Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sectionals Day 2

Seigs did a good writeup on the overall tournament over here. On a more BEU/DoG-centric perspective, I have prepared the following:

So, if we didn't have a grudge against New Noise before, we do now. After we beat our seed on Saturday with the huge win over Red Tide to win our pool, we ended up playing A2=NN in the winners bracket semis. They had eked out a close victory over us at the Boston Invitational back in June after we had eked out an even closer victory over Gunslingers. They were definitely a different (and better) team than at BI, and we were definitely different (still figuring out whether we are better, though we definitely have the potential to be significantly better).

The game started out and we started on defense and quickly went down a break. We eventually got that break back with a good mix of man and zone. We got another one to take the lead, and then the wheels fell off. We kept the lead for a few points, then we got sloppy. We had opportunities to extend the lead, but had some uncharacteristic turnovers. NN went up a couple of breaks late before we got a final break back and forced double game point with them receiving the pull. They moved the disc slowly but surely down the field before ending up on the left sideline just out of the endzone. At stall 9, they threw an inside out backhand to a cutter who had actually just fallen down. Fortunately for them he was able to recover and catch the game-winner. Very frustrating but overall I think we were happy with our play. The pleasant surprise on the weekend was how well we were able to apply pressure on the man D against much younger teams. We definitely earned a number of turnovers including layout blocks on pressure man to man. The zone was also effective at times, although it remains to be seen how it will do against theoretically wiser masters teams. The one thing that we need to work on big-time (and will do at Clambake) is zone to man. we probably tried it 4 or 5 times, mostly Sunday, and it was DREADFUL. People weren't picking up man to save their lives.

So our loss to NN set up a 3-4 game against Red Tide, who had gotten smoked by Boston Ultimate x-x. While I was sad that I wasn't going to be able to match up against my ex-mates and try and score the most points off them on the weekend, playing Red Tide again was probably far more valuable in terms of playing experience. Red Tide played much better than they had the previous day, but we were able to keep pace. While the final score was not as lopsided as the pool play game, we won reasonably comfortably at 15-12. This game saw the continued effective mix of in-your-face man and an effective zone, although the zone to man continued to elude us. We made fewer stupid mistakes this game than in the NN game, and we were able to close it out.

This led to a proposed 2nd place game against New Noise, who had lost to BU again, 15-7. We had enough people that were willing to play if the game HAD to be played, but we ended up trying to get out of the game, as NN wasn't thrilled to play us again either. No word on whether it was because they were afraid to lose... However, it took a lot of research to figure out whether it was acceptable, including having one guy dial up the UPA website on his crackberry to check the UPA series guidelines. There was one set of verbiage that we figured would allow us to back out of the game, pending approval from the UPA representative at the tournament, Seigs. When we broached the topic with him, he ended up calling Matt Bourland to get the final word on whether it was acceptable, and it was. NN ended up playing Red Tide for bragging rights in a no seeding impact game. Red Tide went up early, and we heckled for a little bit before leaving without seeing the ending.

All in all, a very good weekend that saw us accomplish almost all of our goals. We got almost everyone together at a tournament, we improved very much as a team, were able to play all facets of the game, effective O, man and zone D's. We got a far better turnout playing Sectionals than if we had tried to have a couple of practices. And also FAR more playing time/games. Looking forward to Clambake next weekend for more of the same.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sectionals Day 1

I originally wasn't going to post until after the entire tournament, but after today's events, I feel like I should pen to paper while it is still reasonably fresh in my mind. This was a day of extremes. Now to the details.

After my last post, apparently that helped engender a change in the tourney format. They first went with two 5 team pools with a much better schedule. Then, when one team dropped out, they went to 4 and 5 team pools with us in the 5 team pool, which we were more than happy with, as we were out there to practice. First game at 9, while the pool of 4 didn't even start until 12:30. Naturally the sectionals director was in the pool of 4, though it didn't help him because he had to be there early. (cue Nelson laugh).

Our first game pitted us against Gunslingers, a young team from the Boston (and Amherst?) area that we had beaten in a contested double-game point victory. Our forces trickled in before (and after 9AM). This gathering of people had definitely not played together in any real way ever, and it showed. We proceeded to hand the Gunslingers the disk time after time after time on poor decisions, poor execution, lazy defense. Basically there was nothing good in this game. It was bad enough that I was really beginning to question whether this whole Masters thing was going to be a good idea. They beat us 13-9, and we were lucky to be that close. Truly.

The next game was against the Tufts E-Men. They had shockingly just lost a double game point squeaker to the Bowdoin college team, but we didn't know that at first. We started out MUCH better this game, jumping out to a large half-time lead, and then the wheels came off. With the large lead in hand, we started getting lazy on both D and O, and frittered away our huge lead, finally winning in the end 13-10. The third round bye was spent in the shade watching the Rude Boys play their first game in Div II Sectionals. Wow, I thought I was old. THEY were old, but they were still moving and playing reasonably well. The best was that they were able to field almost a full 7 of children, and a number of their kids were pretty good players in their own right.

Finally game 3 against the Bowdoin Stone Clowns or something like that. We finally started hitting our stride in this game, and ran away with it 13-6. This set up a key final game against the first seed in our pool, Red Tide. They had crushed Gunslingers 13-6 the round after us. Going into the game, Jim had stated that we had to win by 2 to make it into the next round (2nd place) and by 7 to win the pool. I had watched Red Tide during some points, and they were running VERY well. I was not sanguine about winning the game, much less worrying about the points. I tried to rally the troops during the opening huddle, but take no credit for what followed. We started by playing man, got the quick stuff and szcore. A few more points, and all of a sudden, I think we might have a chance. We are playing as well as we played poorly the first game. The offense is playing within themselves, the defense is mixing man and zone VERY effectively, with numerous Ds in both defenses. We go up 4-2, have the disk to take half 7-3 and eventually take half 7-4 AND we are receiving. Naturally it was too good to be true, and we get scored on out of half. Somewhere in here, we play one point of zone and each team has 4 turnovers. VERY ugly point. But that was our only MTP that I remember. I contributed two turnovers with the sideline shouting timeout leading into each one. Fortunately we did not crumble, proceeded to score the next point, and actually got some more D's to win 13-7, which was shocking. It was shortly after that Bim pointed out that Jim was wrong, and Jim reached the same conclusion. We had actually WON the pool at +2 with Red Tide at +1, and Gunslingers being sent down to the B pool at -3. Woohoo! Our games tomorrow will be meaningful and challenging now, which is why we are at this tournament. We start with a game against New Noise, who we owe from the Boston Invitational, and if we win that one, we play Boston Ultimate for the Sectional championship. If we lose, we play Red Tide again, and I'm sure they'll be hungry for revenge.

So a day that started in infamy and really made me question our chances to make Nationals, much less actually do well, turned around in a single game and showed us what we could achieve. Granted, the challenge ahead is tough, and could still end in misery, but at least we now have an example of how to play. See you on the field...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


So my first national series outside the Open division fast approaches. While Sectionals is not required for masters attendance, we are going to use it as an opportunity to get the team together and actually play against someone else. A number of us were able to get together for the Hingham Cup in August, but other than a few practices, that is all we have done tournament-wise. The next 3 weekends will define our fate and determine whether I will be staying home from Nationals for the first time since 1991.

I was poking around the score reporter, looking at a number of Sectionals tournaments that happened last weekend. I was searching for masters teams in particular. It seemed the most successful one was OLDSAG from Philly. In their section, they were undefeated until playing Pike in the finals, to whom they lost 15-13. Even if Pike is not the powerhouse they used to be, this is a respectable result. They ultimately lost in their loser bracket game against Burgh 13-11, whom they beat 9-8 in the winners bracket.

Above & Beyond, playing in the New York Sectional and seeded second behind PoNY, ended up losing in an upset against Wesleyan. They recovered to take second overall behind PoNY, beating Wesleyan in the losers bracket after Wesleyan got smoked by PoNY in the finals. That is two straight teams losing the 'game to go' to a team they already beat, to continue a discussion happening in other blogs and rsd at the moment.

In the Capital (DC) sectionals, Baltimore masters did very poorly, going 0-4 in pool play and losing their first game on Sunday to DC Funk.

In the Desert open section, Ironwood won out.

In Michigan open, I can only assume Fossil Fuel is a masters team, and they did OK, coming in 5th but getting smoked by BAT.

In the Rocky Mountain section, perennial masters power Old and in the Way performed respectably with reasonably close losses to Bravo and Sack Lunch, coming in 3rd overall by beating the other masters team, Postmasters.

Finally, over in Washington/BC open sectionals, Throwback did not hold their august seed and ended up 7th after a disappointing 1-3 start in pool play.

As for DoG, masters style, we are seeded 4th behind Boston Ultimate, Red Tide, and New Noise this weekend with Gunslingers right on our heels. Naturally as second seed in our pool we have the toughest schedule, with the two most important games of the day one right after the other. We begin with 3rd in our pool Gunslingers, who I imagine have to be wanting payback after our contested double game point win at Boston Invitational. Our next game is against #1 Red Tide, who must be riding last year's performance since they have not shined this year so far. We end with games against Tufts, which Alec, Damon, and Jeff should greatly enjoy, a bye, and then Bowdoin. If we come in 3rd, we will probably end up only playing 1 game Sunday morning, which would be tragic. If we come in 2nd, we start with Boston Ultimate and then have at least one more game. If we win out the pool, we would probably play New Noise, and if we don't beat them, we won't even get a chance to match up with BU, which would be tragic. I'll have to figure out whether to tank the Red Tide game... I'm sure Gunslingers, New Noise and Red Tide are better equipped than earlier this year, but then again, I hope we are two. The roster is finally starting to shape up, although we might have anywhere from 15-25 people show. Hopefully we can start to get some lines established, who are the hot D players, who will be making the O squad, etc.

As for the above masters results, who the hell knows what it means. If we do well this weekend, then have more faith in the above results. If we do poorly, then it means that none of those teams had their full squads... :)

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