2015 Youth Club Championships - Day 1 Boys' Recap

Posted: August 7, 2015 11:53 PM
While the teams in the U-16 boys’ division’s Pool A got to sleep in, the U-19 boys and the U-16 boys’ Pool B teams started bright and early. In this case, "bright" is a relative term. After multiple days of rain in the Twin Cities area, including nearly all day and night on Thursday, the fields were wet and the clouds were dense to start day one at the 2015 Youth Club Championships. The sun tried to peak through multiple times early on, but the clouds persisted early in the day, along with some tricky breezes. 
U-19 Boys (full results)
In the largest iteration of the division to date, 25 teams are facing off with hopes of winning a championship title. In this year’s format, in large part due to the sheer number of teams, pool play is especially important. Only the top finisher in each pool will advance to the first-place bracket, which goes straight into the semifinals on Sunday morning. 
So far, original seedings look good in Pools A, B and C. In each of those pools, the top team held seed and looked like the frontrunners they are after day one of play. Triangle Triforce earned convincing wins over YCC newcomer Houston Helix and New York Little PoNY before being tested a bit by Pittsburgh Impulse. Impulse hung with Triforce throughout the game, down a break up to 9-8 before Triforce scored two in a row to claim an 11-8 victory. Impulse had also had won two blowout games before meeting the Triangle Area team, and each had to make some adjustments when they found their earlier game plans a little more difficult to execute against an opponent with equal skill and athleticism. As the game went on, patience grew, throws became more accurate and better decisions became the norm. Minnesota Superior also looks strong in Pool A; they’ll start day two against Impulse and take on Triforce in the last round of pool play tomorrow afternoon. 
In Pool B, Boston BUDA was unfazed by their day one competition. After three games, they are the proud owners of a +31 goal differential. Their offense is clean and smooth, while their defense is opportunistic, taking advantage of any opportunity to get their hands on the disc. But tomorrow they’ll have to face off their fellow currently 3-0 team from Pool B, Chicago U-19 Elite. Assuming their impressive trend continues in the morning, the teams will meet in their last round of pool play, in what could be thought of as essentially the teams’ quarterfinal. 
Seattle Shogun and Colorado Cutthroat are tied atop Pool C after day one, both with perfect 3-0 records. Right now, Seattle looks untouchable. Their speed, athleticism and comfort with the disc is apparent from the top of the roster to the bottom, granting them an important advantage of most of their divisional competition. The teams get to sleep in tomorrow, but Cutthroat will attempt to pull off an upset in their first game of the day tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. CT. Below the top two teams sits Texas Two Step who outlasted Carolina Sky this afternoon to move to 2-1 on the day. After a few early lead changes, the teams were tied at 9-9 thanks to a Carolina Sky Callahan. But Texas didn’t let it get to them; they rattled off four straight to win 13-9. 
Pool D is the craziest when it comes to initial seedings. Cincinnati Flying Pig who has been a mainstay late in the tournament in recent years faced heavy turnover for 2015 and only managed to secure one win on Friday. Their handlers, often including faces like Chase Gregory, are patient and content to work resets while waiting for Jordin Monnin to find space downfield. Pig relies heavily on Monnin to keep their offense moving, with a smaller cast of supporting characters around him than he’s had in the past. They started the day as the overall five seed but are currently sitting in the pool’s fourth spot. On the other hand, DEVYL has already exceeded expectations and rolled to a 3-0 day. They share the pool’s top spot with the Atlanta ATLiens who also put up some impressive score lines on day one. Atlanta rarely looks flashy, but they know how to get the job done. The ATLiens and DEVYL are set to meet first thing tomorrow morning. The winner of that game will likely earn a spot in the semifinals, but the Nashville Nashvillains are lurking in the background at 2-1 with a decent point differential, waiting to take advantage if either team slips on day two. 
U-16 Boys (full results)
The U-16 boys’ division continues to be one of the most exciting at YCC. With consistently high turnover rates, with players coming into the ultimate world and aging out just as often, the division is difficult to keep track of but incredibly fun to watch.
If you were to look at the current rankings, few people would be surprised to see Seattle and the Triangle sitting atop the list, but it wasn’t completely smooth sailing for one of the division’s perennial favorites on day one. 
The teams in Pool A got to sleep in this morning and didn’t have to be ready to compete until 1:00 p.m. They also only had two games on day one. Seattle cruised through both of their games with final scores of 13-1 and 13-0. They are sitting atop the three 2-0 teams in Pool A for the time being. DEVYL also impressed on day one and had similarly impressive score lines, clinching both their wins with final scores of 13-2. Their height and speed should provide a challenge for Seattle when they meet to close out pool play tomorrow afternoon. Rounding out the 2-0 pack is Colorado Cutthroat, but they’ll have to face Seattle and DEVYL back to back tomorrow morning. They’ll hope to steal one of those games, but it will be an upstream battle for the fish. 
One of the most interesting storylines in any division on day one came from the Triangle’s NC Hammer. The only team other than Seattle to win the division and a finalist in each of the last two years, expectations run high for NC Hammer in Blaine. They’re a much different team than the one who battled late into the day on Sunday last year, and it showed this morning. There can’t be many who can claim they weren’t surprised to see an 11-7 final score appear with NC Hammer on the losing end, especially when their opponent was a first-time YCC contender. Indiana INtensity made the trip to Minnesota with a short roster of only 12 or 13 boys, but tired legs weren’t an issue in the first round. They are a tall team who took advantage of this morning’s breezy conditions, throwing a zone defense at NC Hammer and coming down with floaty discs and jump balls. The wind neutralized any advantage NC Hammer may have had when it comes to throwing, and INtensity put an early win in their YCC column. 
Game one appeared to have rattled the North Carolinians. They went down early in their second game against hometown team Minnesota Superior and couldn’t seem to rally. Minnesota took half at 6-4 and broke again to start the second half. Down 4-7 in a game to 11, things were looking a little bleak for the Triangle, but they rallied got some momentum and wouldn’t let it go. They scored six straight to go up 10-7 and held on their next offensive point to win 11-8. NC Hammer seemed to have found their groove. The momentum continued in their third game against Bay Area Aftershock. Aftershock matched the height and athleticism of INtensity earlier in the day and paired those with a higher level of comfort throwing in the wind. They cruised to an 11-6 win before moving on to face NC Hammer. It was a game of mini runs. NC Hammer was up 6-3 at the half, but Aftershock got a couple breaks back early in the second half and tied the score at 8-8 and again at 9-9. Hammer held for 10-9 and broke to win 11-9 after more than one drop on both sides. But they got a lead and managed to hang on. Hammer saw a little bit of everything on Friday and seemed to find their rhythm by the day’s end. But day two brings a whole new set of challenges, including a meeting with Atlanta ATLas who also looked impressive on Friday. They put together two 11-4 wins over a solid DEVYL-B squad and Neuqua Valley Nightmare. 
It’s great to see so many new teams at YCC every year, and even with top teams returning as favorites each year, the event provides at-level competition for every team somewhere along the line. With day one in the books, Saturday should be another day of exciting match ups and spirited play in Blaine. And by the time the sun sets, we’ll know which teams successfully battled their way into the first-place brackets.  

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