2013 High School Central Championships - Saturday Recap

Posted: May 19, 2013 01:04 AM

Open Division

Saturday morning in Mason, Ohio started off cloudy, gray and dismal. That didn't stop the fierce attitudes of the 2013 High School Centrals Open Division players. Twelve Open Division teams came out ready to compete for their bids to the State Championships. 

Pool A 

Holy Family Catholic Revolution is known as a powerhouse of ultimate in Cincinnati.  After day one, they’re looking to be known as a powerhouse of ultimate in the Central region as well. Their pool play games provided little challenge for them. Neuqua Valley B’s inability to take advantage of opportunities for quick movement of the disc proved no match for the superior handling skills of Jay Ratajczak and the experience of the rest of Revolution. Monona Grove’s zone gave Revolution a bit of pause, but Holy Family quickly broke it by throwing over the top of the cup.

It wasn’t until the crossover game with Hopkins Hurt that Revolution saw any challenge. A nail baiter from the very beginning, the connection between Dominic Schuster and JP Bort gave Revolution some momentum in the beginning of the game. However, a huge layout from Max Wolk brought Hopkins back in the game. Full-field hucks from Revolution brought the score to 10-8 with Holy Family Catholic in front, when Revolution called a time out five minutes before hard cap in an attempt to hold on to their lead. Hopkins wasn’t ready for the game to end and tied the game right before hard cap went on. After a few great Ds from Hopkins senior Zac Merie, Hopkins turned the disc over at the Revolution end zone, where the Holy Family Catholic Home Educators were quick to score.

Pool B

In Pool B, the games got under way with Neuqua Valley from Naperville, Ill., and the local Cincinnati squad from Mason High School squaring off. Also in Pool B was Cathedral from St. Cloud, Minn., who played remarkably well considering the 12+ hour commute from the northern state. 

Neuqua Valley, seeded second, is a competitive up-and-coming ultimate program with 200+ members. They had a solid turnout with three teams in this weekend's tournament between the Open and Girl’s Divisions. Neuqua showed intensity with back-to-back D blocks, not giving up on any points against Mason. Mason put up a tough fight, though their team finished the day with a 0-3 record. Neuqua worked their way through Pool B to come up to the crossover game against the formidable Cretin-Derham Hall and came out on top, ending the day with a 3-0 record. 

Cathedral had a strong day, first defeating Mason, then running into a tough match up with Neuqua, where Neuqua eventually prevailed. Cathedral Coach Matt Theisen said his team played really well after such a long trip from Minnesota. They closed today's games with a 2-1 record after defeating Pritzker College Prep from Chicago, securing their place in Sunday’s championship bracket. 

Pool C

Pool C had some strong competitors with Hopkins from Minnesota, Bexley out of Columbus, Ohio, and Bloomington from Indiana. With a first-round bye for Hopkins, Bexley played Bloomington and came out on top. Bloomington started out strong but soon was overcome by Bexley's second-half momentum, ending the game with a Bexley win at 13-6. 

Bloomington came back strong to start their next game against the third seeded Hopkins but eventually lost 13-6 after a tough fight. As Bexley and Hopkins took the field for their match up, Bexley was prepared to meet the boys (with rather unique haircuts) head on. Animosity was high, and great plays were made, including Bexley's first point from a hammer across the end zone. Hopkins pulled out the win with a 9-8 final score at the hard cap after a hard game from both teams. Bexley ended the day with a win in their crossover game against Neuqua Valley, bringing their Saturday record being 2-1.

As described above, Hopkins’ last game of the day was a tough loss to the number one seeded Holy Family Catholic. Both these teams are tough competitors with lots of promise and could potentially square off again in tomorrow’s championship finals.

Pool D

The all-Hispanic Pritzker College Prep team is made up of hardworking kids passionate about the sport, and it showed on the field. These kids manage to find time to practice several times a week on top of four hours of homework each night. You could tell these kids also studied the game of ultimate. Their calm, cool and collected stack worked the disc up the field better than most teams at the tournament. However, the shortness of their roster was no match for the sheer height and athleticism of Sun Prairie and Cretin-Derham Hall.

Saturday Girls Photo Gallery by UltiPhotos.com



Girls Division

A very wet day at High School Centrals didn’t stop the girls from playing some great ultimate. Omega will begin tomorrow as the one seed, after a 4-0 day. Omega was led by Kjersti Fry’s defending and Madison Wilker’s handling abilities and her very high assist count. Neuqua Valley played the dark horse on Saturday and enters Sunday as the two seed, after a 3-1 day. Neuqua Valley was led by Maggie Kennedy, who was among the pool’s best in assists, defensive blocks and scores. Savage started off with a rough morning, but with a two-point deficit at halftime and only a couple minutes until the time cap against Cathedral, Savage pulled out a victory on universe point. The comeback was spurred on by Alora Reiff, who assisted or scored each of the final three points. Cathedral struggled throughout the day, but Annie Johnson’s defensive abilities show promise heading into Sunday. Hopkins will look to shine on Sunday after a rough Saturday. Led by freshman Lily Shapiro, who led all freshmen girls in defensive blocks by a large margin, Hopkins may surprise on Sunday.

3 Stars of Saturday

3rd Star: Alora Reiff - MND Savage

Alora led a strong comeback for MND against Cathedral, and MND carried that momentum into their last pool play game against Hopkins to finish the day 2-2. Alora’s defending will prove to be the x-factor that MND needs on Sunday.

2nd Star: Kjersti Fry - HFC Omega

Kjersti made some stellar plays for Omega throughout the day. She was strong in the middle and executed well on both offense and defense. Kjersti led Omega in defensive blocks, was among the leading scorers and racked up several assists. Kjersti’s ability to be a playmaker on both sides of the disc will be critical to Omega capturing a second consecutive regional title.

1st Star: Maggie Kennedy - Neuqua Valley

If Neuqua Valley was the dark horse, then Maggie Kennedy was the jockey. Maggie had a massive impact on the outcome of her team’s games. She was among the pool’s leaders in assists, scores and Ds. Her ability to change the momentum of the game is what Neuqua Valley needed Saturday and will continue to be critical for them on Sunday.

Other Notes

  • Neuqua Valley’s Cleo Bubulka made some stellar sliding catches in traffic.
  • The numbers may not show it, but Grace Castelli was a critical part of MND with several leaping grabs of the disc and the ability to make difficult plays look easy.
  • Omega freshmen Sara Friemoth, Hayley Samson and Ellie Fishlock combined for the most Ds of any trio of underclassmen.
  • Neuqua Valley had six players score at least four points, the widest spread of any team.

Saturday Open Photo Gallery by UltiPhotos.com



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