2016 Masters Championships - Day One Recap

Posted: August 5, 2016 09:10 PM
It makes logical sense, but it’s still worth mentioning. Every year, the talent at the Masters Championships increases. The play gets better, games are more exciting, and the event is more fun. This year is certainly no different. 
Men’s Division (full results)
After day one of play, there weren’t many surprises in the men’s masters division. The top three seeds held without much of a threat, aside from Real Atlanta’s first game of the day where they needed a little time to get things figured out. Down 9-10 against Winnipeg Flood, Real Atlanta scored five straight. Flood managed to tack on a couple more before Atlanta finally closed it out with an on-the-money throw from Dylan Tunnell to Josh Markette. Kinda backwards feeling, right?
The exception to the one seeds holding through pool play came from the four v. five game. Unsurprisingly, the match up between San Francisco Revueltos (4) and Washington, D.C. Rest Stop (5) was the game of the day. Each team got a couple breaks in the first half, but Revueltos held the advantage at halftime, up 8-7 after starting the game on defense. They scored three straight early in the second half, trying to put the game out of reach, but Rest Stop got them back, tying up the score yet again. Double-game point came at 14-14 with Revueltos needing a break to win. They got a turn after a contested Rest Stop throw went up to a crowd, but a solid mark with the disc trapped on the sideline ended in a stall and put the disc back in the hands of Rest Stop. Brian Stout’s throw ended up in the hands of Keven Moldenhauer in the end zone for the game-winner – 15-14. Brian Garcia played a great game for Revueltos as arguably their strongest cutter. For Rest Stop, Seam McComb stood out as the solid center handler. 
Both Johnny Encore and Surly looked impressive on day one. Both teams picked up some big names for this year’s Masters Championships. Encore added guys like Adam Simon and Bart Watson. They also added Ryan Farrell who didn’t make an appearance on day one at the Aurora Sports Park. One of Surly’s most notable additions is Josh Hemmesch. The Drag’n Thrust stalwart made an immediate impact on their O-line today as an initiating cutter who has the deep throws to make him dangerous in that role. 
Woolly Mammoth and Surly Cynic both came away with a win on the day, moving them out of the bottom spots of their respective pools and putting them in the championship bracket, which starts tomorrow morning. Also noteworthy – Chicago Pacemaker got two wins to hold onto their second spot in Pool A, but they also win for best props – making their way around the field complex with the help of several walkers. 
Women’s Division (full results)
Three of the four initial top seeds are still sitting in their spots after day one of play, but their paths were much different. Overall one seed Denver Molly Grey steamrolled all three of their opponents on Friday, allowing a combined 10 points across their three games. Say what you will about them not having the toughest pool, but they are also just that good. 2014 masters champs Loose Cannon started their day with a challenge and had to work to keep their spot, but that’s probably just fine by them. Loose Cannon has never been a team that shies from a fight. Their scrappy nature helped them stay atop the pool, holding off California’s Hot Lava on double-game point before moving on to defeat the Atlantiques and finishing their day with a more comfortable win against the PUMAS. Their final score against the Atlantiques (14-9) may look comfortable enough, but it took Loose Cannon a half to figure out how to slow down the huck-heavy Atlanta offense. So they started running a zone and one defense – a pretty standard three-person cup, but with one defender (usually Becca Tucker) playing person D against Katherine Wooten. It was a good call on their part. Loose Cannon outscored the Atlantiques 6-2 in the second half to get their second win of the day. After their performance today, they aren’t going to surprise anyone tomorrow, but Hot Lava is a team to keep an eye on moving forward. To make it even more exciting to watch them, they’ll face a strong Seattle Mint team in the pre-quarters tomorrow morning. 
Seattle Mint fell 12-15 to the Minneapolis COUGARS in the first round of the day, while the small squad’s legs were still fresh, and lost a double-game-point thriller to Salty to close out the day. Those two close losses landed them in what will likely be the most exciting pre-quarter match up. Salty’s win over Seattle Mint earned them the top spot in Pool C and a bye into the quarterfinal round.   
Washington, D.C. Lame Duck held their top spot, but also by the skin of their teeth. Both Lame Duck and Raleigh Retro had defeated Toronto Terra heading into the last round of the day, so their game would determine who earned the bye into the quarterfinals, and again, it came down to just one point. Lame Duck was up 10-6 before Retro mounted a comeback. Their junky defense effectively slowed the Lame Duck offense anchored by Katie Shepley, Jenny Fey and Kirsten Zalisk. Double-game point was a marathon affair filled with layout Ds, skies, handblocks and a drop on each side. Each team had one really solid chance to put the game away that resulted in an end-zone turnover before Lame Duck finally managed to thread the needle for the goal. Appropriately, the last several passes were short, handler-friendly throws between Shepley, Fey and Zalisk, who caught the ever-important goal, giving Lame Duck the 15-14 win.
With the women’s division’s 15-team format, everyone is still alive in the championship bracket. Everyone except Molly Grey will start their roads to the finals tomorrow morning in the pre-quarterfinal round. As the overall top seed, Molly Grey earned the division’s one and only bye into the quarterfinal round.    
Grand Masters Division (full results)
The division’s overall one and two seeds are still there after day one. Denver Johnny Walker made their day look easy with three big wins. Moscow State got their hopes up a bit in the first round, coming back from a 0-3 hole to make things close momentarily, but Johnny Walker put their collective foot back on the pedal shortly thereafter and walked away with a 15-8 win. 
No Country, the top seed in what may have been the division’s toughest pool, had a much tougher day. They found themselves with fairly significant deficits early in each of their first two games against BigWheel and Kalakala, respectively. No Country righted the ship by halftime against BigWheel, but were still down handily (5-9) against Kalakala before they went on a run to tie the game at 10s. In both instances, they did what No Country always does when they find themselves down – they turn up their defense. Their offense is rarely the problem. With guys like Steve Dugan, Jim Parinella, Arnold Sanchez, etc., on your roster, offense tends to come fairly easily. But with defense, they can really control the momentum. A couple of heads-up Ds here, a tighter mark there, and they work their way back into games against quality opponents. No Country came out stronger in their last game against Bighorn, avoiding the early deficit. Bighorn didn’t go away. They had the disc with a chance to break while tied at 10-10, but gave it back. A No Country hold followed by a break pretty much sealed the game. They eventually took that one 15-13. 
Surly took over the top spot in Pool C, earning themselves a bye into the quarterfinals, with their win over Shadows. Neither team was challenged earlier in the day, so their match up was highly anticipated. It turned into a battle of defenses, with switching marks and various zone looks pulled out by both teams. Surly opened up an 11-6 lead – thanks to their defense but also aided by a few unforced Shadows turnovers. But Shadows is quality team. They fought back, keeping things interesting, before Surly could finally close out the game 12-10.
The overall four seed, Alchemy, started their day against some familiar foes. They may not be in the same region anymore, but Triangle Area and D.C. area ultimate players are used to lining up across from one another. Alchemy also has some new faces this year, including a couple with D.C.-Philly area ties. So Alchemy and Shutdown got to start off their 2016 Masters Championships with a bang. Neither team was super clean, shaking out first-game nerves and adjusting to the altitude and thinner air, turning the game into one of runs. But the last run belong to Alchemy. They scored three straight to take the game 13-11. Meanwhile, Portland DinoSlam was also gearing up. The overall four and five seeds met in the last round of the day to decide the pool winner. DinoSlam came out with a vengeance, running up a 7-2 lead. Alchemy cleaned up their game a bit in the second half, closing the gap to three points, and even narrowing it to one at 12-13, but it was too late. DinoSlam took the game 15-13, earning themselves the top spot in Pool D and the bye into the quarterfinals.

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.