Feeling that my adventures on Friday merited extra sleep I didn’t arrive at the fields until the start of the second game of the day. Already the wind was picking up and a light drizzle was falling The teams on a bye were already complaining about the cold; little did they know that it was about to get worse. With a variety of skill levels the weather made it a day for handlers to shine and the B teams that lacked them suffered.
Due to the limited time in games I concentrated on a couple of ladies teams today: Ottawa Gee Gees and Western Sharks. Both teams looked strong throughout the day and were perfect before meeting in the second to last game. Ottawa put on an impressive showing by quickly taking the lead and dominating in the wind. Anne Mercier was perfect in the wind with both upwind and downwind hucks that always arrived precisely at their destination. For situations where the disc from other handlers didn’t always make it the athletic ladies would dig up anything that was reachable and keep possession comfortably. The few points that the Sharks did get were on downwind hucks by Jordan Meron and then put in by one of their other handlers such as Nina Ramic.
I fully expect Ottawa to make the finals and to quote their captains and coaches: “It would be a disappoint” if they didn’t.
As darkness approached Sharks faced Sherbrooke in the last game of the day. The wind played a major factor as both teams kept the game close so that at hard cap they were tied 8-8. Unfortunately Sherbooke was going upwind and while they managed to move it up the field six or seven times the Western ladies simply hucked it down and then threw a zone on. The dark made it much harder to judge the disc and four times in a row the Western Ladies dropped it in the end zone on wide open catches. Finally a huck attempt by Sherbrooke popped the disc high into the air and was caught for a point by the Sharks. A 9-8 win on a very tight game in a 3rd/4th place upset.
Both Guelph and Western have lost to Ottawa and will face each other in the last pool game on Saturday morning to decide 2nd and 3rd in pool Y. In pool Z top seed Toronto has lost four games today while Queens has jumped to first place from fourth with a 4-0 record. It’s topsy turvy and we’ll try to get a sense of it during the day.
Given time constraints I was able to get a full game view for a few teams and will try to describe as best what I saw.
My day started with a visit to watch Waterloo play Ottawa. The guys on Ottawa were in great spirits even though Waterloo was rolling them at the time. Waterloo, meanwhile, looked nervous as they expected an Ottawa comeback. Ottawa’s confidence was well founded as they started to score on key possessions and punish Waterloo for their errors. The second half was trying for Waterloo as Ottawa made it 8-4 very quickly. Fortunately some good line calling by captains Dinesh Balakrishnan and Jon Templin as well as coach Geoff Chan Waterloo was quickly able to finish 12-5.
During the Waterloo game I wandered to watch the Western B team play Lakehead. Western is running a short roster with Ray leading them. At the end of the day I chatted with one of their players who was playing in his first tournament. He mentioned that while they had a rough start the team was starting to click and learning quite a bit. It’s good to see new players being introduced in a tournament where they can see how high level teams play. Lakehead had no problems with the game and won 13-5.
By far one of the best stories of the tournament was encountered early on. First timers UQO had put together a team in record time from a school with 500 students and had already upset Sherbrooke. They were easily handling Toronto B when I left and finished the day with a 2-2 record; definitely keep an eye on them throughout as they may just crack the top eight with a bit of luck.
Sherbrooke, while impressive with their Bloody Gary handlers, didn’t have a great day and I watched them lose to Dalhousie 9-7. The final point was hard and it’s just a matter of unfortunate drops rather than consistent pressure by Dalhousie that led to the loss. Dalhousie is a concern of many teams and Guelph also had a tight game (10-8) against them to start their day. We’ll look a bit more at Guelph on Saturday.
For much of the day I bounced between Western and Carleton games. On Saturday I’ll have a look at McGill Redmen and update the Twitter feed with what I see.
Western had a mostly solid day and rolled most games. The biggest match of their day was vs Concordia which I saw bits and pieces of. After a rough start the team came together and focused on breaking through the zone on O (Andy Siy firing break passes through) while Andrew Higgins, Scotty Hislop, and Mark Lloyd (arm in cast and all) provided plenty of down field opportunities. I’ll have more on the gents as it’s a team full of stars that deserve description.
The most exciting game of the day was Carleton vs Toronto. The first vs eighth seed was considered a much closer match as Toronto had added a few big players to their roster. Carleton came out fast and jumped to a 4-1 lead. Toronto switched to a wall zone for much of their defense and Carleton relied upon Gorski and Arteaga to move the disc around efficiently. Neal Dawson (7′ tall) was not effective against the zone D due to good deep coverage by Toronto. Sachin, Taylor, and Adrian started working for Toronto on O and kept the game close. For the rest of the match resulted in a trading of points with Kielan Way throwing his, to quote Steven Trainor, “patented hucks” (which are amazing to watch) to wide open receivers in the end zone. Teams will be hard pressed to shut down the Carleton vertical offense that’s organized around a quick release huck (basically a blind layout just before Kielan catches it).
The end result of the game was 9-7 for Carleton and a sign that Toronto will be moving up much higher than their 8th place seeding. The flick hucks that Sachin was throwing into the wind were traveling 3 quarters of the field and were quite easy to catch. Adrian and Taylor have experience with each other and have a cutting system that connects both of them quite well.
Tomorrow we’ll check out McGill and Guelph in addition to the teams we covered today.