2011 YCC Open U-19 Day 1 Recap

Posted: August 14, 2011 07:37 AM

YCC U19 Open Division
Day One Recap

The weather of Blaine, MN, proved to be nice and sunny on this Saturday of YCC. This despite early foreboding brought by showers and cloudy skies. Ultimate tournaments are always prisoner to the elements but for day one the conditions proved to be kind.

Round 1
The teams warmed up and ready it was time for play to begin in the 2011 Youth Club Championships. The first round of play provided a number of interesting matchups as teams felt their competition out. In Pool A Minnesota Superior met Denver Colorado Cutthroat. The teams would trade to 2-2 early on but that would be the last time the teams would be so close. Minnesota used a total team effort on defense and offense to go on a 5-0 run, taking half 7-2. The major difference for the teams on offense appeared to be their handler movement. Colorado’s coach Phil Lohre could be heard telling his team, “The handlers got to keep the disc moving, side to side,” and even mentioning the details of the handler weave. In contrast Minnesota’s handlers, including #8 Eli Leonard, #77 Soham Shah, and #4 Jason Finkelstein were quick to look for the swing, and patient overall when looking for open cutters. For Colorado, #13 Nicholas Anderson led by example with his big defensive play. Despite a spirited second half effort by Colorado, Minnesota would close out the game after the cap, 10-8.

Over in Pool B, DiscNW, hailing from Seattle, faced off against Cincinnati. Seattle looked to be able to get unders all day long, displaying a depth of talent that proved the difference in the game, as they pulled out the win 11-9.

Round 2
In Pool A DEVYL, representing NJ and PA, was pitted against The Bay Area Savage Sharks. The name Savage Sharks might perhaps prove prophetic as the Bay Area team easily had the fewest players, 13 total. Talking with coach Steve Maack, he pointed out that it was not a healthy 13: “A week before the tournament, we had 4 players come down with nasty injuries, giving us about 9 healthy players.” In addition, Maack stated that they were probably the “youngest” and “least experienced” of all the U19 open division teams. Needless to say they were outmatched by the more experienced and deeper DEVYL squad, which took the game 13-5. In Maack’s own words, Bay Area would have to try and win the “small intangible battles” as the tournament went on in order to stay competitive.

Round 3
This round once again saw Minnesota content to patiently move the disc, utilizing all seven players on the field. Bay Area would put up a fight against Minnesota, but to no avail, as Minnesota took this game easily. Confidence was high for Minnesota as they looked ahead to their next round match up against defending champ DEVYL.

On the next field over, Seattle and Pittsburgh went at it. This was the closer game with the teams trading throughout, the final score 8-7 Seattle. Across the way BUDA, from Boston put on a clinic against Nebraska. Look for BUDA to make some noise in the elimination rounds Sunday, as they displayed a depth of talent, summoning contributions from the entire team, with notable poise from USA Junior Worlds Alum Amos Adams #27.

Round 4
 Continuing with the weather trend of the day, the wind picked up even more by the final round and subsequently there was more zone defense being played. As is often the case with youth ultimate, the added wind and zone defenses would favor the teams that remained patient, in addition to having superior throwers. Nebraska and Denver B faced off in a game that was all about the zone. Nebraska’s zone defense was able to stifle the Denver throwers, forcing turnovers that led to easy scores. While the game was competitive for the most part Nebraska ended up cruising to the victory, 11-1. The final round of the day saw the most exciting and competitive games yet, including two games decided on universe point. In Pool B, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati traded points down to the wire, each team utilizing quick disc movement. While Cincinnati appeared to be a faceless army, with countless players stepping up to make big plays, Pittsburgh had a few players consistently making all the big plays, most notably #3 Patrick Earles, #10 Max Thorne, and #28 Joe Bender. Thorne finished the game with 3 goals and 3 assists; he and Earles made the big plays, but Cincinnati would get the win, 12-11.

In Pool A, Minnesota silenced any would-be doubters, upsetting number 1 seed and defending champ DEVYL, who had steamrolled the rest of their competition. With the score 9-7, DEVYL leading, and the soft cap off, Minnesota dug deep, stringing off 3 straight scores to take the game 10-9, and all but ensuring a top seed in their pool. Coach Nate Wohl said of his team that they were a little too top heavy at last year’s YCC and this year were utilizing their whole team, emphasizing their depth: “We let the kids work. We have talent across the board. We have strong handlers and cutters and we try and use a deeper rotation.” In talking about the epic comeback, Wohl could only say that it was a  “battle.”  A battle hard fought and won by Minnesota. The spectators that crowded around the game for the final few points were equally impressed by Minnesota’s persistence on the field. Simply put by parents watching, they “hung in there.” This was once more a case of how the momentum and energy of each team can play a huge role in the game’s outcome.

All day, each team made their share of big plays, showcasing the burgeoning nature of Ultimate Frisbee, this burgeoning nature perhaps nowhere more evident than at the youth level. Looking ahead to Sunday, while it still may be anyone’s game, BUDA, Seattle, Minnesota, and DEVYL appear to have separated themselves from the pack.