DIII Championships Preview: John Brown Ironfist

by | May 14, 2013, 2:42pm 0

John Brown University’s Ironfist represents the South Central, and the state of Arkansas, and through an up and down season were able to qualify for the D-III Championships in their tough region. Here’s a short conversation with Captain Jocob Moore on their season thus far.

Skyd: How is this year’s roster different from last year’s? More young players? Veteran team?

Jacob Moore: The main difference between this year’s roster and last year’s is we have more team unity.  My freshman year (2010-2011) there was a lot of big egos on the team and there was no cohesive vision for the team. Honestly, we needed to graduate those people and start from scratch.  Despite having no seniors, this team is incredibly close.  We have great relationships on and off the field and that has led to a stellar season where everyone knows what is expected of them and what their role is on the team.  That chemistry has enabled us to compete at a much higher level.  It also has helped that our core players (3 juniors and 3 sophomores) have another year and are much more competent about leading the team through games and handling the pressure of an intense match-up.

How did your spring season go?

By tournament:

Big D in Little D: This was our first USAU tournament with a team that featured a very, very young team.  16 players attended and only 3 of us are in our 3rd (there’s 5 juniors on the team, but two of them are only in their 2nd year) year of playing.  Despite this, and despite very stiff competition (teams such as UNT, KSU, Mizzou, etc), we were still able to finish 7th.

Heart of Texas Huckfest: This was a tough tournament.  This looks like a disappointing tournament for us.  However, we were without two of our starters and had only 9 people attend the tournament.  Universe point losses against Baylor and Trinity were hard on us.  However, the bright spot of this tournament was giving a lot of playing time and touches to players who were inexperienced.  There was also a fierce wind at this tournament that made a lot of our rookies feel uncomfortable.

South Central Regionals: With developed underclassmen and our entire starting line present, we rolled through competition until playing Rice in the game-to-go.  Their athletic, physical style of D definitely threw off our offense for a while.  They got up on us 5-2 until we finally started to figure out their team and proceeded to outscore them 13-6 over the rest of the game to grab our Nationals bid.  Playing Harding in the championship game was not indicative of our best effort.  We have a smaller team and were running out of legs going into the game.  We were also lacking focus as we had just gotten our bid to Nationals.  The lack of urgency and tired legs combined to let Harding take the game fairly easily.  They’re a great team, but we’ve got more in us than that game indicates.

Who’s been the team MVP this season?

This is possibly the toughest question you could ask.  We really rely on a very team-focused approach.  We try to avoid have a “go-to” player.  We play a quick, up-tempo offense that relies on everyone being able to be confident with the disc.

However, if forced to give an MVP I would probably list Andrew Goode.  He is an exciting playmaker on both O and D.  He excels at going up in the sky and coming down with discs.  He also has incredible bids and gets to discs no one would expect him to get to.  Our team wouldn’t be the same without him.

Honorable mentions:

Chris Genheimer

Jacob Moore

What will be your team’s focus until Milwaukee?

Conditioning.  We plan to show up to Milwaukee as a team that is able to keep running after everyone else gets tired.  We have a small team and so the legs we do have need to be able to keep going.  We have fairly found fundamentals as a team.

What was the most difficult game you’ve played this season? What set it apart?

Well, in terms of difficulty there has been one game we really got outclassed.  UNT is a very, very good team and they beat us convincingly.  I’d love another shot at them now that we’re a better team, but that game was really hard.  They’re legit.

In terms of the most emotionally draining and intense game I would say Rice without a doubt.  They played a style of D we hadn’t faced all year.  They were athletic and fairly physical.  That disrupted our offensive flow quite a bit.  They also set extremely good marks.  Break throws we normally get against teams were not open to us.  It was extremely good to play a team like that before going to Nationals.  We learned a lot about ourselves that game.  

Most teams set goals before the season – have you accomplished those goals?

Yes, we have.  Our two goals as a team were to:

1. Reflect Christ.  We are a Christian University and as that we do our best to play the game with integrity and respect for the other team.  We’re by no means perfect, but we love the game and respect our opponents.  We think we do this quite well although we’re also probably biased so you’d have to ask other teams to confirm this.

2. We wanted to make Nationals.  That has been a team goal all year.  We are a young team so we did not talk about winning it, although we’ll certainly try, but we simply wanted to make some noise and get our name talked about in the Ultimate community.  We’ve obviously done that.

Rapid Fire Questions:

Song most likely to be played on your sideline?

Taylor Swift’s “22”

Favorite highlight video out right now?

The Chasing Sarasota highlight video. Sick.  That dude with the beanie.  Legit.

Which professional team do you root for?

Chain Lightning.  Nick Lance anyone?  One of the best all around Ultimate players I’ve seen.

Favorite timeout game?

We’re a small team. We usually are drinking water and resting during timeouts.  Sorry that’s boring, but we don’t play games during timeouts.

Which Game of Thrones character best embodies your team?

Ohh totally Tyrion Lannister.  We’re not a super tall team, but we consider ourselves smart and hard working.  We know we’re not as flashy or good looking as some teams, but if you overlook us you’ll regret it.  Plus, we always pay our debts.

John Brown starts off Milwaukee with chances at taking down Wake Forest and Claremont, and facing off against the Metro East’s Wesleyan. 

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