The day started off rainy, so I hung out underneath the shelter at Frisbee Central. This meant getting to watch Dog play Potomac on field 8, which also meant, of course, getting to see all of Al's turnover's. Dog definitely took some time to find their groove, and I noticed, in most of the first round games, that the pace was a bit off from what I was expecting. I moved quickly to check out Clapham on field 7, and they're a fun team to watch. Nothing earth shattering, but good skills and they run hard. I moved on to check out the new-look Brute squad, and I must say that it is a bit jarring to see the Godiva players wearing Brute shirts. They look very solid throughout the day. In the end, a New Boston Team was put together and Godiva vets like Mo, VY, and Sarah Cook showed up. They pulled off an upset of Lotus 13-12 in the first round, but ended up 4th in the pool. While there seems to be a desire to continue the Godiva pedigree, I think the general sense was that this "NBT" team was a pick-up team.
I moved on to check out Metal playing Sub. Close game. Metal seemed more comfortable with longer possessions than in the past. They ended up beating Sub by 1, I believe, and ended up winning their pool, which was great.
I checked in on the Mixed Div and things seemed to be running fine. The first real news of the day was Camelot beating 6TM 14-12. 6TM was inconsistent on offense, but looked pretty good when I was looking on. Camelot is very defined about their approach, and they seem more active and aggressive on D than in years past. Lorne displayed high sportsmanship, as usual. I saw him quietly intervene two times when his players had made calls, and both times his teammates changed their calls. I am not much for the whole "the disc never lies" karma thing, but I did think at the time that if Camelot overturned those calls that they would win the game.
I went for a run during round three.
I got back from run in time to eat some lunch and pick out a seat for the Dog-Clapham game. It was around this time, during a conversation, that I got my first (of 2-3) "Is that going to go into your blog?" comment. That was a bit weird. It will probably get to the point where I will need to define if my conversations are on or off the record.
The Dog-Clapham game began with a lot of pace. Good offense and defense on both sides. The gentleman that Al mentioned talking to beat Zip deep for a goal early on. You don't see that very often. Dog got a Callahan goal late in the first half. Both teams tried some standard cup zone. Someone commented that the zone looks seemed as much or more about slowing the pace down than trying to get a block. Al threw a lot of hammers. Zip seemed to have a good day and I was impressed by Paul V's work on O.
After gathering scores in the Mixed Division, I came back to check out the Dog-Metal crossover. I was a bit disappointed that the game was meaningless from a formats point of view, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall level of intensity. Unfortunately, early on, Dog made The Worst Call of the Day when a strip was called that took away a Callahan goal for Metal. I was about 15 yards away and had a good angle. Metal clearly gained possession first. The thing that bothered me as a spectator was that the call came across as "We're Dog. Callahan's don't happen to us". I am not saying that this was the intention of the player that made the call and I do trust that he acted fairly, but it did feel like one of a few examples over the weekend of "when the going gets tough...out come the calls". To digress for a moment, the refereeing debacles at the World Cup have reinforced my feeling that those who think that adding refs alone will take our sport to the next level are at best misguided, but if I am going to be candid, it's calls like that strip call that are frustrating for the spectators and make me wonder if self-officiating will go down as a failed social experiment. Honestly, I lost interest in the game at that point and slowly made my way around to check out Brute Squad again. As I was leaving field 8, though, Dog turned the disc over in the end zone they were attacking, and after some good defense, Jim P called a stall on the person he was guarding. After a brief discussion, Jim overturned his call and Metal promptly converted the break. While it might seem hokey, I left with my confidence in self-officiating intact. I was glad to hear that these calls were not the difference makers in the game as Metal went up by 3 or 4 after half, but was unable to close out. Dog ended up winning 15-13.
I stopped in on the Brute-Stella game, and Brute was very much in control. I talked with Beth N a bit after the game, and I agreed with her that seemed slightly tired on D. I was not impressed with Stella's throws and Brute seemed to be a much deeper team.
I finished the day checking out the 1v2 pool play games in the Mixed Division. When I got to the 6TM-Puppet Regime game, Puppet was up 6-1. One of my Wellesley girls, Ralph, is trying out for 6TM, and she made a very nice block which began a run for 6TM. Puppet played inconsistently all day and ended up losing 13-11. As this is Puppet's first tournament of the year, one gets the feeling like the wheels are just getting going for them. They will be fine in a few months. 6TM also had an inconsistent day, and they are very much just beginning to get a feel for what their roster will look like for 06. It will be very different from previous years, and as Marshall said "We got some work to do". I moved over to the Slow White-Amp game as SW scored to make it 10-9. This game probably had the highest pace of any mixed game I watched. Both teams were playing well on both sides of the disc. Jasper had some very nice long throws for Slow White, and Doc did a good job of running the show for Amp. I would not be surprised if the finals was a rematch of this game.
There was only one team with anything truly at stake in Open quarters and it was Clapham. A win against Goat would put them in semis and give them the chance, due to a bye, to watch England in the round of 16. As consolation semis occurred in the next round, there was clearly much to play for and Clapham seemed very fired up and won pretty easily. They played good defense and were able to convert their breaks. In general, Clapham does nothing very different. They like to break the mark on O, and they can play good D when they have energy. I did find that their overall pace fluctuated quite a bit from game to game.
After Clapham secured their victory, about 40 folks descended upon Frisbee Central when the word got out that Tommy had brought his satellite dish to the fields plus 3!! TV's. His efforts were met with great cheers by the Clapham guys, and it was fun to watch the game with them and get a glimpse of real appreciation for the game.
I went to check in on Brute Squad in their quarters game. They were very on all weekend and seemed to be more athletic and have better skills than everyone else. I was quite impressed, and they cruised to the championship without being really challenged. Congrats to them on a great start to the season!
I found the Open semis to be a bit low key. I was very impressed with Dog's man defense over the weekend and they handled Sub Zero 15-11. In the other semi, Clapham was a bit slow to get going and Metal jumped out to an early lead that they held to a 15-11 win. Clapham plays a very clean game and makes very few calls as does Metal, so their semi was a good show of athleticism. Clapham looked long at the end of the game, and in one exciting sequence, Rob A was able to go deep for a huge gainer to the end zone line, but his push pass attempt to a teammate running by him fluttered in the wind...big groans from the crowd.
The Open final was played with a lot of intensity and it was very fun to watch. I would say that a key part of the game is that Dog's O just seemed easier. They had a few 2 or 3 pass points, while Metal had to work very hard and throw a lot of passes against both Dog's person and zone D looks. I think Metal's willingness to possess the disc bodes well for them, but they had to work a lot harder than Dog. Zip made some huge cuts for Dog and was a factor on both sides of the disc. Ryan (newly in from Pike) made a great layout grab for a goal, but Dog took half by a couple. Jeff G had a lot of energy for this game and had great ups, but several times was working against double coverage (twice it was both Mahoney brothers). Brian Stout, whose body type might be the prototype for the future of Ultimate, had two huge D's followed once by a goal and the second by a big layout grab. This second grab, though, was brought back due a travel call, so instead of it being 12-10 it ended up 13-9....that is a big momentum shift. Dog was able to close the game out at 15-11. I was very impressed with Dog's intensity over the weekend. They ran very well and played good defense. They deserve congratulations for their second Boston Invite championship in a row. If I have any negative comments at all, it was that I felt that the other semis teams called cleaner games over the course of the weekend, but that is just my opinion.
Mixed quarters went to seed, and I spent some time watching semis. Slow White jumped out on Camelot 8-3, but Camelot made a game out of it before losing 14-12. Slow White had tightened their rotation for this game and Camelot did have a bit of trouble matching up. Overall, though, I thought Camelot made a great showing. They have strong women and men players, and Lorne really runs their O very well. In the other quarters, Amp continued their strong weekend by beating 6TM 15-6. It looked like 6TM struggled on O.
The finals, as I predicted, was a rematch of pool play. I got there at the beginning of the second half as Slow White went up 9-8 over Amp. They trade to 11-11. Both teams are running tight rotations. Slow White is getting good long throws from Teddy, but Amp is very good at possessing the disc. Doc runs the O with confidence, and Jeff is a strong D handler and his ability to run the D's offense should be a source of confidence for them this year. The teams trade until 11-11, then Rosie put up a throw for Teddy at the back of the end zone, but he can't grab it as it goes out the back. Amp works it all the way down field for the big break, 12-11. Amp secures another break to go up 13-11, and then, Teddy gets footblocked about 15 yards out of Slow White's end zone. Teddy gets the disc back with a huge block, but the teams trade turnovers. Then Sloppy gets a big catch in the end zone to bring it to 13-12. Amp displays confidence in their ability to possess the disc, and the teams trade to a 15-13 win for Amp. Amp looks very good this year, and I can see why the loss of Doc last year was a big deal. They have fast and athletic women and their overall rotation is tight and organized. I am going to be very interested to see how their Philly Invite tournament plays out as most of the top Mid-Atlantic and NE teams will be there. So congrats to Amp on their win in Boston!
As usual, Tommy and Barbara ran a great show and the teams seemed appreciative. We were lucky to avoid the rain that swamped other parts of our area.
Monday, June 26, 2006