Wednesday, May 20, 2009

White Mountain Open 2009 - something something something breach

Wow, I have to go back in time to find out how many times I have blogged about the White Mountain Open. Looks like it was fewer times than I expected. We have 2005, 2007 and 2008. I'm assuming that DoG iced 2006 because of concerns about the competitive level and maybe it was the same weekend as the NJ invite.

Ironside was originally going to split up into 4 teams and Bodhi was already sending 2 teams, so it was promising to be one of the more deeper and more competitive WMO's since probably the beginning. However, Ironsides eventually backed out, leaving Bodhi a and b as the two top seeds with Phoenix 3, Colt .45 4 and DoG (masters) 5, in 4 pools so we were matched up with Colt .45. For yet another year we were gifted a first round bye (can I tell you how much I love those for these commuting tourneys). This enabled me to set my alarm for 7AM Sat morning, nice leisurely breakfast, made myself a nice lunch and then hit the road at 8AM, stopped by the ex's to drop off the kids karate clothes and say hi to the kids, then off to Dartmouth and got there around 10:15.

This was going to be a slightly different WMO, as 1) we were going to have a rather large team, and 2) much of that team was composed of players that had never played with DoG before. Apparently A&B has imploded or decided to disband so all of a sudden there are a lot of players available to look at. This prompted an internal review that resulted in me concluding pretty much the same thing, that if I failed to qualify for nationals it would be VERY hard to get it up for the following year so I completely understand how it may have happened. Regardless, we had about 10 old DoG and 7 newbies, with a number of people doing one day only visits so we averaged around 15 players a day, a veritable army for this early season tournament.

Our first game was against Magma from Montreal. Unfortunately they were unable to provide much of a test as we soundly beat them 13-4. We had a pretty long break between games before playing Space Jam-X from I have no idea. This was a VERY young team, and they played a bit like it. Another blowout and then we had Colt .45 for the pool. They were missing Korber who is trying out for Ironsides but Match was there running the show. He and I matched up quite a bit during the game and I know he was somewhat frustrated at a number of long throws that went off his fingertips (no, not because I d'ed them per se, but I was right there on a lot of them). I was able to rally the troops before the game to get them to focus on this being a big game, everyone involved, no sitting during points, help on the sidelines, and it made a difference as we pulled away to a 13-10 victory. This set up a crossover game against Bodhi-B who had blown through all of their competition so far, with the top scoring team getting 5 points against them. Thus, our goal was set...

We traded to start before giving 2 quick turns to make it 3-1 Bodhi. We traded for most of the rest of the half, with both teams getting breaks to make it 7-4. We eventually got to 9-7 before they took the last 4 to make it 13-7. I have always been of the opinion in games like this where you are the underdog that it is all about the offense. The other team will give you opportunities you just have to take advantage. If you can minimize your mistakes on offense, you are in the game. Unfortunately, this isn't the DoG teams of old that really knows how to cherish the disc. But that is why we are here at these early season tournaments.

However, winning the pool did give us the benefit of yet another first round bye on Sunday. After some carousing in Hanover with Dennis and Simon, it was off to bed for a full night's sleep. 'Buffet' breakfast at the Super 8, and then at the fields 30 minutes before round 1 against Savage Strike in the pre-quarters. Again, they were unable to mount a charge against us, falling lots to very little. This doomed us going into the next game. I remember asking Taylor Richey on the sideline as we were getting ready to play Brooklyn whether we should be worried. He replied that if we played our game, no. Unfortunately, we didn't. We started on D, they scored. The O proceeded to give up the next 2 for a 3-0 lead. Timeout called, quick troop rally. We tied it up at 5-5, then gave up half 7-5. Receiving to start the second half, yet another break for them. We made one more push in the second half but then frittered it away and they ended up pulling away and winning 13-8. That was a huge downer of a game, especially (when after checking the score reporter) they got crushed by Bodhi-A 13-2. We would have put up a FAR better fight against that Bodhi squad. Yeesh!

So begins another season of official team ultimate. After the most preseason tournaments I have ever attended, specifically Kaimana and Paganello, it is a little weird to be back in the masters division, although this wasn't a masters tournament. The next stop is Masters Easterns the weekend of June 6-7 in Fort Devens. The tryout process will continue as we get to hopefully find some hungry masters players out there that want to play some good ultimate. Until then...

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