Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sean Ryan 2010

The best thing about Sean Ryan this year (besides being held at the best fields an Ultimate player can find) was that it was effectively a preview of Region 2 (The new California + desert region) regionals. The only top tier teams missing were SDSU (got their bid in too late) and Arizona (have never attended Sean Ryan to my knowledge). I would guess that regionals in May will have an almost identical top 8 teams as Sean Ryan. The only difference that I foresee is that UCLA will be out and SDSU will be in. The ordering of the 8 teams may very well be different in the spring time, but it is clear who is in the top tier of teams.

Notes about Sunday’s play:
The quarter finals saw UCSC playing Cal State Long Beach. It was a mostly upwind downwind game in which Long Beach made strong athletic plays to take the early advantage. The Slugs made up the deficit in the second half by keeping their sideline energy high, mixing their D looks, and playing smart O. Final score 12-10 UCSC.

The wind picked up significantly for the Semi Finals. UCSC played UC Davis in a game that saw only two goals scored upwind. UCSC scored upwind in the first half, and Davis did so in the second half. The game came down to double game point with UCSC receiving going downwind. UCSC punched it in without any turns and won the game only because they won the flip.

UCSC then faced Cal Berkeley in the finals. The wind had died down significantly for the finals, and at 5-5 the wind went away completely. UCSC took half 8-7 and up one break. They then ran away with the second half to win 15-9. The second half showed UCSC’s depth and athleticism, and also showed that Cal was missing some key players.

Scouting reports on the teams I saw in order of finish:
Santa Cruz: The Slugs have a very deep squad that is hungry to improve on last years 4th place finish at Northwest regionals. They lost only 2 rotation players from the 2010 team and have gained valuable experience playing club over the summer. A key to late season success will be finding ways to get both Cassidy and Russell out from behind the disc so they can do damage with their legs. Missing Players: Jordan Sheffield, Devon Anderson (for the finals)

Cal: California did exactly what was expected of them at Sean Ryan. They ran a disciplined vertical stack offense that utilized the width of the field and got young handlers playing time. I only watched them during the finals when it was clear from their lack of dynamic play that they were missing Andrew Hagen, Sam Kanner, and a couple of other injured players. If they have Kanner hucking to Hagen come spring time, Ugmo will be very dangerous. Missing players: Andrew Hagem, Dalga Surofchy, Sam Kanner (Sunday), that guy who played with End Phase and isn't James (Sunday)

Davis: Davis plays a very dynamic game. Taylor Lahey still runs the show, and picking up the top recruits from around Northern California has things looking up. Their O revolves around quick movement out of a close horizontal stack. It looks like they will be relying on freshman to handle along with Taylor, and will probably start three freshman on their O line. They look to huck off handler movement and breakside incuts, and I would bet that they’ll let Taylor and Eli Kerns do most of the hucking. Unfortunately, I didn’t see them playing in calm conditions so I don’t know too much about how things look. Missing Players: None that I know of

Long Beach: Long Beach has more athletic depth then almost all of the other teams I saw. The question is how well will they use it. For now they are running a vert stack with very quick movement. They seem to like the long ball, but are okay with working the under when the deep shot isn't there on count one or two. They had the best team chemistry of any team I saw all weekend. Missing Players: None that I know of

UCLA: They look very young, but are well coached. They run a horizontal stack and are mostly a faceless army. It seems like they’ve lost a lot from last year and are going to use this season to rebuild. Missing Players: None that I know of

SLO: It’s a shame that Jake Juszak plays for Cal Poly SLO.

Also of note: UCSD was missing Josh "Forge" Nickerson and Daniel 'Roget' Cox

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Backcountry Backpacking

I recently went on a sweet backcountry backpacking adventure, for more info check out my shared blog with some old college friends.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bay Area Club Restructuring

SF Bay Area ultimate promises to look a lot different for this club season than it has for the past two seasons. In the past there have been two top level teams, Jam and Revolver, and then at least two second tier teams. With the disbanding of Jam this year, and Revolver's addition of Bart Watson, The Bay now officially has one commanding team and a bunch of leftover talent. It appears that a lot of that talent is looking to join up with a new team "Wolf" which will be conducting tryouts the weekend of the 24th (April).

Here's the interesting thing about Wolf, while Revolver draws it's talent from all around the bay area, it looks like Wolf will be primarily an east bay/SF team, with not much representation from Davis, the South Bay, or Santa Cruz. I believe this will lead to strong regional teams from these locations. From conversations I've had with friends around the area it sounds like there will be local teams in Davis, Palo Alto, and Santa Cruz. If you count Wolf as an SF/Berkeley/Oakland team, that would make 4 regional teams competing behind one super team.

I predict that Wolf will have a strong enough roster to compete for a bid to nationals, but I think the days of the Bay having two teams in the quarters is over. I wonder how having one top dog again will suit bay area ultimate.


P.S. I wonder why I didn't post this April 10th when I wrote it.

P.P.S. More funk. I wish the sample game was still as tight as it was in the late '80s / early '90s

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Notes from Stanford Invite Sunday

I made it out to the invite last Sunday with Daniel "DMC" Max Chazin. Good times were had, beer was consumed, and ultimate was observed.

So, scouting reports:
On the Woman's side there are four good teams this year and they will all make semis at nationals: Oregon, Santa Barbara, Washington and Wisconsin. I'd put my money on Oregon winning nats, their height and athleticism is hard to handle even for the other top teams.

Open is a little less clear cut. There are two legit teams who probably would have made club nationals out of the Central or South West last year (Carleton, Oregon), then there are a bunch of teams on the level. My observations (alphabetically)

Cal: A strong team with great fundamentals, and a great coaching staff. I'd say their strengths are end-zone O, d-line O, and decision making. That's really all you need as a college team.

Carleton: They look like a club team based on their team speed and the speed they play at. The youth on their O-line hurt them a little at Stanford, but I think they'll right the ship by nats. They'll be in the semis at worst.

Colorado: They're big and they play physically which is hard for college teams to handle. Still, they're very much a college team. Still, I'm not even sure they'll win the SW.

Florida: Didn't get to see much of them, and Brodie wasn't playing while I was watching. The one observation I have is that while on the field they looked more like a collection of athletes than a team.

Oregon: They're experienced and fast and their O line has at least 4 5th year players on it. They're going to win the NW and take one of the top 4 seeds at nats. They should make Semis at worst.

Those were all the teams I got a good look at. Quick note, there should have been more qualifying spots and the following four teams should have gone to the "Stanford Open" instead of the invite: Texas, Stanford, UCSB, Brown. I guess having a good history as a program helps you stay at the top.

P.S. I'm know 808 is a proponent of adding pictures to posts. I not so much of a picture guy, so I'll try and throw out some funk instead:


Monday, November 23, 2009

More about Sean Ryan (a birthday present for the Jughead)

I didn't get to see all the teams, I did watch: Santa Cruz, Cal, Claremont, UCSD, Chico, Humbodt, and Santa Barbara. From what I saw graduation hit a lot of these teams hard. I'd say the level of play was slightly down at this years tournament, Daryl commented "I think the Slugs were playing at the same level as they have in the past at Sean Ryan, the other teams just looked bad."

Anyway, team by team:

Cal: Mateo played well, as did Hagen. They lost a lot of guys to graduation, but they still play smart and break the mark well. They have good coaching and team speed, they're still a presence in the NW.

Chico State: The Hops looked much better than they have any of the past three years. They have throws and athleticism, we'll see if the work ethic is there come spring. They'll make regionals, but I'm not sure how far they'll go. Oh, and they still love hucking.

Claremont: Is back to the level of competition of 2006 or so, but they aren't a similar team. The team is smart on O, and committed to having a system. Although they had a good weekend, Maniac didn't play well. If he and Markham can start connecting on hucks for their D line they'll be really scary. In classic Claremont fashion have to work on not playing down to the level of competition.

Humboldt: The Ben Carlson show!

Santa Barbara: Didn't get to see much of Tide, but they look to have the same intensity and discipline that they're known for. They peak really well, and I didn't recognize more that three faces from years past.

Santa Cruz: The Slugs have a lot of potential, but they'll have to make sure they don't get complacent after winning their home tournament. I think Cassidy, Russell, and Max will lead by example well. If they can avoid the injury bug that bit the team both of the last two years they could have a very successful spring.

Jay, let me know if you need more.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Post Sean Ryan NW and SW all Region Preview

The Slugs won Sean Ryan for the first time in a long time. This means Sean Ryan is over and we have a better idea of who's good in the NW and SW. As such, here goes my all region preview.

NW - A lot of this is speculation
1. Cassidy Rasmussen - UCSC
2. Russell Wynne - UCSC
3. Andrew Hagen - Cal
4. Eli Janin - Oregon
5. Eli Friedman - Oregon
6. Jordan Mcphee - UBC
7. Taylor Lahey - Davis

SW - None of this is speculation
1. Dominic Sheehy - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
2. Dom Captan of SLOCore - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
3. D.C.S. - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
4. Dom "Cunnilingus" Sheehy - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
5. Dom King of SLOCore - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
6. "You can't spell dome without" Dom Sheehy - Cal Poly San Louis Obispo
7. To Be Determined


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cal States 2009

Cal States is one of my favorite tournaments and provides an interesting early season glimps at the best west coast teams. I only had a chance to watch Open and Mixed this past weekend, so here's what I got.

Notes from the Open Division:
Tier 1:
Jam: Didn't get so see much of the defending champs, but I did notice a lot of roster changes. Gone: Bruss, Cissna, Gabe, Husak, Scow?, Steets, Woody?. more?
In: Julian (Kansas/CLX/Monster/BCBC), Tommy (Cal), Fast Asian Guy (MagnUM), Johnny Hester (Condors), Ian Ranahan (Revolver), Will Chen (Harvard, Stanford Coach). Maybe more?
As long as Damien is around, the team will be strong.

Revolver: This years Revolver team has the most team speed I have ever seen. An already very fast team with Chapman, Weisman, Martin, and Jit has added Ashlin (Davis), Cassidy (Santa Cruz), and BEAU (word on the street is that there might be a late addition). Damn. It didn't look like they were challenged all weekend. Oh, and Cassidy was unstopable in the finals (while being guarded by a high school tryout on Sockeye). He played every O point and had 2 goals and 2 assists with 0 turns and 1 awesome spike.

Sockeye: Looks like they should be keeping Skip and adding BJ and Kurt Gibson. I hope they take The Sultan, and we'll see if Seth chooses to play club or just focus on team USA. There were some other no shows this weekend, but I have no info on that front.

Tier 2:
Portland: Looks like Thompson High from regionals with more bodies. More skilled then Rhino, less desire // work ethic. Their fate depends on Aaron Richards.

Rhino: A fast hard working team. Didn't see any UO guys, but they do have finals next week, so Solstice might show a fastly differend Rhino team. They seem like the team most prone to runs, either for or against.

Scumbags: Looks like they had a lot of fun. This team was sharing a bid with the Slugs, so there were a ton of players, with lots of them coming and going. It will be interesting to see what the roster looks like at Solstice, and how it changes at tournaments closer to the bay.

Shark (YR): It looked like their O line rotation wasn't nearly as tight as in years past. I think having Will the Thrill captain will really help that, and I think it could change the culture of the team. Loosing 808, Joey D, Corey Lee, and Charles also changes things. They had a strong showing, but it looks like some of their stronger tryouts decisded to play elswhere (Fedi from Arizona, Kissman, and Jamison from tide).

Tier 1: Only contains Bravo until proven otherwise.

Tier 2:
Condors: AKA Black Tide alum from '06 or later with some SLOCore. Look for them to improve as the season goes on, while having the best fundimentals of any tier two team. The SB isolation will help the Tide, especially if Husak and Steets decide to come out for the later half of the season. Word on the street is that Dugan will be around to help, but will be playing masters with DoG come fall time.

LA (Strike-Slip): LA is once again full of talent, but it's all from different college programs that teach different things. The team will take time to jell, and they need to get on the same page ASAP. The team also seems short on blue-colar type players. To many people who are used to being the star. Until their downfield cutters work hard consistantly, they are going to have issues. I predict Dr. Buel will bring it all together. Also, a lot of their hopes rest on where Matt Welsh decides to play.

SD (Street Gang): The actually united Sand Diego team looked very strong, and a lot less like a Squids Only club than either PBR or SD United looked. They also emerged as the potentially dominant team in SoCal for the season. If this weekends results (and team rosters) are any indicators, I'd expect SD vs LA in the Game to Go come regianls with SD going back to Nationals for the first time since '05.

Notes from the Moxed Devision:

A lot of teams in the Mixed devision are waiting on Womans teams to anounce their rosters. Mischeif and CTR are not among those teams. Scotty Conway was playing with the home town people after playing with Flycoons last year and Family Style before that.

Personal: I played co-ed this weekend working on my recovery from ACL surgery. I felt faster than last time I played (Memorial Day), but I think I was limping a bit more. I've decided to stop climbing for the next two weeks and focus more on rehab. Hopefully I'll be able to play Open come Solstice, if not, maybe I can find a co-ed team to take me.