Surly wins the Masters 2011 Club Championships

Posted: October 29, 2011 05:34 PM


2011 Club Championship Day 3 Recaps:





Surly Wins Title Number Three in Four Years.

The Masters division has often been seen as a war of attrition. Aging ligaments, muscles, and tendons frequently play as much a role as wind or strategy. In the 2011 Championships, however, resiliency has been a byword. Time and again, teams with short rosters or a rash of nagging injuries have pushed themselves to another level, defying their aches and pains to get it done. No team had been a better example of that this weekend than Beyondors. Coming into the semifinal matchup with Wheelchair, Beyondors’ Jeff Landesman felt that the team was looking pretty rested. "We know it’s going to be a battle. Lots of familiarity between us; we always have epic games." Certainly, Thursday’s pool play game had been, but, with Wheelchair finding their stride and Beyondors’ short numbers, people could be forgiven for projecting Wheelchair into the finals. Wheelchair’s Justin Safdie noted that his squad "feels good. We pulled ourselves back into the game, and we got more people caring whether we won or lost."

The game itself was every bit as epic as Landesman imagined, with no lead over the course of the game larger than two. Back and forth, the teams traded points in the decreasing clouds and increasing wind. When Mike Grant found Damien Scott to put Wheelchair ahead 15-14, game to 16, there would have been no shame in the weary Beyondors calling it a weekend. Instead, the inimitable Greg Husak found first Rhett Nichols and Brandon Steets to take the next two points and book their trip to the finals. As Husak noted, "we went down our last four games by 10-11, so once we got there, we knew we had them right were we wanted them."

Club11 D3R1 Canniff (30)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Canniff, (full coverage)]

In the other semifinal, Surly’s army of athletes faced off against eighth overall seed Reckon. Reckon’s Jeremy Goecks noted that they had, "no major injuries. Our O is getting better, and our D knows it needs to do more work against Surly. We’ll probably try to throw some zone at them; switch it up some." Meanwhile, Surly’s Phil Bowen put his team’s key as "continuing what we’ve done so far. Using our depth; we’ve got 28 guys who can play, and we feel that keeps our dynamic strong." In the first half, Surly rode Matt "Rook" Wilken’s many layout Ds to take a comfortable 8-4 lead. As wind began to pick up, the conditions played havoc with some of the less well thought out throws for both sides. With the increasing turnovers came increasing calls, and the pace of the game slowed considerably. Reckon’s John Riddle began to assert himself all over the field, and Reckon managed a three-point run to bring the score to 11-8. From there, however, Surly’s D line got back into the game, closing it out on a Tim Murray upwind hammer to Paul Anderson for the win. "A lot of what we were dealing with in the second half was execution errors," said Surly’s John Chandler, "against a team whose top seven were every bit as good as our top seven. After we put our D line out on O and they scored, we were able to leave them in to do what they do."

Club11 D3R1 Canniff (27)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Canniff, (full coverage)]

Finals: Surly vs Beyondors

The finals featured, in the words of Skyd’s Lou Burress, a rematch of the 1996 college semifinals, presumably between Carleton and UCSB. Both teams come in having immense respect for each other. "This game comes down to their talent and our depth," said Surly’s Chandler. "Their top four are legends of the sport. We have to be ready to put our legs against their phenomenal disc skills." Beyondors’ Greg Husak, the Likewise Skincare Masters MVP, explained his team’s philosophy: "We’ve just been believing all weekend long. We only know one way to play. We’ll try to do our thing, keep our legs as fresh as we can. We like the breeze, though; we can get in our zone against them."

Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (31)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]

The game began with a fired up Beyondors forcing some difficult turns with the aforementioned zone, giving them an early 3-1 lead behind the play of Greg Husak and Mark Miller. Surly settled down, though, and a four-point run gave them the momentum and the half. A few longer points in that half went Beyondors way on the scoreboard, but the extra time on the field put extra wear on their already taxed legs.

Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (36)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]

"We are looking to work more swings and start hitting those dumps that they are giving us," said Beyondors’ Steve Dugan. Coming out from half, that plan, and some added rest, seemed to give Beyondors the lift they needed, as they stormed back to within one on a John Shelton to Greg Husak point. At this point, the teams broke out their long games to trade several downwind scores, finally arriving at Beyondors’ magic score, 11-10 Surly. However, fatigue began to show in some of the long throws and vertical cuts, and Surly began another late run, taking their third title in five straight trips. "Early on, their D was fierce and our O was shaky, but we started to see a little speed come off their vertical cuts," said Surly’s John Chandler, "we talked about extending our cuts as a team, and our D line handlers had a huge game." Congratulations to Surly, 2011 Masters Club Champions, and Masters Spirit Award winners!

Players who shone in the finals include:

  • Likewise Skincare MVP Greg Husak, who was everywhere on D, on O, and always on the field for Beyondors.
  • Tim Murray, who seemed nearly uncoverable for Surly’s O line, and frequently found himself either throwing or catching big scores.
  • Steve Dugan, continuing to find his way into the endzone for Beyondors, while cutting tirelessly.
  • John Sandahl, whose critical deep D and savvy throws and cuts in the defensive O propelled Surly during their late runs. When he was on, Surly was rolling.
  • Tomm Burfeind, featuring heavily in Beyondors second half run with two huge goals that seemed to give them the momentum to make another comeback.
  • Dave Boardman, Surly’s frequent target of choice for converting breaks, put his side in position for those breaks with excellent downfield D.


Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (37)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]

Notes and Observations:

  • Amusing moment of the weekend: Conversation between Beyondors’ Tim Paymaster and Wheelchair’s Kevin Buchanan on the sideline before Thursday’s game. Paymaster: "Yeah, I was up until like 1 am last night watching Storage Wars" When asked (somewhat incredulously) "Storage Wars? Really?" by this humble reporter, Buchanan’s immediate reply: "Please note; it was a new episode." Masters Ultimate, everyone!
  • What a pleasure it was to see the parents of several Masters players in attendance. Talking to Ellen Dugan, mother of Beyondors’ Steve Dugan, during the finals: "This is the first Club Championships I’ve ever been to. It’s been really exciting to see him play out here. His birthday is always right around the tournament, so I always have to miss it. This year, I wanted to see him play."
  • The wind which bothered both of the semifinals was every bit as strong for the finals, but both sides looked fairly settled with it. The primary effect seemed to be pushing pulls out of bounds, and shortening them into the wind. Mark "Paco" Enright’s extra few yards on his pulls for Surly came in handy more than a couple times.
  • Beyondors, while finally seeming to tire at the end of the finals, were just warriors all weekend. I was continually impressed with their ability to dig deep and find even more when they needed it. Truly an epic weekend of Ultimate from Beyondors.


Full Results
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Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (35)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]


Final Standings:
1 - Surly
2 - Beyondors
3 - Reckon
4 - Wheelchair
5 - Chalant
6 - Boneyard
7 - Real Huck
8 - Tejas
9 - Chesapeaked
10 - Old Style
11 - DoG
12 - No Country