hot, and build up their energy on Saturday they could have a surprise finish in Pool C. Rhode Island is in the same boat in Pool D, their senior experience has lead them to some surprising results in the past. Most of their games should be close, it’s just a matter if they can pull through with the win or not.

Be on the Watch For….

  • Adrian Banerji – Tufts
  • Alex Cooper – Tufts
  • Sam K-S – Tufts
  • Piers MacNaughton – Tufts
  • Lloyd Olsen – Tufts
  • Jack Hatchett – Tufts
  • Ian Engler – Dartmouth
  • Spencer Diamond – Dartmouth
  • Sam Hart – Vermont
  • Jack Chen – Williams
  • Misha Herscu – Harvard
  • Chuck McBride – Boston College
  • Jeff Kelly – UMass
  • Davis Whitehead – Middlebury
  • Tim Spittle – North Eastern


  • Tyler Chan – Tufts
  • Carter Thallon – Tufts
  • Dylan Wolff – Boston College
  • Alex Light – UMass
  • Jesse Harris – Northeastern

COTY Candidates

  • Dan Forsteter – Tufts
  • Micah Flynn – Boston College
  • Brian Munroe – MIT



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