Terminus Preview by Grant
March 26, 2011, 2:19 am
Filed under: tournament write-ups

20 teams descend on Atlanta this weekend to do battle in one of the final national tilts of the regular season before the USAU series.  With wildcard bids on the line, everyone will be gunning for their best outing of the year to date.

Pool A:

Tufts leads this pool and they are the defending champions of this event.  If you think that the talent has dropped after Andrew Hollingworth left, you’re quite mistaken as the E-Men are also riding the coattails of a Southerns victory last weekend.  Despite being without the services Adrian Banerji and Jay Clark, they still have plenty of firepower and should be able to hold serve but this is a dangerous pool.  Lurking right behind Tufts is a bevy of fast, tall and talented teams starting with Washington University in St. Louis.  They might not necessarily have gotten the same press as other teams who benefited from big grad student pick ups but adding Joe MacDonald to a largely intact roster from the previous year is huge.  The former Prankster joins Chris James from Indiana as first year grad students playing for a Wash U team that has had its share of players gain valuable experience on the club circuit in the fall.  MacDonald’s former team, Middlebury, is also in this pool.  A rare site occurred last year when the Middlebury Pranksters wore matching uniforms with numbers as per USAU regulations but this is never a team to slack on.  These guys have a lot of fun and play excellent disc while enjoying themselves.  Jake Herman leads the way with a good chunk of the cast from last year’s Nationals squad remains including Joe “Waldo” Cox and sophomore stud Mattias Fitzpatrick.  Behind them is Alabama whose leadership made an appearance at club Nationals this past fall with Tanasi.  The positive vibes from this team though comes from the quickly developing rookies.  The newbies are really adapting to not only the game on the field but the culture of the sport as well according to Bama president Will Drumright.  The Tide have been on the cusp of really shining in the series over the past few years and if they want to carry momentum into the conference, this is the time to bring it.  If you thought that was the end of the talent in the pool, you’re wrong as Kennesaw State brings up the rear but boasts Chain Lightning rookie Taylor “Tree” Goforth as well other standouts from last year’s Regionals team including the O’ Kelley brothers and Jac Clark.  The Owls are a dangerous team and have already chalked up a finals appearance at Music City after a lackluster Saturday and short roster.  They can win at any time if other teams aren’t careful.

Pool B

The top end of this pool starts with a pair of teams double dipping from last week’s Easterns tournament.  Ohio, the champion from the qualifier tournament and UNC-Wilmington, the hosts, carry some heavy hitters.  Ohio has really stepped onto the national scene after winning the qualifier and finishing 11th in Wilmington, beating out the hosts in that final game.  The Bobcats have struggled to finish tournaments in previous years according to Andy Ball but this was redemption for them.  UNC-Wilmington is a traditional powerhouse that finally closed the gap with their regional competitors last year by qualifying for Nationals for the first time since 2002 with steady guidance of Rusty Ingold-Smith.  The Seamen lost him to graduation but retain big men like Tommy Lamar and all around solid player Stephen Bender.  The Seamen also have a tremendous asset in Tully Beauty as a coach as they look to finally put all the pieces together in their last tournament before the series.  The team really deems this tournament a national tournament is the Stanford Cardinal, making the trip from Palo Alto to regain some mojo.  The most dominant program of the 2000’s out of the old Northwest region, they stumbled last year, failing to make Nationals for the first time since 2003, when there was only 1 bid out of the Northwest.  This is a program that won’t be on hard times for very long and has capable players who can lead Bloodthirsty to victory.  Ryan Thompson is the steady handler on O who marches the Cardinal down the field and Stanford will need plenty of scoring this weekend in hopes of earning their new region another bid to Nationals.  Williams, another perennial Nationals contender out of New England returns to Terminus this year, hoping to get out of mixed bag funk as well as blustery New England conditions this time of year.  WUFO showed promise in their first tournament in Tuscaloosa but poor Saturday play in Statesboro meant they were fighting for 25th place after pool play.  With only a week to figure out a game plan, look for Williams to be happy that time spent in the South is better than cracking the books back home right now.  Rounding out the pool is another local squad, Emory who’ve struggled mightily this year.  Juice has produced a bevy of solid players in the past.  Simply look at the elite coed team, Bucket for validation.  The problem is Emory has failed to produce elite teams since a bid to Nationals has largely remained a pipe dream.  The team is taking steps in a positive direction by adding alumni Matt Wetzel as a coach this year.  If Mike Arenson shows up to back up Byron Liu, this team won’t be a pushover.

Pool C

Ohio State has the unfortunate distinction of losing in the finals of every spring tournament they’ve played in so far.  That’s got to hurt.  Getting over that Sunday hump will be the only thing on Lead Belly’s collective minds and they have the players to go deep into the weekend.  The Baumann brothers, Phil Cherosky and Jesse “Spike” Wohl are big playmakers for the Buckeyes and will be key to generating wins throughout the weekend.  Central Florida and Georgia Tech aren’t slouches either and could very well take the pool as well.  UCF hold the keys in order to earn the Southeast a second bid.  Former Dog of War Andrew Roca has coached this team to the tune of only a couple of losses heading into the weekend and the Dogs could very well bump up their ranking into the wildcard zone with a deep tourney run this weekend.  Georgia Tech is also primed for a good showing after making semifinals in this event last year and keeping the roster largely intact.  They won ACC’s earlier this year and have responded well with national champion Nick Lance and Hogan McHugh making impact plays on offense and defense.  Sean Lee is an under the radar defender who racks up D’s on a regular basis.  Tribe suffered heartbreak in the game to go to Nationals last year and don’t want to suffer the same fate again, so Terminus is the launch point for a bid.  George Washington has seen success in the past, but that success is too far gone that the current squad has no first hand knowledge of Nationals experience.  That could change in the coming seasons as Evan Feeney is really impressed with this year’s crop of rookies.  Four freshmen make up the starting O line for the Hippos and with hardly any results to their names so far this season, this team is a wildcard that spoil the hopes of many other teams this weekend.  The 5th seeded team, MIT is has shown flashes of brilliance at times but so far this season has not been able to produce favorable results.  Another of the stable of teams thats staying the week from playing Statesboro last weekend, the Beavers have some seriously tall players and some skilled handlers but lack the depth to make a run at the top.

Pool D

The Illini have become a Nationals staple out of the Great Lakes region but have had trouble making it out of the bottom half of the field the past few years.  Zubair is gone, opting to turn pro and play with Machine, but captain Austin Lien is excited about the new talent that has arrived in Champaign-Urbana.  Nate Gibbons, Dane Jorgensen and the return of Chris Hidaka were unexpected additions to the roster which have contributed towards success so far this year.  Dartmouth on the other hand hasn’t seen the Nationals scene in some years and this year’s senior class would like to make a return trip.  Coached by Brook Martin who has two decades worth of experience to teach the players, the Pain Train had a great Saturday of Centex followed by a series of letdowns on their way to an 8th place finish.  Watch out for Lars Osterberg getting D’s left and right for the Big Green and a general happiness of not having to deal with New Hampshire weather in March.  The other hometown crew, Georgia struggled at Easterns at the tail end of their spring break.  As Charlie Herrig put it, they “were still trying to get the booze out.”  Well, its a new weekend and the team wants to get ready to peak during this time of the year again.  Matt Bailey returns after being out of Wilmington and the Dogs are hungry to get back to their winning ways if they want to extend their consecutive Nationals appearances to 7 years in a row.  North Carolina is another team that wants to get back to their winning ways of years past when they were consistently competing for Nationals bids and producing players such as Zach Washburn and Jared Inselmann.  This will be their first tournament of the spring outside of the state of North Carolina and maybe it will be the kickstart they need to to turn the tables on the competition.  Look out for Thomas Sayre-McCord, Noah Saul and Paul Weeks to keep other teams in check against Darkside.  Oberlin remains a mystery for the most part because they started their season so late.  Just last week in fact.  The Flying Horsecows haven’t been a major player in the college scene for over a decade and will run into some stiff competition this weekend as the talent level of teams rise significantly from Steakfest.

Well, that’s the skinny of what each team brings to the table this weekend but the results will speak for themselves.  See everyone on the field!



Winter Weather Update #1 by Grant
March 9, 2011, 5:45 pm
Filed under: tournament write-ups

The snow is beginning to break, the temperatures aren’t dropping anymore and kids are migrating to grass fields everywhere on the weekends to begin the 2011 college season.  So much has happened in the past few months both on and off the field so here’s a winter season recap…

Fall review

Not more than one week after Club Nationals took place, the college scene was in action in Knoxville, Tennessee.  20 teams made the trek for the Dave Baldwin Memorial Tournament hosted by the University of Tennessee.  One word summed up the whole weekend: COLD.  The temperatures were a stark departure from the mild weather we enjoyed the previous weekend in Sarasota.  Everyone tried to bundle up as much as they cold and rarely did games go to full points.  The closest matchup on Day 1 took place between Mississippi State and Lipscomb.  It seemed the Bulldogs would pull away when they jumped out to a 6-3 lead but Lipscomb stormed back to score four straight and take half 7-6.  Out of the half, the Bison scored two more before Mississippi State got back on the board but then it became a dogfight to the finish.  The Bulldogs brought it within 1 to make it 10-9 then broke twice to regain the lead.  Lipscomb responded but Mississippi St. held serve and broke to get the W, 13-11.

Winter weather fail.

At the end of Saturday during the last round, the pizza arrived to the salivating eyes of hungry college kids.   The four top seeded teams held the byes for this round and with the exception of the UT Alumni, monopolized the pizza within 5 minutes leaving folks to wonder “What happened?”

The Alumni were less than worried because they had other priorities on their mind.  Their plan was to go for the tournament weekend trifecta:

1) Win the party

2) Win the tournament

3) Get laid

The sun started to faid and teams retreated to their prospective housing arrangements for the evening and I returned to my couch to put on some warmer clothing.  The evening’s activities kicked off at Mellow Mushroom on the Strip next to campus and the good folks there rolled out a large container of PBR tall boys on ice for everyone to enjoy.  Some teams arrived looking for the free pizza but were dismayed to find out it ran out at the fields and retreated to go find some food.  The occassional team stuck around but for the most part, the party was dominated by Rocky Toppers.  When the cooler to started to run out, the main crowd splintered off in search of more good times around town.

Before

After

 

 

Insert 4 hours of sleep

 

 

Semifinals

UT-Alumni v. Ohio State Leadbelly

One of the important lessons college kids learn during the fall season is be able to play hard on Sunday morning through a hangover and the top seeds were defiinitely the best at this.  The Alumni looked in tip top shape minus the myriad of mild injuries that cause chronic discomfort from years of ultimate activity.  They kicked off their semifinals with a chant of “Dicking over college teams, that’s what alumni do!”  Going head to head with the top seed of the tournament, Ohio State, the alumni held their own during the beginning of the game.  Kevin Baumann for Leadbelly and Peter Jackson for the alumni keep the game level at 2-2.  Phil Cherosky waits for the lane to clear and bursts upline to put OSU back in front and the Buckeyes get another break but the alumni answer back with some crafty veteran moves themselves.  Nick “Notor” Thomas throws a high O/I flick to Michael “Denmark” Friis-Jensen for a UT score (circa 2007) and the alumni use a fortuitous drop to get back to even leaving Lead Belly wondering what’s going on.  Time out called.  Ohio State huddles up while the alumni grab more beers.

Ohio State gets the their two goal cushion back and trade with the alumni to take half 7-5 with more offensive firepower from Cherosky.  He starts off the second half with an on point hammer and OSU stretches the lead even more with an around backhand from Jesse “Spike” Wohl.  9-5 Leadbelly.  The alumni still have some fight and the younger alumni still have lots of athleticism.  Notor is only one week removed from a 14th place finish at Nationals with Tanasi and can still elevate for Nick Stewart hammer, 10-7 OSU.  The younger kids definitely proved that the years of less drinking can mean more long term endurance and continued to wear down the older guys.

The UT B team is clever. I'm excited to see the jerseys.

The alumni get one more with a low mark beater from Denmark to make it 12-8 but Ohio State cruises to a 13-8 satisfying everyone because the alumni would rather heckle the finals anyways.

Ohio v. Tennessee Agent Orange

UT didn’t want to lose at their home tournament and came out Sunday morning dressed to play in their full sublimated jerseys.  Ohio, likewise came out dressed in their previous year’s spring duds but only one of these two teams would get to sport them one more time in the finals.  Well, from the start you would have to believe that team would be Ohio who started the game on serve then back to back breaks to put an early divot in UT’s game plan.  The boys in green 3, the boys in orange, 0.

Tennessee takes one back before Ohio rattles off two more and the Bobcats are frustrating Agent Orange.  Both teams are looking for the big play that’s visually exciting but nothing’s working until Nick Peppers picks a disc out of the sky then hits his man on the breakside to get a break back 5-3, Ohio.  In the passionate moments following a turn both teams try to outrun each other.  The Ohio huck doesn’t work but UT’s does and now UT is almost even with Ohio.

The Bobcats crush Tennessee’s momentum with a decisive finish to the first half.  Kevin Hanzel hits Mike Juratovac for the half in Ohio’s favor, 7-4.  After a goal from Agent Orange, Tennessee zones it up and the defense stalls the Bobcat O and UT converts.  The zone continues to work and Ohio has to change their game plan as Tennessee draws back to even.  The change in tactics?  Both teams start more jibbering and less jabbering.  Stoppages of play pick up as the game gets heated.  Don’t they know it’s only November?  Tennessee has gotten in Ohio’s head and grabs the lead, 9-8.  Chris Mullinix makes not one but two possession saving grabs on the next point including a wild hammer from Matthew Twilley to make it 10-8, Tennessee.

Sometimes there was more of this than playing.

Ohio isn’t backing down and the sequence of Mike Bruce to Mitch Cihon to Mark Hritz results in a goal for Ohio and a spike for everyone to see.  Mullinix is in the zone with Nick Peppers and they continue to connect on the long ball.  Ohio tries to be patient against the UT zone.  Hritiz, Bruce, Cihon, Andy Ball and Danny Olson are generating good disc movement but come up short of the goal line when UT clamps down.  On the turn Nick Wetzel gets a big layout d but it’s not enough to push the disc away from Mullinix.  He bombs it to Trey Williams and just like that a potential Ohio score turns into a goal for Tennesse, 12-9 Vols.  Ohio gets one more on a turnover laden point but Tennessee closes the game up three, 13-10.

Finals

Tennesse Agent Orange v. Ohio State Leadbelly

Not wanting to start the last game the same way, UT takes the early lead by holding serve on O and Ohio State returns in kind.  Thomas LaRocco goes deep for UT and gets the goal to maintain the offensive tone of the game as is usually the case at the end of Sundays.  Then, with a surge of power, OSU goes on a run of breaks capped of by a bookend score from spike, 5-2 Leadbelly.

Double Girth D is back.

The tale of tape for the first half is all Buckeyes.  Tennessee earn a few points but OSU commands the momentum and refuses to give up anything easy.  Baumann kills his man with a quick first step and Phil Cheroski rewards him with the goal.  UT is making too many rushed attempts and it costs them.  Cheroski catches a goal to make it 7-4 but the capper for OSU is the following point.  Leadbelly gains 40 hard fought yards complete with near D’s, near injuries and a lot of talking.  A hammer goes up to a pile of people with the tall Kevin Baumann coming out on top against several defenders as well as several teammates to give OSU the half, 8-4.

Tennessee needs a spark to get back in this game and they get when OSU hucks out of bounds.  LaRocco drags his foot for a score, 8-5.  Agent Orange settles in with a zone defense but David “Temp” Bentrovato finds the open holes for the score.   The teams trade but UT gets the next break to delight the hometown crowd.  OSU ups the tempo and speeds past the UT defenders to Juice for a goal, 10-7 and UT responds.  Chris Mullinix fakes flick, his defender bites and goes backhand for a cool 50 yards to Jody Lewis, 10-8 Leadbelly.

Tennessee is making a strong comeback case and they add another notch to their break belt when Cherosky makes an uncharacteristic drop leading to a UT break to bring the game within one.  OSU is hoping to provide enough firepower on offense to see this one out so Kevin Baumann goes to Zach Kaufman to get within 2 of victory.  Tennessee responds by Harbaugh beating his man to the disc and snagging a disc before it goes out the back of the end zone to inch to complete a crucial O point.

The tension of the finals is leading both teams to expand beyond the typical disc conservation seen earlier in the game and as a result, spectacular D opportunities present themselves.  Matthew Twilley makes a chest high layout D which leads to Phil Brock hitting Haden Campbell underneath for the game tying score, 11-11.  Cherosky won’t settle for second place and goes big with a picture perfect huck to Kaufman to smell victory, 12-11 OSU.  UT refuses to turn the disc over though so it’s now a game to 14.  Ohio State makes the first step.  Cherosky’s excellent hammer to Spike once again gives OSU the advantage, 13-12 and they get it when the normally sure handed Mullinix overthrows Harbaugh on the first pass.  Any more distance and UT might have a chance but OSU is automatic in the red zone despite a great bid from Matt Pirkle.  OSU starts the season off right with a tournament win, 14-12.

2010 Dave Baldwin Champions, Ohio State Leadbelly.

 

From there, the deep freeze of winter set in as club teams retreated to recovery rooms and pubs while the college crowd stuck it out with practices for a few more weeks as class time got thicker and thicker.  A dash of cold weather isn’t so bad and the holiday season really glamorizes the romantic side of it all, but the shorter days and dropping temps meant the majority of us had to do without outdoor disc for a few months and were left to ponder the off the field changes happening in the college scene.

Next up… winter weather update 2!