Women’s Semifinals Live Analysis

by | May 26, 2013, 9:48am 0

This coverage is presented by Spin Ultimate

Welcome to Skyd Magazine’s live coverage of the Women’s Semifinals. We’re in the press box tweeting and watching the games, and we’ll be doing a live analysis in this post. Refresh this page for the latest strategic and tactical analysis of the semis from Skyd’s women’s correspondents.

To interact with us, post in the comments or tweet at us: Adam Lerman @AisSkyd and Ryan Thompson @ultimatepulse.

2:25 pm, Ohio State 0 – Carleton 0

Adam:  We are about 5 minutes away from the start of the game.  Ohio State showed a very effective 4-man cup in their quarterfinal this morning against Tufts.  However, their captains said after the game that they would rather force the strong Carleton handlers to work through their man defense.  We’ll see what Ohio State has planned to slow down Carleton’s Anna Reed and Julia Snyder.

Ryan:  I think the difference in this one will come down to whether or not Carleton can keep their offense humming at the high efficiency they’ve been converting at so far this weekend. Julia Snyder has been possibly the best player at the tournament through her first five games, making a huge impact on offense and with her defense. Ohio State will take the chances they’re given – they’re very deep and can keep their star players fresh, with the ability to manufacture breaks even with Cassie Swafford and/or Paige Soper on the bench. If Carleton doesn’t give up the disc that often, I think they’ll win it. But if the wind and rain make this game messy, Ohio State has to like their chances.

2:37 pm, Ohio State 0 – Carleton 1

Adam:  As expected, Ohio State starts the game in their man defense.  If Soper is going to mark Snyder, she needs to do a better job of forcing her away from the disc.

2:41 pm, Ohio State 1 – Carleton 1

Adam:  Man defense from Ohio State, zone from Carleton.  Both teams able to move upwind without much difficulty.  We’ll see if the teams choose to play the field position huck game going downwind, or try to work the disc.

2:51 pm, Ohio State 3 – Carleton 3

Adam:  That was the first zone look from Ohio State on defense.  They played a junky 2-3-2 that forced a few difficult throws.  Carleton now running a box-and-one with Grace Quintana marking Cassie Swafford.

2:58 pm, Ohio State 4 – Carleton 4

Adam:  Ohio State goes back to man defense, with very flat marks.  Both teams making some athletic plays to keep possession, and holding their downwind offense points relatively quickly.

3:05 pm, Ohio State 5 – Carleton 4

Ryan: It’s been sloppy so far, and Ohio State is up one break. But that’s now three tipped discs caught for goals, and at some point something’s gotta give. Ohio State has had the most success with good man defense and tough marks forcing Carleton to throw turnovers rather than making spectacular defensive plays downfield.

3:08 pm, Ohio State 6 – Carleton 4

Adam: Ohio State has mostly played man defense so far, while Carleton has mostly played zone.  That means that after a quick turnover, Ohio State will be into the defense they prefer, while Carleton will not.

Ryan: Ohio State used the break side incredible well on that possession, starting with Soper’s break off the sideline to Swafford, then Finley’s around to Walker, and finally Walker’s to Perry. That’s normally Carleton’s bread and butter but Ohio State’s marks have been strong and Carleton’s have been a little more lax. Carleton needs to get back to the basics and break the mark to convert.

3:28 pm, Ohio State 7 – Carleton 8

Ryan: Carleton came roaring back there, with a combination of sloppy play from Ohio State and Carleton hitting the break side more and more near the endzone. They’re running their handlers upline and drawing multiple defenders from the stack in the endzone, and Carleton is patiently avoiding the poaches, swinging around, and then hitting break throws to wide open cutters. That was Barton twice in a row to McArdle, with Barton throwing two beautiful inside out forehands for goals. Ohio State needs to calm down and collect themselves – they’re still forcing turnovers, but they’re giving the disc back too easily. Their deep game hasn’t come together at all this game, and if they’re going to score deep it’s going to be touch throws to space and speed, not cutters skying their taller defenders.

Adam: Ohio State has been playing a dangerous game with their man defense.  The’ve been playing Soper on Snyder, and she’s been looking to poach and help rather than trying to take Snyder out of the game.  Carleton handlers are getting open upline, and the downfield Ohio State defenders are having to help on the open side.  That’s why the Carleton cutters have been consistently finding room for break throws from the handlers.

4:08 pm, Ohio State 11 – Carleton 15

Adam: That’s game.  Despite a great game from Nina Finley, Ohio State was unable to slow down Carleton’s handlers.  We’re looking forward to seeing if Reed and Snyder can find their way though the Oregon zone in the final tomorrow.

11:45 am, Oregon 0 – Iowa 0

Ryan: It’s fifteen minutes to gametime and we’re excited to see how Iowa handles Oregon’s junk defense. Oregon has only been tested once this tournament so far, in pool play against Minnesota when they only took half 8-7. After receiving their fourth TMF Oregon exploded in the second half, playing explosive ultimate and cruising to a 15-9 victory. And Wisconsin played Oregon well at Stanford Invite in the finals, spreading out the junk and criss crossing poppers behind Oregon’s second layer. Iowa has played well this tournament but played tight games against both Tufts (15-13) and Washington (15-14). That experience should help them, but they haven’t played Oregon since Fugue ended their season in quarterfinals last year in Boulder.

12:03 pm, Oregon 0 – Iowa 0

Adam: We have a diagonal wind of about 10mph, going left to right and towards the stands.  Oregon Coach Lou Burress said he was hoping for some wind, since Oregon didn’t want to get into a possession game.  Oregon will be starting on defense, with Iowa going downwind.

12:12 pm, Oregon 0 – Iowa 1

Ryan: Oregon played man defense that first point, not breaking out the junky D yet. Oregon’s D line O wants to huck and go straight to the endzone, and they’re okay with not connecting on every one as long as they connect on some and put the fear into Iowa. If Oregon can make offense stressful for Iowa, they’re going to slowly wear them down.

12:17 pm, Oregon 1 – Iowa 2

Adam:  Oregon should be happy with how the first few points have gone.  They scored their O point downwind without too much trouble, and they’ve made Iowa work going downwind.  Oregon has shown the ability to move the disc upwind.  They have to be confident they can score upwind.

12:22 pm, Oregon 2 – Iowa 2

Ryan:  Twohig came on for this D point to guard Darch – Twohig is a fantastic handler defender with a great mark, and she took Claudia Tajima of Tufts out of their pool play matchup. If Twohig can slow down Darch and prevent her from hucking, Iowa could develop a defensive edge of their own. But she didn’t make much of an impact on that point, as Darch still throws the assist. It’s still early – these players are just feeling each other out right now.

12:30 pm, Oregon 3 – Iowa 4

Adam:  Oregon’s zone was able to force Iowa to throw some difficult passes near the upwind endzone.  We’ll see to what extent each of these teams chooses to play a field position game, rather than maintain possession.  Iowa has started every upwind possession needing to go 70 yards.

12:44 pm, Oregon 5 – Iowa 5

Ryan:  Both teams have had plenty of opportunities to work the disc upwind, but there have only been a few completed upwind hucks, and with the wind as strong as it is, it will take two hucks to get it to the endzone. Neither team is working the breakside particularly well going upwind, but I think that Iowa has the throws from Twohig and Minor to get it out to the backhand sideline and attack that way, instead of flicks that get caught up in the wind.

12:46 pm, Oregon 5 – Iowa 6

Ryan:  Oregon’s going to have to start matching up here a little smarter on their man points – Nowak can’t be guarded by Bovee and Twohig will give Shofner the run around. In the zone they can get away with some of these matchups because they keep shifting, but Nowak is a great receiver and will go up and over some of these Oregon defenders.

12:51 pm, Oregon 7 – Iowa 7

Adam:  Both teams are playing a lot of zone when the offense is going downwind.  They’re trying to force lateral passes and get a turn on a short field going upwind.  Iowa gave themselves one of their best chances so far of scoring upwind, but couldn’t convert.  Oregon wants to score this easily so they can stack their D line and get the break to take half.  Fugue will be on offense going downwind to start the second half.

12:58 pm, Oregon 7 – Iowa 8

Ryan:  Two tough plays for Oregon there. The first was Shofner’s flick to the endzone that fell short for what would have been a break. All day Oregon’s flicks on that side have fallen short – a backhand there would catch the wind and sit up for the receiver. And second, Zajonc’s bid on defense that was ruled a tie. Zajonc is a better defender and a good person to put on Nowak, but that was a break backhand huck that left her with a lot of ground to cover. She still almost got there!

1:00 pm, HALFTIME

Adam:  There are two ways to try to score upwind: either you keep possession and try to work it, or you take any halfway decent shot.  So far, Oregon has clearly gone for the latter strategy.  They’ve put up a handful of discs to the upwind endzone, but they haven’t come close to a completion.  Iowa has been more selective with their upwind shots, but hasn’t seriously threatened upwind either.  Both teams have shown the ability to throw upwind, and the game will likely come down to which team comes down with a handful of jump balls.

Ryan:  You have to think that both teams will try a more patient upwind strategy – they have the handlers to work the breakside and the handler upline cuts. With so many turnovers in both directions, if it doesn’t work it’s not a big loss. But with both teams expecting the huck, going small ball is definitely worth a shot. Both teams are still forcing turnovers when they start on D.

1:16 pm, Oregon 10 – Iowa 9

Adam:  Oregon tried to go for more possession and work it up that point.  Darch got stuck, and put up was was essentially a punt into the endzone.  It was a terrific throw, and Oregon gets the first upwind score of the game.  If they can break back downwind here, they will be in control of the game.

1:20 pm, Oregon 11 – Iowa 9

Adam:  It’s worth pointing out that if Oregon had converted their upwind break in the first half, Iowa would need two upwind scores to win the game.  As it is, if Iowa breaks upwind and converts the ensuing downwind point, they will be back in the lead.

1:25 pm, Oregon 12 – Iowa 9

Ryan:  Oregon has really turned up the pressure here, and Iowa has started to turn the disc over on shorter throws, giving Oregon better field position going upwind. With more time to figure out their matchups and Twohig and Nowak hobbled, Oregon has started to pull away with this three-break advantage. Iowa is running out of time.

1:29 pm, Oregon 13 – Iowa 10

Adam:  That was a side stack from Iowa, which allowed them to isolate a single cutter at a time against the Oregon man defense.  Iowa is going to have to make quick work of their downwind points if they are to have any chance of coming back.

1:35 pm, Oregon 15 – Iowa 11

Adam:  That’s game.  Oregon was clearly the better team.  On the last Oregon possession, Darch cut downfield, and her defender seemed scared of Darch beating her deep.  She was wide open under, and immediately threw the game-winning huck.  We’ll see if Oregon’s opponent in the final will be able to force Darch away from the disc.

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