Following the Script: Open Division Day 1 Recap

Posted: May 26, 2012 08:38 AM

Though a handful of one- or two-goal victories tested some higher seeds, most pool play action held to seed.

Pool Play

Oregon’s Ego was as big as ever on Day 1, with the fun-loving bunch keeping both of its opponents in single-digits.  Gabe Fruchter turned in a standout defensive performance, while Dylan Freechild was a potent part of Ego’s freewheeling offense.  Georgia Tech also took down North Carolina 15-10 in an “upset” that many observers expected and that put Tech in prime position to break seed and earn a pre-quarters berth.  The Tribe’s next biggest test will come at 8:30 tomorrow morning against Pool A’s second seed, Minnesota Grey Duck, who went 1-1 on the day.

Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur proved to be head and shoulders above Pool B, not allowing any opponent to put up more than ten goals en route to a pair of victories.  Michigan played very well for their seeding, suffering two close losses: a comeback heartbreaker to the second seeded Luther on the spectacular play of LUFDA workhorses Eric Johnson, Peter Graffy, and Ben Kofoed; and a close match to Texas, where TUFF’s athletic cutters and scrappy defense kept the game just out of reach for Magnum.

Washington endured the most heart-wrenching day, dropping two games by a total of three points.  Up 12-11 on Tufts, the Sundodgers were unable to trade out, as a sluggish, cloggy Tufts offense started to find its stride in time to snag yet another universe victory (14-13).  Hometown favorites Colorado Mamabird clinched victory late in the second half against Washington, led by the stellar play of Jimmy Mickle.  Popular semifinals pick Carleton took care of business against Tufts and Cornell, looking ruthlessly efficient on their way to an undefeated first day in Pool C.

Pool D held the day’s only other “upset,” with Michigan State Burning Couch besting Cal-Berkeley UGMO.  Down 10-9, Couch went on a 3-0 run that capitalized on UGMO offensive miscommunications.  After an UGMO turn in the red zone on double-game point later, Michigan State immediately hucked to a streaking Ryan Mariouw for the game-winning goal.  In a streamed showcase matchup, Wisconsin fended off UCF in the two teams’ third meeting of 2012 to the tune of 14-12.  The Hodags are now in great position to win the pool and earn a quarterfinals berth.

Trends & Projections

As boring as it may sound, the play of the top four seeds (Oregon, Pittsburgh, Carleton, Wisconsin) left no doubt in our minds that they will easily advance to the quarterfinals after closing out their pools.  The following four seeds are a different story--more of a jumbled mess.  For the most part, Coach Andrew Roca kept his UCF team poised and collected, and the Dogs of War look to be in a good place going into Saturday.  Tufts, on the other hand, looked rattled, out of sync, and frustrated--all problems that the E-men will have to sort out if they want to be playing meaningful games on Sunday.  Sure, Luther racked up the day’s most exciting victory against Michigan on universe, but LUFDA needed time to wake up and has yet to put together a complete game.  And Minnesota failed to play Oregon nearly as closely as they did at Centex; Grey Duck will need to step up on both sides of the disc if they want to avoid being upset by Georgia Tech in the morning.

Long passes sailing past receivers were a common sight as teams continue to struggle to tune hucks to the thin Colorado air.  As nearly all teams seem to have the lungs for fitness not to be an issue, nailing down a fruitful deep game will be a massive asset going forward.

And as is usually the case, today proved that teams that can put together runs of three or four points often gain the momentum needed to mentally finish off an opponent early in the game.  The first round saw Minnesota-Duluth hanging 3-3 with California when UGMO rattled off 4 breaks to take half 8-4.  Nothern Lights never recovered and lost 15-9.  Oregon was able to come out 5-1 against the “Tribe Called Tech” which allowed a smooth cruise to an eight point victory.  In the exciting Pool D upset, Michigan State put together a small run of 3 or so breaks including a callahan to take the lead 12-10 leaving Cal shaken and unable to mount a comeback in time.  Of course there is always an exception to every rule.  When Michigan made a run near halftime to a four point lead, many onlookers speculated Luther should cut their losses and throw in the towel.  Instead of resting key starters, LUFDA managed to rip an exciting victory from the jaws of defeat for a 15-14 final.

Tomorrow’s forecasts call for sweltering heat and high winds.  These conditions should provide a real test of mental toughness, patience, and physical fitness.

CBS Sports Day 1 Recap:


Day 1 photos by