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News

2013 Ohio Valley College Regionals Preview (Open)

Posted: April 26, 2013 12:34 PM
 

Open Division

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D-I Regionals Preview
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Event preview by Carnegie-Mellon coach Jesse Kummer, as a part of our 2013 Regionals coverage.

Two bids to the 2013 College Championships hang in the balance as the 16 teams that qualified for Ohio Valley Regionals prepare for their most important tournament of the season thus far. Pittsburgh appears to have a stranglehold on one of those bids, as they finished the regular season ranked fifth in the nation. The bigger question is who will emerge the victor in the quest for the second bid. Ohio is the clear frontrunner, finishing the year 14-4 and capturing the conference crown with relative ease, but there are a number of teams with Nationals aspirations who will be looking to steal that bid away.

Here’s a rundown of the teams to look out for this weekend in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio Valley Regionals:

Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur

Honestly, what can I say about Pittsburgh that hasn’t already been said?

While the reigning National Champions didn’t have quite as dominant a regular season as they did last year when they won Florida Warm Up and Easterns, Pittsburgh’s 15-5 record was good enough for fifth in the country heading into the Series.

They still boast a star-studded roster full of household names to any follower of college ultimate. And outside of Oregon, they have more NexGen players than any other team (Alex Thorne, Degirolamo, Dillon).

Led by one of the most feared twosomes in the game today, Alex Thorne and Callahan nominee Degirolamo, Pittsburgh’s offense is arguably the most explosive in the country.

Look for Pittsburgh to easily advance to the finals and take home the Regional crown for the third straight year, en route to their ninth straight Nationals appearance.

Ohio University Ultimate

A lot has been made about the dynamic talents of Mitch Cihon and Connor Haley, but Ohio is a much deeper team than people realize.

Even if you are able to contain their two stars, the rest of the squad is more than equipped to grind the opposition down with in cut after in cut and tough man defense.

Last year, Ohio University was tested in pool play by #7 seed Shippensburg University, with their first lead not coming until late in the second half. While I believe Ohio will win their pool, I expect both Kenyon and Case Western Reserve to give them fits in pool play.

One big boost for Ohio was the return of Mike Bruce for the Series. They nominated him for All-Region honors, despite missing the entire season rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered at Nationals in 2012. Bruce was a primary handler for the team last year, and having him back on the field at 100 percent is a huge addition to team that is already very dangerous.

Ohio is ready to prove last year’s Nationals appearance was no fluke and that they’re around to stay. A repeat berth would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.

Carnegie-Mellon Mr. Yuk

Mr. Yuk finished the regular season ranked 26th in the country, just 90 points out of a strength bid. While they fell short of their stated goal to earn the Region a third bid to Nationals, their strong performance during the year has put them in prime position to challenge Ohio for that coveted second bid.

With a veteran-heavy squad, the team stepped up in a multitude of ways this season, coming away with wins in games where previous iterations of Mr. Yuk would have fallen flat. Captained by grad students Nipunn Koorapati and Akshay Krishnamurthy, Mr. Yuk has worked on a wide array of offensive and defensive techniques this year to be prepared for anything come Regionals.

Mr. Yuk is looking to improve on 2012’s fourth-place finish and is determined to leave it all on the field this weekend.

Penn State Spank

A consistently competitive and nationally ranked squad, Penn State Spank can be aptly described as a "faceless army," a mantra they are proud to carry with them. Led by captain Joe Tylutki, Penn State does not make many unforced errors and is very aggressive on defense.

Spank may not have any superstars, but they’re a smart and driven organization that churns out player after player who is prepared to lay out on defense and never give up while cutting on offense. It’s tough to ruffle their feathers if you get what I’m saying.

Winning their pool will likely see Penn State face off against Pittsburgh, who they played twice at Conference Championships two weekends ago, in the Regional semifinals.

With the exception of Kenyon, Penn State is the only team with the benefit of actually having played against each of the other top eight seeds at Ohio Valley Regionals. We’ll see if they are able to use that to their advantage this weekend.

Quick Hits

Pennsylvania

I have no idea what to expect from UPenn Void. They haven’t played against a team ranked in the Top 100 in over two months, when they lost to UNC-Wilmington, James Madison and Penn State, but beat NYU and Wake Forest at Hellfish Bonanza. They finished the season ranked 51st in the country, earning them the fifth seed at Regionals.

Cincinnati

Finished fifth at Regionals in 2012 for the second year in a row. Prior to the season, they added Madcow veteran Nate Botti to an already talented squad that has played together for three straight seasons. They’ve broken seed at every Regionals in which they’ve competed.

Kenyon

One of the top Division III teams in the country, Kenyon opted for the D-I route as D-III Nationals falls over their graduation. When they were led by Russell Wallack in 2011, Kenyon finished sixth overall at Regionals. This year, captain Jordan Rhyne leads the consistently talented Serfs who hail from a college smaller than my high school.

Ohio State

Beat Carnegie Mellon 13-9 at Tally Classic but suffered three losses at Conferences. Their resulting third-place finish finds them placed as the eight seed. Ohio State has a good mix of veteran leadership (Captain Ben Krumpelman and Speedy Gonzalez himself, Michael ‘Tang’ Meilstrup) and rising young stars like Paul Arters. Not a team to be taken lightly.

Case Western Reserve

Definitely one of the more shocking teams by the end of the season. Big losses to Eastern Michigan and Kenyon at Cat Fight 2013 almost made me write off Case Western as a big competitor this season, but a second place performance at Chicago Invite, with big wins over out-of-region competition, had them finish the season ranked 28th in the country. Matt McGoogan leads this overachieving group of Clevelanders hoping to make some noise on the national scene a la Cleveland State in the 2009 March Madness tournament.

Dayton

One of the more surprising teams to attend Florida Warm Up earlier this season, Dayton is a bit of an unknown as they only attended one other sanctioned tournament in the past three months, leaving Chicago Invite at the end of play on Saturday due to injuries. This is their second straight Regionals appearance.

Shippensburg

Third straight Regionals appearance. Finished 7th at Regionals in 2012.

St. Joseph’s

First Regionals appearance in school history.

Millersville

Finished tied for third at Regionals in 2011; lost their captain to a torn ACL during Hellfish Bonanza.

Wright State

Second straight Regionals appearance.

West Chester

First Regionals appearance in school history.

Kent State

Returns to Regionals for the first time since 2004.

 

 

2013OVPreview 1
Benjamin McGrath catches a goal at Tally Classic for Mr. Yuk
PHOTO CREDIT: Canute Haroldson
2013OVPreview 2
Ohio’s Logan Kruger throws a flick at Steel City Showdown
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Kanter
2013OVPreview 3
Penn State Spank
PHOTO CREDIT: Fanny Palacios
2013OVPreview 4
Reigning National Champions Pittsburgh on the line at Steel City Showdown
PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy Kanter

 

Did I miss out on anyone from the Region who deserves a mention? Feel free to give a shout-out to your favorite Ohio Valley player or team in the comments section below.
 


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