MLC IX: Open Preview

by | November 9, 2012, 8:21am 0

Let’s take a quick look at the top teams that will be attending MLC this weekend.  The top sixteen each get three power pool games against each other while the rest of the field plays pool play for a chance to play into the 32 team elimination bracket.  Eleven 2012 College Championships qualifiers will be in attendance as well as other strong college programs looking to make their mark in ’12-’13.  Here’s a peek at how the top ten, plus a few, are looking this season.

The Favorites

Pittsburgh -The defending national champions and overall one seed are making their first ever trek to MLC.  They are down four starters from last year’s squad including do-everything handler Alex Thorne (studying abroad this fall), but their pipeline into top high school ultimate teams keeps this program constantly replenishing its talent.  Tyler DeGirolamo will lead his team with big plays and intensity.  They should have a fairly easy Saturday with Michigan St and Luther unlikely to pull the upset.

Wisconsin – Departed Alex Simmons was one of eight graduating seniors for the Hodags, but with returning big man Colin Camp and a host of talented freshmen the team is poised for another deep run this spring.  UW-Steven’s Point grad Andrew Meshnick, a Madison Club vet, is taking a 5th year at Wisconsin.  Brian Hart is an impact player everywhere on the field while captain Dayu Liu provides huge throws.  Matchups against Iowa and Michigan should be interesting tests for the youngsters on the defending MLC champions.

Minnesota – Grey Duck were runners up to the Hodags at MLC last season.  They made quarterfinals at the College Championships and look to improve upon that this season. Senior captain Greg Arenson and playmaker Josh Klein bring their Sub Zero experience to a talented and patient team.  Don’t expect the forecast of wind to hinder Minnesota, they can play very well in it.  Their matchup against Texas should provide a very interesting contrast of opposing styles.

Carleton – CUT last won MLC in 2007, but in ’08 and ’10 when they lost in semis, they would go on to win the College Championships that spring.  So perhaps Carleton is looking to flame out in semis to continue their every other year championship pattern.  Julian Childs-Walker, Simon Montague and Justin Norden headline this extremely talented team.  Their pool play matchup with Colorado Mamabird may be the game of the day on Saturday.

Colorado – During the mid-2000s Colorado had a reputation for underperforming at CCC, when they would play rookies and tryouts heavily.  With the changeover to coach Jim Schoettler, Mamabird has won two of the last four MLC finals, signaling a possible emphasis on winning during the fall season.  Jimmy Mickle has some of the biggest throws in the college game.  Elite defender Tim Morrissy spent most of last season injured, but seems to be at full health after a club season with Johnny Bravo.

Texas – TUFF is another top team making their first appearance at MLC.  NexGen and Doublewide star Will Driscoll finds himself back in school on a contender after playing a big role on a Club champion.  The last player I can remember in that position was Oscar Pottinger with Furious and UBC.  Trey LeMastres played with Driscoll on Doublewide and will handle for TUFF.  This team can’t look past the Ohio or Illinois matchups on their way to Minnesota.

Dark Horses

  • Michigan – MagnUM has a massive rookie class this season to replace Jeff Pape, Seth Collins and Spencer Jolly.
  • Luther – Eric Johnson, the face of the program on and off the field, has graduated but he has left his mark on a Luther team that isn’t ready to be counted out.
  • Michigan State – Burning Couch missed out on elimination play at the College Championships last year on point diff.
  • Iowa – Iowa was the odd man out at North Central regionals last year.  They’ve had six months to think about that tournament and respond.
  • Ohio – Last season’s senior heavy squad that made the College Championships will have to prove they can do it again in year two.
  • Minnestota-Duluth – A perennial regionals level team, Duluth finally broke through to the College Championships last year thanks to a huge upset of Iowa.
  • Arizona – Sunburn took down Stanford at regionals last year, but couldn’t make it back to the Championships.  MLC will provide strong out of region competition.
  • Illionis – Word is that they have a very significant grad student on the roster.  Stay tuned for confirmation.

Thanks for reading.  I’ll be tweeting as many scores as I can, so follow @mikehouston37 as well as @MLCIX and we’ll try to use #MLCIX.

Feature photo by Dale Adkisson

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