Skyd Magazine’s coverage of Windmill Windup is brought to you by Five Ultimate.
Windmill’s Accurate Name
Saturday play of Windmill Windup cannot be discussed without a mention of the weather. The Netherlands are a good place for windmills for a reason and that reason blasted teams all day long. At one point the elements went from 65 degrees (F) and sunny to 50 with pouring rain and screaming wind in a matter of minutes during the first round. Teams’ depth of throwers were readily revealed in the face of the onslaught. Flow across the the entire division crawled slower as breezes made handlers stop to dial in large, difficult throws instead of bouncing to poppers for smaller gains. A game of field position ensued.
After watching the gold medal chances for the women’s division be cut from sixteen to eight teams, I am sold on the effectiveness of the Swiss format (at least with small divisions). Teams relegated to consolation play Jinx and Lemongrass showed developing talent or cohesion, but the top eight teams made quarters for good reasons. CUSBologna showed that their bombastic play and enthusiasm could earn them a spot in the top eight. Hot Beaches walked into the quarter finals with excellent adherence to teammates playing their specific roles. Purple Rhino came together as an international pick up team to find key match ups that would work again and again to make it into the championship bracket. Teams excelled in different styles of play and matching those against each other made the culling of teams from 8 to 4 even more anticipated.
CUSB vs. U de Cologne
The Italian team put on a show with everything one would want a young group of athletes to display. Their constant willingness to bid for discs and contest throws was there from beginning to end, but ultimately the wind devoured their lesser throwers and breaks came easily for the opposition. Cologne showed the poise and skill one would expect from an experienced group of club players. Under different conditions the result may have been closer, but given the wind, Cologne’s ability to move the disc with relative ease put them into the semis, 15-4.
Hot Beaches vs. Lay Ds
Hot Beaches continued their dominant streak. After dismantling the seemingly unflappable Swiss Lotus, they poured into their quarter final with undeniable control. Each Czech player knew their role. Handers hucked with ease and their receivers did their jobs to score goals or quickly get the disc back into the hands of a player comfortable with the wind. The Lay D’s just couldn’t keep up, losing 15-3. But the Slovakian team wasn’t without merit. Katka Bodova kept her team’s spirits running with her amazing backhand. She has to be in the running for one of the best lefties on the continent.
Purple Rhino vs. Lotus
Purple Rhino, an international pick up team, finally put the elite pieces of their group togther. After scraping their way into the quarters, this game started with Rhino finding the matchups that worked again again and traded points with their opponents. Coupled with a rather stifling zone, Lotus’ offense was slowed to half the speed it had from Friday games. Eventually, after both teams were sitting at 5’s Lotus showed they had the next gear of a competitive club team. Handlers spread the field and their defenders had legs that would go into the finals. Rhino would go scoreless in the second half, giving Lotus the win 15-5.
Woodchicas v Copenhagen
Undoubtedly the best and closest matchup of the quarterfinals, this game pitted the German team against their Northern neighbors. This was a tooth and nail match with each team throwing suffocating four person zones. The wind howled and some points lasted upwards of 10 minutes but neither contender was willing to concede. (Actually, that was an excellent attribute of all the teams I saw playing this weekend. No matter how far behind, or how brutal the wind was every team and player was in it for the long haul. Maybe it’s a virture of the Swiss format where every point matters or maybe it’s an effort of the teams in attendance, but it made even blowouts exciting to watch.)
The game was tied at 11s as the cap closed in, but the Woodchicas’s Kyo Hosokawa exploded with blocks and the German receivers clamped down on pass after pass no matter how shaky the disc was. They’d put the last point in to make the score 14-12.
Tomorrow’s semifinals pit the Hot Beaches against Cologne and Lotus against Woodchicas at 9am.