2016 College Championships: Day One Recap – Men’s Division

Posted: May 27, 2016 09:48 PM
2016DICollegeLogo 200x200  

Raleigh is technically the City of Oaks, but to the people out at WRAL Soccer Park today, it’s probably better known as Upset City. 

Related Links:


Pool A

2015CollegeLogos Massachusetts M   2015CollegeLogos Georgia M   2015CollegeLogos TexasAM M   College13 Washington Sundodgers O 500x500   2016CollegeLogos CalPolySLO M
  Texas A&M
  Cal Poly-SLO
The tournament’s overall one seed, Massachusetts, was seen as a virtual lock coming into the weekend. More than 40 percent of people who submitted picks in the USA Ultimate pick ‘em contest chose them to win the tournament. They are still very much in the running, but Georgia handed them a loss first thing this morning. Unlike a couple other seeds who were down late in their first-round games but managed to rally together to come back, UMass didn’t show much sign of being able to fight back. Instead, they were yelling at each other between points, not showing much of the mental toughness people often expect of a Tiina Booth-coached team. But they made up for it in their second game of the day against Cal-Poly SLO. Where Georgia played as a solid team, Slocore struggled, particularly on defense, which allowed Zoodisc’s superior depth and athleticism to shine. But Slocore did manage to get an upset of their own, over Texas A&M, who managed to hang on over Washington in the 3 v. 4 match up. Washington ended up 0-2 today, but lost by a combined five points. Chances are Khalif El-Salaam was sitting out for those five points. In their game against Texas A&M, he scored or assisted on 11 of the Sundodgers’ 13 goals. Unfortunately, he couldn’t guard Dalton Smith and Ben Lewis at the same time. The duo combined for A&M’s final two goals, both breaks, to win 15-13. Georgia is one of the bigger stories of the day. Their seed marked them as a contender, but their play today solidified their reputation. They are a team with few superstars and a ton of depth. Think of them as the San Antonio Spurs circa 2007.

Pool B

2015CollegeLogos Oregon M   2015CollegeLogos NorthCarolina M   2015CollegeLogos Colorado M   2014CollegeLogos FloridaState M    2016CollegeLogos CaseWestern M
  North Carolina
  Florida State
  Case Western
This is one of the few examples of where everything finished like it was supposed to today, but if we’re honest, it probably shouldn’t have. Oregon and Colorado sit atop the pool at 2-0 with North Carolina in the third spot at 1-1, but their loss came against Oregon – one they were "supposed" to lose according to seeding. But both Oregon and North Carolina nearly lost their first-round games to the fifth and fourth seeds, respectively, in the pool. Oregon’s intro to the 2016 College Championships wasn’t pretty. A turnover-riddled game against Case Western saw them down 8-5 at half, mirrored by what was happening between North Carolina and Florida State on the next field, just with fewer turnovers. Oregon probably should have lost that game. Case Western was up 12-10 with the disc on the doorstep when an unfortunate turn gave Oregon the chance to break. The last two points in Oregon’s four-point, game-winning run, were just mental lapses on Case’s part – not running through the disc to try and stay in the end zone = Oregon D (and break the other way), and trying to poach the lane to prevent a goal but losing your man to the opposite corner when you’re facing talented handlers = Oregon score. Oregon came back to win 14-12. North Carolina’s run was similar – they started strong but made enough mistakes to be down a couple breaks to Florida State. But Mike DeNardis and Dennis Tarasi’s defensive adjustments – things like forcing more straight up and trying to take away the under cuts, forcing DUF to punt deep against UNC’s speedy defenders – plus mixing up offensive and defensive lines a bit put them back in the game. Their game-winning run, with the Noodle Squad pounding the sidelines, consisted of five points to give them the 16-14 victory. Colorado looked pretty good on day one, but they’ll face the pool’s top two seeds tomorrow.

Pool C

2015CollegeLogos UNCW M   2015CollegeLogos Wisconsin M   2014CollegeLogos Harvard M   2012CollegeLogo Michigan O   2016CollegeLogos Connecticut M 
North Carolina-
North Carolina-Wilmington. Heading into the weekend, there was more talk about them having a chance to win a title than any time in recent memory. They have all the things you’re supposed to have to win: several top-end athletes – check; solid coaching staff – check; Nationals experience – check. And then today happened. Their game against Wisconsin should have been close. Wisconsin is very good, but UNCW was supposed to be very good too. When people walked up to the showcase field in the middle of the game and saw the scoreboard or heard the PA announcer read the score, the general response was something like "wow." UNCW went down early after several unforced turnovers, and the Seamen could just not piece together how to get it back. They were basically in the opposite situation against overall 19 seed and first-time Nationals qualifiers Connecticut. UNCW started the game on a tear, going up 5-1 before Connecticut started chipping their way back. Thanks in large part to the two goals and whopping nine assists of John Wodatch, Connecticut went on a 14-7 run to win 15-12. Jack Williams played great for the Seamen, and with the exception of a few questionable throws, so did Xavier Maxstadt. But it wasn’t enough. UNCW ended the day 0-2. Wisconsin does look good. They have several guys who threats deep as well as with the disc in their hands, guys like Aaron Speiss, Ross Barker and big man Craig Cox. They look poised to make a deep run this weekend. Michigan and Harvard are up in the air. After getting walloped by Wisconsin in their first game, Michigan found their footing against Harvard, putting both teams at 1-1 on the day. 

Pool D

 2015CollegeLogos Minnesota M   2015CollegeLogos Pittsburgh M   2014CollegeLogos CarletonCollege M   2015CollegeLogos Auburn M   2016CollegeLogos Utah M
  Carleton College
Auburn apparently only plays well when I’m not watching (sorry, guys). They took advantage of some Pittsburgh mistakes, and started the weekend off with a bang by defeating the two-time champions 15-13 – while I was across the complex watching Oregon and North Carolina just barely stave off defeat. In their second game against Carleton College, CUT was handling Auburn to begin the game, forcing them into tough throws around and over the early field CUT zone, followed by Carleton’s defensive offense rolling, largely with sophomore Sol Yanuck (back in his home state) at the helm. I started the long haul to the other men’s fields when Aetos was down 5-1. But low and behold, while I was gone, Auburn mounted a comeback and had pushed Carleton to double-game point at 15 all by the time I made it back. Carleton started that point on offense and finally got an easy hold to take the game in overtime, 16-15. Although it has some tough competition, the Minnesota v. Pittsburgh game is in the running for best of the day. On multiple occasions, Minnesota was up a break or two, but they could never shut the door on Pitt. No surprise, Pat Earles and Trent Dillon were lighting it up for the Pittsburgh offense, trying to keep up with similar performances from Ben Jagt and Ryan Osgar for Grey Duck. While the offense was solid, the Pitt defense struggled to move the disc when they had chances, and they had chances. Late in the game, Pitt’s offensive and defensive lines were more interchangeable with guys like Dillon and Max Thorne playing defense and giving En Sabah Nur more offensive options after a turn. Tied at 13s, Minnesota turfed a swing pass in Pitt’s red zone, and En Sabah Nur converted. Up 14-13, a more standard Pitt defense took the field, and Minnesota nearly tied it up again, but after a great run down of a nearly full-field huck, the receiver was just out of bounds. From near the front of the opposite goal line, Sam VanDusen found an open Carl Morgenstern, just shy of the end zone. A few dump-swing passes later, Pitt got the game-winning goal on an open-side power cut to the front cone.

Looking Ahead

Long story short, College Championships day one in the men’s division had a bit of everything. Tomorrow, things get even more fun as the teams finish out pool play and settle who will end up in the championship bracket. 

Games to Watch

Minnesota v. Carleton College – 8:30 a.m.
The North Central foes will face off first thing in the morning. If Carleton wins, they should lock up the top spot in Pool D and a bye into the quarterfinals. If Minnesota wins, things get much more interesting.
Pittsburgh v. Carleton College – 12:30 p.m.
See above, but replace Minnesota with Pittsburgh.
North Carolina v. Colorado – 2:30 p.m.
Barring some crazy upsets through the rest of the pool, both these teams will make the championship bracket, but this game will likely determine who ends up in the pool’s second and third spots. 
Pre-Quarterfinals – 5:00 p.m.
The pre-quarterfinals at the College Championships are some of the best games of ultimate you’ll find all year. Teams leave everything on the line to prolong their seasons – and for the seniors, their college ultimate careers – at least one more day. 

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.