Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sectionals 2009

We played once again in the Open Sectionals and finished 3rd out of 11 (or 28, if you include Division II). The tournament was once again held at the Citizens Bank Fields at Progin Park in Lancaster, MA, on some turf fields. Last year these fields saved our tournament, as it was raining a bunch and we couldn't have played on grass fields, but this year I am not that thrilled to have played there. I had a general body soreness afterwards and had an achier than usual left knee and right heel, both of which are bothering me a bit this year. The fields are hard, with some pretty solid base at some small distance beneath the turf. The footing was good enough, though there was an occasional slip, but I couldn't even wear one of my pairs of cleats because it would have hurt too much to stop quickly and turn (if indeed I can still do that). I have more sympathy now for baseball players who used to complain about playing on Astroturf.

We once again had our pivotal pool play game early on Saturday against Red Tide, to see who would play up into the semis and who would play down. Last year we came out really flat and got spanked. This year's game was the first round, which was originally 8:30, then 8, then a late email on Friday night moved it to 9 (unbeknownst to a few of our guys who showed up at 7:30 or so). I believe we again went down a couple breaks after having a good chance to go up 2-0, but somewhere along the way we went ahead and won by two. This became the theme of the weekend, as our next game was also a two point victory over some local kids.

Bye, another win, then the premiere matchup against Ironside. We scored on O to go up 1-0, then had a chance for a break, but didn't get it and it was downhill from there. They turned it over several times but we never got a break, then let them get the last four of the game to win 13-5. They were able to throw it really far. I used to hate Sectionals when I was in their shoes, and couldn't imagine getting up to play some old guys, but they played fairly seriously, though they were goofing off when not playing.

This got us a semifinal matchup against Sons of Liberty. I had us as about a 2 1/2 point underdog. The details of the game escape me other than not making two blocks (both were nice plays by the receivers, though one of them required a mistake by me to give him a chance to catch it). We again had our chances, and though there was no pivotal moment that had it gone differently might have given us the win, it again felt winnable, much like a few of our 3-5 point losses at Boston Invite this spring. I guess if we match up against a team of athletic 24 year olds at Masters, we could be in trouble. 15-10.

Final game was for 3rd place against Tufts. We switched our D and O lines that game, giving all of us plenty of opportunities to mock the other line. We got a break on one D point and I just walked off the field as usual, and it wasn't until the point started and I was getting mocked for sitting out did I realize that you stay on the field when you score if you are playing on the D line.

Overall, I felt like we underperformed by about one break for both O and D each game over what we should have done. We won the games we were favored in and lost the ones we were underdogs in. Maybe the only game we covered the spread was against Ironside, though it would have been close (maybe Red Tide, too, which somehow ended up with a higher RRI for the weekend than we did).

Personally, I was disappointed in my play, never really feeling like I had it going, definitely much less than at previous tournaments this year. I don't really evaluate my play based on how many turnovers I have, but on how many turnovers other people have when I'm on the field, and there were too many of those. If I can cut well, then the disc gets moving, other people will be freed up, and we'll score quickly.


Richard said...

What does RRI mean, please?

parinella said...

RRI = something like Relative Ranking Index. It's the system that ranks teams based on their scores. Here is the page for the Open standings.

RRI says that you would expect Red Tide to do better than DoG at the next tournament because their RRI was higher, yet we beat them and finished ahead of them in pool play. I think this is largely due to their lopsided wins over Tufts and Slingshot (which we beat by 2) and Brown (which we did not play but they had an otherwise decent tournament).

So, a word of caution to those doing seedings and trying to assess performance using RRI, RRI undervalues wins and losses and overvalues margin of victory (or defeat). A shortcut I like to take is to add 100 points to a team's tournament RRI score for winning, 50 for making finals, 25 for making semis. See here for my earlier attempt to quantify this.

Richard said...

Thank you.
As someone who recently moved to America (from UK) that really helped clear that up.

Frank Huguenard said...

It is and always has been COMPLETELY inappropriate for a masters team to participate in Open Sectionals.

Just more ridiculous UPA nonsense. Mind boggling.

parinella said...

I don't know about "completely" in capital letters, but I agree that it's kinda funny. I think it's a bone to induce participation by Masters teams. It's also intended to benefit teams who will not qualify for Regionals. This lets them be a little better by including Masters players, particularly if those players are regular members of that team and are just whoring on a Masters team.
I think our team would still participate in Open Sectionals if there were a separate Masters series in the spring/summer, or maybe some of us would join other teams for the fall.