Pres Day Invite 2013: Sunday Open Recap

by | February 17, 2013, 8:40pm 0

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Sunday saw the power pools play out at the Pres Day Open Invite in San Deigo. Weather was warm and occasionally blustery.

Early stand outs of the day were Arizona with their tight zone defense and patient offensive play. Arizona also set the tone of every game they played with aggressive, physical downfield defense. They are 7-0 on the weekend.

Good mention goes out to both Brown and Las Positas College. Brown may be making strides to pull back up into the elite level of play. While the scores on the weekend don’t reflect their tenacity, Brown receivers and defenders are just as athletic as any other college team out there. Camen Piho came down with snags that even club players would be hard pressed to find and he’s backed by a number of player ready to go big. They’re unafraid to break zones and marks with over the head passes and they do it well (which is a refreshing sight to see in college ultimate)

Las Positas is a team I want to see continue to develop. They run a tight roster of about five players always being the ones to touch the disc, but talent, experience, and desire capitalizes their performance. Despite a tough game point loss to Brown today, they will continue to fight for the Southwest.

Cal crumbled under a strong Cincinnati showing and finished last in their pool. Lick your wounds and come back stronger, Ugmo.

Washington played an exceptional pool game against Colorado in their power pool, keeping them a break at bay during the entirety of the game. Unfortunately, bad huck decisions and the occasional (though infrequent) exploited match up spelled defeat for Washington.


Due to how the pools shook out, Colorado, Arizona, and Minnesota all took their semifinals handily against Cincinatti, Santa Cruz, and Brown, which set up the game of the day to be Washington vs. Cal Davis.

Never more than two points separated the teams as Washington opened with a big hucking game, breaking straight through Davis’s cup twice for scores. Both teams struggled with the inconsistent wind, but dogged defense kept turns at a high frequency and even a short field wasn’t a sure thing for either team. Davis broke to take half, but Washington hung tight and eventually won two breaks back in a row to put them up 12-11 in the closing minutes. Davis struck deep in retaliation to bring the game to universe point. Washington with the disc advantage staged a beautiful break pass that was fumbled and the Dogs capitalized with two quick passes and an up-line cut by too-tall Nathan White to end the Sundodgers run at the Pres Day title.

Washington Coach Gabe Pedersen came in to this weekend wanting to find the team’s identity, and they certainly have done that. While UW hasn’t yet risen to be the team to beat yet, they have turned heads of the top opponents they played. They might not be the strongest team at a match, but clubs who underrate them may come up with losses in future tournaments. The youth of the Sundodger’s lines showed in their double game point losses to Colorado and Davis, but here is a team that is hungry to learn, has bitterly tasted defeat, and looks like they’re willing to work for to change those losses into fuel for the fire.


The semifinals line up the­ first-seeded Minnesota and UC Davis.

Minnesota has been a team that really has yet to show a weakness, in strategy or even with inexperienced players. A momentary lapse against quarterfinal opponent Brown where they gave up about three breaks in a row has been Minnesota’s only stumble this tournament. They’re fast, everyone is comfortable with the disc and unafraid to exploit the deep game.

Davis coach Kevin Cissna seems unphased by Minnesota’s nationals success last year as well as their performance so far this tournament. No matter what opponent they face, Cissna wants his team to “focus on their game”, not where the team is in the bracket or in the rankings.

So far, Davis’ game plan seems to be “play with more heart than anyone else on the field”. Davis may give up three or four turns in a point, but offensive or defensive lines don’t matter as the Dogs will scratch for every chance to get that disc back. While this isn’t the strategy to take to a well seasoned team like Minnesota, the mentality that goes along with a team that will never give up may just be enough to topple Grey Duck.

Players like Patrick Lahey and Ben Hubbard laid their body on the line to keep Davis’ runs alive, both coming up with huge defensive bids and offensive saves in thier game against UW and Cal. Intelligent strikes from juniors Nathan White and Eli Kerns have kept the Dogs just nose above water.

The Dogs have a chance, but gun to my head, I go with Minnesota taking this match.

On the other bracket, we have Arizona vs. Colorado. Arizona is going into this game relatively untested since their first match of the tournament where they trailed Virginia Tech by one break for the first half of play. Since then, there has been no looking back for Sunburn. Receiver Sean Ham seems unstoppable in the endzone and the Arizona offence showed poise above the rest of the competition today. Sunburn handlers are unafraid to work it back and forth across the field with confident throws despite small yardage gains. Receivers bide their time until the correct swing of the disc. There’s little to no clogging of lanes and their whole system looked scarily in sync for a college team. The best a team who faces these players can hope for is to squeeze turns out of them with zone looks or hope an excited handler gets the disc and shoots deep early. Other than those, breaks will be as hard to come by as a house without air conditioning in a retirement community.

If the wind keeps up like it did on Sunday, I would expect the semis to be slowed down to the pace Arizona’s zone wants to set.

At this point, Arizona looks much more refined than Mamabird, so Sunburn earns my prediction to advance to the finals. Still, Colorado has escaped a few tight games this weekend but certainly hasn’t looked like they’ve peaked. Colorado has another gear to reach and very well may do it in the semis and finals of Pres Day. If all of Colorado’s roster gets going up to speed, Arizona could find their formerly open offense glued down like grass stains. Don’t take this for granted, Sunburn.

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