Outdoor Regionals Report 2009
Thanks for the shout-outs guys. Here's a fuller recap. Both OW squads represented in Cambridge this weekend. OW2 broke seed by 5 spots, destroying teams like Darkside along the way. I'll let somebody from that squad provide more details on their performance.
Saturday morning was cold and windy, close to 0 degrees and much colder windchill. So was Saturday afternoon, and Sunday. OW1 faced some set backs, but scrambled back to the sixth seed the hard way, qualifying for Not the Nationals. Our first four games were against mostly second teams, and saw OW1 pwning opponents in the face while practicing our zone O and D. In a directly upwind/downwind game, Darkside gave us some fits, but all in all a dominant performance. Our fifth and final game on Saturday came against Haze. Both teams came out fired up, playing tough zone and taking some chances. The first two points were tight and long, both team marching down the pitch and failing to make the score. Haze won both points, and took the momentum. Later OW showed some life, scoring a couple points and forcing some turnovers, making Haze work and respect us, but it was too late. Haze took the win, 7-2 or so. Thus did OW1 hold seed on Saturday. Notable performances include Phil G and Tom, playing great defense (mostly in the cup) and making key catches. Niel scored too many points. Big Phil had a ridiculous layout D or two, and several layout catches to save bad dump passes.
After a delicious bout of curry, OW returned to the pitches Sunday to continue the fight to qualify. Nobody remembers the first match, but apparently we played against Strange Blue 2. They were friendly, I think. We won. Then we faced Aye-Aye. Lindsey gave us a full scouting report, but it did little good. We traded downwind points for most of the game, then gave up a break, upwind point, failing to capitalize on a couple of our own upwind opportunities. As the game wore on, OW became more tired and Aye-Aye more confident, and Aye-Aye stole our sixth seeding. We would have to defend our seed against 10, then against 8, before getting another final chance at the sixth seed and the coveted NTN spot. It would be ten games for the weekend.
We played a determined game against Demons, with chilly O and our stifling zone defense, and the score was not particularly close, although they were a quite decent team. Then we faced Jesters, who were also hoping for a Div2 bid. But they faced the same challenge all our opponents faced all weekend (except maybe Haze): how to score upwind against our zone. We took a couple break points, led by the exceptional handling of Lindsey, Rahul, and Big Phil, swinging the disc and calmly finding holes in the opponents cup. (Such holes could rarely be found in our own cup.) Andy stepped up with some massive layout Ds, and proved all weekend to be a brilliantly reliable handler. Niel scored more points. Phil hucked it, and I blazed past two defenders for a quick downwind score. We gained confidence in our deep game, which would prove decisive in the next match.
Again, a couple upwind points made the difference against Jesters, and we prepared mentally for a rematch against Aye-Aye, who had lost to the 5th seed. We also waited in the warm shower room.
Aye-Aye was coming off a loss, while we were coming off consecutive wins. We came out fired up, with a confident and effective deep game, chilly handlers, and our reliable zone. Mad props to the mainstays of the cup, who ran their asses off all weekend to prevent breaks and continuation swings: Niel, Phil G, Tom, Jonny, Sandy, Laurie, and Hugo. (Forgive me if I am forgetting anybody.) Our wings prevented the continuation when the disk was swung to the line, and our short deeps effectively ruled out little passes for yards up the middle. Lindsey dominated the deep-deep, coming down with more desperation hucks than I can remember.
We took a commanding lead at 5-0 against Aye-Aye with our sweet O and hard D. To their credit, they regrouped and pulled back, winning back two up-wind breaks. But we still had the lead, and we had the skillz. We held our downwind points after that, and little Phil had a sick D, coming from nowhere to smack a hammer about to be caught for a score, followed by coming out of nowhere to catch a swilly throw in our endzone. Double-happiness, and the key upwind break that decided the game. The cap went on, and we just needed one more point to win. We got that on the next point. Going upwind, Aye-Aye couldn't get the disc out of their endzone, and Lindsey calmly broke his man to hit (who else?) Niel with a low-release IO flick.
Well done all around. There were a lot of great performances this weekend, more than I mentioned here.
See you at practice,
As Nate already mentioned, we arrived Saturday morning, fresh from our (relatively) comfortable sleep in a pretty toasty scout hut to the harsh, desolate Cambridge tundra. OW2 set out first up against Fling1, a first team seeded 8th, and after a shaky start due to a distinct lack of handlers going 6-0 down, the second half proved more fruitful as we initiated what would soon become our highly impressive zone-D. With the zone on, we were able to pull back a point, with the game ending 9-1, a worthy result.
Our next game was against Strange Blue, who were seeded 1st, and had (apparently) lost none of the momentum they picked up last year. This was indeed the case, with them taking a quick point, however, we held off and on the subsequent downwind point nearly scored several times as the cup help them firmly around the Strange Blue endzone. Despite this, they're experience, ability and numbers proved to be too much for us, with a final score of 10-0, a worthy result against a team that conceded 1 point in total on Saturday.
Immediately after, we played UBU2 (seeded 3 places above us), who we decimated 9-1 with the cup entirely shutting down their O, and some excellent offensive play from everyone involved on both the upwind and downwind points. Following this game, we had a break and then our final game of the day against demons. A truly admirable performance from all concerned, as we battle both demons, the wind and the now arctic conditions with good short and long play. However, ultimately their handling experience gave them the edge, with a final score of 3-9.
Sunday we were ranked 16th (having started 19th) and so played the 17th, 13th, 15th and 14th seeds. Back to back. In a blizzard. This was not ideal, to say the least, but without complaint, lack of enthusiasm or laziness the entire team battled on. Our first game against Disc-guize (Lincoln) was a true display of our now perfected Zone-D. Anything the cup didn't force down or backwards was picked up by short deep or the wings - in short, against a (relatively) inexperienced team like Disc-guize it was devastating with us winning 7-1, ending with the greatest game of German Porn Star I've ever played.
Next up was Bears-2, and having seen Bears-1 in action early playing sublime ultimate we were a little apprehensive, and rightly so. Their Junk-D was very effective against us, but despite this we were able to capitalize on a combination of our Zone holding them at bay, and some excellent disc reading skills by Ali and Harry, with a final score of 8-4 to them.
Our second last game was against Fling-2 and we wanted revenge for Saturday, and revenge we got, with us going 6-1 up very quickly. However, the subsequent upwind point would end up being a (literally) 20 minute epic of poor handling decisions on my part, more time spent collecting their over-thrown disc off the pitch than actual play, and frostbite for the subs, which despite several drops in the end-zone (due to the lack of any warm blood in the outfield players' hands) we ended up losing. However, we came back to score the next (and final) point, winning 7-2.
The final game was against Darkside, a relatively strong team that I was surprised ended up only as 14th. We quickly went up 4-0, but they came back to draw level at 5-5. However a slight change in attack suggested by John to a slightly shorter game proved to be the linchpin of our success, with us taking several points and going on to win 10-7, an excellent end to a fantastic (if somewhat cold) weekend, which allowed to us to head over and watch OW1 beat Aye-Aye for a place in Div2 - awesome!
A special shout out should definitely go to "team cup" T, made up of John, Zach, Harry, Bernard, Ali and Marie, who relentlessly ran the entire day, despite 1/3 of the cup having potentially broken fingers! There were many other excellent performances, as the score lines suggest, and naming them all seems a little sycophantic, especially considering how large the squad was, another fact I am very proud of. All in all, a great weekend from all concerned, and I hope you had as much fun as I did!