Holy Family Catholic Sweeps the 2013 HS Central Championships
Posted: May 19, 2013 11:19 PM
Girls Division (Scoreboard)
The 2013 High School Central Championships came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Sunday morning began foggy and cloudy with swampy fields. But there was no more rain, and by mid-day, the sun was sizzling hot, and the heat became the new natural obstacle for the players. The first game, a play-in to the semifinals, began during the cool and moist early morning. The Hopkins girls looked ready to avenge their losses on Saturday as the game began. With some quick rushes, the Hopkins girls jumped out to a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, despite some great diving and leaping grabs by senior Sophie Stillman, the Hopkins girls stumbled and dropped the play-in game to Cathedral by a 9-5 score. But the game was not without an enthusiastic finish. The final point was an incredible play, as junior Noa Parker laid out in the end zone, making the catch as she landed hard on her shoulder. Despite the clear significance of possible injury, Noa managed to hold on to the disc, a dramatic finish to Regionals for Hopkins Hert.
Cathedral had just a few minutes before they had to match up with top-seeded Omega. As expected, Omega was just too much to handle. The Omega ladies kept momentum on their side with plays like Ellie Fishlock’s diving catch in the end zone for a goal. Omega had five players with at least two Ds each as they rolled to a 13-3 victory.
The other semifinal proved to be among the most interesting games of the weekend. It was a back-and-forth battle between the dark horse of the weekend, Neuqua Valley, and newcomer MND Savage. Savage took the first point of the game, which immediately made the game look very interesting. However, Neuqua Valley was not going to let the game get away from them at all, as Maggie Kennedy connected twice with Minjoo Seo. The next four points alternated thanks to Savage’s Alora Reiff’s connections with Grace Castelli and Neuqua Valley’s Megan Halverson to Maggie Kennedy connection. After that, Savage rolled to an 8-5 victory, taking five of the last six points. Alora Reiff tallied four assists and nine Ds.
The third-place game between Cathedral and Neuqua Valley started out looking like it would be close. Cathedral took the first point, and Annie Johnson had several Ds. However, Neuqua Valley got it together behind Dana Mullen and Maggie Kennedy who made several connections to their teammates and each other. Neuqua Valley took the next five points, en route to a 10-2 victory.
The last game of the day was the loud and proud finals match up. Both Omega and Savage came ready to play. Omega was looking to secure a second consecutive Central title, while underdog Savage had hopes of ruining Omega’s perfect weekend. Omega came out strong, running the score up 4-0, with several different players earning assists. Savage then managed to settle down with a pair of Grace Castelli goals, and they began to show they were a threat. Despite Grace Castelli’s seven Ds, Kjersti Fry made the connection to Madie Wilker to make it a 5-2 game, and that would be all Omega needed. It was a proud way for Omega seniors Andrea Willging, who had three goals, and Madie Wilker, who had a goal and six assists, to end their high school careers with Omega. The final tally of the game tipped in Omega’s favor with a score of 11-4 and securing a second consecutive Central title for Holy Family Catholic.
Best in Class
While team effort and execution are nearly always the most important parts of ultimate, the following ladies went above and beyond. These girls, as their stats show, are the best of their classes in the Central region.
Freshman - Hayley Samson, #6, Omega
Hayley showed a great all-around mix throughout the weekend. Her five goals were the most of any freshman. She also had two assists and six Ds over the course of the weekend. Three of those Ds came in the semifinal against Cathedral; one came in the course of a collision with her twin sister, Maddie. Congratulations to Hayley on being best of the freshman class at Centrals.
Sophomore - Megan Halverson, #7, Neuqua Valley
Megan was a strong player who could easily be missed. Megan does not look to make the spectacular play; her fundamentals, however, are stronger than steel. Megan racked up fourteen Ds and nine assists, both enough for best in the sophomore class. Megan had five Ds in Neuqua Valley’s tough semifinal loss to Savage. Congratulations to Megan on being best of the sophomore class at Centrals.
Junior - Maggie Kennedy, #3, Neuqua Valley; Annie Johnson, #19, Cathedral; Kjersti Fry, #88, Omega
These three ladies all had outstanding performances this weekend. These girls were central to their teams’ success. Maggie led all juniors in assists and tied with teammate Dana Mullen for most goals scored. Maggie put in six assists and six Ds on Sunday for Neuqua Valley, en route to a third-place finish. Annie was a force to be reckoned with. Her handling abilities were the core of the Cathedral Phoenix. Annie racked up 19 assists, accounting for all 9 of her team’s assists in the play-in game Sunday morning. Annie also had 25 Ds, leading all juniors this weekend. Kjersti was a constant playmaker for Omega. Kjersti’s 22 Ds were second in the junior class, behind only Annie Johnson. Her 14 assists and 8 goals were each third-best in the junior class. But what set Kjersti apart was that when she held the disc, she ran the game. Kjersti was patient enough to wait for openings but also could catch and throw right away. Congratulations to Maggie, Annie and Kjersti on being co-best of the junior class at Centrals.
Senior - Alora Reiff, #16, Savage
Alora was the engine of Savage, who came into the weekend seeded last and left as the runners-up. Alora combined for the most Ds, assists and goals of any of the ladies this weekend, including a tournament high 29 Ds. She also had 15 assists and 3 goals to her name. Alora was the impact player that made Savage the surprise they were this weekend. Congratulations to Alora on being best of the senior class at Centrals.
A few other ladies had excellent performances this weekend that also deserve some recognition.
- Madie Wilker, #4, Omega – Madie led all players with 26 assists, providing the throws for many of the Omega goals that kept the regional title in their hands.
- Andrea Willging, #25, Omega – Andrea led all players this weekend with 11 goals. Andrea’s ability to get in the end zone and secure the disc in traffic was critical to Omega’s title run.
- Grace Castelli, #16, Savage – Alora could not have led Savage alone. Grace was the fuel that Alora needed to run. Without Grace’s 22 Ds, 11 assists and 6 goals, Savage would not have been runners-up this weekend.
Sunday Girls Photo Gallery by UltiPhotos.com
Open Division (Scoreboard)
Sunday got off to a sleepy start in the championship bracket while the teams got used to day-two legs in the quarterfinal round.
For Cathedral, the connection between Charlie Schuweiler and Tyler Meyer that had been so prevalent the day before just wasn’t there. On the other end of the field, Holy Family Catholic’s Jordan Monnin’s defense woke up his Revolution teammates – who won handily once JP Bort took control of the field.
What started as a close game between Sun Prairie and Hopkins turned into a stomping when sloppy throws from Sun Prairie’s frustrated players were no match for the quick-moving Hopkins offense.
Neuqua Valley quickly set the pace in their match up against Monona Grove. They moved quickly with every cut and throw and soon took the half at 7-0. Monona gave them competition, though they seemed tired and out-numbered from their lack of subs when compared to Neuqua Valley. Both teams fought hard until the end, with Neuqua ultimately winning 13-1. Even with their high-scoring defeat, the players from Neuqua Valley walked across the field after their game and selected a player from Monona for a "team lift," where they surround the player and all lift him up at once. It showed great sportsmanship from a team that looked to go far in Sunday's match ups.
After the surprising disqualification of Bexley just before game time due to a roster violation, Cretin-Derham Hall Raging Safari was put in a place they never thought they would be – fighting against Revolution for a spot in the finals. They were able to stay calm under the pressure, but their small roster and tired legs quickly caught up to them. While there was great play after great play from Cretin’s Joe Burris, Jeff McGurran, Matthew Dunn and Geoff McQuillan, the comeback started too late in the game. Revolution’s deep roster and the seemingly telepathic communication between Dominic Schuster and JP Bort ended up being unstoppable for the Raging Safari.
In the second semifinal, Hopkins took on the formidable Neuqua where it was an insanely close game up until the very end. It was an excellent game to watch; both sidelines were raging with noise and everyone watching could feel the intensity of the stakes at hand. Beautiful layouts, D, and purposeful cuts came from both teams as the score went back to back the entire game. As rules would have it, the hard cap came on to end the game with a Neuqua Valley win of 12-10.
2:00pm came around, and the final game began, with the Cincinnati locals from Holy Family Catholic facing off against Neuqua Valley. Like Neuqua’s previous game, the finals started with immediate intensity and back-to-back points all the way to the half. Both teams were on their feet and Holy Family Catholic’s tallest player, #34 Jay Ratajczak (who also won one of the ending spirit of the game awards) was a force for the Revolution with numerous game changing layouts and Ds. Revolution took each of their points forcefully. Anytime Neuqua made a mistake, there wasn't much to stop Revolution from punching it in for goals on the opposite end. Post half, Revolution continued to roll all the way to the finish at 13-6. This was Revolution's first Centrals win following last year’s second-place finish. The excitement doubled when the Holy Family Catholic girls’ team also took first and both teams won the tournament’s spirit awards as well.
After Bexley’s roster violation forfeit in the previous round, Cretin-Derham found themselves back in the championship bracket, giving the Cathedral Griffins an unexpected bye. The Griffins said they were disappointed to miss out on playing the fellow Minnesotan team but that they appreciated the break after a hard first game of the day.
The senior-heavy Monona Grove FOG faced off against second-year program Sun Prairie Ultimate in their second meeting of the year. Both teams are located near Madison, Wis., and were looking forward to playing each other again. At their last meeting, Sun Prairie came out on top. Monona Grove also had a winless record at Centrals last year and were looking to shake both those monkeys off their backs. Monona Grove came equipped with a full toolbox of advanced throws, using scoobers, hammers, chicken wings and blade forehands to their benefit time and time again. FOG’s senior Sam Welsch (1) was an overwhelming force on defense, seeming to shut down many of Sun Prairie’s long throws. Despite a lively Sun Prairie sideline that featured loud music and choreographed line dances, led by senior Jake Sachse (32), Monona Grove came out on top, 13-7. Sun Prairie coach Creed Hansen said the team would look forward to seeing FOG at the state championships in a few weeks.
Monona Grove’s players were feeling good coming off their win, but Cathedral came out of their bye unfazed, sporting sleek silver jerseys. The wind began to pick up a bit, and FOG threw a hard zone defense on Cathedral. Luckily, the Griffins’ Charlie Schuweiler (5) came prepared with his own arsenal of accurate throws, assisting on the first two goals with a beautiful cross-field hammer over the zone followed by a nearly full-field huck. The two teams were extremely evenly matched with the score tied six different times throughout the game. However, Monona Grove took their first lead at 11-10 and never looked back, finishing the game 13-11. After the game, when junior Schuweiler was asked if he’d be back next year, he said "Of course. Ultimate’s my life."
Sunday Open Photo Gallery by UltiPhotos.com
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