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Pool D started off with two 8:30 games, top seed Pittsburgh vs. third seed UNC-Wilmington, and fourth seed Arizona vs. fifth seed Illinois. Pittsburgh scored a quick break and led 4-2 before the Wilmington Seamen went on a three-point run to take the lead. After two more lead changes, and some chippyness and shoving that got both teams assigned Team and/or Player Misconduct Fouls, Wilmington found themselves taking half against a Pitt team that just didn’t seem to have any measure of intensity.
This was truly a tale of two halves however, and Pitt came back and reminded everyone present why they were the defending champion. Coming out with an astounding six breaks in a row, Pittsburgh went up 14-8 before Wilmington finally scored what was to be their only point of the half. Whether they just got off to a slow start or simply thought they could roll over the Seamen without effort, Pitt fixed whatever was going wrong in the first half and clinched the pool, opting to rest their starters for their second game of the day against Arizona, which they lost 15-5.
Meanwhile, Illinois beat Arizona in what was to be the only Pool D upset of the day. As the only bid from the Great Lakes region, Illinois played like they had something to prove, taking half 8-5, and eventually extending their lead to 14-10. Though Arizona managed to battle back a bit and rattle off a few in a row, thanks in large part to a heroic defensive effort by grad student Sean Ham, Illinois managed to close out the game 15-13.
In their next matchup, the Illini faced Tuff, who showed you truly don’t mess with Texas by going up 6-1 to start the game. Texas’ offense was impressive all day, thanks to a huge amount of patience and some excellent play by their star, Will Driscoll. Opting to work inside cuts and handler movement instead of the deep game they attempted against Pitt yesterday, Texas looked to be in complete control as Illinois battled back slightly before Tuff took half 8-3. Credit to Illinois for refusing to roll over, however. The second half showed a hungry Illini defense score break after break, thanks in large part to the combined play of sophomore Marty Markenson and freshman—yes, freshman—Nick Prozorovsky, as well as the inspired defense of grad student Ryan Smith. Though the Illini fought back to within 1, at 11-10, Texas stepped their intensity back up and shut them back down towards the end of the game, eventually achieving a 15-11 victory.
Texas continued their offensive domination in the final pool play game, which pitted them against UNC-Wilmington. Patience was once again the name of the game as the Tuff offense worked the disc up the field time and time again, coming out to an early 4-1 lead before taking half at 8-5. Though the Seamen managed to cut the lead to as little as two at a few points, with Robert Goode coming up big on a number of deep shots, the game never truly felt out of Texas’ hands as they cruised to a 15-10 victory to end pool play.
Pool D Final Results
- Pittsburgh (3-1)
- Texas (2-2)
- North Carolina-Wilmington (2-2)
- Illinois (1-3)
- Arizona (1-3)