I arrived at the Cosmo Park field complex in Columbia, MO just in time for the start of the first round at MLC IX. I spent most of day one patrolling the sidelines of the power pools, but I did get an opportunity to check out some of the other games. Here’s a look at everything I took away from the first day of competition.
The weather sunny in the 70s with a fair amount of wind, but still very playable conditions. Pools D and A were playing upwind-downwind while Pools C and B had more of a crosswind due to field orientations. I began at Colorado-Arizona where Sunburn jumped out to a 5-3 lead thanks to Mamabird mistakes. Arizona made a huge grab in the upwind endzone to make it 10-8, game to 11. On the upwind O Jimmy Mickle threw an ill-advised scoober that got D’d. Arizona quickly flipped in the goal for the first major upset of the day 11-8. CUT cruised over Minnesota-Duluth on the next field.
In Pool A Texas A+M started the day off by dominating Luther 13-6. Dalton Smith patrolled deep-deep of the A+M zone, daring opposing teams to throw long. Dozen forced turnovers with the zone, and had fantastic handler movement after the turn. They swung the disc well, utilizing the entire width of the field. Pittsburgh took care of a scrappy Michigan State team 13-9. Pitt players informed me they got to Columbia at 3am the night before after the long drive from Steeltown.
The Hodags were up 7-1 on Iowa when I got over to Pool B. Wisconsin’s defense looked stellar as Iowa didn’t have the athletes to keep up. Wisconsin went on to win that one 13-1. Next door Carnegie-Mellon, one of the surprises of the tournament, was up on Michigan. Mr. Yuk didn’t bring a huge team, but their short rotations gave them a big advantage in chemistry. They have a few very good handlers with some big throws and excellent breaks. CMU beat Michigan 10-7.
Finally I made my way up the hill to Pool C. Minnesota was up comfortably on Ohio thanks to their throwers. Minnesota impressed me more than any other team this weekend with their handler play. The throwers forced teams to abandon zone despite the windy conditions. Grey Duck won 10-5. Texas was up 7-5 on Illinois as I arrived after half. TUFF would expand that lead in the second half and win 13-9, making Illinois the only 4-seed not to pull a first round upset.
The surprising play of the 4-seeds made round two matchups against the 1-seeds some of the best games of the day. Carnegie-Mellon came out unafraid against Wisconsin, trading points to 4-4. The Hodag D was forcing turns almost every point, but was unable to convert the breaks on a crosswind field. For their part Mellon was resilient, fighting to win long points despite their short rotation. Wisconsin finally took control with a break to make it 6-4 and would wear down Mr. Yuk for the 13-7 win. Michigan-Iowa was an extremely entertaining game despite the lopsided score. Iowa worked the disc well on offense, but the Michigan zone seemed to come up with timely turns. Michigan handlers ripped the disc to 6’8” Jesse Buchsbaum who easily out read smaller defenders. The big sophomore got a few nice D’s as well on floaty discs. Michigan won 10-5.
Minnesota cruised over Illinois 13-4, while Texas lost to Ohio 11-9 thanks to two big breaks in the first half. Whispers of a brewing upset took me over to Pool A however, where Texas A+M was up on Pitt. I arrived in time to see a huge A+M throw go up from midfield. Tyler DeGirolamo was playing deep and went up for the D, but he misread the throw and couldn’t get up high enough. Dalton Smith hauled it down for the goal as the A+M bench rushed the field. Dozen had won 11-8 to move to 2-0. Michigan State won a close game 11-9 against Luther to drop LUFDA to 0-2.
After the final point of the Pitt game I hurried to Pool D to find double game point between Arizona and CUT. CUT received the disc, but turned it over. Arizona flipped it into the endzone for the 9-8 win and a 2-0 record against Colorado and CUT. Very impressive. Mamabird beat Minnesota-Duluth 13-5 setting up their final round showdown against CUT. The power pools all had a third round bye, and Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas A+M and Arizona would head into round 4 controlling their own destiny for winning their respective pools.
The lower pools provided some excitement and some previews of good bracket games later in the day. Missouri stomped a shorthanded Grinnell team 13-2. A young Kansas team took care of Truman State 13-4. Oklahoma and Harding played a fantastic game that Harding would take 11-9. All three teams would have something to say when it came to bracket play later in the day.
The power pools were back in action and I began at Texas-Minnesota. The teams started out trading but Minnesota scored easier than TUFF. The Grey Duck handlers shredded the Texas zone. An upwind break for Minnesota followed by the downwinder gave them a 4-2 lead. After TUFF scored they abandoned the zone and went man, but Minnesota scored in two throws. Minnesota maintained the two break advantage for the rest of the game and won 11-9. Ohio beat Illinois 11-7 to finish second in Pool C.
The Hodags started fast against Michigan to the tune of 4-1. Wisconsin finished the job 12-6 and won Pool B while allowing fewer points than any other pool winner. Carnegie-Mellon capped their impressive pool play by holding off Iowa 8-6 in a game that featured several marathon points. Pittsburgh took out the frustration of the A+M loss on Luther winning 13-4, while Dozen beat Michigan State 13-10 to win Pool A.
I arrived at CUT-Mamabird during the first point after halftime, which Colorado had taken 7-4. Carleton scored the downwinder after half to make it 7-5, and the teams traded downwind to 8-6. CUT forced a turn and marched the disc upwind to pull within one, then got the downwind break to tie it at 8s. Jimmy Mickle got a big D after his own overthrow turn, and Mamabird went back up 9-8. A long point would see CUT drop the disc in the endzone twice. Mickle and company took advantage of the extra opportunities as they worked it upfield. Tim Morrissy caught the disc just outside the upwind endzone and called timeout. Morrissy would connect on a quick up the line cut for the break and the 10-8 advantage. Colorado’s defensive intensity picked up as they would break twice more to make it 12-8, a four point run after CUT had tied it. Mamabird took the game 13-9, relegating CUT to third place in the pool and ensuring some juicy early bracket play matchups. Arizona took care of Minnesota-Duluth to win Pool D.
Round 5 Bracket Play
Pool winners were automatically into Sunday’s prequarters, but would play showcase games after the round 5 bracket play. The remaining twelve power pool teams played against the top two from each of the six lower pools for the rest of the spots in prequarters. Lower pool teams to play their way up included Arkansas with a 12-11 win over Duluth, Kansas beating Iowa 12-8, Oklahoma surprising Michigan 13-10, and a fun to watch Eastern Michigan team winning 13-9 against Michigan State.
The game of the round however was Missouri-CUT, which I watched every point of. The hometown MUtants had the sidelines packed for their biggest game of the fall. The teams started out trading downwind to 3-3. Simon Montague and Julian Childs-Walker dominated the disc for CUT getting the majority of touches with Jules often cutting deep for Simon. At 4-3 Mizzou got the first upwind break to lead 5-3. Mizzou forced a first throw turn on the subsequent downwinder and flipped in the easy goal for a 6-3 lead and a CUT timeout. Mizzou played tremendous handler defense all game forcing CUT into bailout throws or dump turnovers. After the timeout Carleton would respond with a 3-0 run of their own to tie the game at 6s. Mizzou took half 7-6.
On the adjacent fields Colorado took half 7-4 on Kansas State, Pitt was up 9-4 against an overmatched North Texas team and St Louis had a surprising halftime lead against Carnegie-Mellon. Mr. Yuk would go on a furious second half run to win the game 11-8 over St Louis, but Colorado and Pitt would maintain their leads and win 13-5 and 13-4 respectively.
Back for the second half CUT scored downwind to knot the game at 7s. Mizzou then scored on a great around backhand break to make it 8-7. CUT’s downwind point was a long one with both teams turning the disc several times. Mizzou got close to the upwind break, but couldn’t put it in. CUT eventually scored to keep it tied at 8s. CUT had a much smaller rotation compared to Mizzou which seemed to have more than 30 players in uniform. Montague brought the disc in almost every time after a turn for CUT and looked noticeably tired during the second half, but continued to play hard. The teams traded until 10-10. Soft cap went on and the game was to 12 with Missouri receiving going downwind. The MUtants seemed nervous, turning the disc on bad decisions. CUT had four upwind throws to the endzone for the break, but every one was incomplete. The point dragged on for over 10 minutes, causing hard cap to blow, meaning it had become double game point. Mizzou was still working downwind looking for the goal and the huge upset. After another CUT drop in the endzone, Mizzou turned it giving Carleton a short field upwind. A few swings later CUT punched it in for the break to win it 11-10.
The showcase games were fun, but with nothing to play for and their football team playing a historic game against Alabama, Texas A+M didn’t put up much of a fight against Minnesota. They lost 13-4 and hurried to the nearest TV. Wisconsin-Arizona was a very entertaining game that the Hodags would win 12-9.
More on a wet and wild day two at MLC coming soon.