Chesapeake Invite: Pool A Preview

by | August 22, 2012, 4:06pm 0

The Chesapeake Invite has returned as the most competitive club tournament on the east coast after being rained out in 2011. With sunny skies and mid-80 degree temperatures in the forecast, the Potomac Polo Club in Poolesville, Maryland will play host to 16 Open teams from all across the United States and Canada.

Earlier this year, USAU unveiled their new system for allocating bids to the Club Championships, which uses a ranking algorithm similar to the College Division. Unlike in years past, teams can no longer afford to lose games in the name of roster development. With six of the eight regions being represented, expect everyone in attendance to be fighting tooth and nail for the eight coveted strength bids to Sarasota.

On the other hand, many attending teams are in comfortable positions, where their results will only factor into seeding at Regionals and Nationals rather than the acquisition of a strength bid. This brings about another topic, which has absolutely enthralled me ever since Lou Burruss’ article on Revolver’s Worlds roster size: How do the best teams in the sport manage large rosters filled to the cusp with superstar talent?

This year’s Chesapeake Invite should highlight both of these storylines and provide an exciting preview for what’s to come in late October.

I present to you Pool A:


2012 Regular Season Record: 18-2 (10-1 Sanctioned), lost 13-15 to NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #1, (NE1)

Boston Ironside descends on Poolesville, Maryland as the top seed at this year’s Chesapeake Invite. The back to back Nationals runners-up only have one loss this season, which they avenged by “606ing” (beating an opponent by more than twice their score, thus attaining the maximum amount of rankings points possible) Portland Rhino in the finals of ECC. Boston will not be attending Labor Day next weekend, so Chesapeake will be their last tournament before the Series. With strong results, including a two point win over the World Champions Revolver, Ironside will enter Sarasota as the overall one seed if they go undefeated this weekend.

At the same time, Ironside represents the top spot for their region and thus their results can’t earn the Northeast a strength bid. Similar to Revolver, Boston sports the max roster size of 27 but uses less than half of its players for offense. According to Ironside correspndent Gene Buonaccorsi, Coach Josh McCarthy recognizes the challenge of managing such a large and talented roster. Though he’s working hard to spread the play time around to help the team’s dynamic and chemistry, Ironside is not looking to slow down by any means.

Missing from ECC was 2011 Callahan Winner and current captain George Stubbs, who was coaching the US Junior Boys team to a gold medal. On the defensive side of the disc, 2009 Callahan Winner Will Neff has returned, and with him come size, big throws and incredible pulls to an already star-studded line of players. Colin Mahoney also looks like he’s in for the long haul after only competing in the Series last year. Boston’s style of play is patience, willing to work for the easier throw rather than play on the edge. The deep shots do come, however, when throwers Brandon Malacek, Jon Hirshberger, Rusty Ingold-Smith and Christian Foster get the disc after a turn. Rookies Alex Cooper, Alex Simmons and Miles Montgomery-Butler have already made large splashes for Boston against top competition; a terrifying prospect considering the amount of talent and experience surrounding them.

Should seeds hold, Boston is slated for a rematch against Atlanta’s Chain Lightning in the finals, a salivating prospect for anyone who witnessed semis last year at Nationals. Down 7-12, Chain mounted an incredible comeback, just falling short in a 16-17 universe point loss. The game highlighted a large chink in Ironside’s armor as Peter Prial and Danny Clark frequently found themselves trapped on the sideline in high stall situations that resulted in key breaks for Atlanta. However Prial’s throws have clearly improved in the off-season as he showcased the long-ball against the NexGen Tour in July. Presented with a first round bye and an easy pool play schedule, Ironside should make short work of Saturday’s competition on the road to defending their Chesapeake title from 2010.

Here is footage of Boston in their 13-11 victory over Revolver from the Emerald City Classic. Thanks to Ultiworld for the recap:

Truck Stop:

2012 Regular Season Record 12-10 (9-9 Sanctioned), lost 10-15 to NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #13, (MA1)

Things looked bleak early on for Truck Stop as offensive mainstays George Hughes-Strange, Andrew Berry, Ryan Morgan, and Sean McComb did not return after 2011. However, a young core comprised of players like David Cranston, Brian Marshall and Justin Norden have emerged to fill the gaps. Sean Keegan has stepped up to shoulder McComb’s throwing duties while Norden and former Texas captain Ben Hamilton move the disc on defense.

As Bryan Jones pointed out in this week’s Tuesday Morning Standler, Truck’s results this weekend won’t move too much from one good or bad game. Good results for the weekend will mean a sure spot in the top 16, taking the place atop of the Mid-Atlantic where they would account for the region’s auto-bid to Sarasota. Sporting a more inexperienced roster in comparison to previous seasons, Truck can use Chesapeake’s high level of competition to develop their younger players instead of focusing on acquiring bids. Truck Stop should definitely find themselves in quarters and possibly semis depending how things play out. The Baltimore/D.C. team should have no issue holding seed in Pool A and should give Ironside a run for their money. Though Truck’s results have varied thus far throughout the season, they played Revolver close and beat Sockeye on double-game point.

Check out Ultiworld’s recap over Truck Stop taking down Voodoo at this year’s Emerald City Classic:


2012 Regular Season Record: 2-3 (2-3 Sanctioned), did not play NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #23, (SE4)

The boys from Tennessee are here to battle after back-to-back Nationals appearances. Defensive line captain Alex Dagley has joined Ray Davenport and Jake Wright at the helm with the goal of making it back to Sarasota and taking home some wins. This year’s Tanasi has some large holes to fill as the team lost Cameron Amey to Florida United, Tyler Conger to Chain Lightning, Markham Shofner to Truck Stop, and Nick Thomas to taking the year off. Key returners include Gray Lloyd, Chris Browning, Craig Stewart and Tim Brady, and they are joined by Alabama standouts Michael Venezia and Brian Moore for the 2012 campaign.

Without many results to pull from, it’s hard to guess how the weekend will go for Tanasi. Nonetheless, Tennessee needs to work hard for the third bid in the Southeast as Regionals will bring uphill battles against Ring of Fire and Chain Lightning. In order to do this, Tanasi needs to separate themselves from the lower tier with big wins while avoiding blowout losses against top teams.


2012 Regular Season Record: 16-1 (2-1 Sanctioned),* did not play NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  N/A

After a season with the AUDL, Timmy Meyers is joined by his Cranes teammates Phil Cherosky, Kevin Ryan and Nate Botti for their run at 2012 Nationals. College standouts Kevin Baumann, Michael Meilstrup, Gus Misleh and Mitch Cihon are also on board to get Madcow back to Sarasota after losing in the game-to-go last year on universe point to Madison Club. Columbus manages their lines in a similar fashion to Ohio State, running one line on offense and two on defense. Cherosky plays the crux of the handling core, often touching the disc on every other pass. Cihon and Botti hit the lanes with hard-to-match speed, with the latter looking for the under and shooting deep to his counterpart.

In terms of their season to date, it’s unfortunate for Madcow that their first two tournaments were not sanctioned, as large margins of victory against weaker teams would be good in the hunt for a Great Lakes strength bid. However Columbus’ only sanctioned tournament thus far was a round robin last Saturday where they only played three out of their four games. Winning big against Dire Wolf out of Pittsburgh is a great result, but failing to blow out a weaker Zebra Muscles and a close loss against Oakland could be bad news. Madcow was unable to avenge their loss to the Hators as the finals were won by forfeit, which means they have work to do in Poolesville. Defeating Tanasi while playing Truck and Boston close could help.

Predictions: 1. Ironside 2. Truck Stop 3. Madcow 4. Tanasi

Thanks to Brandon Wu at Ultiphotos  for the feature shot of Truck Stop’s Tom Doi.

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