Vietnam Madison! The first round of the Open D pool has concluded and already things are getting shaken up. Well, almost.
The early games saw Texas take on Arizona and UNC-Wilmington clash with 5th seed Illinois on the showcase field. While both results went the way most predicted, with Texas and UNC-Wilmington earning the wins 15-11 and 15-12 respectively, how they got there certainly was no walk in the park.
The 3-seed/5-seed match between UNC-W Seamen and Illinois (no ultimate-typical ridiculous team name here) did not play out the way the teams’ Regionals results would suggest. After a turnover ridden first few points where Illinois had trouble advancing the disc even past their own brick, Wilmington found themselves up 7-4. But it wouldn’t last. Illinois came roaring back to take half 8-7. A great comeback aided by breakout Illinois freshman Nick Prozovsky’s 5 scores.
UNC-W immediately hit back in the second half, quickly going up 9-8 on two breaks. From there, the teams would trade points back and forth with each earning and subsequently losing a break until 11-11. Both offenses were clicking and efficient in the second half. Wilmington finally earned a lead they would not relinquish after a break to go up 13-11. The Seamen would go on to hold serve and win 15-12.
The 2-seed/4-seed matchup appeared as if it would be a barnburner to start with both Arizona and Texas putting up clean, long hucks for scores in the complete absence of morning wind. However, after a few back-and-forth points between the teams, Arizona decided to switch up their strategy to a zone look despite the lack of wind. It would prove to be their downfall. Texas knew the Arizona zone was coming since they were previously stifled by it at the Stanford Invite. Texas obviously learned from their previous meeting, throwing hammer after hammer, cup break after cup break through the normally effective Arizona zone.
The game was never truly in doubt for Tuff. Captains Will Driscoll and Mitch Bennett made sure of that with their active cuts and pin-point hammers through Ari-zone-a. Tuff got their revenge, 15-11.
Noon games on Friday brought fans the 3-seed vs. 4-seed matchup between UNC-Wilmington and Arizona as well as 1-seed Pitt taking on 5-seed, yet surprising, Illinois.
Both games took place on side-by-side fields, and the first few points in both were side-by-side in similarity as well. Teams traded points to begin both games until 4-4 with some gained and lost breaks, but ultimately the games remained tied. But this is where the similarities end. After initially trading, Pitt finally gained a few breaks on the Illini that they would not relinquish. Meanwhile UNC-W went up two on Sunburn to take half 8-6, only to have Arizona score two breaks to begin the second half to tie it back up at 8
The Seamen and Sunburn again traded points to 9-9, then UNC-W took control of the pace of the game and broke Arizona three strait times to go up 12-9. True to a 3-seed/4-seed matchup, Sunburn came roaring back with three breaks of their own to once again tie it at 12. The game was not truly seized until UNC-W went up 14-13, despite a knee injury to Trueman Nottingham. The Seamen would end up breaking to win the game, final 15-13, and went 2-0 on the day.
Pittsburgh seized their game much earlier, taking half 8-4. They showed that the 1-seed was deserved by quickly dispatching Illinois with the largest winning margin of the day, 15-9 and going 2-0 on the day themselves.
Saturday in Pool D will be interesting, with 2-0 Pitt taking on 2-0 UNC-W first thing in the morning.
*Pool D had a one-on, one-off schedule playing every odd numbered round on the day.
The final game of the day was a showcase in every sense of the word. Pitt clashed with Texas in a much-anticipated matchup between large ultimate-rich cities, each with their own stars to rely on. And they would not disappoint.
College All Americans Tyler Degirolamo (Pitt) and Will Driscoll (Texas) would mark each other all game long, but neither could shut the other down completely. Actually, they couldn’t stop each others’ offensive prowess at all. After all was said and done, the score read Pitt 15-13 Texas with superstars Driscoll, Peter Clarke (Texas), Degirolamo, and Alex Thorne (Pitt) accounting for, get this, all but 2 scores either assisting or catching. Somehow, MVP feels like an understatement for these guys.
Be sure to stay tuned to Skyd for all the latest in Pool D and all other pools throughout the weekend. For the most up-to-date play-by-play action be sure to check out the live-stream at Skyd Tournament Central.