Terminus Preview by Grant
March 20, 2010, 4:29 am
Filed under: tournament write-ups

After two full months of the college season, the series is almost upon us and teams are still jockeying with each other to determine bid allocations and region supremacy. This weekend is a pivotal point in the season with Centex, Southers and the Chicago Invite accompanying Terminus on the slate of games. Spin Ultimate will be out at the Georgia Soccer Park reporting on the action and here’s a quick preview on things to watch for.

5 teams attending Terminus made Nationals last year so they have the immediate targets on their backs. Georgia enters the tournament as the top seed in Pool A and after a positive Stanford Invite, they look to avoid being snake bitten again by bad weather. If you remember last year, UGA went 0 and A lot so for Jojah to maintain constistency so late in the season will pay dividends come series time especially with a crucial win over top teams Florida and Oregon. Peter Dempsey points out that injuries have hit UGA this year and the roster has never been at full strength. “We still haven’t played with our top 10 guys healthy. It will be nice to see what we can do once all the pieces fall into place. Also, like many other teams in the country I’m sure, we have lost a lot of practice time because of the extremely wet weather. Our practice fields unfortunately close pretty quickly when it rains. We get a good workout in either way, but you can’t replace actually getting out there and getting your hands on the disc.” Dempsey, along with Taylor Nilan, David Benkeser, Matt Bailey and Herrig brothers, Rob and Charlie are the cogs of the Jojah machine this year but are instrumental in incorporating the whole team.

Williams and Tufts, the Northeast Region’s Nationals representatives from last year wind up in Pool B together and the two squads are a bit of a mystery coming into the tournament because neither has played many games. Tufts captain Andrew Hollingworth had this to say, “I’m not sure what I’d call our biggest successes; we have barely played. We played a couple games at Vegas, but that’s about it, and none of those were particular highlights. We’ve been practicing indoors on a set of tennis courts that are inside of our indoor track, so I guess that’s been frustrating.” Caleb Balderston echoed the sentiments for Williams, “The truth is, we are untested as of yet. We scrimmaged a few schools in the Northeast in January, but other than that we haven’t seen other teams (on grass) since the fall.” Never the less, both teams are primed to go deep in this tournament with a bevy of talent on both sides. Besides Hollingworth making plays for the E-Men, Jay Clark, Ben Strauss, Colin Harari and Alex Berdoff are others to watch out for. WUFO boasts an impressive lineup of 11 seniors this year and the depth in the experience department could pay dividends come May.

Cornell also makes the trip south hoping to regain form after a dissappointing Vegas which saw the Buds lose all three games played, despite the fact some of their key players were missing. Yet early season results are hard to quantify and the Buds should never be counted out, especially with their tall studs. Luther rounds out the reigning field of Nationals Participants which caught some folks off guard last year. Despite the handicaps of residing in a cold weather region, LUFDA is already picking up where they left off, going 7-1 at Frosbite over some stiff regional competition. ” It was good to get out after months of indoor training and finally hit the ground running, no matter how soggy it was. It was indeed wet, cold, and windy (nothing new for spring in the Midwest), but we persevered and ended up with the 7-1 record. We were most pleased with our victory over Minnesota-Duluth, and the way we responded after being crushed by Iowa State in the quarters. If we can continue to show that type of resiliency in a season that has already seen more injury troubles than last year, I think we’ll be successful,” says captain Greg Shirbroun.

Beyond those teams, there is plenty of good competition heading south for the winter to do battle. Dartmouth had a rough 2009 but is already making statements in 2010 that they will be in the thick of things, but more than likely are just happy to be getting out of the cold weather for a weekend. Middlebury and Massachusetts are also making the trek to Atlanta for some good times and good weather. As you may remember, Middlebury was a good bet to make Natty’s last year but is team known for crazy outfits and good times.

It’s been a few years since George Washington made Nationals but they’ve never slouched off even though the weather tries to keep them off the pitch. “Like most teams, our spring schedule has had tournament cancellations due to weather. Therefore, the only full tournament we have played at was the Wilmington 8’s on Feb 20-21. It turned out to be a very encouraging tournament for us as we ended up losing in the finals and finishing 2nd after being seeded 6th,” says captain Russel Howd. The Hippos are incredibly young this year but are building a core for the future. Howd says they’ve had the largest freshman recruiting class in history and the quicker the young Hippos figure out the college game, the more this team will be lethal.

Likewise, it’s been a few years since Penn has been to Nationals and a generation has past since they won it all. Adding a new coach to the fold and getting lots of indoor time means that this team leaves a lot to wonder. On the one hand they are getting some excellent coaching from Billy Maroon of OLD SAG but as Gary Rodman puts it, ” Usually we are able to tough out a handful of practices in the January and February cold here in Philadelphia, but the record winter here (over 70 inches of snow fell before February even ended) made that impossible. So, the result is that we were relegated to our indoor facilities and working almost exclusively on our fitness.” So the key for VOID will be to match their fitness with the mental game that they haven’t been able to work outside with all that much. Dave Rublin anchors the D line along with Chris Ballard, John Ruch, Edward Linton and Leon Chou for assistance. Jay Choi will be setting up behind the disc on offense for Penn.

Terminus also boasts some strong local teams in Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Emory. Tennessee was my darkhorse pick to make Nationals out of the Atlantic Coast this year at the beginning of the season and they’ve already posted wins over Virginia and NC State in the fall as well as wins over Illinois and North Park this spring. Agent Orange is looking forward to a full healthy roster to dominate the fields. Co Captian Chris Mullinix had this to say, “We had a top 10 player Matt Mullinix out with his ACL tear but he is back and this will be his first fully capable tournament. Our biggest threats on the field would be seniors Phil Brock and Nick “notour” “kid” Thomas.” Georgie Tech has steadily proved to be a pipeline for Chain Lightning over the past few years and now they are giving back as Russel Snow is coaching the team this year. After beating UGA for the first time in almost a decade at CCC, Tribe has cooled off a little bit this spring, suffering some tough universe point losses but look forward to defending their “home” turf. Nick Lance, Michael Spear and Hogan McHugh are three big threats from the Institute. Clemson has steadily become an annual regional contender thanks to the leadership of Ben Slade and a surge in athletic talent for the Joint Chiefs. Clemson recently finished 3rd at the increasingly prestigious Tally Classic and continue to be a program on the rise. Miller Yoho had this to say, ” We finished that weekend with a 4-2 record with both losses coming on double game point to the teams in the championship on Sunday. Also in Saturday’s showcase game for the ACC Championship our offense was PERFECT. We had no turnovers.” Yoho also reaffirmed the torrential weather cycle that has put a strain on many teams this spring but that hasn’t stopped a few players from shining. Ben Slade, Keenan Watson, Wes Hall, Tyler Van Hook and Michael “Viper” Parks will be big contributors this weekend. Finally, Emory has been a team struggling to find its identity this season. Both Robert Runner and David Berendes enrolled at Emory this past fall to work on their post graduate studies and both still have their 5th year of eligibility to use but have had to make the sacrifice in order to succeed at the research university. So instead of replacing the always upbeat Sam Gainer with two Chain rookies, the team has had to build a core of undergraduate players and battle injuries to the leadership at the same time. Captain Matt Wetzel had this to say about his injury as well as others, ” I am [injured] and have been out for a while now thanks to my ankle, we’ve had people abroad and injured all year, so its been difficult to build the chemistry we would like.” Never the less, Wetzel, along with Josh Glasser, Alex Ko, and Byron Liu have stood out for Juice this season.

Finally watch out for a couple of new kids on the block, Xavier and Kennesaw State. Xavier made Regionals for the first time last season out of the massive East Plains Section. Captain David Cranston is excited about the prospect of coming to Terminus, “Trying to compete at a higher level with a large freshmen class has been challenging, but so far so good. Our coach Michael Rimler, economics professor at Xavier, has done a great job integrating the freshmen with the senior class and leading us to the switch between a semi-competitive team to one who is battling for a high finish at regionals… This is the first really high level tournament Xavier has gotten a bid to with the exception of Chicago Heavyweights. ” Watch out for the tall Cranston as well as Chris Place, Zach Dahaemers, Aaron Bacon and Danny Yunez. Kennesaw State has had to work in the shadow of Georgia Tech and Georgia during their existence but now have some solid players to work around. The altitude enhanced Taylor Goforth will be grabbing everything out of the sky this weekend as Kennesaw State makes its entrance into fold of elite college ultimate.

Well there you have it. The biggest storyline for the weekend? Weather. The key for teams to play well and come away with good feelings from the weekend? Weather. Hopefully the skies will cooperate. See everyone at the fields.