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While I was able to see a lot of today’s action, most of my time was spent watching Pool C. Here are some notes and what to look for tomorrow in the action in the pool.
Central Florida (2-0)
– Coach Andrew Roca clearly had this team prepared for the tournament. In both games, they faced adversity right in the eyes, and were able to come out with the wins.
– Central Florida offensively was very impressive today. They had their faults, as did most teams today, and certainly weren’t running smoothly all day. But when they were on, they weren’t going to be stopped.
– Misha Freystaetter was very noticeable on the field, and not just because of how tall he is. The graduate student also had a good stat line: 5 goals, an assist, and 2 Ds.
– While they were able to get past a Davis team with some fight in them, and the 2nd half UNC comeback, should they be worried about quarterfinals? They’ll be watching how Wilmington and Colorado finish their pool games – both have already shown the ability to come back this weekend.
– The dogfight and loss during their first round game against UCF I originally thought might have drained them too much to start the day. Seeing them play a few rounds later against Ohio, and I couldn’t be more wrong.
– In that game against Ohio, Davis looked fresh and ready for the game. Almost like their game against UCF was a warm-up game. Yes it was a back and forth game, especially at the end, but they looked like a more refined team from Davis.
– Another graduate student was important, this time Ben Hubbard. He did have a 4/4/2 stat line, but his calm demeanor seemed key in that victory. On offense especially, this showed – sometimes taking himself away from the play to create space, only to jump in and make himself an asset.
– Two important games tomorrow for UC-Davis. The first comes against a Luther squad that would like to finish with a win or two tomorrow (more on that later), and then the second against UNC in a game that could decide where they each land in pre-quarters.
North Carolina (1-1)
– Two comeback games for North Carolina, and only one successful one. The first comeback game came against UCF. After tying it up at 10 all, I thought they were in control of the game. Central Florida soon rattled off three straight scores for the win. Perhaps they got tired, but no matter the reason UCF simply looked the better team.
– And then their next comeback came against Luther. Unlike in the game against UCF, against Luther they just looked tired from that previous game. Their opponent looked to take full advantage of that, and it took a miraculous late comeback, including a DGP hammer-caught callahan to win the game.
– One thing UNC needs to work on for tomorrow is their offense. At times, they seemed too tied to the huck, and that clearly wasn’t working against a team like Central Florida. It was even more frustrating because it looked like working underneath and taking the open looks given by the opposing defense was working just fine.
– Another loss could be deadly, and Ohio is looking to be the team to hand it to them.
– The play of Mitch Cihon was phenomenal all day long. If Ohio wants a chance at making it onto pre-quarters, and beating out UC-Davis or North Carolina for that spot, he’ll have to have another great day.
– In parts of the UC-Davis game, they simply weren’t clicking on offense and it was difficult to watch. But in others, their coaches had them running on all cylinders on both sides of the disc.
– Defensively, I’ve seen better from the Ohio team. Without a strong defense, I’m inclined to think both UCF and UNC will run over them.
– What an unfortunate way to end the day for them. They certainly aren’t the same team from last year, and how could you be when you lose Eric Johnson. But they were still a threat, and to fall short as they did has to be heartbreaking.
– Those losses have to be promising though as well, especially if they can continue working in play time for every roster player they have with them. I count no seniors on the roster in the program, and experience against some of these top teams now could do wonders in improving the team for next season.
– They’ll be looking to upset again tomorrow, with two early games. Knocking down UC-Davis early could make for an interesting finish in Pool C.
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com