Most cuts have been made, A teams' rosters finalized, strategy is solidified and practiced, players know their roles and all the best teams in
Driving up the coast, the dark clouds threatened to make things difficult - intense midweek rain had already caused the tournament directors to frantically draft backup plans in the event their fields were unusable. In the end though, the weather cooperated; there was only mild cold, brief showers and mostly manageable wind.
Our first game was against Claremont-Mckenna, a team UCSD has not beaten for a little under 2 years. Our captains and coaches did a great job getting us warmed up before the game - we started with all the fire built up from thinking about this game for weeks and absolutely unleashed upon them the fury of one thousand Triton Stadium track workouts.
We start on defense and immediately get to work. On only their second throw, captain Mark "Dibs" Johnston gets a lay-out D on an in-cut 10 yards from their goal line. He picks up the disc and immediately throws the difficult pass for a score. What a way to begin a season! We continue to pressure their throwers and continue to make them cough up the disc. Justin "Bobble" Elliot’s forehand pulls go so far and hang so long that we are covering them (in their shorts) before they even get a first throw off. We go up 3-0 and they take a time out. On offense, they are running a significant amount of zone but our handlers handled it handily. Throws that normally are low percentage just kept working (save 2 poor choice throws by Stephen "Pumba" Hubbard), cutters were making eye contact with their back turned to the thrower and our defenders, especially Michael "Coppa" Yu and freshman Michael "Hyzer" Tilghman, were making blocks look easy. We took half 7-1. We come out of half time with a renewed focus on doing the right things, sticking to the basics.
On offense, once a throw got through their defensive cup, Brooks "Cork" LeComte, Guy "Kattan" Hughes, Josh "Forge" Nickerson and captain Daniel "SukHour" Cox move the disk easily for break away scores. Cox, though, was thrown a deep shot by Josh Nickerson and, because he had to worry about the defender and landing in-bounds, allowed the disc to bounce off his hand. This is the first, and probably last, deep throw the junior captain has ever not caught. Our freshmen are playing well with good throws and cuts coming from youngsters Owen "Threve" Eigenbrot and Chris "BITUSA" Schmidt. Stephen "Pumba" Hubbard makes up for the earlier mistakes by skying one of their best players. The Squids close out this game 13-4. Eric "Monstro" Hsu films this game in its entirety, foolishly including in-between points, cheering, huddles ect. and therefore has no battery for the rest of the entire tournament.
Next up was
While their offense is scoring, it is taking them a long time, extra hard work and they are turning the disc over, even if they do get the D back most of the time. We are up at half and are figuring out their match-up-zone that has proved very frustrating for our throwers. We continue to grind, continue the sideline intensity, and slowly build a lead. We do noticeably let up on the gas toward the end of the game. We meet the time cap and manage to finish 'em (Mortal Kombat style) with a Ryu Shōryū-ken (昇龍拳, Shōryū-ken "Rising Dragon Fist") (Street Fighter) from Justin "Bobble" Elliot to catch a huck 3 feet higher than the 2 defenders (Sorry for the mixed metaphor). Final score 13-10.
Our last game of Saturday was against
With such a solid performance the Squid placed themselves solidly on the top shelf of teams in our region. It was hard work, sometimes during fall track practices and weight training we questioned if it was worth it, but on Saturday night we felt great about that Top Shelf performance. No matter what happens afterwards, whoever looks upon our Saturday efforts will have to admit that the question of "if we had it in us" is certainly answered. We left our mark; you could smell it in the air: We are a Top Shelf team.
Sunday was a battle. We drew a quarterfinal opponent that was our opposite. Los Positas College had the smallest roster at the tourney - we had one of the largest. We can win games with our athletes' sheer athleticism; they heavily rely on their superior throws to win. Most of their team have played for years, we had 8+ rookies. While we did manage to showcase some of that athleticism with amazing catches and Ds from Josh "Forge" Nickerson and Guy "Kattan" Hughes, we found ourselves down 9-6 because of their zone forcing many difficult throws. With a sense of urgency that was missing in the first half, we turn things around to tie at 9-9. The game reaches the time cap and the game will be to 11.
They receive, work it but are forced into a tight spot giving us the disc. Unfortunately, even with a time out to go over strategy, they read us very well and force a bad decision 10-9. We score with our offense and the D team returns to the field for game point. Mark "Dibs" Johnston makes a great play for what should have been a turn but they luck out and have someone to catch the macked disc and they score the last one, 11-10. It felt as though we would have won this game had we played them later in the day when our subs would have been a factor but they could play their starters the whole time. A hard defeat to sallow, double game point losses always are, but it showed us a few things that we need to fix in our strategy and skill set.
Cal Poly forfeits when they look at all their injuries and all our fresh players. It’s a reminder of the extreme importance of a solid and flushed-out team roster. We draw strength from our large sidelines deep into a tournament, not only from their motivation, but because our studs don't have to play every point the whole weekend and thus aren’t fatigued or injured on Sunday.
Our last game is against
The weekend was tiring and hard but this is in large part due to the fact that it’s the first tourney of the regular season and we haven’t practiced the consistent intensity required for long tournaments. We came out fired up Saturday morning and its clear we need the same for Sunday afternoon. Overall, a 6th place finish against the 16 best teams in our area is very heartening. With 3 weeks until hosting a tournament in