2012 Club Championships: Thursday Masters Recap
Posted: October 25, 2012 09:47 PM
The masters game of 2012 is meant to be a far cry from many previous seasons—perhaps it is the desire to show they still belong in Sarasota. With 2013 marking the move to a new schedule
, merging Ultimate’s elder statesfolk in an earlier tourney. Emotions regarding the move seem almost defiant, with one spectator chiming in that "USAU needs to come and watch these games to see a division that doesn’t turn it over."
Well… not exactly. The combination of developing chemistry on the fly and a gusty, occasionally powerful wind made it a day more for grit than finesse. In early goings especially, several teams struggled to find a rhythm. Teams like Burnside and Crawl made it hard on themselves early, digging holes for themselves against Surly and Tejas. For most of the day, in fact, pool A went according to script, with Surly and Boneyard looking very strong, and Tejas jut a bit behind. Third seed Burnside’s early jitters put them into a very difficult situation coming into the late game against a fairly weary Chesapeaked team, fresh off a win over Crawl. Over the course of the game, Burnside began to look a bit more relaxed on the disc. The lessened tension made for less turns, and through the play of Dave Brokaw and especially Lars Fjelsted, they pulled away against the short-rostered and injured Chesapeaked. Despite the efforts of Tom Glass and the ever-present Billy Maroon, ‘peaked fought to the end, but the momentum was steady for the Portland side.
Pool B, on the other hand, was an absolute pressure-cooker, with six of the nine games decided by two points or less. Top seed Reckon, in particular, seemed to take every game to the wire. In stark contrast to last year’s version, this season’s Reckon played without the hunger and abandon of 2011. To this reporter, it felt like this team played like it had something to lose this time around. After eking out a win against Glum in the first round, a loss to the resurgent No Country put them into the last round against Johnny Encore needing a big win to end the day in the black. For the bulk of the game, the southerners nurtured a small lead, though it wasn’t the most aesthetic of efforts. As Johnny Encore’s Dan Carlson mentioned, "it is a game fraught with error." Still, after Encore tied the game through the efforts of players such as Tim Paymaster and David Remucal, Reckon found that missing gear. New pickups Steve Dugan and Mark Driver were everywhere for the top seeds, and the squad pulled away in the end. As Rob Barrett of Reckon noted in the postgame talk, "in my brief experience, maybe we do play better after a loss."
The other game featuring a one-seed/two-seed matchup also didn’t disappoint, as defending champs Surly faced off with 2010 finalists Boneyard. This game was tight most of the way, and, while Surly took half on a Mark "Paco" Enright pass to Dave Boardman, that lead would not prove to be sufficient. After Ray Parrish brought down a huge layout at the back of the end zone to put Boneyard up 14-12, the momentum was clearly on their side, and though Surly would score one more, Brian Lang’s handblock opened up the way for Boneyard to make good on my pre-tournament prediction.
- So many nail-biters to report on, and I didn’t even get to the Glum/No Country Universe point barnburner that closed out action at the fields. So many big plays, so many ill-considered throws in the wind. While they were game for a fight, Glum could not collect on Andrew Morrisey’s mid-game assertion that "we’re about to come back." Still, an absolutely huge game.
- Speaking to our sideline fan’s early point about Masters team’s abilities, there were no fewer than four dropped pulls in games today. Hmmm.
- Players that really stood out to me today were Wasted Talent’s Akira Yamaguchi and Thor Martin, No Country’s Woody Clift, Crawl’s Tim Streit, Tejas’ Hugh Daschbach and Fig Jam’s Colin Clay.
To those I missed, I apologize. Much more coming tomorrow, and we’ll see you then.