2012 Chesapeake Invite -- Open Division Recap
Posted: August 28, 2012 11:45 AM
Tanasi's Alexander Dagley recaps the Open Division play at the 2012 Chesapeake Invite:
Chesapeake Invite is now in the books, and the open division delivered exciting games and a few surprising results.
The biggest surprise in Pool A came in the first round with Madcow taking down Truck Stop 13-11. Ironside cruised through their first three games and took the pool. Chain Lightning took care of business in Pool B as expected. Condors were able to handle PoNY in the third round and finished as the 2 seed. Ring of Fire might have shown some rust in round two and three with close games against Oakland and Streetgang but were able to come away with victories. They beat GOAT soundly in round 4 and took the pool. Pool D was filled with parity. Four of the six games were decided by two points or less. The big surprise here was Florida United (4) taking down Sub Zero (1) in the third round. Southpaw finished as the 1 seed with three wins.
Order was restored in the crossover games. Everything went to seed with the exception being GOAT (2) over Southpaw (1) 13-7.
Boost Mobile, Sub Zero, Madcow, and Truck Stop all advanced through their pre-quarters match up. Regional rivals Truck Stop and Southpaw provided for the game of this round with big implications for the series. Pending results at Labor Day next weekend, The Mid-Atlantic region could hold only one bid to nationals. Markham Shofner from Truck indicated that defensive play allowed the DC team to rally after going down early. A layout poach D (eventually called a foul) from Alan Kolick fired up the Truck sideline, and they did not look back. Truck Stop was able to come away with a key 13-11 victory and secured momentum heading into September.
Quarters featured a couple of huge match ups: Sub Zero - Ring of Fire and Truck Stop – Chain Lightning. The Ring - Sub matchup was compelling, because these are two teams that could easily find themselves playing elimination games on Saturday in Sarasota. I was anxious to see if Sub Zero would rebound from their up and down performance on Saturday and was hoping this game would be a good indicator of Ring’s abilities. Thomas Ward made three big d’s and the boys from North Carolina took this one soundly with a 13-7 win.
The other match up featured two teams that would be playing each other for the fourth time this season—one of the perks of top teams travelling to the same premier events. Chain’s athleticism proved too much for Truck, and Chain rolled with a 13-7 win.
Semis had Ironside pitted against Ring of Fire and Chain playing GOAT. Most were anticipating an Ironside – Chain final, and these games seemed like a bit of a formality. The big question for Ring was whether or not they could shut down the Ironside offense. This line had absolutely cruised up until this point. The answer: no. Ironside won 13-7 and awaited the winner of GOAT – Chain. Chain was able to convert on multiple break opportunities in the first half and built a sizeable lead. At 11-6, I would not have blamed someone for wandering off to the food cart or talking to an old friend on another field. What happened next was absolutely shocking. Mental errors from Chain’s offense near their own goal line allowed GOAT back in the game. GOAT rode the momentum and forced a win by two situation at 12-12. GOAT eventually took this one 15-14. This is why you play these games. Anything can happen.
Finals saw GOAT and Ironside go head to head. After a strong defensive performance in the Chain game would GOAT have what it takes to disrupt the Ironside offense? Nope. Ironside won the game 13-7 and proved once and for all they are very good at ultimate.
You can’t always get what you want. Tanasi suffered through hard-learned lessons on Saturday. After getting pummeled by Ironside despite two game-changing hammer throws (do not see score), Tanasi hoped to get back on their feet in the Truck game. Inspired defensive play led to 10+ turnovers in the first half from the Truck Stop offense. But Tanasi only converted on one of these opportunities. The offense was efficient and Tanasi took half up one break. Truck made an adjustment and came out with junk D to start the second half. We did not respond well and were broken twice in a row. Truck won the game 12-10. I think the rest of the weekend for us was in some form a reaction to this game.
One of the big takeaways from the weekend is that you do not get easy games at this level. Further, elite teams will absolutely pick apart weaknesses. For Tanasi, this happened time and time again, and we failed to return the favor. Going 0-for at a tournament for 20+ competitive guys who invest a lot of time and energy into this game can be tough to stomach.
You get what you need. It is a very hard thing to talk to a frustrated group of talented guys who want to win more than anything else and say this is part of the process. And I firmly believe that. Tanasi has a lot of youth and with that comes inexperience. Great teams build on disappointing results by grabbing the valuable information, tossing the rest, and using the suffering that accompanies unmet expectations as a rallying point.
Chain will need to do something similar in the coming weeks. I hope their semi-finals loss will be a motivating force for the rest of the season. They are my pick to win Labor Day next weekend. Ironside was extremely impressive. At half time in our game I overheard their coach, Josh McCarthy berating his offensive line with calculated humor. He did not like the way they responded to our junk look. I believe they took half 7-1. This team demands perfection from one another, and they will not be content until they stand alone at Sarasota this October.