2012 YCC U-19O Saturday Recap

Posted: August 11, 2012 10:43 PM

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[PHOTO CREDIT: Christina Schmidt UltiPhotos.com]

There is such a thing as a perfect day for Ultimate. Given a high in the high 70s to low 80s, with a light breeze that never pushes past 5 or so mph, Saturday play at the 2012 Youth Club Championships was pretty close, and the fourteen teams assembled to do battle for the 2012 title were eager to show what they could do with that perfect weather.  The green light certainly appeared to be on for the long game as the morning’s action got underway.

With only Nebraska missing from last year’s teams, YCC was pleased to welcome Atlanta Dirty Dogs, Iowa Ultimate, New York’s NYCC and South Dakota’s Spearfish Storm to the roster.  While most of these areas had sent teams in the past, Spearfish was a completely new group. Coach Dennis Servaty noted, "a year ago, there was no Ultimate in the Black Hills." 

Meanwhile, the Atlanta side had a distinctly non-Paideia flavor to it. Self-proclaimed "über Ultimate moms" Kim Di Francesco and Anita Summers watched the team huddle for halftime during a game. "It’s been tough getting the Atlanta high schools organized, but we really had a great season this year," said Di Francesco.

The first round games went pretty much as expected, with Boston’s BUDA, Pittsburgh Impulse, DiscNW Stag, Cincinnati Flying Pig and Minnesota Superior all registering fairly smooth victories. The one really tight game of the round featured Delaware Valley DeVYL and Triangle Area, NC Triforce. After DeVYL got out to an early lead, Triforce pushed back into the game after a big layout D by Aaron Warshauer. The teams alternated big plays on D and O as the game tied at 10-10, until a critical short Triforce turnover gave DeVYL the Universe Point victory. 

The second round also stayed on script, and all of the higher seeded teams cruised to comfortable victories. In the calm, mild conditions, the team with superior throws and stronger athletes was free to put its strengths on display. Colorado Cutthroat A and Chicago Micromachines began their respective days out of the first round bye with wins over Dirty Dogs and NYCC, respectively. 

Third round games were far more competitive affairs, as the 1 v 2 and 3 v 4 matchups did not disappoint. In the Flying Pig versus Impulse game, early energy propelled Flying Pig to a quick four-point lead, as Impulse too often tried to force the perfect pass. Flying Pig’s crafty offence, with the superlative throws of Dan Schuster breaking mark after mark, proved too much for Impulse to come back on. Superior and DeVYL met in another match to determine the pool winner, and, again, the lower seed came out of the gate hard. Superior kept its focus on D, and got big plays from Jason Finkelstein and Eli Leonard to withstand DeVYL’s late push and take the pool. 

The trend seemed set to continue in the Cutthroat A/ BUDA game. After Cutthroat surged to a quick lead, the game began to seesaw. BUDA’s tall, experienced lineup could not maintain possession early, as Tim Bobrowski urged his teammates to "take the throw you know is there." BUDA began to do just that, and the game seesawed to universe, where Cutthroat made it three second seed upsets over first seeds. Stag, however, was not interested in making it a clean sweep. With Micromachines looking equal to the task in the early going, Stag was pushed to make a few big plays to take an early lead. But the normally reliable Stag handler movement began to stall out, and Micromachine’s Ben Carver hit Johnny Saniat to bring them within two, 10-12. Still, the deep, experienced Stag roster was not daunted, and they shut the door behind the defense of Tyler Monroe. 

The Crossover round also had a couple of close matches, with Cutthroat looking to knock off Stag, and 2011 finalists Impulse facing the challenge of the young legs of Triforce. Cutthroat managed to ride some uncharacteristically disjointed play by Stag to take half, until some huge plays by Stag’s Jesse Bolton got them back in the game, where they simply got the last blow in before cap. Impulse and Triforce, meanwhile, were locked in a dogfight the whole way. Triforce’s Aaron Warshauer turned away several Impulse attacks, while Impulse’s Max Sheppard kept them coming back for more. In the end, Impulse’s experience seemed just a bit more telling, and they booked their place in the quarters to reprise the 2011 final against DiscNW. 

Among the players to watch were:

  • Triforce’s Terrence Mitchell, picking up right where he left off from last year’s U-16 championship team.
  • Micromachine’s Johnny Saniat, making the engine of Chicago’s offence run. 
  • Cutthroat’s Jeremy Harker, ripping deep, hanging pulls that gave the Colorado defense a decided boost. 
  • Spearfish Storm’s Trevor Rombough, keeping his team in games with defensive flair. 
  • Stag’s Jesse Bolton, making his fourth appearance at YCC, and getting better each year. 
Day 1 photos by Christina Schmidt and Kevin Leclaire of UltiPhotos.com