2013 Division III College Championships - Saturday Recap (Open)

Posted: May 19, 2013 12:38 AM

Saturday is always exciting, and today at the Division III College Championship proved no different. College ultimate organizers face an incredibly difficult job of seeding teams who have no record against each other.  Division III ultimate has a harder challenge still in seeding teams who post most of their games against teams that are not even in the same division. These circumstances have led to some criticism directed toward the bid allocation and seeding systems. Well, that’s why there’s Saturday. True, no one wants to be ranked 16th and have to face the toughest teams as a result, but as we saw today, ultimately seeding does not determine who makes the championship bracket. Diligence, focus and talent will do that. 

Pool A

This pool had a bye during the first round and would play their three games without breaks. 

Puget Sound vs. Lehigh (10:45 – 12:15)

To start the second round, Puget Sound (1) looked to begin an easy sweep of their pool, with the highest seeded competition coming from Bentley (8). On the tournament’s main field, they walked onto the line to start the day against twelfth seeded Lehigh. Within the first few points, Lehigh went up a break, surprising last year’s runner-up. Puget Sound’s confusing zone looks kept Lehigh’s handlers swinging, but once they found a hole, the Postmen struggled to keep up. The game proved to be incredibly exciting, with turns coming on both sides, but Puget Sound went on a run, highlighted by Daniel Mozell’s (#4) clap catch layout to save a huck, to go up 7-4. Lehigh came back with a tough score before Puget Sound took half 8-5. Lehigh then proceeded to ignore their seeding and go on a 4-0 run, going up 9-8 on the Postmen. The two squads battled back and forth, with an exceptional toe-the-line layout from Postman Dan Thareja (#98). After that exchange, the one seed found themselves in an 11-9 hole. But they could not be denied. Hard work and some friendly Lehigh miscues led to a Puget Sound comeback win 13-11, capped with a 4-0 run including a Postman run-through Callahan. This game set the tone for the day, and the sixteen teams who showed up were happy to oblige. 

Bentley vs. Rice (10:45 – 12:15)

In the pool’s other match up, Bentley and Rice (13) squared off with another potential upset in the making. Rice took risks, and they paid off early, leaning on several of their more athletic players to come down with questionable decisions. After being down 8-6 at half, Bentley was out to prove their seeding was not a fluke and came out firing on all cylinders, playing sound offense and now capitalizing on the same Rice mistakes that had been successful earlier in the game. Bentley managed to limit Rice to one point in the second half to win 13-9. 

Puget Sound vs. Rice (1:00 – 2:30)

In the third round, Puget Sound matched up against Rice. Rice worked hard and had flashes of brilliance against the deeper and more experienced Postmen team. However, after trading points to 3-3, Postman Carl Wolf (#10) resoundingly foot-blocked an around break, starting a Puget Sound run that would put ahead 6-3. They quickly took half 8-4 and finished the game strong, winning 15-5. 

Bentley vs. Lehigh (1:00 – 2:30)

Bentley and Lehigh matched up well, but again Bentley could not be denied, going up to a quick 6-3 lead and never looking back. After taking half 8-4, Bentley opened its lines to include its younger players and cruised to a 15-11 victory. 

Lehigh vs. Rice (2:45 – 4:15)

To finish the day of straight pool play, Lehigh and Rice duked it out in an incredibly close game between the 12 and 13 seeds. Trading points throughout with only a few breaks here and there, Lehigh won the first half 8-7. However, Lehigh made several crucial unforced errors and let Rice back in the game, going down 10-11 with hard cap coming soon. However, in a high-intensity spree, Lehigh pulled out a miraculous 12-11 victory to save their seed. 

Puget Sound vs. Bentley (2:45 –4:15)

The pool’s one and two seeds matched up on the main field, but there would not be the same intense competition seen in the Puget Sound vs. Rice game earlier that day. UPS rolled to an easy 15-7 victory, leaving no doubt about their top seeding.

Pool B

With their bye coming in the second round, the teams in Pool B arrived bright and early and ready to play. 

Harding vs. Brandeis (9:00 – 10:30)

With a much-anticipated return to Nationals, Harding (2) looked to come out forcefully and dominate their pool. In their first game against a short-handed Brandeis (11) squad, both teams had far too many unforced turnovers but managed to stay on serve. From their 3-2 lead, Harding turned on the afterburners and surged out to take half 8-3 behind the play of Teron Goins (#28) and Tucker Bankston (#29). In spite of this deficit, Brandeis looked confident and settled into their groove to mount a considerable come back. Final score, 15-12 Harding. 

Amherst vs. North Park (9:00 – 10:30)

The pool’s other match up of the round featured Amherst (7) against North Park (14).  Amherst, the winner of the most competitive region in the country (New England), looked to dominate early, taking half 8-3. Stefan Breitling (#80) led the charge for Amherst, along with Lock Whitney’s (#22) chilly play behind the disc. In spite of a North Park run out of half to bring the score to 10-7, Amherst quickly rolled to a 15-9 victory. 

Amherst vs. Brandeis (1:00 – 2:30)

Round three figured to showcase much of the same, with Amherst matching up against Brandeis. While the teams started out trading points, Amherst showed their discipline on offense and proactive attitude towards creating turns with their defense, jumping to a 9-5 lead. With Breitling making more big plays for the Army of Darkness, they earned a definitive victory, defeating Brandeis 14-7.

Harding vs. North Park (1:00 – 2:30)

Similarly, on the other side of the pool, Harding rolled over North Park. The Lost Boys were unable to give Harding a scare throughout the match, and Apocalypse ran to a 15-10 victory. 

Harding vs. Amherst (2:45 – 4:15)

The last round of the day featured one of the most anticipated match ups of pool play: Harding vs. Amherst. With a lot of hype surrounding both teams, the game proved to be less exciting than expected. Focusing on Harding’s main players, the Army of Darkness managed to contain Harding’s system and force them to work the disc patiently. Amherst complemented their smart match ups with huge layout blocks. Although Harding never stopped trying, Amherst blew them out 15-8, and with that victory, swept their pool to make the championship bracket and bypass the pre-quarter rounds. Not bad for a first-time team at Nationals. 

North Park vs. Brandeis (2:45 – 4:15)

North Park faced off against Brandeis to fight for the last spot in the game to go to the championship bracket. Although Brandeis led for much of the match, North Park maintained their cool throughout the game and fought hard to come back to win 13-11.

Pool C

As with Pool B, these teams would take their bye during the second round of play. 

Carleton GOP vs. Georgia College (9:00 – 10:30)

The first round pit last year’s champions, Carleton GOP (6), against Georgia College (15). Georgia College, eager to prove their doubters wrong, could not hold off the high pressure Carleton defense, and GOP quickly broke twice to go up 3-0. After the discouraging start, Georgia fought hard and well, playing patient offense against GOP’s zone looks and giving their all on defense, highlighted by the play of Jake Morris (#1) and an unidentified player wearing #00.  However, GOP would not be denied and pull out the 15-12 victory.

Stevens Tech vs. Middlebury (9:00 – 10:30)

On the other side of the pool, Stevens Tech (3) matched up against Middlebury (10).  Middlebury, consistently a strong D-III contender, came in with some doubters this year. They quickly quieted the haters. Taking half at 8-4, Middlebury capitalized on poor decisions and spotty execution from a jittery-looking Stevens Tech. The Pranksters utilized solid handler movement (in spite of their only pure handler being sidelined by an ACL tear) that looked off low-percentage throws and took the smart options. However, they also hucked it well when the looks were open and took down the overall three seed 15-10.

Middlebury vs. Carleton GOP (1:00 – 2:30)

After Middlebury’s easy victory over Stevens Tech, their game against GOP attracted a lot of attention. Two teams historically known for their fun-loving attitudes, the competitors shed their respective non-traditional uniforms and donned the typical look of today’s ultimate teams (although GOP’s Ronald Reagan shorts were the highlight of my weekend; I think they’re selling them, by the way). Middlebury quickly shook GOP’s normally confident and easygoing offensive line, going up 4-1. GOP held and broke back, making it 4-3. The teams set the tone early, with physical and sometimes chippy play coming from both sides. Although an observer issued a TMF to a Middlebury player for repeated fouls on the mark during the same point, the same observer noted the good spirit and players’ ability to resolve tense and heated situations without his help.  After already upsetting the pool’s one seed, the Middlebury Pranksters took the game 13-9, sending further shockwaves through the pool.

Stevens Tech vs. Georgia College (1:00 – 2:30)

Stevens Tech and Georgia College played each other to complete the second round’s games. While Georgia went up early with two breaks to start the game, Stevens Tech fought back hard to take the lead at 9-7. Eventually, Georgia could not complete the easy throws often enough, and their lapse in focus cost them the game 14-10. Stevens Tech’s play was highlighted all day by the excellent play of Marques Brownlee (#82), both behind the disc and in the air. 

Stevens Tech vs. Carleton GOP (2:45 – 4:15)

The final round featured a face off of the top seeds – although both had already been upset by Middlebury and, as a result, were only playing for seeding in the pre-quarters games to take place later in the day. Still, both teams came out hard, and Stevens Tech tallied some early breaks. Anders Berglund (#67) scored GOP’s first point with a terrific bid in the end zone to make it 2-1. After trading several points and a few break, Stevens Tech closed out the half 8-6. Both teams had unforced errors and gave the other deadly opportunities to break using a short field. GOP could not put together a rally in time to stop Tech from winning 13-10.   

Middlebury vs. Georgia College (2:45 – 4:15)

The game between Middlebury and Georgia College featured a supremely confident Prankster squad pit against a very tired Georgia College squad that lacked depth.  Middlebury took an early lead and ran open lines to cruise to a 14-11 victory.  In spite of a lackluster Saturday performance, Georgia College showed excellent athleticism and skill with the disc. With a little more experience and depth, this team will be someone to look out for at Nationals in years to come. 

Pool D

This pool proved that seeding often becomes irrelevant once the day’s games get underway. With every team winning and losing at least one game, no one team could be guaranteed a spot in the championship bracket. 

Wake Forest vs. John Brown (10:45 –12:15)

After a first-round bye, the second round started with Wake Forest (4) against John Brown University (9).  John Brown, still a relatively new program, came out with a chip on their shoulder against the more established Wake Forest program. Behind their cheers of "Frisbee? Yes!" JBU quickly darted out to a 3-1 lead, shocking the team seeded fourth overall. Using the force and break-side well and taking open looks, JBU took half 8-5.  Although Wake Forest proved their merit through poised play all the way up the field against JBU’s junk zone, they often lost their focus and threw the disc away. Although Wake Forest mounted a small comeback, John Brown held them off for a final score of 13-11 and their first Nationals victory. 

Claremont vs. Wesleyan (10:45 – 12:15)

The other half of the pool featured the Claremont Braineaters (5) versus the last-seeded Wesleyan (16). Based on seeding, this game should have been a walk in the park, but Wesleyan had other ideas. Using their high level of athleticism, Wesleyan pressured Claremont’s normally systematic offense, forcing turfs and low-percentage throws. After going up 5-3, Wesleyan maintained a lead through the rest of the game. They placed high value on disc possession, and that focus paid off, allowing them to hold off late Claremont runs to win 14-10.

Wake Forest vs. Wesleyan (1:00 –2:30)

The third round calmed down after the three and four seeds thoroughly upset the one and two seeds respectively. Wake Forest and Wesleyan featured the same intense, athletic play seen in the Wesleyan vs. Claremont match. The two teams traded points but also broke each other, demonstrating the number of turnovers both teams gave up. With impressive layouts coming from both squads, neither side was willing to budge. The score reached 10-10, but a great layout D from Wake Forest freshman Ismael Salgado (#18) got them the disc back, and Wake Forest worked it down the field to go up 11-10.  After Corey Casarella’s (#4) athletic sky, Wake Forest marched it down the field again to win the hard-fought match 12-10.

Claremont vs. John Brown (1:00 – 2:30)

The other half of the pool proved to be equally intense, with Claremont jumping out to an early lead with several breaks. However, JBU regained their focus and broke back to tie the game at fives. The Braineaters struck back quickly, holding their offensive point and converting another John Brown miscue to go up 7-5. However, JBU once again fought back, and after a beautiful deep hammer from Ironfist’s Jacob Moore (#15), John Brown took half 8-7. In spite of the excellent early energy, JBU could not hold it together in the face of Claremont’s regimented offensive system and ultimately lost 15-12. 

Wake Forest vs. Claremont (2:45 – 4:15)

The last round saw a return of the day’s earlier intensity. Wake Forest took on Claremont who, after a hot win against JBU, looked to upset Pool D’s one seed. Claremont looked good early, going up a break to make it 4-3. However, Wake Forest quickly took charge behind their more athletic play, going up 6-4 thanks to a 3-0 run. In the blink of an eye, the Braineaters lost control of the game, and their mental collapse resulted in a discouraging 15-6 loss. 

John Brown vs. Wesleyan (2:45 – 4:15)

The pool’s other match up featured one of the day’s most exciting games. John Brown and Wesleyan faced off each with a 1-1 record on the day. With breaks on both sides, the score was quickly tied at 4-4. After trading points (and breaks), JBU eventually took half on a huge sky by Chris Genheimer (#8). John Brown came out of half hot, going up 10-8 on a quick break. However, with the ending of the Wake Forest vs. Claremont match up, the game gained new urgency for JBU. With a victory, John Brown would improve to 2-1 on the day, with the upside of the tiebreaker over Wake Forest (also 2-1), and earn themselves an automatic bid to the championship bracket. A loss, however, would leave them at 1-2, tied with Claremont and losing the tiebreaker against the Braineaters, thus eliminating them from any chance of reaching the finals. With soft cap on and a game to 12, Wesleyan played with new fire. Their defense put incredible pressure on the John Brown offense, forcing misthrows and earning layout Ds. Wesleyan proceeded to do the very unlikely, winning the game 12-10, shocking John Brown and sending cheers down the sidelines of nearby Claremont’s. JBU ended an incredibly interesting Nationals run with a bang, and I’m looking forward to watching them in the years to come. 


Bentley vs. Claremont (4:45 – 6:15)

After trading the first points, Bentley broke the Braineaters to go up 2-1. Both teams held to even the score at 4-4, when careless mistakes from Claremont (hucks into coverage and poor throws) allowed Bentley to go up 8-5. Coming out of half, the Braineaters became a whole new team. They held their first point on a huck to make it 8-6, but soon after rattled off a series of breaks to put them ahead 10-8, including the best sky of the day from Braineater Alex Gruver (#34). Bentley looked to regain their focus and hucked for a quick hold, but Claremont’s momentum proved too much, as they capped off a largely disappointing day with a clutch victory to secure their spot in tomorrow’s championship bracket.

Stevens Tech vs. North Park (4:45 – 6:15)

Both teams came into this match up exhausted, and it showed in the high number of mental mistakes in the game. Stevens Tech started off strong, going up 7-1 quickly.  However, taking advantage of Tech’s lack of focus, the Lost Boys came back to make it 11-9, but Stevens Tech dialed in and won out, 15-11. 

Lehigh vs. Wesleyan (4:45 – 6:15)

As in the Stevens Tech vs. North Park match, both sides were clearly very tired. With tons of unforced errors, neither team could push the other, and they traded points through much of the game. At 11-10, Lehigh focused up and came away with the win, 13-10. 

Carleton GOP vs. Harding (4:45 – 6:15)

These two teams decided to save the most exciting game of the day for last. Neither powerhouse school expected to find themselves in a game to go late on Saturday, but both came ready to play. The two teams traded points and a break a piece to make the score 5-5. A misfire from Goins to Bankston opened the door for GOP, and Scott Graber quickly boosted one deep. Carleton converted for the score. However, Harding held their next offensive point and a goal line foot-block led to a big huck for a break right back, bringing the score to 7-6. After a long point at 7-7, Carleton’s Rhys Lindmark came down with a great poach D on an errant high-release, inside-out backhand from Goins, and GOP was able to march down the field and score to take half 8-7. GOP came out of half fired up and quickly surged out to a 12-9 lead, with soft cap on and the game to 14.  Harding refused to go away and took advantage of several unforced GOP turnovers on the goal line.  Harding brought the score to 12-11, and GOP clearly decided to take their time and focus on this offensive point. They marched it down the field and swung outside the end zone patiently, until an easy, would-be goal floated just above the cutter’s hands, resulting in a turn. Harding quickly marched it up the field, despite missing its stars to cramps, and tied the game at 12-12 to bring its sideline charging onto the field in celebration. With hard cap on, both teams brought out their universe lines. Harding sent a huge pull downfield, and it just sailed wide of the cone to allow GOP to start with a short field. However, their discipline broke down when an around break to the end zone flew just too far for the receiver and, in spite of a great bid, resulted in a turnover. Harding quickly picked up the disc and ripped a huck deep to a streaking cutter. The GOP defender, chasing his man and trying to track the disc, struggled to make a clean bid. In spite of this, the disc bounced off the Harding defender’s hand. The ensuing foul call drew moans from the sideline, but the observer upheld it, and Harding retained possession on GOP’s goal line. A few seconds of cutting led to an up-line cut for the score, an end to Carleton’s season and a spot for Harding in tomorrow’s championship bracket. 

And this was only Saturday. Bracket play should certainly be interesting.  

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