Thursday, May 24, 2007

White Mountain Open

WMO was good overall. It was disheartening to lose the quarterfinals after being up 12-9 and 14-12 in a game to 15, and against a team that is probably about an 8th-10th place at Regionals quality. No doubt about that feeling.

But considering our limited roster, it was a big success. 11 on Saturday, 9 on Sunday, including my wife, whose team bailed on Saturday morning. It was hardly a Murderers' Row, as few of the vintage DoG were there, although on average the team was much younger and probably more mobile than our full team.

In our first game, we beat Bro White, the male half of last year's Mixed finalists Slow White (minus a couple guys trying out for the new team or otherwise absent). Bro White would later give fairly close games to both halves ofBoston Ultimate. Overall it was probably our best game of the weekend for efficient offense and getting turns.The next two games also went pretty well. We handled Koob, the final remnants of the team that made (Masters) Nats in '05 and lost the game to go in '06, and also beat Chuck Wagon (formerly Log, ofBurlington) decently, although the final difference was but two. (They finished about 6th at Regionals last year). Last game was against half of Boston Ultimate. I had already conceded the game and the day, as we were going to get another shot at the other half, we had 9.5 (one had left, one was hobbling), and we were 98% certain of getting a 1st round bye (Bro White would have had to beat Boston Ultimate; I'll leave the Bayesian statistics to the reader, but I estimate that going in BU was a 13-7.5 favorite, final score was 13-10; ok, my Pythagorean estimator predicts somewhere between 74% and 96%). We had real matchup problems, regardless, both in height and speed, leading to lots of easy long goals for them. But I didn't really care, and I can't say I played too hard or got up too much for the game since it was our fourth in a row and we were old.

We were probably a four-goal favorite for Sunday's quarterfinal, even allowing for our small numbers (as mentioned above, lost four and added two). It started out looking like we'd beat the spread, but we let them back in it. We put on a zone and got two breaks and a chance at a third. We built up a lead to 12-9, made it to 14-12, then kept turning it and allowing goals.Our problems that game and on the weekend were mostly throwing execution and choice. Only against Boston Ultimate were they related to age and slow footspeed. Another problem on Sunday was the lack of handlers. As a result, two of us who normally are receivers ended up spending a lot of time near the disc instead of being freed up to cut downfield.

We didn't have a lot of spare time to hang out, often one of the best times of tournaments with old people. Two of our first three games went well into the cap, maybe even to the next round.

In the Bro White game, we went up 7-4, then they came back. Late in the game, I think the point prior to double game, they threw a high hammer, I went after it, I was decently positioned to make a play at it but their guy jumped back into where I was headed, not where the disc was going, but he went mostly up and I was going forward and so I bumped into his back and he called foul. I asked him at least twice if he was sure that he had a play on it and he didn't just misread it, but he insisted on the call, so I let him have it uncontested, and they scored. At double game point, we turned it, and someone threw a medium-range forehand into the endzone, I came off my guy, jumped, and knocked the disc away cleanly, but contacted the receiver on the body afterwards, not hard but not light, either. Foul call, I laugh and say for the first time in my life, "But I got the disc first." Everyone sitting around says no foul, but I just ask the guy to send it back. I had almost decided to give it to him, too, but then I saw Alex walk up (actually he was probably just trying to see what was happening rather than to influence me) and decided to stick with the contest, feeling that had there been an observer there, especially one named Mike G, it would not have been called a foul. It goes back, a couple passes later one of their guys drops a pass while on the goal line, we work it down for the win and the clear path to a 9 am pre-quarters bye. I felt that between the two plays, there was about 1 foul, probably about 0.4 on each one, so I don't feel bad about sending the second one back. Had the first not happened, or had it not been double game point, I probably would have just given up the second one, too.

New pick rule is stupid (but not the people who came up with it!) but I insisted on it being applied about 4 or 5 times (all in our favor), and let two slide (1 for, 1 against). Maybe 1 or 2 of those times, it was probably a good outcome that the play stood, but the other ones it probably should have gone back. Part of the reason for the pick rule is for safety, yet this encourages players not only to continue but to initiate movement. (The times it was a "good outcome" were when the throw was almost coincidental with the call and no one had time to react.)

Alex covered the tournament on his blog, although for some reason it's more Alex-centric.

Big Ego Ultimate lifetime: 17-6, 2 tournament victories, 1 runnerup, 1 "other". Next meeting: Masters Easterns, June 2-3.


luke said...

ouch, i'm pretty sure you just used to count tournament wins vs not wins...

Handy said...

I realize that you're frustrated by the last game but isn't it possible that a team that pulled out games against Red Tide and then against Big Ego is a little better than 8-10? I mean I'm not fishing here but especially with the dissolving of Metal the field gets a little tighter, no? And wouldn't you have considered both you and RT in the top 7?

That being said, good luck this year and thanks for writing, I've enjoyed your posts.


Alex de Frondeville said...

I imagine Jim would probably be referring to his latest experience, which would be last year's Regionals. I would have to agree with his assessment even though I wasn't there Sunday. I did watch a lot of their game on Saturday when they were playing next to us. And the fact that they were down 12-9 to a shell of a team doesn't necessarily augur well for their chances.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the New England region with the combination of DoG/Metal. And more importantly, what name they will call themselves.

Handy said...

Count, I know what you're saying but "I would have to agree with his assessment even though I wasn't there Sunday. I did watch a lot of their game on Saturday when they were playing next to us" suggests maybe you were looking past them too, which I understand being that they're new and you're from the old guard, but results are what they are, right?

Just wondering what a team has to do to get some respect if not playing from being a 12 seed to tied for 3/4 after beating a top 5 regionals team (Red Tide) and then a "shell" of a team full of former world champions who before the season started thought they were ready to play at the open level, right?

Smithson Leverage said...

Handy, I don't know how much you should take away from this tourney. Congratulations on an excellent showing but Red Tide was at it's first tourney with several tryouts and b team players and while this is no excuse for red tide losing they were assessed a couple of points for showing up late (which is a pretty good indicator of what they were up to the night before). Red Tide still should have won as they had the disc up 12-10 and blew it. Again, nice playing but it seems you are attributing a bit much to such an early tourney. There is a lot of ultimate to be played.

parinella said...

John Korber of Colt .45 told me afterward how thrilling it was for the team and that many of them were previously just summer league all-stars who had not played club. They had a great tournament, winning every game but their last. If they can repeat at Boston Invite, then sure, 8-10 would be underranking them.

I think Big Ego Ultimate has a chance to make semis at Boston Invite, and is a good bet to make quarters. I'll have more confidence one way or the other after next weekend and when I see who will be making it to BI. But for the meantime, we're just another team who lost in the quarters at WMO.

Handy said...

I realize it's very early in the season, I wasn't even playing for Colt and I was on Brooklyn a few years ago when we beat them at Cazenovia only to have them play approximately 20 times better at regionals.

I appreciate the responses, there's plenty of ulti to be played, just wanted some credit where credit is due.

Oh, and if you don't think that Colt was doing what Red Tide was the previous night, you have not met the "gentlemen" on that squad.