Chesapeake Invite: Pool B Preview

by | August 23, 2012, 12:29pm 0

Chain Lightning:

2012 Regular Season Record: 12-2-1 (8-2 Sanctioned), tied NexGen 9-9
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #6, (SE1)

Chain Lightning started their season off right with wins over Truck Stop and Ring of Fire, as well as close losses against a Johnny Bravo team that still has people in awe. Absent at the US Open, where Atlanta went 7-2, were more than seven players including Sam Chatterton-Kirchmeier, Dylan Tunnel and Asa Wilson. Two weeks later, Chain defended their Terminus title while splitting a two game series with Truck. While player losses this season include Kiran Thomas (Doublewide), Peter Dempsey and Grant Lindsley (Sub Zero), Atlanta picked up Jay Clark (Tufts, Georgia Tech), Sam Gainer, Tyler Conger (Tanasi) and Jared Inselmann (Ring of Fire).

In their (coincedentally) lightning-shortened game against NexGen, we got a good idea of what Atlanta looked like without Nick Lance, who won’t be in attendance at Chesapeake this weekend. Despite not having the Callahan winner, Chain’s offense is stacked with Greg Swanson, Dylan Tunnel and Sammy C-K. Sam Gainer did well filling in for Kiran’s role in the game against the college all stars and Inselmann is certainly no one’s replacement. While their offense can grind at will, Chain is still a fan of the long-ball, coming as no surprise given that they still have two full lines from their 2009 Club Championship team.

Jolian Dahl has returned from a Silver medal performance with Great Britain’s Open Worlds team and is looking to make a large splash this season after training hard with EDGE Ultimate. Conger has set up shop on the defensive line handling core where he will pair up with his former Virginia Night Train teammate Robert Runner. Atlanta runs a variety of zone sets including looks that highlight the height and athleticism of players like Dahl, Michael Arenson and Joel Wooten. Wooten is a frequent target on the fast break long ball — throwing to a 6’5 receiver can really jump start an offensive possession. Elliot Erickson also showed that even the smaller players on Chain can play big, getting the best of Tyler Degirolamo in the game against NexGen.

Chain, much like Ironside, merely needs to perform as expected. The better they do, the better they get seeded in Sarasota. A rematch with Ironside would be very exciting, especially since it would pin former Tufts co-captains Alex Cooper and Jay Clark against one another. We’ll also get another look at what will probably be the Southeast Regional final should Atlanta meet Ring of Fire in semis. Currently Chain leads Raleigh 2-0 in the series, but a late season rematch could go either way as the US Open was almost two months ago.


2012 Regular Season Record: 9-10 (4-7 Sanctioned) lost 13-15 to NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #15, (NE2)

New York’s Pride of New York (PoNY)  has shown they can hang with the top teams in the nation, losing to Revolver, Ironside and Rhino all on double-game-point. Their offensive line features Wisconsin alums Jack Marsh, Kevin Riley and Dan Heijmen, as well as nine other players, meaning nearly half of their roster plays offense.

Tim MacGougan, Seth Crockford and the Pone defensive line have been doing a fantastic job generating turns against the best teams in the nation, but the issue is the inability to convert those chances into breaks. With offensive consistency breaking down late in games at ECC, five of their six losses were by two points or less. This includes losing to San Francisco on universe point, despite receiving the disc to start the point.  Chesapeake will be a great indicator of if the Pride has learned from their experiences and has made the adjustments in practice to turn some of those tight results from losses to wins.

One of the issues in 2011 was the fact that only a small portion of the field’s width was used by New York’s offense, as lateral and break-side movement was infrequent. Judging by their game against NexGen, PoNY started looking to their deep game as they got pushed farther into a corner, reminiscent of their performances from the year before. Unless the defensive line standouts like David Ferraro catch Callahans for every break, New York needs to clean up when they earn a turn.

If PoNY and GOAT can play the top teams tight, while making short work of those seeded below them, the Northeast may find itself with three tickets to Sarasota. Pool B is a good fit for PoNY, who can give Chain a run for their money after taking down Cash Crop and Condors. Currently the pieces are set for a Boston and New York rematch in Saturday’s crossover round, where the two last met in the finals of the Boston Invite which Ironside won 17-16.

Below is Ultiword’s recap of PoNY’s universe point loss to Portland Rhino at the Emerald City Classic two weeks ago:


2012 Regular Season Record: 4-1 2-3 (4-1 2-3 Sanctioned), did not play NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #11, (SW3)

When the redraw occurred earlier in the year, the Southwest region became Revolver’s house. With the next best teams being Boost Mobile, Condors and Streetgang, this was predicted to be a one bid region that the reigning World Champs would own for years to come. Dating back to 2004, only 5 teams have represented the SW in Sarasota: Johnny Bravo (now in the South Central region), Condors, Streetgang, and Monster. Besides Bravo, these other SW teams have not placed higher than T-7th in the last eight years, where the three most recent Nationals tournaments resulted in one 14th Place finish (2011 Condors) and two 15th Place finishes (2009 & 2010 Streetgang). With only one ticket to Sarasota guaranteed, getting a strength bid is a life or death scenario for SW teams like the Condors, Streetgang and Boost Mobile.

Santa Barbara knows just how important tournaments like Chesapeake and Labor Day are for the SW region.  Condors player Dan Oettinger gave us some insight into their mindset:

“We’ll get to measure ourselves against the best teams in the country at Chesapeake, and will be treating it like Nationals. How well we do at this tournament will determine whether our region gets a third bid to Nationals. Boost Mobile could get the second bid, especially with a strong performance at Chesapeake. Revolver is getting the first bid. They’re looking a little less than dominant so far this year, but they just have so much talent. Beau is such a trump card. Any time they need a score they look to him.”

The Condors definitely preach a hard work ethic, attempting to make their practices tougher than tournaments on the mind and body. A high level of conditioning translates into an unrelenting defense and a gun-slinging style of offense. Though man-to-man is definitely their forte, the Condors are not one-dimensional on defense, sporting a variety of sets looking to frustrate and mentally deflate their opponents.

Santa Barbara has been unproven thus far in 2012, as their only recorded results have come from the So-Cal Slammer, where they lost on universe point to Boost Mobile. According to Oettinger, this feat was accomplished without the help of Jeff Silverman and Mark Elbogen, who are two of the strongest players on the Condors. With Boost as the Condors biggest test thus far, so much is unknown about the capabilities of the Santa Barbara squad. Holding seed in Pool B is the safe bet, but New York may not be out of reach, especially with former PoNY player Grant Boyd cleating up for the Condors.

Even if Santa Barbara stays in the third slot in Pool B, making prequarters should be very do-able with a weak crossover opponent from Pool A. After that, depending on how the chips fall, the Condors could end up making it as far as quarterfinals. Santa Barbara certainly has the legacy behind them, with Club Nationals titles in 1981, 2000 and 2001, along with second place finishes in 1979, 1998 and 1999 (thanks to Ultimate History for the stats). However, with a three hour time difference and a high level of humidity that the SW teams are not used to playing in, Chesapeake can also be this region’s undoing.

Cash Crop:

2012 Regular Season Record: 12-1 (10-1 Sanctioned),did not play NexGen
Current USAU Ranking (Regional Ranking):  #19, (SW3)

The Chesapeake Invite and Labor Day are the first two club tournaments to implement a qualifier similar to those like Stanford and Easterns in the college division (the So-Cal Slammer was the unofficial qualifier for Labor Day). These tournaments really assist the rankings system as typically the winner of the Open gets smacked up by the top teams at the Invite which helps separate the nation into tiers. While this young North Carolina squad may not give teams like Ironside and Chain their hardest games of the weekend, I’m betting they’ll finish 12th or higher.

After falling to Southpaw in the game-to-go to Nationals in the four-bid Mid-Atlantic region last season, Cash Crop lost Alton Gaines, Justin Allen and Micah Hood to North Carolina’s Ring of Fire and Cole Sullivan to Austin’s Doublewide. Even with these big shoes to fill, Cash Crop has done very well this season and won the Chesapeake Open in strong fashion over the favored Boston squad Garuda. Led by offensive workhorse and big man Ben Dieter, Cash Crop plays a very consistent and physical vertical stack with throwers like Stephen Poulous using his large frame to help break the toughest of marks. Joey Cretella and Marshall Ward are two of the big names on the defensive line, with the former playing a large role in their Chesapeake Open victory with his upwind flick hucks.

At Terminus in late July, Cash Crop played well early against Washington, DC’s Truck Stop in the semi-finals, leading by two breaks before relenting and losing 15-10. A Terminus win over Florida United helped Cash Crop avoid being the low seed this weekend and you can expect to see them playing like they have nothing to lose.  Pool B is a tough draw as Cash Crop may not be able to break seed against Chain, PoNY and the Condors. Their best hope may be in a crossover game are played against a weaker Pool A, which could keep Cash Crop in the hunt to play Sunday’s tougher competition.

Predictions:  1. Chain Lightning 2. PoNY 3. Condors 4. Cash Crop


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