Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boston Invite Write-Up

It has already been posted on RSD that the results of this year's Boston Invite are surprising. The primary reason is, of course, Boston not winning the thing in the Open Div. The question on RSD is: when was the last time this happened? Well, I will tell you. Ring won in 04, Sub Zero in 03, Ring beat a split squad in 02, and Florida won in 01. So, it is way too premature to be confidently predictive based on what happened this past weekend. In fact, my take on the weekend is that the story was, as usual, teams having different agendas coming into the weekend, be it finishing tryouts(Boston, Slow White), learning how the new roster is working (Shazam, Slow White, Boston), refining and early building(Brute Squad, Mischief), or in the final stages of ramping up for Canadian Nats (Capitals, GOAT). It is seductive to try to write off the top dogs as faltering or on a downward spiral, but it is a long season. What follows is my observations, sometimes very detailed and written in real time on the fields, others in retrospect. As usual, a big thanks goes out to Barbara, Tracy, Geoff, and Josh for running a great tournament. The weather was great and things seemed to go without a hitch.

Mixed Division:

Largely due to the work of Slow White, specifically Kris Kelley and Mike Miller, but also with the top Mixed teams buying in to a general sense of season, this was an awesome field here in Boston. The first person from the Mixed Div I saw on Sat morning was none other than Steve Finn(see my traveling well post), who is getting the band back together in the form of Shazam Returns. This incarnation looks familiar if you think back to 04, and the intentions of this team are clear to the observer, especially when one considers what their leader has accomplished in the past three years. Steve told me that he had 80 tryouts this spring.....and 50 very good players got cut. Shazam came to play here in Boston and stated that fact early in their first round 15-4 dis-assembly of Slow White. Shazam ran an effective zone in the windy conditions and Slow White is a consistent team, even to the extent that they prefer calm conditions. One observer, who knows Slow, said to me “They are not a morning team”. I heard that Slow felt that they were jet lagged, not their West Cost opponents. Clearly, that is a mental area of the game that will need to be addressed come October....especially considering that their first game was at 11am.

Brass Monkey showed up with a smaller squad than usual, but the folks they brought are very talented. Nate Miller consistently impresses me with his calm leadership and talent. He is probably the only non-College 07 player I saw all weekend, in any division, who actually marks with legal 11th edition marks(the wrap around marks in Open are ridiculous...not even close to being legal 11th marks). I felt that Brass Monkey, with the jet lag and small squad, might run out of gas by the end of the day, but they handled Tandem in the early game before squeaking out a 13-12 victory over Slow White in the second ground. Brass showed resolve and toughness in this game going down 11-9 before gutting out the win.

Mischief showed up with a full squad this weekend and they began their game against Flaming Moe with energy and intensity. They are obviously athletic and have several of the most athletic men in the division in the Smith Brothers and Tyler Grant. Mischief’s O runs through several of these guys and while they like the long game, they seemed pretty comfortable in the strong winds that began the day. Shazam’s win over Slow in round up set up a big match at the end of the day with the South Bay crew, and, due to the round robin format, could very well be the final. Shazam went up several breaks in the first half to take the half 8-5. I never like three point leads. Shazam is focused and both teams are athletic, so it is a fast paced, intense game. Not many turns so the quality is about as good as one can expect, especially this early in the season. The teams trade through the second half and at 13-11, Mischief pulls out a zone look of their own. Mischief gets two breaks to tie it up at 13-13. Shazam converts on O then gets a handblock and converts, game over…Shazam wins 15-13.

Sunday morning: Brass Monkey vs Mischief in a big west coast battle. They trade although both teams have some miscues. A big Brass hammer floats but it scooped up by Josh Greenough to maintain a 5-4 lead. Mischief then turns and Nate Miller puts it to Coco who makes the big lay out for the score and the break. Mischief turns it twice, once on a very bad hammer by a Smith brother, but they get a turn and out it to Tyler for the score.. Mischief takes half with three breaks, culminated by a Callahan from youngster Adam Fagan.

It was around this time that I got my first ride on a Segue. Very cool. I think the tournament should rent me one for the weekend.

Flaming Moe takes half against Slow White 8-4. Slow brings it to 9-6, but the O seems a bit out of sync. Slow has a large roster. Perhaps managing this is the real task of the weekend? Moe is ramping up having played Mischief, Shazam, and Brass Monkey on Saturday. Paul Norgaard is back on Moe and adds some real firepower to that team. Moe is buying into the season and are traveling to ECC in Aug.

Mischief starts to pull away from Brass and it is 12-7, but Nate Miller is starting to do more work downfield and busts long to make it 12-8.

Slow is trying to build the energy and make a run. Slow gets the turn and puts it to Hunt Allcott, who toes the line, 11-9. This point is pretty sloppy with a bunch of turns, but Slow breaks again 11-10.

Mischief closes the game out 15-9.

Moe regroups and is able to get some breaks back. They put it to Guy Pugh for the win 15-10.

Brass and Shazam are battling. Shazam is mixing up zone and man. Brass gets a break to tie at 6’s. Shazam takes half on a big run by Mickey Thompson.

Amp is finding their game against Slow. I think SW is not sure if they are sorting out their roster or they are trying to win the thing. Amp goes up 9-5. Slow goes on a 3-0 to pull to 8-9. Slow battles back to 11's and then closes out the big comeback win.

Shazam continues to press in the second half. Steve Finn makes a very nice deep cut off a give and just beats his Brass defender for the goal. Shazam is able to close the game out and essentially lock up their possession of the Boston Invite tournament. Congrats to them on a great showing.

In general, Shazam looks very strong as does Mischief. The division will benefit from almost this same exact field of teams competing at ECC in August. I would like to thank all the teams for making the trip and creating a great event.

Women’s:

Like Mixed, the Women’s div has a high quality field. Brute Squad is camped out on field 8 for the duration. Brute Squad looks solid all Saturday, although Layuma’s zone causes them to work hard. Lady Godiva was up and down over Saturday, but scored a big win over Backhoe to take third place in the pool.

Small Rackages is a new Women’s team made up of Bait plus Chad Larson's better half. They looked good as did Capitals who won the B pool. As I mentioned earlier, Capitals is on a bit of a different pace than the rest of the teams as their championship is rapidly approaching

Small Rackages plays very well against Godiva. Godiva has some young players, but SR is athletic and dominates with a 15-4 win. Godiva had some of the old guard like Johanna, Sarah C, Jess B around, but the team is obviously just getting going.

Semis: Brute vs Small Rackages. SR is hanging with Brute in Semis. They have opportunities to tie and they do at 7-7. Brute is playing well, but SR likes to work hard. They trade to 10's before Brute goes on a run and wins out. Capitals is handles Backhoe in a pool play rematch. I actually had leave during the final to head down to the Cape for vacation, but I just read in the SRT that Capitals won 15-6. Congrats on a great showing.

Open:
I spent much of the first round Saturday checking out the Open div games, and the Pony-Boston game was quite the way to start the tournament. Very fast and athletic, but a high number of turnovers that probably indicates early season rustiness. PoNY has added some players notably BVH and Bailey Russell, but Boston is, of course, completely new with added talent in the form of Kurt Gibson and Ben Faust. The game is close throughout. They play right on through the Soft Time Cap and PoNY is up 14-12 as the hard cap is coming on, but Boston has the disc and is moving up the field. Boston completes a pass to near the goal line and calls a timeout??!! This was the first of many examples of, in my opinion, not great time management by a bunch of teams. In this case, though, not only was the timeout questionable, but it was handled casually...like 3 minutes in length...not 90 seconds. By the time Boston got the disc in play, the hard cap came on with the disc in Forch's hands. He throws a hammer for the goal, but it is game over.

I spent most of my time over between the Mixed and Women's fields, but there are probably many blogs which will give good info on the Open field.

I did watch some of the Boston-Van Buren Boys qtrs, which Boston rolled. Van Buren Boys(basically Chad Larson men) made their debut with a small squad and, in the words of Shawn W, "it was very clear that this was our first tournament together". The Boston game was over pretty quickly as VBB had trouble converting their long looks and Boston was able to convert the breaks.

Boston took half against Truck Stop 8-5, but I heard from Ted Munter that they gave up a 5-0 run in the second half before succumbing 11-15. So, there is some work to do there for the hometown boys. Congrats to GOAT on winning the Open div.

I did follow how Big Ego was faring in the fast lane. They won their pool on Sat, but lost to Zebra Muscles in the play-in game. Maybe that 1st round bye was pretty enticing. Of course, this resurrected hopes of the Colt 45-Big Ego death match (with Boston having a bye, no less), but, unfortunately Colt 45 crapped the bed and descended into the bowels of the Eastern Div. Big Ego pulled out a 1 point win against Gunslingers and found themselves in the Semis against a good New Noise squad(who played Pike 14-15 in the elite play-in game). NN takes the half 8-7. I hear one of the NN players say "Don't give Parinella so much cushion. Make him go through you if he wants to go deep". Clearly things got pretty physical as Jim suffered nasty gash on his eye going for a goal at 12-12. Simon V, as usual, worked very hard, and it was fun to watch Marshall and Al work the disc in small spaces. Al has a very quick backhand release and the two of them work well together. NN kept pressing and pulled out the 15-14 win.

Two quick things to wrap up:

1) I received a complaint about having the hard time cap coincide with the start of the next round. To me, this kept things simple as the players never know what the horns mean, plus it meant that the hard cap was used as a stop gap to keep the tournament basically on schedule....which, in my opinion, is the purpose of this cap. I am curious about feedback on this idea.

2) People need to learn how the caps work. In both this tournament and Mixed/Masters Easterns, there was confusion about whether teams needed to win by two in the Soft Time Cap. We need to, as a whole, get much more up to speed on these rules.


7 comments:

Joaq said...

I think it's interesting that Twisted and DoG combined and lost three of TM's top 4 (Jeff Graham, Baily Russel, Brian Stout) and one of DoG's big threats (BVH).

Nathan said...

Aside from losing the best assistant coach in the land since last year, Boston Ultimate was without a bunch more great players this weekend (I am sure I will forget some, and this will be DoG-centric because I am much more familiar with their recent rosters):

Will Neff
Matt Hims
Neil Pallaver
Colin Mahoney
Josh Ziperstein

Ariel, I left you off that list because I knew you would be reading it.

Al and Jim retiring has been mentioned plenty in the blogosphere.

Melissa said...

First of all, as my first time out to Boston Invite I had a blast with the level of play and loved how smoothly the weekend went. Second of all, I enjoyed having the time caps organized the way they were. It IS an obviously more simple and straightforward choice and made for more concentration on play as opposed to caps (when do they go on? which one is it?) I never doubted what horn I was hearing. As far as what I heard of the win by two issue with Scandal/Mojo...that's all captains and players. Understand the rules, like you said. Thanks again for a great tournament as well as props to Small Rackages!

Gibbs- SR #23

gcooke said...

Melissa,

Thanks very much for your comments. I appreciate that you made it all the way down to the bottom of a very long post.

Thanks for your comments on the caps. I asked for the feedback in this blog mostly because I had a friend come up to me and say "The double hard cap/start time sucks". I do agree with you that most teams do not which horn has sounded, especially when three of them go off in the span of 20-30 minutes.

I am glad that you had a good experience and I wish your team the best of luck this season.

-G

Handy said...

where did these guys go? (besides Zip)

Nathan said...

Graham - injured
Bailey and BVH - playing with New York
Stout - Moving out of town
Neff - Moving, I believe
Hims - Moved back to England
Pallaver - Moved to Ohio
Mahoney - Don't know why he isn't playing
Ariel - Don't know why
Jim and Al - too easy
Zip - Atlanta or Seattle

maplerowfarm said...

There was a GrandMasters divsion, won by Connecticut GODZ of ultimate. Six full teams participated. Thanks for having us!