Day 2 for CUJO was a great day – we got to face 2 really good teams in Misfits and Reign (defending national champions).
For the Misfits game, our goal was to win so we shortened our bench considerably; sitting 5 guys. However, the level that those 9 guys had to play at was more than they could handle and, down 8-2 at half, Leah and I switched things back to the 3 lines of guys we had talked about the night before after our first day of games.
The kids actually played better, supported each other more and had more fun when everyone was playing opposed to when we cut the bench in the first half. We decided that we were going to roll with those 3 lines of guys for the rest of the day and only shorten unless we were in a close game. Misfits ended up winning something like 15-5 but we ended the game with a great second half of almost-beautiful plays…just a bit more practice and we’ll be there.
Our second game was against Reign and would see us down to only 4 girls since 2 of our ladies when down in the first game – we talked to the coaches on Reign and played the game 5/2 (5 guys/2 ladies) so that was a great break for our ladies. Reign are the defending national champions and are full of some amazing players. They won the game 15-3 but some highlights included a Halifax pickup, Alex, catching a huge layout in the endzone for a point, Nick (one of our Calgary boys) getting a huge endzone D on a much taller Reign player, and some great hucks and catches throughout the game. This game was by far our best played game and the most fun we have had thus far.
Our final game was against TQ (Team Quebec) and was a team that we should beat – which we did 15-5. We actually didn’t play very well but after having a good halftime talk, we calmed down and played a relatively clean second half, only allowing 1 point. It was great to finish the day with a win and to have our kids show so much potential. Leah and I are truly proud to be here coaching CUJO and are excited for what they can bring next nationals.
Overall, we learned a few things that will help us win more games and become a better team (and they are all basic skills): throwing, catching, marking and cutting to/from space. Those 4 elements I see as being the 4 most building blocks of ultimate. Add to that their mental game and we have a lot of things to work on when we go back home. But the great thing is that the kids are seeing what they have to work on as well – as tough as it is losing 15-2, 15-3, it’s a huge learning experience for us. We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity for our kids and we feel that this is the fuel that they need in order to become better ultimate players.
We are so proud of how they’ve done and can’t wait for our final 3 games on Saturday – then it’s time to sit back and relax and watch the finals!
Best of luck to all the teams on Saturday,