Sunday, June 25, 2006

Boston Invitational - Open Division - Day Two

Two in a row. No, I'm not talking about my point blocked hammers this time. Two Boston Invitational Championships in a row. I can't remember the last time that happened (I'm sure Jim can chime in pretty quickly on that). Again, with expectations of torrential downpours, Sunday's weather ended up being ideal yet again, with nasty looking clouds, but nary a speck of rain, so cool and slightly windy.

Unfortunately, the lame schedule called for a first round quarterfinal at 8:30 against Pike. Pike had surprisingly lost all 3 of their pool play games on Saturday, obviously reeling from the loss of 3 of their best players to Metal. And man, are they a short team. We were able to convert early and often, although for some reason the game ended up pretty close, with us pulling out the victory 15-13 (!) as they mounted a late run.

The semis found us matched up against Sub-Zero, who apparently were missing 6 of their top 10 players. All I know is that Timmy was missing. They were definitely not the Sub-Zero of years past that has played us almost even. We jumped to an 8-4ish halftime lead, extending it to 14-8 before they finally broke us. Interestingly enough, at 14-8 they finally pulled and played zone for the first time, whereupon we made a first pass turnover (hint hint, play zone). They then scored the next two points to make it 14-11. Also interesting was that those were first and only 3 turnovers made by the offense all game. Finally, the O put it in for 15-11. I did hear one Sub-Zero guy say on the sideline that 'I can't believe we just broke them 3 times in a row and it is 14-11.'

Finally, the finals. Over in the other side, Metal had 'upset' Clapham 15-12 in a reasonably tightly fought game. Nasser from Clapham was able to play but was unable to throw a forehand apparently, not that this was the reason they lost. Metal looks like they may have something going. This time we broke them first, pulling and jumping out to a 3-1 lead. More trading and breaks before we took half 8-7, receiving. I did throw a stall 9 rifle hammer to Forch for a goal. In the second half, the D served up another couple of breaks to make the lead a little more comfortable before the O gave one back. At one point, Paul V made a full downfield backhand huck to Zip on a called play that he caught just outside the endzone. After we scored, naturally I razzed him about not being able to put him in the goal. So, the next O point, this time going the other way, I fired a full field backhand to my receiver, Jim, who caught it literally on the line. I felt a little hypocritical about it until I was able to justify it by saying that mine was upwind...

They played a few zone points against us, and the last one they played appeared to be a little unusual, and it didn't last long enough for us to really confirm something. But Wicks also noticed from the sideline that they set up a 4-person cup with Billy Stewart on the mark. I broke it over the top, we moved it up field quickly then got bogged down briefly. What shocked me was that instead of marking the disc, Billy played man on me as the dump. I didn't get it again (didn't need to we scored in another 2 or 3 passes), but as they were walking back upfield, I asked Billy if he was playing man on me. He gave me an only somewhat strange look. I will naturally take the best possible interpretation of this, in that they were actually playing a zone and one on ME! After all, this is big ego ultiMatE.

One other sidebar. On Saturday, Fun boy handed me off to a reporter from the Boston Globe who writes for the Globe Northwest section, one of those weekly specialty inserts. And as a resident of Arlington, he pumped me full of scopolamine and got some answers to questions. Apparently the article is supposed to run in this Thursday's Globe. Bummer for all the Somerville/Cantabridgians, as they don't get that section...:)

Even better sidebar that I'm adding after the fact now that Jim reminded me. In the second half of the finals at one point 2 handlers and 4 receivers are called in by Wicks. Waiting with bated breath only to have Wicks call Jimmy P in instead of me. He immediately raises his arms in triumph. Even better, Wicks calls the lineup and makes Jim seventh man, so he is even taking my handling spot. Tom takes great enjoyment in watching the entire interplay. I ask Wicks about it before the point starts and he says he wanted Jim to get some time in at 7th man (forget about it being at my expense). He realized the incongruity and humor in it at least. And then, worst of all, Metal comes down playing zone, the ultimate indignity. However, it is somewhat satisfying the number of teams that don't play zone on us until I'm out for a point...

The ultimate vindication, however, was when on this same point Jim got the disc on the sideline and had to throw a long hammer at stall 9 to Zip in the endzone for a turnover...

14 Comments:

Anonymous blw said...

Al, a question about that Metal zone:

Was it really a 4-person cup, or was it the 1-3-3? Maybe you didn't see it for enough resets to know, but I've seen variants of that D give the '1' enough leeway to occassionally guard the dump...and I was lucky enough to watch Bill S. explain a 1-3-3 set to a team once...maybe this was what they were running?

In the case that it was a 4-person cup...would you guess that this was a DoG specific tool? An anti-Count D? Or something they are really working on?

Any speculation appreciated, congrats on the win,

10:46 PM, June 25, 2006  
Blogger Kevin said...

Another option is that it could have been the box and 1, essentially pulling the short deep to guard one main handler, and pinching the wings in to have them cover. A great defense if an offense has one main handler, but, like the 4 man zone, if it is passed by the offense has a 4 on 3 all the way down the field.

2:51 AM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger parinella said...

My web page says that the only other time we won at least two in a row was 1994-1996 (we also won in 1998 but didn't go to the 1997 tournament).

It seemed more like a 4-0-3, as the middle had a lot of open ground.

9:41 AM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger parinella said...

The Sunday results aren't posted yet, but it's pretty remarkable how close every game was. No pool play game in Elite was worse than 15-10, and half (including the 1v1 and 2v2 crossovers) were either one or two pointers. See here for Saturday's (and eventually Sunday's).

10:31 AM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

blw: I'm theorizing that it was a box and 1, because it just didn't make sense for Billy to be covering me where he did for the dump. But who can tell. Unfortunately, we don't usually have much chance to analyze zones because we zip through them too quickly. So I'll go with the anti-Count D...

12:54 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In talking to some of the Metal guys it seems as though they are trying to develop a brand new defensive set, that was formed by the ultimate minds of Stewart and Graham. As I understand it, they have a set person as a deep-deep like most zones, then one person rotating between marking to the home side and covering the dump, one person rotating between marking to the away side and covering the swing person, one person looking to cover the dump at high stall counts, one person poaching the force side, one person looking to cover the break side and a "roamer" covering anywhere from 5 to 15 yards from the disc. The defense didn't work too well in the Finals but did look good at other times I saw it this weekend.

-Skippy

3:25 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Schmelz said...

There were a couple other times that we played zone prior to the 3 breaks in the semis. However, they went very quickly. The progressions were swing, hammer (yours), huck for score and blade, blade, forehand for score. I would like to forget them, too.

3:35 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben and Al,

Metal was working on a zone that Giora (you're old teammate ben) has been teaching us. A lot of us have not fully bought into it, and i think that is where it failed.

Essentially, you have a guy marking the thrower, and/or staying back towards the dump as he sees fit. And then you have a traditional cup around the thrower. you want this to be fairly large and there to be holes in between the cup.

Then Giora has us pushing our wings up, i mean way up. To an untrained eye, it looks like they are part of a cup, making a super cup. Ego-centric handlers (Al... i think that's you) might call this a 6 man cup.

The guy left in the back needs to be kind of good to catch any of the swilly hammer stuff. When we busted it out against DoG, and it didn't work, we called Giora and interrupted his really, really important presentation he was giving in sanfrancisco about the mating dance of the horseshoe crab.

he told us that we were getting scored on because we weren't waving our arms high enough and not chanting "cup-o-saurus". i still don't know about that guy.....

or our normal zone looked funny because there were about 4 blades thrown in about 3 seconds to beat it. one of those two... but it probably was our lack of yelling cup-o-saurus that lead to our defeat.

nice playing though al, but i think the real suprise of the weekend instead of metal's cup-o-saurus was dog's "west coat" "huck and hope" offense that you used against us. hmmm.

-josh
metal #3

3:54 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger parinella said...

Josh,

As a student of the game, I would be interested in seeing in extensive detail how to beat this zone.

I can't remember who I said this to, but with the DoG O version of the H-n-H, there needs to be at least _some_ provocation like a guy wide open to throw it deep.

5:33 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

skippy/josh: So if Billy was the off man guy deciding to mark or cover the dump, then he is a free agent? And if he covers the dump, then one of the cup types has to come in and mark? I assume you guys had no problem with that decision-making/transition? Obviously the fact that there was very little wind hurt this zone, in particular against a team like ours that is typically looking to go over a zone more than around it. Frankly, I cringe when I watch other teams play against a zone and are looking off what I consider to be pretty simple or 'safe' throws. Granted it is a matter of perspective... But I expect as the wind picks up, this zone will have a lot of success against most teams, and perhaps against us if the wind is strong enough.

I definitely agree with Jim that the DoG huck and hope usually requires a long cutter that has established that he is open already, not somebody that we hope will outrun his guy so let's throw to space.

9:16 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,

As a fellow student of the game, you beat the cup-o-saurus with two words: "crab-wise anverts". But I am sure you already knew that after seeing them busted out all over the place at nationals.

I am expecting to get some kickback for UT&T v 2.0. which will have to cover the cup-o-saurus and other new developements in ultimate such as: "so you're 6'8" and think your a handler...", and "the proper way to foul on the mark and call travel if the thrower manages to still get a throw off".

i need this jim. please.

-josh

4:19 PM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger parinella said...

That last one is easy. Make the call, then retract it after play stops, drawing laudatory remarks of "Good spirit!" from the crowd who have no idea what specifically was called, only that every call is bad.

5:01 PM, June 27, 2006  
Blogger Julian said...

Ok, so this is random, but Jim made me think of it: I HATE the "good spirit" call. I think it's bad, bad spirit. When someone takes back a call, it's not good spirit, it's probably just the right call! Plus, it's condescending.

Yeah. I know. I'll stop soon.

1:02 PM, June 28, 2006  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

julian: FOr the most part I agree with you. It also depends on the import of the game, impact of the call, etc. But he has a very good point about the crowd feeling that every call is bad, at least at some levels.

1:15 PM, June 28, 2006  

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