2011 D-I College Championships - Friday Open Actions and Reactions

Posted: May 28, 2011 01:16 AM


2011 College Championships
Open Division - Friday

Friday is in the books. After nearly a month of post-Regionals preparations, teams at the College Championships are halfway through pool play. 
The morning was certainly one of adjustments. While the steady breeze got gusty at times, it was the altitude and thin air that had the greatest impact. Throughout their first games, teams struggled both to keep their breath as well as refrain from throwing hucks out of the back of the endzone. 
As the day progressed, teams started to look more settled in and ready to play their respective brands of ultimate. For fans, the result was exciting games throughout the Open Division. The following is a look at some of the day’s biggest stories:
           2011 DICollege Logo cropped
2011 DI College D1R2 Leclaire (17)
PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Leclaire [ultiphotos.com]



The North Central Region posted a collective 8-0 record.
  College2011 NC Icon     Wisconsin, Iowa, Carleton, and Luther all had successful first days: Iowa took down top overall seed Pittsburgh in its first game of the day, Wisconsin and Luther beat 2010 champions Florida in back-to-back rounds, and Carleton took care of business against Cornell and Whitman. Each North Central team looked comfortable hucking the disc at altitude, and when the wind did pick up, they were mostly unfazed. The North Central is home to three of the past five college champions, and the trickle down effect was certainly visible today. 
Colorado is the only top seed that remains undefeated.
  Colorado (O)     While Mamabird looked comfortable in wins over Stanford and Colorado, Pittsburgh and British Columbia each went 1-1 and Florida went winless. Both Pitt and UBC led late in their respective losses but were unable to close the door against Iowa and Harvard, respectively. In Florida’s first game, the Gators went down, 6-2, against Wisconsin but were able to bring the score to 10-10 late in the game; the effort fell short and Wisconsin won, 12-10. When Florida played Luther, the team again went down big but fought back, this time reaching double-game point. After multiple turnovers from each team, Florida fell to Luther, 14-13. 
Iowa, Wisconsin, and Harvard steal the top seeds in their pools. 
        Respective wins over Pittsburgh, Florida, and British Columbia, these three put themselves in the drivers seat going into Saturday. Iowa rode a strong hucking game, Wisconsin forced opponents to turn the disc over frequently, and Harvard enjoyed play after play from cutter defender Devon Williamsn. Iowa is the only remaining undefeated team in Pool A, while in C and D, Wisconsin and Harvard have yet to face Luther or Carleton. 
Iowa upsets the overall 1 seed and controls Pool A.
  Iowa     Iowa seized the top spot in Pool A, revealing a penchant for the dramatic by upsetting top-seeded Pitt 14-12 and then winning on double game point against Illinois. Iowa started off slow in the game against Pitt until they ramped up their defense and started connecting on hucks. Neither Pitt nor Illinois were able to consistently stop Iowa’s potent deep game. Tyler Glenn and Sean Parker led the way for Iowa by making big plays when their team needed them the most. 
The middle of the pack remains in contention.
        Many of the middle seeded teams are still alive with 1-1 records. Pool B in particular remains wide open with Stanford, Oregon, and Virginia each having won one game and lost another. Illinois, Colorado College, and UCSC also have 1-1 records and remain competitive in their respective pools. Each of these teams is in good position to qualify for bracket play after day one, but they will have to turn in good performances on Saturday in order to stay in the hunt for the national title. 



Harvard coach Josh McCarthy, on executing their game plan:
  Harvard (O)     Harvard coach Josh McCarthy was pleased with his team’s performance in their first game of the tournament against Whitman. "We were able to contain Jeremy Norden and forced him to huck from a standstill, which our downfield defenders were ready for. This win really allows us to manage our roster going forward" said McCarthy. This is particularly important for Harvard, a team that relies on its top players George Stubbs and Adam Fagin. Looking ahead to Harvard’s second game of the day, McCarthy stated that they were "approaching the UBC game to win." He noted that "UBC has more skilled ultimate players from top to bottom than we do but hopefully we can come out strong and take them out of their game." Harvard managed to execute this game plan by taking half against UBC and eventually winning on double game point, 14-13. 
CUT cruises
  Carleton College (O)     After Carlton’s win over Cornell, CUT coach Phil Bowen thought that his team finally shed the "mediocre level" of play that had plagued them since Regionals. Bowen noted that CUT started the game off slow "but then we woke up and realized that it’s nationals and that it’s time, so we turned up the defensive intensity and got coverage sacks and legit blocks and that is what we want to do throughout the tournament." CUT did indeed start the game slow, initially trading points with Cornell before pulling away to win, 15-10. CUT maintained its defensive intensity and high level of play, beating Whitman by 11 points, 15-4