2014 D-I College Championships - Men's Division Day 1 Recap

Posted: May 24, 2014 12:04 AM


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Friday Frenzy

Ian Toner recaps day one action from the men's division at the 2014 USA Ultimate College Championships in Mason, OH.

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Aside from the defending champions (Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur), no top seed went truly untested in Friday pool play.

Pool A

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San Diego

  Eastern Michigan
2-0   1-1   2-0   0-2   0-2

Pool A showcased its depth on Friday, with multiple lower seeds mounting stiff challenges against their higher-seeded pool-mates.

Harvard hung tight against Colorado deep into the second half, thanks to the stellar (3G, 6A) performance of sophomore central handler Mark Vandenberg.  Up 11-10, Mamabird used their defensive depth to go on a 4-1 close-out run and a 15-11 win.

Though Wisconsin made light work of the Air Squids (15-7), California-San Diego nearly toppled Red Line in the 2:30 p.m. round. After holding to lead 13-11 in the second half, the Squids found themselves pulling on double-game point. New England Freshman of the Year John Stubbs hucked the disc slightly too far for his Harvard receiver, but UCSD’s Nikhil Abbas dropped a sure game-winner after phantom closing pressure from New England Player of the Year Jeremy Nixon.  Vandenberg sealed the victory with a cool break-mark blade to Nixon for the 15-14 win. Despite their losses, the Air Squids and their defensive lines are not to be underestimated tomorrow.

Eastern Michigan even kept things close against the Hodags (8-7) before Wisconsin went on a 4-0 second-half run and secured a 15-11 victory. The Hodags owe their current pool lead on goal differential in part to that going-away victory, but they’ll face a decisive test against Colorado at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning – tune in on NexGen!

It’s a shame this pool can’t send four teams into pre-quarters.

Pool B

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  Texas A&M
  Central Florida
2-0   0-2   1-1   1-1   1-1


Michigan had their hands full right off the bat in their early afternoon match up against the Central Florida Dogs of War. Notable wind, multiple zone points and a number of travel calls stifled rhythm and led to a slow start. Michigan led 8-7 (on serve into half), but the Dogs stole a late 13-12 lead. Though both teams moved away from zone defenses in the second half, Michigan came back to a zone look during crunch time. The Michigan zone’s small throwing windows forced a low throw from Mike Ogren on double-game point that John Best couldn’t snag, and Michigan, working with a short field, stayed patient and broke marks to score and fend off the Dogs’ upset bid (14-13).

Central Florida then got some help from Dartmouth, who stunned the previously clutch Michigan MagnUM in a zone-solving upset victory (13-11).

Pittsburgh sits firmly in the Pool B driver’s seat, having racked up convincing victories over Texas A&M (15-9) and Dartmouth (15-8). As Dartmouth barely leads a three-way 1-1 tie over Michigan and UCF, this pool’s pre-quarter berths are anyone’s for the taking heading into Saturday.

Pool C

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  North Carolina
  Florida State
1-1   2-0   1-1   1-1   0-2


Simply speaking, Pool C is a mess.

Texas didn’t live up to their high-seeded billing, losing to a Snell-less Darkside and narrowly avoiding an upset at the hands of UMass.

Darkside may sit atop the pool at 2-0, but both victories were closer than they would have liked, given North Carolina’s dominance earlier in the season. They’re as vulnerable as ever heading into Saturday.

Tufts has to be pleased with both their double-game point challenge of Darkside and upset of Florida State.

Florida State didn’t hold seed and carries a negative goal differential into Saturday.  UMass has to be desperate for victory after two losses by a combined three points.

What kind of bracket picture does this paint?

North Carolina might be on top, but no one’s safe. Even UMass is still in decent shape to contend for a pre-quarters berth – they’ll work to improve a goal differential that’s relatively close to Texas’ and Tufts’ and get shots at Tufts and North Carolina tomorrow.

Pool D

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  North Carolina-

  Carleton College
2-0   0-2   1-1   2-0   0-2


North Carolina-Wilmington’s offensive unit returned to earth on Friday, getting broken five times in a see-sawing first half that CUT won, 8-5. The Seamen mounted a second-half charge that proved to be too little, too late, as Carleton went on to win 15-13 in the day’s first round.

Oregon, having easily dispatched Rutgers to start their day, found chinks in the Seamen offensive armor at critical midway junctures later in the day.  Tied at 7s, Oregon’s defense forced a coverage sack and converted a break to send the game into halftime. Ego then went on a 4-1 run out of halftime en route to closing out a 15-12 victory. Dylan Freechild and Connor Matthews turned in top-notch performances for Oregon.

Florida’s three-man show of Jason Silverman, James Dahl and Bobby Ley couldn’t overcome Carleton’s depth and institutional experience, as CUT won 14-10.

Should seeds hold into the afternoon, Oregon versus Carleton (also airing on NexGen) will determine the Pool D champion, and Florida and Wilmington could be facing off for Pool D’s final pre-quarterfinals bid.

Key Player Updates

  • UNC’s Ben Snell did not play – a second MRI completed a week ago revealed that he tore his ACL at Easterns.

  • Dalton Smith re-injured the hamstring he hurt at South Central regionals while warming up for Texas A&M’s morning match up with Central Florida.

  • Florida State’s LaRocque brothers did not play today, as they were attending a friend’s wedding; their status for tomorrow is unclear.

  • UMass cutter Jeff Babbitt suffered an upper body injury; his status for tomorrow is unclear.

     Day 1 Highlights - Images by CBMT creative

(Extended Gallery)


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