UUCC Open Preview

With Club Championships just days away it’s time for previews and predictions; let’s start with the Open division which features newcomers, old timers, and perhaps a few one timers.

Ironside (NE1, Boston):

Roster additions:
Misha Sidorsky (PoNY)
Brent Kleaveland (AMP)
Brandon ‘Muffin’ Malecek (Madison Club)
Ryan Holmes (UMass)
Andrew Vogt (Harvard)
Nas Mbae Vogel
Josh Markette (Chain Lightning)

Roster departures:
Dave Hoel
Ryan Todd (Truck Stop)
Josh Mullen (Ring of Fire)
Jasper Hoitsma (Slow White)
Adam Sigelman (Truck Stop)
Kevin Albert
Matt Holzer (Drag’n Thrust)
Trey Katzenbach (Southpaw)
Ryan Purcell (Overhaul)
Josh McCarthy (Coach of Ironside)
Ben Faust (PoNY)

Results:
Cazenovia Ultimate Tournament – 1st (15-5 Phoenix)
Boston Invitational – 1st (15-12 GOAT)
World Ultimate Club Championships – 5th (17-7 Colony)
Emerald City Classis – 1st (15-12 Revolver)
Chesapeake Open – 1st (13-11 Chain Lightning)
East New England Sectionals – 1st (15-8 Bodhi)
Northeast Regionals – 1st (15-7 Bodhi)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 15-0

Analysis:
Ironside has clearly been the class of the 2010 USA Ultimate season, posting a 35-0 record (not counting split squad games), including an incredible 15-0 mark against teams attending this year’s championships (with another 6 wins against former USAU Championship teams).  The only blemish on their record this year is a 17-15 loss to Sockeye in quarters at the World Ultimate Club Championships, on the ‘Catch Seen Around the World’.

After a disappointing semi-final loss in last year’s championships to Chain Lightning, Ironside largely kept their roster intact, looking to build through continuity and chemistry, while still getting younger, always a key in the Open scene.

Ironside has one of the best D-lines in the game today, anchored by Seth Crockford, Adam ‘Chicken’ Simon and twin towers Will Neff (6’4”) and Colin Mahoney (6’6”).  Jeff Graham and Danny Clark are the big names on the offence, but one of the most underrated players in the game is cutter Peter Prial, who is going to be key in Ironside taking home the championship.

Prediction:
Ironside has, by far, the easiest pool for any of the top seeds, and should be able to cruise in to power pools on Friday, without expending too much of their top players against Machine, 1st timer Tanasi, and PoNY.  The key game of pool play is going to be against the winner of pool C (Doublewide/Sockeye) on Friday; take that game, and Ironside should be able to cruise into semi-finals holding their seed.  I would be shocked if Ironside doesn’t make the finals, and I fully expect them to take home Boston’s 1st Open Championship since the Death or Glory glory days.

Revolver (NW1, Bay Area, CA):

Roster additions:
Brian Garcia (JAM)
Taylor Cascino (JAM)
Russell Wynne (UC Santa Cruz)
Nicholas Handler (hiatus)
Sam Kanner (Bodhi)
Bart Watson (JAM)
Jonathan Hester (JAM)

Roster departures:
Tom James
Rocky Beach
Daryl Nounnan
Kim van Berkel
James Herbert
Whit Clark

Results:
World Ultimate Club Championships – 1st (17-13 Sockeye)
Emerald City Classic – 2nd (12-15 Ironside)
Labor Day Championships – 1st (15-9 Sockeye)
Northern California Sectionals – 1st (15-9 Wolf)
Northwest Regionals – 1st (15-8 Sockeye)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 8-4

Analysis:
After falling just short of a UPA Championship last season (falling 15-11 to Chain Lightning), Revolver certainly weren’t content to just roll with what got them that far, taking advantage of long time UPA contender JAM folding, and adding key pieces such as All World Bart Watson.

Revolver started the season exactly how the Ultimate world expected them to, becoming world champions in Prague, before kicking things off in North America at the Emerald City Classic.
ECC didn’t go exactly as planned, with 3 losses overall, including 2 to key rival Ironside, but they still wound up in 2nd place.  Since then, they are 19-1, the only loss coming at the hands of Johnny Bravo at the Labor Day Championships.

Prediction:
Revolver is still lead by stars Mac Taylor, Robbie Cahill, Josh Wiseman and Beau Kittredge.  Bringing the versatile Watson into the fold is going to make Revolver incredibly dangerous, and very difficult to defend.  Stopping their long game will be key, and not many teams are going to have the size to shut down their wave of strikers.

They will be looking to avenge that Labor Day loss to Johnny Bravo in pool play, and should be able to walk through Thursday’s play unscathed, and look forward to a rematch of last year’s championship in the power pools.

Revolver will easily advance to the championship bracket, where I feel a championship matchup with Ironside is inevitable.

Doublewide (SO1, Austin, TX):

Roster additions:
Scott Berens (hiatus)
Brodie Smith (Florida)
Ben Hamilton
Zach Riggins (North Texas)
Kevin Richardson (Grit)
William Driscoll (Texas)
Chris Gibson (Ring of Fire)
Ryan Bigley (Kansas)
Bjorn Schey

Roster departures:
Marcus Gavin
Matthew Clark (Dirty Birds)
Ben Sims
Kiran Thomas (Chain Lightning)
Sean McCall
Matt Randall (injured)
Kevin Gaffney (Dirty Birds)
Matthew Stephens (Dirty Birds)
Brandon Hill
Jason Best

Results:
World Ultimate Club Championships – 9th
Texas2Finger – 1st (15-5 Space City Ignite)
Labor Day Championships – t-3rd (Johnny Bravo)
Texas Sectionals – 1st (15-6 Space City Ignite)
South Regionals – 1st (15-10 Chain Lightning)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 4-1

Analysis:
On its face, Doublewide has had a very impressive season, going 22-1 overall, but only 5 of those games have come against Sarasota competition, squeaking out identical 15-13 victories over Sockeye and Streetgang at the Labor Day Championships, as well as wins over Tanasi and Chain Lightning at Regionals.  It is widely agreed upon that Doublewide is playing at a very high level right now, especially with the additions of Brodie Smith and Chris Gibson from 2010 UPA College champion Florida Gators, and the returned health of Kurt Gibson.

My only concern is the lack of top level competition this year, having only entered 1 top flight tournament this year, eschewing ECC in the process.  The dominant win over Chain Lightning in the Regional final is impressive, but you can’t help but wonder which team that result speaks more of.

Prediction:
I think Doublewide is coming in a little over-seeded, in part because they need to be placed ahead of Chain Lightning.  Doublewide certainly has the talent to do well, along with the above mentioned names, they also have 2009 Callahan winner Stephen Pressley and big Jake Anderson reeling in hucks, but the relative depth of the team compared to Chain, Ironside or Revolver may hurt them.

Word is they have built their offence around Brodie Smith, which is never a bad idea, but what made Brodie so dominant in the college game was that his size/speed combo was nearly impossible to match (mark him with a quick smaller player, and Brodie would take them long; but a big guy to keep him out of the end zone, and Brodie would run circles around him, collecting resets, until he got the big huck off that he was looking for).  In Club, teams are going to have size/speed guys that can match up with him, and how Brodie makes the small adjustments when defended by players such as Matt Rehder (Sockeye), Joel Wooten (Southpaw) and Will Neff (Ironside) is going to determine how Doublewide does in Florida.

Doublewide should cruise into quarterfinals, and certainly are a team on the rise, but I think their breakthrough to the semis occurs next season.

Chain Lightning (SO2, Atlanta):

Roster additions:
Andrew Hollingworth (Bodhi)
Sam C-K (Sockeye)
Michael Spear (Georgia Tech)
Kiran Thomas (Doublewide)
Jolian Dahl (Johnny Bravo)
Taylor ‘Tree’ Goforth (Rival)

Roster departures:
Josh Markette (Ironside)
Grant Kirby (retirement)
Joel Wooten (Southpaw)
Rob Barrett (retirement)
Jay Hammond (retirement)

Results:
World Ultimate Club Championships – 4th (17-19 Buzz Bullets)
Chesapeake Open – 2nd (11-13 Ironside)
East Coast Sectionals – 1st (15-2 Tanasi)
South Regionals – 2nd (10-15 Doublewide)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 5-2

Analysis:
The reigning champions, Chain Lightning appeared to be building the next great dynasty in Ultimate by adding superstars Jolian Dahl, Sam C-K and Kiran Thomas, along with 6’7” behemoth Tree Goforth, but an odd thing happened on the way to Sarasota this year: Chain Lightning appeared to underachieve.

An unexpected 4th place at WUCC started it off, and due to WUCC commitments, Chain has not played a lot of elite Ultimate since then.  They had only 2 games against teams seeded ahead of them in Sarasota, losing both (13-11 to Ironside at the Chesapeake Open and 15-10 to Doublewide at Regionals).

Prediction:
Anchored by 2 of the top players in the game today, Josh Ziperstein and Dylan Tunnell, I would be shocked if Chain didn’t right the ship for the USAU Championships, and make another run for the semi-finals.  There’s simply too much top level depth on this team, for them not to have a deep run.

Truck Stop (MA1, Washington/Baltimore)

Roster additions:
David Boylan-Kolchin (PoNY)
Jake Christian (Forge)
Adam Sigelman (Ironside)
Ryan Todd (Ironside)
Russell Howd (Wiretap)
Ernie Ricourt (Dumpsterfire)
Rob Dulabon (Forge)
Ken McWilliams (Wiretap)
Frankie Hazera (Wiretap)

Roster departures:
Jason Andryuk
Daniel Noll
Joe Cuneo
Matt Gordon
Linc Verlander
John Agan
Michael Stout
Damon Taylor

Results:
Boston Invite – t-3rd (Southpaw)
Colorado Cup – 1st (15-11 GOAT)
Emerald City Classic – 6-1
Chesapeake Open – t-3rd (Ring of Fire)
Capital Sectionals – 1st (15-5 Virgina Squires)
Mid-Atlantic Regionals – 1st (14-12 Ring of Fire)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 15-4

Analysis:
Sleeper favourite Truck Stop will be an interesting team to watch this weekend.  They have a style of play that you wouldn’t think would be conducive to winning Ultimate at this level of play, yet their record against top teams says otherwise.

Truck Stop took full advantage of not being in Prague to have a full slate of tournaments this summer, hitting every big tournament, save Labor Day.  They will have figured out what works and what doesn’t at this point, and should have some of the best team chemistry at the tournament.

Their offence is seemingly centred around hucking 50/50 balls to Brian Stout all day, but with Stout, it’s more like 70/30 balls, as he seems to come down with everything.  As with Brodie, at this tournament every team is going to have a big that can go toe to toe with deep threat like Stout; I hope that we get to see Stout and Colin Mahoney (Ironside) match up at some point.

Prediction:
Truck Stop is a team on the rise, but I’m not sure there’s enough depth or big game experience yet to get past teams like Chain Lightning or Doublewide.  Their pool play game against Chain Lightning will be one of the top games of the day, and go a long way to determining Truck Stop’s fate.

I think Truck Stop will garner their 1st ever quarterfinal berth, and be able to so without going through the pre-quarters game.  That certainly will be a somewhat disappointing, but encouraging season for them, but about as far as I see them going this year.

Sockeye (NW2, Seattle)

Roster additions:
Aaron Talbot
Matthew Knowles
Reid Koss (Stanford)
Philip Murray
Bailey Russel (Pike)
Charlie Ellis
Frank Barich (Toolbox)
Sam Kittross-Schnell (Oberlin College)

Roster departures:
Ryan Seguine
Blaine Robbins
Alex Nord (retirement)
Danny Trytiak
Sam C-K (Chain Lightning)
Jeremy Cram (Emerald City)
Jimmy Chu (Emerald City)
Seth Wiggins

Results:
World Ultimate Club Championships – 2nd (13-17 Revolver)
Emerald City Classic – 3-4
Labor Day Championships – 2nd (9-15 Revolver)
Washington/BC Sectionals – 1st (15-12 Emerald City)
Northwest Regionals – 2nd (8-15 Revolver)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 7-6

Analysis:
It’s truly amazing how Sockeye has turned over their roster while still remaining competitive at the elite level, as Ironside commented at ECC: “There is a surplus of 6’4″ blond 19 year olds in Seattle that look eerily like a young Chase.”

Sockeye kicked off the year with a dream run at Worlds, taking out Ironside and Chain Lightning in the championship bracket, before finally falling to Revolver, but that momentum was not sustained well once they returned to Seattle.

An injury plagued Emerald City Classic left them with losses to Truck Stop, Ironside, Ring of Fire and Bodhi, but they were able to recover and finish 2nd at Labor Day.

Prediction:
I think Sockeye pulled a good draw here, with winnable games against Madison Club and Ring of Fire, and a good matchup with Doublewide.  Getting Ray Illian to put off retirement is a huge plus, and allows Sockeye to focus Matt Rehder on the defensive side of the disc, provided his shoulder injury at Regionals wasn’t significant.  He and Nate Castine are the 2nd best defensive tandem in the game (after Neff and Mahoney on Ironside).  If Doublewide gets too one dimensional offensively, I think that plays right into Sockeye’s hands.

Sockeye will be looking at a quarterfinal berth, as usual, but I’m not sure this current roster has enough height to effectively stop Ironside or Revolver, and quarters may be all that they get this year.

Johnny Bravo (SW1, Boulder, CO)

Roster additions:
Jack McShane (Mamabird)
Jon Greenberg (Swarthmore College)
Jordan White (Colorado St)
Jeff Cohee (Truman St)
Jimmy Mickle (Mamabird)
Jackson Kloor (Mamabird)
Steve Roberts (Air Force)
Andy Stringer (hiatus)
Jimmy Hughes (Madcow)

Roster departures:
Brian Bogle
Kevin Schipper
Alex Mars
Ted Triploi (retirement)
Hayden Sewell
Rodrigo Valdivia (Madison Club)
Hylke Snieder
Chris Wicus
Jolian Dahl (Chain Lightning)

Results:
Colorado Cup – 7th
Labor Day Championships – t-3rd (Doublewide)
Rocky Mountain Sectionals – 1st (15-4 Inception)
Southwest Regionals – 1st (15-5 Condors)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 7-2

Analysis:
In what seems to be a yearly occurrence, Johnny Bravo is bleeding talent once again, losing stars Rodrigo Valdivia and Jolian Dahl, but again, in what seems to be a yearly occurrence, Johnny Bravo is adding more and more talent, and continuing to make runs at the USA Championships.  Southwest Freshman of the Year Jimmy Mickle is one of those rising stars to keep an eye on.

Bravo had a bit of a late start on the season, and with little results to look at prior to the USAU Series, it’s hard to gauge where this team is at.  A big win over Revolver at Labor Day is a great confidence builder, but they also have 2 losses to teams that failed to make the Championships (17-16 to GOAT and 15-14 to Emerald City Ultimate).

Prediction:
Bravo is certainly helped by being the dominant team in their region, with no real challenger yet.  It does allow them to continue to be the big magnet for talent in the southwest, but eventually the talent losses have to catch up with them.

I think this is the year Bravo misses power pools, and while they may be able to squeak into the quarterfinals via the backdoor game, it’s going to be tough reaching the pre-quarters in a Friday pool with 2 of Truck Stop/Streetgang/Furious George

PoNY (NE2, New York City)

Roster additions:
Isaiah Bryant (Puppet Regime)
Nate Hurst (Rhino)
Reid Hopkins (hiatus)
Ignacio Yz (Bashing Pinatas)
Jack Marsh (Sub Zero)
Ben Faust (Ironside)
Nick Malinowski (Pike)
Kevin Terry (Overthrow)
Dusty Rhodes (Pike)

Roster departures:
Valerio Iani
Evan Padget
Will Van Heuvelen
Ben Kenigsberg
David Boylan-Kolchin (Truck Stop)
Julian Ginos
Misha Sidorsky (Ironside)
Brandon Contarsy
Nate Raines (Replicants)
Kevin Riley (Replicants)
Lionel Wininger (injured – coaching Bent)
Ben Pauker

Results:
Cazenovia Ultimate Tournament – t-7th (Mephisto)
Boston Invitational – t-7th (Phoenix)
Emerald City Classic – 4-3
Chesapeake Open – t-7th (El Diablo)
Metro New York Sectionals – 1st (15-9 Replicants)
Northeast Regionals – 2nd (15-11 Bodhi)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 4-9
Analysis:
I don’t know what’s more surprising: that PoNY qualified for the USAU Championships, or that they were seeded 8th.

PoNY (Pride of New York) had a wonderful run at Regionals, qualifying in a region void of wildcards, with big upsets of GOAT and Bodhi, but leading up to that tournament there were no signs that they were capable of grabbing the 2nd bid.

Underwhelming results at both the Boston Invite and Chesapeake Open, and they are 0-7 against teams seeded ahead of them at this tournament.  A somewhat encouraging Emerald City Classic (wins vs Streetgang and Furious George) was the highlight of their season prior to Regionals.

Prediction:
I do think PoNY is very overseeded at this tournament, likely due to the competition committee putting a lot of emphasis over PoNY’s wins over Machine and Southpaw (who must be seeded above Ring of Fire) at the Chesapeake Open.

PoNY should be in for a long 1st day, although Ben VanHeuvelen is certainly capable of carrying the team past Machine, and getting PoNY into the power pools.  However, I just don’t see that happening, and PoNY would be fortunate to make the pre-quarters game.

Machine (CN1, Chicago)

Roster additions:
Grant Zukowski (HoDags)
Geoff Serednesky (Ohio St)
Rob Greenberg (Beachfront Property)
Mike Egan (Cornell)
Dave Fumo (MagnUM)
Ryan Carrizales
Kevin Kelly (Horrorzontals)
Taylor Kraemer (Hoosiermama)
Russell Wallack (Kenyon College)
AJ Nelson (Northwestern)
Zubair Abdulla (U Illinois)

Roster departures:
Ricky Eikstadt
Tim Halt
Vijay Menon
Matt Wilken
Akira Yamaguchi (Real Huck)
Tyson Park
Cullen Geppert
Brian Schulz (Real Huck)
Matt Stupca
Jacob Meyers
Zack Thompson
Alex Evangelides (Emerald City)
Carl Deffenbaugh (Southpaw)

Results:
Colorado Cup – 3-4
Chesapeake Open – 9th
Chicago Heavyweight Championships – 3rd
Central Plains Sectionals – 1st (14-11 Beachfront Property)
Central Regionals – 1st (15-11 Madison Club)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 7-5

Analysis:
Machine has not had an impressive season as their record would indicate.  7 wins against Championship teams is amongst the highest total of any team, but all 7 are against teams seeded below them in Florida.

They’ve done a nice job recruiting from the local colleges and adding youth to the roster, but Grant Zuckowski has been the only recruit from the elite Midwestern schools (Carleton College and Wisconsin).

Prediction:
Fortunately for Machine, they are in a pool with PoNY and Tanasi, so their chances for reaching power pools is better than one might have thought it would be.  If they are able to get past PoNY, as I believe they will, they will certainly be in the pre-quarters game, likely against Streetgang or Furious George.

To get that far would have to be considered a successful tournament for Machine, who are looking to bring some level of respect back to the Central region.

Southpaw (MA2, Philadelphia)

New team in 2010

Tim Gaulton (AMP)
Nick Purifico (Hooray for Coed, Hooray)
Frederick Brasz (Princeton)
Art Shull (Pike)
Adrian Chow (Carleton College)
Leon Chou (Pike)
Nick Hirannet (Hooray for Coed, Hooray)
Dan Furfari (AMP)
Brandon Silverman (Team Tent U)
Alex Kadesch (Philly Love)
Ross Littauer (Pike)
Joel Wooten (Chain Lightning)
Dave Brandolph (AMP)
Matt Glazer (AMP)
Greg Owens (The College of New Jersey)
Matt Schmucker
Thomas Pribicko (Hooray for Coed, Hooray)
Eddie Peters (AMP)
David Stoddard (Roots of Rhythm)
Trey Katzenbach (Ironside)
Jake Rainwater (Pike)
Tim Johnson (Pike)
Carl Deffenbaugh (Machine)
Billy Maroon (O.L.D.S.A.G.)
Jon Fink (Pike)
Ian McClellan (Pike)
Sean Murray (AMP)

Results:
Cazenovia Ultimate Tournament – t-3rd (12-15 Ironside)
Boston Invitational – t-3rd (12-13 GOAT)
Chesapeake Open – 10th (10-13 PoNY)
Labor Day Championships – 10th (12-14 Sub Zero)
Founders Sectionals – 1st (15-6 Bear Proof)
Mid-Atlantic Regionals – 2nd (15-12 Ring of Fire)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 2-9

Analysis:
While a “new” team this year, Southpaw certainly doesn’t lack from Nationals experience.  While there are some big names on the roster (Joel Wooten and Trey Katzenbach in particular), Southpaw did a nice job of collecting the best talent in the Philadelphia area, albeit at the expense of the mixed division, taking 9 players from AMP and Hooray for Coed, Hooray.

Southpaw certainly has had an encouraging 1st season, and an improvement from last year’s “local” open team, Pike, Southpaw earned this seed as much from having to be seeded above Ring of Fire than anything else they’ve done this year.  While getting a lot of reps in against top level competition, they still had 6 losses to non USAU Championship teams, and their only win against a Championship team prior to Regionals was against PoNY back in June.

Prediction:
While Wooten is certainly capable of carrying Southpaw, I think the chances of Southpaw making the power pools are slim.  However, a spot in the pre-quarters game, likely against PoNY or Machine, is not out of the question, so neither is a quarterfinals berth.  As long as Southpaw holds seed this tournament, I think they can consider their 1st season to be a success.

Ring of Fire (MA3, Raleigh, NC)

Roster additions:
Josh Mullen (Ironside)
Joshua Torell (LOS)
Bryan Conklin (Olio)
Gabe Hart (LOS)
R. Thomas Sayre-McCord (LOS)
Noah Saul (Darkside)
Jon Stone (E. Tennessee St)

Roster departures:
Dan Seifer
Nick Poore (wHagonweel)
Rusty Ingold-Smith (Slow White)
Brian Lang (Boneyard)
Kyle Foreman
Motts Mueller (Boneyard)
Chris Gibson (Doublewide)

Results:
Queen City Tuneup – 1st
Emerald City Classic – 6-1
Chesapeake Open – t-3rd (7-13 Ironside)
North Carolina Sectionals – 1st (15-11 LOS)
Mid-Atlantic Regionals – 3rd (15-8 Virginia Squires)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 6-5

Analysis:
In what appears to be an annual rite of fall, Ring of Fire had a very encouraging regular season (wins over Sockeye, Furious George and Streetgang at ECC and Truck Stop at Chesapeake), only to stumble in the series (a loss to Southpaw for the Mid-Atlantic 2nd bid) and a required low seed at Nationals.

Josh Mullen is the only big name added to a roster that finished 6th at last year’s UPA Championships, but they don’t have as easy a pool as they did then.  Qualifying for power pools will be tough, having to beat either Doublewide or Sockeye, while still saving something for their final game of the day against Madison Club.

Prediction:
Ring of Fire is going to have a tough go of it in pool play, but should be able to cruise to the pre-quarters, likely against Johnny Bravo.  This is about the time Ring usually rights the ship, and there’s no reason to believe that that trend won’t continue.

Streetgang (SW2, San Diego)

Roster additions:
Evan Valdes (Cal-Irvine)
Josh Nickerson (Squids)
Stephen Hubbard (End Phase)
Will Griffin (End Phase)
Satoru Ishii
Patrick Metz (Squids)
David Neder (Jojah)
Allen Lai (Cal-Irvine)
Matthew Welsh (Cal-Irvine)
Timothy Gilligan (San Diego St)

Roster departures:
Justin Elliot
Jeremy Cho
Marcos Alvarez
Kevin Stuart
Jared Clorfeine
Alan Marquardt
Kent Bollfrass

Results:
Emerald City Classic – 2-5
Labor Day Championships – 5th
Southern California Sectionals – 1st (13-7 Condors)
Southwest Regionals – 2nd (16-15 Condors)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 2-7

Analysis:
Streetgang make a repeat appearance at Nationals, after a stunning opening day upset of Ironside last year.  Streetgang has done a great job of recruiting local college talent, and many feel that they are one of the team on the rise, and capable of challenging Johnny Bravo for top seed in the Southwest region soon.

However, this is still a team that is growing, with only 2 wins against Nationals calibre opponents this year, and both of those wins came against Furious George, a notorious slow starter, who has added Japanese superstar Masahiro Matsuno to their roster for this weekend.

Prediction:
Streetgang continues to make small strides, improving on last year’s 15th place finish, but not yet at a level to compete for a quarterfinals berth.

Furious George (NW3, Vancouver)

Roster additions:
Masahiro Matsuno (Buzz Bullets)
Aaron Liu (UBC)
Max Hunter
Aaron Koenig (Blackfish)
Russell Street (UBC)
Andre Gailits (UBC)

Roster departures:
Thomas Kuhn (Invictus)
Shawn O’Brien
Raefel Imerman
Rhett Vernon-Jarvis (Invictus)

Results:
Colorado Cup – 5-2
Emerald City Classic – 1-6
Labor Day Championships – 6th
Washington/BC Sectionals – 2nd (15-7 Emerald City)
Northwest Regionals – 3rd (15-13 Rhino)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 5-11

Analysis:
Furious George has certainly created a lot of buzz (see what I did there?) this weekend, by adding Masahiro Matsuno to the roster for the championships.  While we are familiar with Matsuno at this point (his 83 point performance at Worlds this summer), what I think Furious has also done a nice job of is not just getting younger, but getting younger with big game reps.  Russell Street, John Norris, Aaron Liu and Andre Gaillets all played on Canada’s gold medal winning U23 team, and there are many more British Columbia members from both the U23 and U20 teams that Furious will likely have their pick of in the years to come.

Prediction:
I think Furious is going to do better than people think, and Matsuno will be a big part of that, but I don’t think Furious has quite enough to close the gap on Truck Stop.  Look for Furious to run the table Friday and take out PoNY or Machine in the pre-quarters to get back to the championship bracket in Sarasota.  Their run likely ends there, but certainly a nice return to Florida to get their young guns more experience, as Gaillets and Street continue their ascension into stars.

Madison Club (CN2, Madison, WI)

Roster additions:
Andrew Meshnick
David Wiseman (HoDags)
Brian Hart
Zach Alter (HoDags)
Eric Reynolds (Dayton)
Michael Swain (Wisconsin-Whitewater)
Rodrigo Valdivia (Johnny Bravo)
Colin Camp (HoDags)
Jonathan Masler (HoDags)
Dayu Liu (HoDags)

Roster departures:
Randy Richgels
Nathan Meyer
Jacob Meyer
Tom Murray
David Schleicher (Prairie Fire)
Scott Richgels
Brandon ‘Muffin’ Malecek (Ironside)
Kyle Geppert
Jeff Bozeman
Matt Young
Chris Doede
Evan Klane (Sub Zero)

Results:
No Surf – t-5th (Maverick)
Colorado Cup – 1-6
Cooler Classic – 1st (15-7 Climax)
Chesapeake Open – 5th
Chicago Heavyweight Championships – 1st (13-11 Emerald City)
Northwest Plains Sectionals – 1st (12-8 Sub Zero)
Central Regionals – 2nd (15-11 Sub Zero)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 5-7

Analysis:
You might as well call these guys the HoDag club team.  Certainly, if you are going to cull talent from a particular college, the Wisconsin is certainly one of the few you’d want to choose.  Similar to Machine, their record versus USAU Championship teams is a bit misleading, as their only wins out of region were against Streetgang, PoNY and Southpaw.  Madison is certainly headed in the right direction, but not quite ready yet to play with the big guns.

Prediction:
Like Machine, Madison is looking to bring some respect back to the Central region, unlike Machine, however, Madison has an incredibly difficult pool to accomplish this in.  With 3 potential semi-finalists in their pool, Madison is likely ticketed to the lower pools on Friday, where they will still be stuck with one of Doublewide/Sockeye/Ring of Fire.  The chances of them reaching the pre-quarters are very slim, and to be able to repeat last year’s 10th place performance will be considered a success.

Madcow (CN3, Columbus, OH)

Roster additions:
Daniel Olson (Ohio University)
Jesse Roehm (Indiana University)
David Valentine-Elam (One Trick Pony)
Tim Thurston (CUT)
Christopher Misleh
Mitch Cihon (Ohio Ultimate)
Jesse Wohl
Steve Schwab (Ohio St)
Kyle Cox
Eric Lewis
Ed Wu (Jizzapalooza)

Roster departures:
Josh Findley
Phil Roebuck (Bodhi)
Ryan Sitler
Jimmy Hughes (Johnny Bravo)
Craig Poeppelman
Brent Reeb
Andy Theiss
Drew Hendrickson
Chris Spittal
Isaac Jeffries
Mike Boeckl

Results:
Monkey Bowl 22 – 1st (15-11 Tanasi Y)
Colorado Cup – 2-5
Chesapeake Open – t-11th (Bodhi)
Chicago Heavyweight Championships – 4th
East Plains Sectionals – 1st (15-8 LouEVIL)
Central Regionals – 3rd (15-12 Sub Zero)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 0-11

Analysis:
Madcow is making their 2nd consecutive appearance at Nationals, but their record against USAU Championship teams is telling.  This team has taken full advantage of the growth and size wildcards the Central region has earned the past 2 years, but 6 losses this year to non-qualifiers relegates them to happy-be-here status.

Prediction:
To beat anyone seeded ahead of them would be a great accomplishment, and matching last year’s 13th place finish would have to be considered a successful season.

Tanasi (SO3, Chattanooga, TN)

Roster additions:
Tyler Conger (Axis of C’Ville)
Ryan Archibald (Georgia Tech)
Tim Brady (Alabama)
Zach Hipkens
Brian Belkin
Nick Thomas (Guillermo Y Compania)
Chad Borer
Eliot Alexander (Vanderbilt)
Matt Kress (Rival)
Dane Hinton (Alabama)
Markham Shofner (Guillermo Y Compania)

Roster departures:
Nick Moore
Nick Peppers (Nooga By Nature)
Chris Mullinix
Patrick Dogan
Andrew Carter
Mark Stuewe
Jason Bennett (Nooga By Nature)
Phil Mantel
Jack Galloway
Adam McCargo
Matt Folks
Matt Wetzel
Grant Farrington
Mike Wohlgemuth
Anthony Cain (Nooga By Nature)

Results:
Queen City Tuneup – t-3rd (El Diablo)
Chesapeake Open – 13th
East Coast Sectionals – 2nd (15-11 El Diablo)
South Regionals – 3rd (15-8 Vicious Cycle)

Record vs USAU Championship teams: 0-4

Analysis:
A huge thank you from Tanasi is owed to Doublewide, for securing a strength bid, and allowing Tanasi their 1st ever Nationals appearance.  Tanasi does have some firepower in Tyler Conger (gold medal with Axis of C’Ville last year) and Markham Shofner, but, like El Diablo before them, just being here is the reward.

Overall:

Unfortunately this year, I think the Open division is going to be fairly anti-climactic.  Most of the intrigue will be in who makes quarters, not who will make finals.  I think Ironside and Revolver are destined to meet in the finals, and Chain Lightning is really the only team that can prevent that from happening.

Official hold-me-to-it predictions:

Champion – Ironside
Finalist – Revolver
Semi-finalists – Chain Lightning and Doublewide
Quarter-finalists (straight from power pools) – Sockeye and Truck Stop
Quarter-finalists (from pre-quarters play) – Ring of Fire and Furious George
Pre-quarters participants – Southpaw and Machine

3 thoughts on “UUCC Open Preview

  1. Great, great write-up. Amazing. Lots of time clearly went in here.

    Couple of Sockeye-specific edits:
    Aaron Talbot- formerly of Rhino Slam and other Portland elite teams
    Matthew Knowles – Western Washington Alum
    Reid Koss (Stanford) – actually Western Washington as well
    Philip Murray – Univ of Washington
    Bailey Russel (Pike)
    Charlie Ellis – Shazam
    Frank Barich – Gonzaga
    Sam Kittross-Schnell (Oberlin College) – and Junior Worlds, and Chase look-alike

    Roster departures:
    Ryan Seguine
    Blaine Robbins – Swagger
    Alex Nord (retirement)
    Danny Trytiak – Swagger
    Sam C-K (Chain Lightning)
    Jeremy Cram (Emerald City)
    Jimmy Chu (Emerald City)
    Seth Wiggins – biking across US, being no talent bum, getting masters in economics/bro-ing out hard

  2. Great write up.
    Quick Streetgang correction: Matt Welsh graduated from Illinois not Cal-Irvine, and played for LA Metro (Los Angeles Mixed team) last year.

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