2012 YCC U-16O Saturday Recap
Posted: August 11, 2012 09:23 PM
Normally, when a field of teams is identical, figuring out what the seeding for a tournament should be is relatively easy. Not at the U-16 Open Division at the Youth Club Championships, however. Even with every team from last year’s inaugural group back for more, there would be little hope that this tournament would look the same by the end. Between players aging out and teams rarely getting the chance to play each other, the basis for comparison is a very small sample size. While stalwart programs like the squad from Seattle and last year’s champions Triangle Area Youth Ultimate (TYUL) are able to reload well enough to justify their first overall seeds in their pools, the rest of the 2012 field wasted little time in jumbling their pool standings.
Early action saw hometown team Minnesota Superior U16 slip against Bay Area Ultimate in a good spirited game that was driven in particular by the solid play of Bay Area Aftershock’s Dylan Owens. The inversion of the second and fourth seeds continued with Chicago Micromachines taking down Cincinnati Flying Piglets. According to Cincinnati Coach Chris Skindzier, "Pig performed with passion," but was ultimately unable to overtake last year’s last place finishers.
Later rounds continued the trend, with both Seattle’s Rebellion and TYUL Greatest Hits winning their respective games with Bay Area and Chicago. These games were starkly different affairs, however, with Seattle cruising handily over a Bay Area team that played a "more open rotation in this game," according to Coach Valerio Iani. "I wasn’t as concerned with the results as much, but I expected a little more heart." Meanwhile, Greatest Hits eked out a tight victory over Micromachines, overcoming some critical defense by the Micromachines’ Dylan Power (or possibly Reno Brinn… why would you have two players with the same number?). The two seeds continued to come up short, with Minnesota clipped by DeVYL YCC on Universe Point, while Pittsburgh Pulse managed to push past Flying Piglet’s second half zone through the handling of Bobby Lincoln.
After a long bye, the teams reconvened for the final round of pool play. One of the aspects of U-16 play is maintaining match fitness, as the less-conditioned athletes wear out over the course of the day. Naturally, this can make for a hard day for the smaller rosters, especially if injuries crop up. Already fairly short staffed with a roster of thirteen, Pittsburgh Pulse saw that number drop for their final round game against fellow small roster side, Micromachines. While Pulse would get out to an early lead, they found maintaining that lead to be too great a task, and fell to Micromachine’s relentless pressure, spearheaded by Evan Hock. Flying Piglets’ game against Greatest Hits also started with a run, as Craig Kaiser found teammates for four early scores. Still, the steady play of Greatest Hits, led by the fearless Chathan Driehuys, would prevail.
Superior U16, still seeking a win, stayed fairly even with Rebellion in the early going, by "stacking our offense and keeping our defense cycling to maintain pressure," according to Coach Dan Rydel. Once Seattle shifted to a zone defense in the second half, however, the momentum shifted for good. Nearby, DeVYL and Bay Area slogged through some quite long points in their last game as hucks sailed out of reach of weary cutters or throws found defenders lurking in the lanes. Eventually, however, DeVYL got the needed breaks and held on to take the game at cap.
Things to note:
- Once again, the legions of parents that come to chaperone, coach and cheer on their players at this tournament was a delight. I thank each of you for your openness and am always happy to answer what questions I can; you are each key players in the growth of this sport, and the community as a whole thanks you.
- Rosters seemed to trend slightly older this year than last, though Cincinnati Flying Piglets continue to proudly average less than fourteen years of age.
Among the players to watch were:
- Greatest Hits’ Chathan Driehuys, at 5’1" and looking like he weighs 90 pounds clothed and soaking wet, seemingly always his team needed him.
- Pulse’s Bobby Lincoln, possibly taking two or three points off over the course of the day, but certainly no more than that.
- Flying Piglets Austin Herriott, seemingly always doing something crucial on D whenever I was watching his team play.
- DeVYL’s Sadie Jezierski, fearlessly grabbing discs in crowds all over the field.
- Rebellion’s Eric Huynh, leading his team’s smooth disc handling and having throws that belied his years.
EDIT: the Seattle U-16 team was initially referred to as DiscNW team. This has since been corrected in the above article.
Day 1 photos by Christina Schmidt and Kevin Leclaire of UltiPhotos.com