2015 D-I College Championships - Men's Division Preview

Posted: May 19, 2015 07:26 PM


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The seeds have been set, and 20 teams play for a chance to take home the Division I College Championship in Milwaukee, Wis., May 22-25.

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Pool A

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With all due respect to Jojah and the rest of Pool A, The Program (as some refer to Pitt) should be ready to take care of business and advance to the championship bracket without any blemishes. Though the Hodags lost to both teams seeded below them at different tournaments this spring, if there’s anything world champion coach Hector Valdivia (and North Central powerhouses in general) knows how to do, it’s how to begin peaking late in the postseason series. Nonetheless, first-time qualifier Auburn Aetos will look to recreate some of the on-field magic the team found in their deep Easterns Qualifier and Stanford Invite runs.

Pool B

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Texas A&M
  Central Florida



Two years removed from a run to the national championship game, Coach Andrew Roca and his experienced Dogs of War have to be salivating at the sight of these pool play match ups – Central Florida got the better of both Texas A&M and Minnesota earlier this spring.  If, per chance, Minnesota isn’t able to prevail against Western Washington in their first pool play game, Grey Duck will need to turn in stellar performances on Saturday (against higher seeds A&M and Central Florida) to have a shot at the championship bracket.

Pool C

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North Carolina
  Florida State


The "pool of death" moniker is normally reserved for Pool D at USA Ultimate championship tournaments, which typically features three of the top nine seeds. But Oregon’s surprising slip-up at regionals forced Ego into an uncharacteristically low seed, giving this pool a strong case for 2015’s "pool of death."  The Atlantic Coast regional champion (North Carolina), Southeast regional champion (Florida State), perennial class of the Northwest (Oregon) and Great Lakes regional champion (Illinois) will have to fend off each other and a nationals newcomer (Maryland) to battle for championship bracket positioning.

Pool D

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North Carolina-






There’s compelling history among Pool D’s top-ranked opponents. The North Carolina-Wilmington Seamen ended Colorado Mamabird campaigns in 2010 and 2013, and Massachusetts fell to the Seamen in this year’s Queen City Tune Up championship and at the Centex Invite (by one point). Despite Wilmington’s recent head-to-head success, Colorado and Massachusetts can definitely contend for the bye into quarterfinals.

Seven to Watch

We’ve consumed all the Callahan media that 2015 has to offer, but who else should be making big plays in Milwaukee?

  • Joel Clutton (Texas TUFF) – One of the few remaining big men (6’5") on Texas’ roster has been developing into an aerial threat in the mold of TUFF alum Will Driscoll and TUFF’s 2015 Callahan nominee Chase Cunningham.

  • Michael Fairley (Central Florida Dogs of War) – Listed at 6’5", Fairley came into his own in the Dogs of War offense late last season. He’s made a name for himself this year by using his stature and athleticism to operate as a threatening option in the receiving lanes.

  • Ben Jagt (Minnesota Grey Duck) – Grey Duck’s 6’5" cutter presents match-up challenges for any defensive unit. His size and speed can facilitate and bail out the Minnesota offense.

  • Pawel Janas (Colorado Mamabird) – Mamabird’s top handler possesses a relentless motor and internal drive to prove the staying power of the Mamabird program. The further Colorado advances, the more you’ll see him playing both ways.

  • Seth Kotzman (Western Washington Dirt) – The Seattle Sockeye veteran proved there’s more to Dirt than Matt Russell when he helped lead his program to the Northwest regional title earlier this month. Dirt will be counting on him to help the team break seed and earn a pre-quarters berth.

  • Christian Pitts (Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur) – It’s hard to distinguish standouts on a roster like En Sabah Nur’s.  Yes, Max Thorne is unguardable, Marcus Ranii-Dropcho can do it all and it’s challenging to get open on Trent Dillon. But Pitts’ downfield and aerial play – on both sides of the disc – has proven to be uniquely valuable at multiple points in En Sabah Nur’s 2015 campaign.

  • Ben Sadok (Massachusetts Zoodisc) – One of two Zoodisc players to earn all-freshmen team honors in 2014, Sadok is evolving into one of the New England Region’s most versatile handlers.  His consistency will be crucial to UMass advancing into the championship bracket.

Dark Horse


Returning to the College Championships for the first time since 2012, Grey Duck will likely end up in a pre-quarter competition against someone from Pool C. Given the slew of regional champions and powerhouses in Pool C, it’s going to be especially taxing to earn even a pre-quarters berth from that pool. Minnesota could conceivably lock up a pre-quarters berth on Friday and then face an exhausted Pool C opponent come elimination time. If Minnesota stays relatively fresh and healthy by the end of Saturday, they’ll stand a chance to turn heads and advance to the quarterfinals.


Upset Alert


Though their top handler duo has taken the country by storm, questions remain about Dozen’s depth. The team runs a very tight rotation, and success at a grueling national championship tournament requires team-wide trust and endurance (unless you have the top-end talent of the 2010 Florida Gators). If A&M’s early pool-play games drag out, don’t be surprised to see the team run out of gas or luck before reaching the semifinals (or quarterfinals).


Games to Watch

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Florida State v. Oregon (Friday 10:30 a.m.)

Will Oregon be able to break seed? Their first opportunity will come against Southeast regional champion Florida State bright and early on day one. The teams did not play a scheduled third-place consolation game at College Easterns in March.

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Texas A&M v. Central Florida (Friday 12:30 p.m.)

The Dogs of War defeated Dozen at Warm Up: A Florida Affair in February, but A&M’s stock has risen since that tournament while UCF has struggled to display consistency and stay in the upper echelon. This Friday-afternoon tilt should be Pool B’s best game, as both teams will be fresh and determined to capture the Pool B crown.

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North Carolina-Wilmington v. Massachusetts (Saturday 8:30 a.m.)

Massachusetts has been clawing at Wilmington’s back all season, dropping two games to the Seamen by a total of four points at earlier tournaments. Barring unexpected upsets on Friday, this Saturday-morning match up should give Wilmington their first true test at the Championships and Massachusetts a golden opportunity to make the third time the charm and break seed.

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North Carolina v. Oregon (Saturday 2:30 p.m.)

Oregon toppled UNC in a tight Easterns quarterfinal, but since that tournament, UNC has found its form, and Oregon has had one slip-up. If Oregon hasn’t been able to break seed come Saturday afternoon (however unlikely that may be), this game will be their last chance to earn a pre-quarters berth. If anything, the match up should amount to a highlight-filled battle between two high-octane offenses.

Fast Facts

  • Nine 2014 qualifiers will not return to the 2015 College Championships: California-San Diego, Carleton College, Dartmouth, Eastern Michigan, Florida, Harvard, Michigan, Rutgers and Tufts.

  • This is only the second time Carleton College CUT hasn’t competed at the College Championships since the team first qualified in 1990. They first missed out in 2006.

  • The 2015 field includes four first-time qualifiers:

    • Auburn Aetos, who finished fifth at Southeast Regionals and was offered a spot after Tulane’s disqualification, will only graduate two players from this year’s team.

    • Cincinnati qualified for the College Championships for the first time in the team’s brief seven-year history.

    • Maryland Ultimate will compete at the College Championships for the first time in the program’s 22-year history.

    • By capturing the Northwest regional title, Western Washington Dirt earned their first regional championship and national championship berth in program history.

  • The famed California-Santa Barbara Black Tide program returns to the College Championships for the first time in five years.

  • Seventeen players from this summer’s men’s and mixed U-23 teams (competing in London in July) will compete in the men’s division in Milwaukee, including:

    Hunter Corbett (California-Santa Barbara), Chase Cunningham (Texas), Trent Dillon (Pittsburgh), Elliott Erickson (Georgia), Tyler Kunsa (Pittsburgh), Jeremy Langdon (Central Florida), Chris LaRocque (Florida State), Xavier Maxstadt (North Carolina-Wilmington), Tim McAllister (North Carolina), Jon Nethercutt (North Carolina), Stanley Peterson (Colorado), Marcus Ranii-Dropcho (Pittsburgh), Dalton Smith (Texas A&M), Ben Snell (North Carolina), Max Thorne (Pittsburgh), Jack Williams (North Carolina-Wilmington) and Jimmy Zuraw (North Carolina).

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