Here are my thoughts from the weekend, in no real order:
- As a long time observer of Ewo, it was interesting to get a really good look at Josh McCarthy’s ideas implemented in another division. The essential elements are the same (vert, force one-way), but Ironside plays with much greater structural freedom than Tufts.
- Scandal used sagging off to great effect in the Finals. I don’t know if this was in intentional imitation of the Japanese strategy from Worlds 2012 or not, but it looked very similar. It was very effective in the first half while the Scandal defenders were still fresh and moving. Yes, they poached, but they moved energetically back and forth from poach to coverage. As fatigue set in, they either didn’t poach at all or took a rest break poach. Neither was effective, allowing Fury to clean up their offensive game and run away with the win.
- Very interesting to see Beau take such a dominant role for Revolver. Having Beau handle isn’t the immediate thought on the departure of Cahill, but it is obviously very successful. His size and athleticism make him uncoverable anywhere on the field and he is a great thrower. I know, I know – how can I say that when there are probably fifteen guys (on Revolver alone) who have better technical throws than he does? There are two things to notice about what he does. First, he uses his length to avoid defensive pressure from the marker. Second, he has absolute understanding of himself as a thrower, what his tools are and how to use them.
- Revolver is playing low-count ultimate – the vast majority of their throws are coming below 5 in the stall count. This makes it very hard for teams to generate defensive pressure and makes all their turnovers (and everyone has some) look stupid and unforced.
- Fury’s quiet youth movement is and isn’t changing their team. Offensively, they are still playing the same pick-your-poison style, isolating big space in the middle of the field for their cutters. Defensively though, they are more and more reliant on their man-to-man; its been a long time since I’ve seen them take over a game with a zone look.
- Revolver and Ironside look very, very polished. September polished. I can only attribute this to the large portion of each team playing MLU.
- If I am Chain or Sockeye, I am very encouraged by this tournament. The two dominant teams look very close to their peak, while Ring and Doublewide look very beatable.
- If I am a women’s team other than Fury, I am discouraged – it looks like more of the same. Fury is still experimenting (particularly with personnel) and winning. They look like a team with a considerable amount of upside.
- The lack of international representation was disappointing. With the tournament on the East Coast, it would have been nice to see some really top European squads. The Worlds scheduling conflict will continue to be a major problem for this tournament; this should have been a pretty good year with each country sending just six players, they should have been able to muster some teams.
- As always (can I say that?) it was great to watch live ultimate on the TV.
Feature photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com