2013 Elite-Select Challenge - Colorado Cup Men's Division Recap
Posted: August 15, 2013 06:04 PM
Editor's Note: This article is written from the author's perspective as a tournament participant and is not intended to be a comprehensive recap of all games played. (scoreboard)
Games started early on a gorgeous Saturday in Aurora, Colo., just outside of Denver. Pool play came and went with no huge stories. Austin’s Doublewide, New York’s PoNY, home-town heroes Johnny Bravo and D.C.’s Truck Stop all held the one-seeds in their respective pools. A few minor upsets occurred including North Carolina’s Cash Crop edging out Columbus, Ohio’s Mad Cow to take the two-seed and Kansas’ Prairie Fire beating Phoenix to pull them out of last place in their pool. Most notably, Florida United came out on top of a three-way tie to take the second spot in Pool B over Seattle’s Voodoo and Santa Barbara’s Condors. Florida United, who came in as their pool’s fourth seed and fell to PoNY 11-13, is a team that will likely garner some additional attention after this weekend. Led by a handful of elite-tested veterans, Florida had moments of brilliance, in particular from Jeremy Langdon who bolstered his team’s play with an outstanding offensive performance. Maybe you can’t expect to see Florida in the semifinals in Frisco this year, but they certainly could end some big teams’ seasons at regionals.
In Saturday’s final round, the two and three seeds all played in pre-quarters match-ups, while the one and four seeds crossed over among themselves – one seeds playing fellow one seeds, four seeds playing fellow four seeds. Exceptional performances from new-comer Bart Watson on offense and man-child Hylke Sneider on defense allowed Johnny Bravo to handle Doublewide. Truck Stop repeated a victory from Terminus over PoNY in the other one-seed crossover. Prairie Fire, originally the fourth-seed in Pool D, beat Florida United with some non-flashy cutting and fundamentally consistent hucks to ensure a top-eight finish. Out of Dallas, Texas, Plex won their crossover to move from their initial three spot in the C Pool into the upper bracket. A big defensive pickup for Dallas, Joe Tylutki out of Penn State, anchored impressive defensive performances that gave Plex life in some of their bigger games. Portland’s Rhino and Madison Club both took care of business in their crossovers against Voodoo and Madcow, respectively.
All the one seeds won their quarterfinal match ups, although Madison Club gave PoNY a solid fight in a game that went to double-game point. The end of their quarterfinal gave way to lots of hucks back and forth with both teams looking for a swift finish. Both New York and Madison looked exhausted by the game’s end.
In another quarters game, 2013 Callahan Award winner Dylan Freechild gave Rhino a huge boost from their showing at Terminus. However, the team still failed to convert turnovers generated by their defense. Despite Rhino looking well-oiled on a handful of offensive positions, several lulls in their flow suggested the team still has some communication and chemistry issues to address if they want a good showing come October.
In the semifinals, Johnny Bravo took down PoNY on one side of the bracket, while Doublewide and Truck Stop battled it out on the other. Doublewide jumped to an early 5-2 lead, only to be broken for four straight points as D.C. took half 7-5. Lefty utility man Alan Kolick led his team on the field with versatile break throws and some solid deep shots. Doublewide retaliated in the second half with a cleaned-up offense and high-pressure handler defense to finally win on universe point in overtime 14-13.
This year’s final was a rematch of Saturday’s crossover between South Central regional rivals Doublewide and Johnny Bravo. The teams each had their NexGen superstars back on their roster after their early summer time away, but both still lacked a few players on the weekend. The finals was fan friendlier than the previous day’s match up with lots of bombs deep and poised offenses. Jimmy Mickle caught and threw a handful of scores for Bravo, while Doublewide’s defense struggled to find an answer for him. Texas’ offense, meanwhile, scored faithfully, giving up just one break in the first half. Doublewide led at halftime and opened up the second half with a break bring the score to 9-7. A few points later, game play was suspended due to lighting after Bravo’s offense scored to bring the game within one. Eventually, the finals were called due to the inclement weather, and Doublewide snuck away with a 10-9 tournament win over Johnny Bravo.
Overall on the weekend, Colorado Cup served as a benchmark to show where teams are relative to one another midway through the season. Most teams are nursing a few injuries, and all need refinement. Several mid-level names like Prairie Fire, Plex and Florida United earned some clout in Aurora, while others like Cash Crop dropped in the rankings. With Chesapeake Invite coming up this weekend and Labor Day not far off, teams have precious few opportunities remaining to test themselves before the series begins in a few short weeks.
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