In what will be the last tournament of the season for many teams, every competitor has something to prove. The “new” Chesapeake Invite will feature 11 of the current top-16 teams in the USAU Top 25 rankings, as well as nine 2011 Nationals teams. Expect a lot of close games, upsets, and definitely ranking changes by the weekend’s end. Here’s a preview of each team going into the weekend.
- USA Ultimate’s #1 Mixed team has retooled by actually holding tryouts and is looking better than ever. Jeff Graham and company always have a big bullseye on their backs but are expected to bring home the gold this weekend. Watch out for former Quiet Coyote big man Casey Terp streaking deep all weekend. The semis, presumably vs Drag’n Thrust, should deliver their first real test of this tournament.
- The usual #1 team out of the Mid-Atlantic has had its share of troubles over the past year. AMP has had a very tough time against the New England region this season both at Boston & Philly Invites, which has led to their #14 ranking in the top 25 (behind in-region rivals Ambiguously Grey and Ant Madness). However, they have put up notable wins, including a universe point victory against Overhaul. They were seeded 8th
5that last year’s Mid-Atlantic Regionals but won it pretty handily, so you know to never count them out.
- The Atlanta team (and only Souteast team in the top 16 as of now) has been a mixed fixture for years. Last year they came together just for the Series, but are now trying to earn their region a bid this season by playing in earlier tournaments. They have a universe loss to Sabre Corp on their record but made up for it by winning out on Sunday at Terminus. I am expecting them to beat AMP and have their crossover game against Slow White, a team they last met at Nationals 2011 when they lost 13-15.
- Ant Madness
- The 11th ranked team in the top 25 (11-1 up to this point) has emerged as one of the Mid-Atlantic’s surprise teams. They rolled in the non-power brackets at Philly and only lost to DBJ at the Chesapeake Open, but will have to really pull out some big wins to keep their high ranking. Ant Madness will be without standouts Chris Barker and Jeff Laarz.
- Slow White
- The perennial New England powerhouse has lost a lot of their women to Brute Squad this year, but has reloaded with another strong crop of ladies. They have regained the services of Jasper Hoitsma from Ironside, who will help them tremendously on their O line. The 2:30PM game vs Santa Maria may be their only test in pool play, but the always-strong New Englanders should pull it out.
- Santa Maria
- This team has a lot to prove this weekend. They will have to show everyone that they deserve their #5 USAU Top 25 ranking despite having played only two top 25 teams so far. A good game against Slow and winning out against AG and Cahoots will do the trick. This is their last chance to grab the Great Lakes region a second bid.
- Ambiguously Grey
- AG has played close games with good teams this year but is still looking for its first big win. They lost to Wild Card & 7 Express on universe at Philly despite being up by four at one point in the Wild Card game. Their O line is anchored by Jarnail Bajwa, who can really move the disc well and cause trouble for the opposing D.
- After a 5th place finish in the Mid-Atlantic region in their 2011 campaign, Cahoots is back and ready to go in the new Southeast region. They don’t yet have any notable wins and have losses to Bucket and Sabre Corp by 2 points each, so this weekend will be a nice time to step it up. Cahoots has a lot to prove for the Southeast region to get a 2nd bid.
- Drag’n Thrust
- Once they play enough sanctioned games, Drag’n Thrust should be sitting at #4 in the USAU Top 25. They’ve gone 2-1 against regional rival Chad Larson Experience (who should be #5 in the rankings after Heavyweights) and have only lost 5 games by a combined 13 points to four of the top eight ranked teams. They should have no problems rolling through pool play on their way to a much anticipated semifinal game against The Ghosts.
- 7 Express
- 7 Express has retooled once again for another season after a 7th place finish at last year’s Northeast Regionals. The story of their season so far has been inconsistency, as they haven’t been able to string together a complete tournament yet. They have played some close games against very good teams, yet they have inexplicable large losses to Wild Card and Lions on their record. We will see if they can best the MA and SE regions in pool play to try and earn the NE another bid.
- Sabre Corp
- The surprise team from the South last year is back again and trying to earn the Southeast another bid. They have some big wins, namely over regional rival Bucket at Terminus, but will have to prove themselves this weekend. Once they get enough sanctioned games under their belts, expect them to be fighting for a top 16 spot. They will try to exact revenge on Drag’n Thrust in what will be a rematch of last year’s Nationals “play-in” pool game where they lost 11-15.
- Death by Jubilee
- DBJ has been around for a few years and is trying to get over the hump. They lost by a combined 3 points to Overhaul and AMP at Philly Invite and only lost to Santa Maria in a stormy finals at Chesapeake Open. They are in a tough pool and will have to bring their best to compete with these teams.
Pool D, or the Pool of Death as I like to call it, boasts three 2011 Nationals teams, including the #4 USAU ranked team and the current #6 USAU ranked team. This pool is a crapshoot as to who’s going to crawl out on top.
- The Great Lakes team feels that it could do better after a lower than expected Nationals finish last season. They have been putting in extra work and traveling to many of the country’s premier tournaments. Overhaul won Philly Invite after a loss to AMP and a close call to 7 Express in the finals and behind the handling of Colin McIntyre and cutting of Callahan winner Paula Seville, this team should be firing on all cylinders at the Invite.
- Wild Card
- The new New England team that has formed from the ashes of a few disbanded teams has really given the usual suspects all they can handle this season. Though a majority of their members hail from Massachusetts, the team has players from Maine and New Hampshire as well. Composed mostly of recent Dartmouth, Tufts, Boston College, University of New Hampshire, and University of Maine-Farmington standouts, they will try to hold onto the 3rd bid they have earned for the Northeast region in this last tune-up before the Series. Their notable wins at Philly & Boston Invites include Odyssee, AMP (x2), Ambiguously Grey, and 7 Express. Currently ranked #6 in the USAU Top 25, this team will have to show the country that they deserve that ranking and that they belong with the perennial powerhouses.
- District 5
- Do they exist? Do they not exist? Yes, folks. The 2010 Nationals runner-up and the 2011 Nationals semis finisher are back again. With Chesapeake as their first and only tournament before the Series, it will be interesting to see how their team gels together. They won’t be getting in enough games to earn the NE region another bid, so Regionals up north should be a dogfight. This season, they will be trying to overcome the losses of captain John Korber and handler Chris Mazur, but will still have a very very good team as usual. Don’t sleep on the ducks!
- Termite’s Entourage
- This team has had a rough start to the season after being relegated to the lower brackets at Philly Invite. They have some of their stars back from the Spinners and will be a completely different team than the one people saw at Philly. They will have to play exceedingly well to overcome the power ranking’s hole they dug themselves after Philly and earn the Mid-Atlantic another bid, but never say never.
Big Pool Play Matchups
- Ambiguously Grey vs Santa Maria
- MA region vs GL region possibly fighting for an extra bid
- Overhaul vs Wild Card
- #4 vs #6 ranked teams in the USAU Top 25, rematch of Philly Invite semifinal
- 7 Express vs Sabre Corp
- NE region vs SE region possibly fighting for an extra bid
- AMP vs Bucket
- rematch of 2011 Nationals pre-quarters game, which AMP won 15-11