Exciting days of Ultimate are few and far between. Today we have Patrick Kenzie contributing his perspective below as well as a few additional points by me.
The wind was the major factor in all the games today, especially in the tight Macmaster/Toronto and U de Montreal/Queen’s games. Starting downwind proved to be the key advantage as Toronto took the game by one point, with neither team scoring upwind. U de M took Queen’s to universe, and despite several turnovers used the downwind to their advantage to take the game by one as well. Carleton’s first point upwinder against Brock’s ladies held for the entire game, with another added at the end after a long game working it past the tough, tall, Brock cup.
With pool play finished, the three-way tie in pool Z ended with Queen’s coming out on top, followed by U de Montreal, and Carleton, all teams going 4-1 in pool play. Guelph’s LOAF played Carleton’s Stealth in the crossover, and Guelph’s excellent flow upwind proved to be the difference, scoring two upwinds to none. The game featured countless layouts on both offense and defense for both teams, highlighted by Dom Rioux’s incredible four foot high layout D on a high release break to steal a point from Guelph during the marathon 23 minute final point that lasted from soft cap through to beyond the start of the next game.
The quarterfinals at the end of the day had Ottawa U, Queen’s, Guelph, and Western advance past Sherbrooke, McGill, U de Montreal, and Carleton respectively.
I mostly saw the stronger power pool today, consisting of Carleton, Guelph, Dalhousie, Toronto, Queens, and UQO.
The day started with an intense athletic matchup between Dalhousie’s DKUT and the #1 seed Carleton Ravens. DKUT carried two early upwinds through to an upset 9-6 victory over the stunned Ravens. Dal thought they’d won the hard capped game with a layout Callahan out of mid-mid, but Kielan Way stuck to his guns calling “not in”, and the game saw two more turnovers before Dal punched it in with a uncontested strip call on a layout for the win.
Similar stories seemed to play out around the fields, as Waterloo’s confident deep looks upwind and tough zone D led them to victory over Concordia, while Western’s strong play overpowered U of Ottawa 11-3. Later in the pool, McGill would repeat their performance from Eastern’s with a universe point victory over Western.
Following the tough Dal game, Carleton faced newcomer UQO. They seemed to show some mental effects from the upset, as they were unable to convert on several upwind chances. UQO’s short squad proved equal to the challenge, scoring all of their downwind points to take the Ravens to universe in hard cap, with handling help from exemptions Aaron Kucherawy and Bryan Spekkers, including a 50+ yard hammer from Kooch to the shortest player on the field. The day’s theme of winning the flip carried through, as Carleton scored their final downwind to take the game.
Beside the UQO/Carleton game, TULA surprised a strong Guelph team to win their second game of the day (after beating UQO in to start the day) 11-8. This set up extra drama for the rivals Carleton and Guelph in their final pool play game for the day, as they both went in 1-1 for the day, 3-1 overall.
Guelph stormed out to a 5-0 lead to start the game, and I arrived in time to see Carleton demonstrate the comeback ability they showed against Guelph at Eastern’s by taking the game to have 7-6. They were well aware of the history, with Ryan Bauer reminding his line “we got seven breaks in a row against them – we’re not out of this!” – prophetic words at a score of 5-2. Strong play on defense including a soaring double-helix best-pull-of-the-day upwind to the front cone from Jan Gorski helped the Ravens to mount their comeback. At the end, Guelph called their gut-check line for a couple of points in a row to end the game, with Cam Harris’s hammers attacking Carleton’s zone at will (his throwing stopped briefly by a huge foot block by Ray Arteaga during Carleton’s comeback run), finishing the game on universe. The strong cohesive zone of Guelph stopped all the attempts to move the disc downwind, and resulted in an interception in the mid by Jamie Miller and a punch in upwind to win.
Ottawa Gee Gees Women are looking fantastically strong and they have continued their march through quarters. They stand one win away from the finals and another from the championship.
In Open there are six closely matched teams (four that have each lost a game to each other and two that are separated by a single point) that have put on a fantastic display so far. On Sunday we hope to see the madness continue.
On a separate note, Observers have been participating in several games and have generally been quite good. The pace of games that they’ve observed in has been quite good and they’re mostly invisible during games. Players and spectators have not always agreed with calls made by Observers and while they’ve been quite vocal they are surprised when I show them photographic evidence demonstrating that the Observers have nailed a call they were certain was incorrect. I believe that having photographers share in the manner we do increases the respect for those in Orange.