Same as it ever was.
In what has been a familiar theme this season, Mamabird combined a virtually unchallenged offense with gritty man defense for a 15-11 finals victory over Oregon Ego and an undefeated President’s Day Invite.
Mamabird received contributions from up and down their entire roster. Jimmy Mickle, Tim Morrissey, Hidde Snieder, Pawel Janas, Wes Chow, and Jeremy Harker chewed up acres of yardage on offense, while Matt Bubernak, Andrew Commander, Jesse Fisher, and Stanley Pederson anchored a defensive line of throwers that could rival most other team’s offensive lines.
Colorado was never seriously threatened in this tournament, and rode the big-play talent of its roster to wins over Northern Arizona, California-Davis, Oklahoma, Washington, Victoria, Cal-Berkeley, UCSB, UBC, and Oregon.
Mamabird hopes to continue its momentum as it moves on to the Stanford Invite and Centex later this season. “We broke our team into a nice defensive and offensive core, so we’re going to continue to try and hone the two,” says handler and team spokesman Jeremy Harker. “The way we played this tournament, the O line was able to jump on the D line quite a bit. So our goal for the rest of the season is to try for a bigger spread on the games and win cleaner. We try to have a mindset of sure we won, but playing with guys who have been in a bunch of elite games there’s always something we can learn. We hold ourselves to a high standard.”
Semifinals: Colorado (SC) v. UBC (NW) , Oregon (NW) v. UCSD (SW)
In a blustery, cold morning with a dense layer of marine fog, Colorado broke quickly in the semifinals against UBC to make it 2-1 off a pretty throw from Pawel Janas. Colorado used creative throws from Jeremy Harker, Tim Morrissey, and Jesse Fisher, and repeatedly hit its initial deep shot off of turnovers. Jimmy Mickle’s throws in particular seemed unaffected by the wind. UBC had difficulty with Mamabird’s sagging zone and often rushed its throws, leading to skying D’s from Jack Barrow and Josh Crane. A dropped pull at 12-5 sealed UBC’s fate as Mamabird broke again at 13-5 with a Callahan and again to win in a landslide, 15-5.
In the other semifinal, windy conditions gave Oregon Ego an extra split second to catch up to UCSD’s tentative and increasingly errant throws. Ego broke the Squids three times early for the 5-2 lead behind layout D’s from Will Watkins and an army of young, confident defenders. Strong away cutting from Gabe Fruchter and confident puts from Dylan Freechild kept the Squids at bay early. UCSD broke back 6-5 on quick give-and-go moves and the Squids earned a poach D on the next point, but an errant throw away led to Freechild roasting his man deep for the 7-5 lead. Oregon began to aggressively front cutters after UCSD looked off several open hucks because of the wind. Another layout D led to Ego’s fourth break of the first half, 8-5.
A kick block and stall nine bailout throw gave the Squids the disc on the goal line to break out of halftime, but an encroaching Dylan Freechild poach led to a turfed attempted forehand holster, preserving the Ego hold and 9-5 lead. The teams traded to 11-7 before an errant throw and pretty leading pass to a handler strike cut brought out the first break bucket of the second half and a 12-7 advantage. A gigantic outside-in pull from Freechild pinned UCSD deep inside its own endzone and led to an immediate dropped pass that Oregon punched in for its sixth break of the game to make it 13-7. A cheeky high-release forehand from Jack Slevin set Ego off to the races and ended the zone offense with a hammer break to Gabe Fruchter and the 14-7 lead. The teams basically traded out from there to end the game at 15-9.
Finals: Colorado Mamabird (SC) v Oregon Ego (NW)
The finals saw Ego break on the opening point after a deep shot from Tim Morrissey was D’ed easily by a run-through Oregon defender. Patient isolation cutting from Ego’s Gabe Fruchter led to an easy score from Freechild to Mario Bundy and an opening break 1-0. A swing throw floated long on the next point after an early timeout and Pawel Janas couldn’t reel it in. A looping cross-field away throw gave Ego its second break and a 2-0 lead. Tim Morrissey again misfired looking for Jimmy Mickle deep but got it back with a run-through D. Mamabird couldn’t capitalize however as a Jeremy Harker layout hammer grab came after Mark Rauls got stalled for his second turnover of the first three points, leading to three breaks in the first three points and a 3-0 lead for Ego.
Mamabird used patient isolation cutting and several no-pivot airbounce backhand breaks from Jimmy Mickle to hold 3-1. Wind began to wreak havoc on catches as wide open deep looks were dropped near the endzone. Patient handling from Andrew Commander and Jesse Fisher returned a break for Mamabird 4-3. Colorado had the disc on the doorstep for another break to tie but couldn’t connect, and Ego immediately hucked the length of the field to Freechild for the 5-3 hold. After a Mamabird hold, Colorado broke twice more off drops and throwaways from Ego. Mamabird nearly made it three breaks in a row but Charlie Wilson-Moses got just enough in the way of Hidde Sneider to cause a drop and Freechild sent a cross-field inside-out screamer for the 6-6 hold. Ego nearly earned a break back on the next point but Mamabird held again on a Mickle huck to a screaming Tim Morrissey for the layout grab, 7-6. Gabe Fruchter dropped the disc on the subsequent point but Jimmy Mickle couldn’t pull in an away throw for the score. Ego immediately threw a huck turnover and Jesse Martin found his target deep for Mamabird’s break into half 8-6.
The second half was all superstars as Jimmy Mickle, Tim Morrissey, and Hidde Snieder took over the game. Ego held coming out of half on a nice layout huck grab to bring it within one, but dicey blades, tough defense, and errant throwaways allowed Mamabird to break twice more and trade out for the 15-11 victory. Freechild and Fruchter had excellent games for Ego, but Mamabird’s depth proved too much to handle.
Spin MVP: Hidde Snieder
It’s tough to single out any one player for Colorado’s success (aside from the usual brilliance of Jimmy Mickle), but big play threat Hidde Snieder is as good of a choice as any on a roster stacked top to bottom with talent. “Hidde to me is the offensive whip,” says Harker. “He doesn’t hesitate to tell me very firmly when I’m cutting incorrectly. He’s definitely our best cutter, and between him, Tim (Morrissey), and Jimmy (Mickle), they really keep us younger cutters in line. Coming from Bravo, they bring a very strict offensive philosophy, yet are able to improvise as well. Hidde’s the MVP because he doesn’t f*** up.” Snieder anchored Mamabird’s offensive line and almost always was the primary option in an isolation stack. His big throws, gritty defense, impressive vertical, and breakaway speed gave Mamabird a dominant advantage in the lanes and allowed throwers a large margin of error to put the disc deep.