2013 College Championships - Sunday Open Recap

Posted: May 26, 2013 11:10 PM

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Sunday Spectacle


A dropped pull, offensive patience against the North Carolina zone, and smothering defense gave Pittsburgh an early 5-1 lead.  Though UNC would narrow the gap to 8-5, En Sabah Nur maintained a comfortable lead throughout the game and was able to open up its lines for the final few points en route to a 15-9 victory.

California-Davis came out threatening in the first half against Oregon.  Davis’ zone forced Oregon to dink and dunk the disc down the field, and after testing Ego’s patience, caused a turn that resulted in a break and 1-0 Davis lead.  The well-spaced and disciplined Dogs’ offense produced hold after hold early on, as Nathan White and Eli Kerns distributed with prudence, while Marcelo Sanchez and Ben Hubbard churned in the deep and under lanes.  The game’s turning point came with the game tied at six.  Davis caught the pull and tried to send a quick under pass to Eli Kerns, but Dylan Freechild, who had switched to playing exclusively defensive points in the first half of this game, got a piece of the disc.  A few throws later, Oregon brought its Break Bucket out onto the field, celebrating Ego’s first break of the game and a 7-6 lead.  Davis’ normally calm offense was rattled from that point forward, with unforced turns (and some due to Oregon pressure) sending Ego on a 7-3 run to close out a 15-9 victory.

North Carolina-Wilmington threw every defensive look it could at the Carleton Ultimate Team, but Carleton proved too wise and persistent to fall victim to the Seamen strategic traps.  Simon Montague and Justin Norden led the Carleton offense through Wilmington’s zones, and Nick Stuart leapt for a key block in the middle of the second half that gave Carleton the momentum they needed to close out a hard-fought battle.  On the game’s final point, a reverberating Will Herold hand block gave Carleton the disc in the red zone.  Montague picked up and quickly found Stuart on an isolation cut in the front of the end zone for the 15-12 win.

Central Florida wanted to set a zone from the beginning of its quarterfinal matchup against Dartmouth, but six out of bounds pulls made it difficult to execute that strategy.  Instead, it was Dartmouth’s zone that gave UCF fits in the first half and saved the energy of Dartmouth’s tight rotation.  But after going up 7-3, Pain Train, for one reason or another, stopped moving the disc quickly and widely which improved the efficacy of the Dogs’ zone.  UCF pulled to 6-8 by halftime and continued to build momentum.  At 9-9, with 6’5" UCF Callahan nominee Michael Hickson marking flatly, Dartmouth was forced to swing the disc out wide.  Central Florida’s Jeremy Langdon read the continuation pattern, sprinted up from the deep defensive position and laid out for a block before streaking deep and catching the break goal that gave the Dogs of War their first lead of the game at 10-9.  In the final point of the game, with UCF up 13-12, Ian Engler and Spencer Diamond burst through the Dogs’ zone.   But again, Jeremy Langdon raced up from the deep position and laid out for a shoulder high block.  UCF immediately hucked to First Team All-Region honoree Mischa Freystaetter, who found fellow First Team All-Region honoree Mike Ogren in the end zone for the goal.  That final break capped a remarkable 9-5 comeback and sent Central Florida to the semifinals against Carleton.


No one felt more title pressure going into the Championships than Pittsburgh and Oregon.   Oregon failed to live up to its lofty billings in 2010 and 2012, exiting before the finals despite being the top overall seed at both Championships tournaments.  Pittsburgh, returning many key players from 2012, has been expected to repeat as champion but displayed less than dominant play throughout the 2013 regular season.

Dylan Freechild rose to the occasion early on, sparking Oregon to an early 3-1 lead with lots of aggressive handler movement.  As Pitt shook off the ESPN jitters, En Sabah Nur's defense started to go to work.  Pat Earles cashed in on bookends, and Marcus Ranii-Dropcho elevated for a strong dump block that instigated a 5-0 Pitt run and put En Sabah Nur up 6-3.  Tyler Degirolamo proved to be an unstoppable force throughout the game, cutting deep out of the side stack with success and working meticulously in the handler set on the turn.

In the second half, Pittsburgh's continued defensive pressure made Oregon's offensive holds more challenging, while Pitt’s holds were comparatively easier.  Oregon's offense had a chance to stay in the tilt when trailing 9-11, but Pitt won that marathon point, went up 12-9 and all but put the game out of reach in the soft cap.  With a 14-11 win, Pittsburgh advanced to its second consecutive national title game.

There’s a developing rivalry between Carleton and Central Florida who squared off in the other semifinal. Carleton ended Central Florida’s Cinderella season in the quarterfinals of the 2012 College Championships, Central Florida has bested Carleton at major tournaments like College Easterns, and Central Florida has even taken one of Carleton’s storied sideline cheers.

Mischa Freystaetter came out in today’s national semifinal like a man possessed, with deep defensive blocks, a foot block, hucks and deep cuts that earned Central Florida a commanding 8-4 halftime lead.  Carleton's traditional offensive discipline fluctuated when its pull plays were disrupted, and Central Florida's execution prevented CUT from clawing back into the game.  Down 9-4, Carleton's Justin Norden looked to find a receiver on a simple under cut, but UCF's Michael Hickson jumped in the lane just in time to earn a poach block and start a quick strike break attack that put UCF up 10-4.  Andrew Roca's Dogs kept their feet on the gas pedal on the way to a surprising but convincing 15-8 victory.  The Dogs earned their program’s first title-game berth in just their second Championships appearance.

Looking Ahead

Both teams are finding their grooves at the right time.  Pittsburgh will have to limit the impact of Freystaetter and Hickson on the defensive side of the disc – they can hinder deep looks with their marks and ups.  Can Tyler Degirolamo's cutting strength and Alex Thorne's throwing prowess overcome those obstacles?  Pittsburgh's same offensive unit won the 2012 National Championship against a Wisconsin team with defensive depth in windy conditions.  Simple man defense is Pittsburgh's bread and butter, so UCF must keep the disc moving quickly to prevent En Sabah Nur defenders from dictating movements and locking down on receivers late in counts.  Pittsburgh won the only meeting between these two teams in 2013 at Warm Up in February to the tune of 13-7.

The first pull in tomorrow’s open division championship game goes up at 3:30 EDT.

Day 3 - highlights - Images by ultimatefrisbeephotos.com

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