2011 YCC Open U-16 Day 1 Recap

Posted: August 14, 2011 07:37 AM

YCC 2011, U-16 Open Division
Saturday Recap

The Saturday action in the 2011 USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships started under a fading drizzle, but you wouldn’t know it watching the U-16 teams prepare. A contagious energy filled the fields as they warmed up, each team preparing to put their stamp on the division’s inaugural season.

In the first round of pool play, this youthful exuberance translated to a few overthrows and drops, as teams tried to settle down and get on the same page. As Doug Ishikawa, coach of Chicago’s Team Illinois, said, “for a lot of these kids, this is their first tourney.” Still, coach Ryan Belline from Delaware Valley’s DeVYL noted, “We expect the team to gel over the round, and come together as a team.” Those two teams squared off in the first round, with the more established DeVYL getting into a rhythm first. The Delaware Valley squad used pressure and converted short turns to roll to a victory, despite Chicago’s Jack Shanahan putting up solid D. DeVYL thrived, getting contributions from Andrew Lehmberg and Matt Luppino to take their first game.

The other match of pool B pitted Pittsburgh PHUL’s Pulse against Cincinnati’s Flying Piglets. This game stayed tight throughout, only a few points separating the sides until Flying Piglets pulled away on a late run. Even after Pulse’s David Danko pulled down a tipped disc to close within two, the clock ran out for a comeback, and Piglets closed out the game.

In pool A action, Minnesota Superior U-16 and Bay Area (CA) Angry Birds played a fairly close game, with the home side pulling out the win by focusing on taking away the long game. Justin Deierling and Remy Smith stood out for Angry Birds, while Superior’s Donnie Wood keyed the winning effort. Bay Area coach Valario Iani stressed to his team afterward to “improve on breaks; if we get the D, we need to score the break.”

Triangle Area, NC’s One Huck Wonders went down early to Seattle’s Doughboys, and it seemed like the northwest powerhouse was just getting started. As they would show all day, however, One Huck was not to be counted out, going on a five-point run to take the game. The key, according to coach Jen Waldrup, was the transition to a 1-3-3 zone she referred to as the “puppy fence.”

The second round opened with still more clouds, a shifty breeze, and an introduction for many of the U-16 players to the world of playing multiple games in one day. There were plenty of tired legs as the round wore on. Particularly hard hit were the teams with smaller rosters. DeVYL came out against Flying Piglets, both teams playing tough D and forcing turns. The effort and long points seemed to wear on the DeVYL players, who fell just short coming back with the cap on – Nick LaRue finding Dan Teehan and Chris McGlynn for scores just before the final horn.

Pulse made short work of the similarly short-staffed Team Illinois, with Bobby Lincoln pouring in an astounding seven assists for Pittsburgh. Chicago seemed to take the opportunity in stride, however, and coach Ishikawa said they were “having fun playing Ultimate and learning on the field.”

One Huck Wonder did not leave it late in its second round game, getting big contributions from Nathan Kwon and Dillion Lanier to pull away from Superior early, before capping the game off with another five-point run. Minnesota continued to score through Micah Burkhardt’s throws, but was unable to slip past the more polished Triangle Area side.

Seattle Doughboys really wanted to move on from their first round, where, in coach Doug Sumi’s words, “we came out flat and really weren’t in rhythm.” Bay Area Angry Birds awaited, also looking to improve upon a frustrating early game, but it was the Doughboys who took control early, settling in and getting big efforts from Hieu Phan and Paolo Eleccion.

With the two pool winners already decided, the games for second took on extra significance. Pittsburgh Pulse faced DeVYL in the B pool game for second, and seemed loose, with the captains continually reminding their teammates to “get your game faces on.” On the other side, DeVYL looked recovered from their last round, with coach Ryan Belline saying, “we just want to focus on coming out with the momentum we had at the end of the last game.” Pulse came out in a zone look right away, however, and the resulting short field scores put the game out of reach early. Pulse would end the day as one of only two teams to finish in the same spot it was seeded.

The pool A game for second saw Doughboys face Superior. The game got started with a Callahan for Doughboys, and that defensive intensity would be the difference in another one-sided game. While Superior had a few good strings when they could get the disc moving, Doughboys were able to choke off any momentum. In Seattle’s Makhi Sanders’ words: “Defense, defense, defense…our defense did not let up anywhere.”

Flying Piglets finished up their day feeling relaxed after the break, with captain Paul Findley happy to have put “two tough games behind us. We’re trying to keep focused and get everyone in the game.” Chicago obviously took some of their early lessons to heart, though, and stayed in it early. Even as Piglets pulled away, the disc movement and heart of Team Illinois was on display, and they made good use of Hafeez Shams to get resets against the zone.

As Bay Area warmed up its long game with huck drills, One Huck Wonder warmed up with “a little sock tag to get the feet moving and get everyone working together,” said coach Jen Waldrup. Bay Area came out hungry for this one, though, and took half through the work of Kainoa Chun-Moy and Jared Dilberto. One Huck had made a day out of pulling off runs, however, and ran off the last three points to take the game at hard cap, getting an outstanding game from Terrance Mitchell on both D and O. In the spirit circle after the game, One Huck captain Eli Miller said, “even if we had lost, that would have been the best game we played,” while Angry Birds captain Justin Deierling responded, “thank you guys for bringing your all.”

And that really said it all. The first day of YCC U-16 was all about spirit and respect and teams putting it all out there. Sunday promises more of the same. Possession seemed to be the key all day, and as Doughboys coach Doug Sumi put it, “the team that can possess the disc will win it.” Who that will be is a question for tomorrow.