Blackbird vs Polar Bears for the Mixed Title

Posted: October 29, 2011 06:13 PM


2011 Club Championship Day 3 Recaps:




Saturday started off rainy again, and the effect of the weather showed in the first games. Many points came down to who would make the least mistakes, either overthrows due to the gusty winds, or slipped throws and catches. Wolverines took down AMP quickly, finishing 15-9. They then watched Polar Bears and Slow White battle it out to see who they would face in the semi-finals. After trading points to 8-8, Polar Bears just pulled ahead, getting 4 breaks after Slow White turnovers near their endzone. Slow White just took too many risks, and Polar Bears are an incredibly efficient team at converting turnovers. The final score was 15-9, with Slow White walking away visibly disappointed and Wolverines looking forward to a regional matchup.

Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (25)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]

On the other side of the bracket, The Ghosts went down early to a solid looking Blackbird, a team that has vastly improved over this weekend. The Ghosts rallied back to tie the score, then Blackbird scored and broke again to make the score 14-12.  In a situation reminiscent of yesterday’s game for Blackbird against 7 Figures, Blackbird put on their D-line. After a heartbreaking drop for The Ghosts, Dan Hodges catches a huge huck with his toe on the line, just out of reach of the score. Hodges immediately calls a timeout, knowing his teammates are way behind him. Unfortunately for Blackbird, they had already used two timeouts that half and the call resulted in a turnover. However, The Ghosts surprisingly could not capitalize on this opportunity and threw away another disc. This time, Blackbird was successful and won the game 15-12.

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

The real surprise here today was the last Quarter-finals game, Chad Larson Experience vs. District 5. CLX has had a hard tournament, having to come back in almost every game to stay alive, dealing with a tough loss on universe point to Wolverines in the power pools, and dealing with injuries and dehydration problems. It was still surprising to see so many misthrows and uncontested drops from this team. Of all the teams in Quarters, they seemed to be the most affected by the weather except for AMP. Many throws they chose became risky: CLX put up many high releases and low, fast throws which become that much harder to read and catch in gusting wind and rain. These mistakes ended up costing CLX the game and the trip to semis, and District 5 won 15-10. This game also was notable due to the high number of calls we saw. The game was so slow that by the time the other games had finished, the points were 12-9. Many calls took minutes to resolve, and it seemed to get into the heads of the CLX players. Once they lost focus, it was hard to recover, and if there hadn’t been as many fouls, it’s likely the outcome would have been different. District 5 moved on to play in the semi-finals against Blackbird.

Blackbird’s stars went in time and time again, shredding the D5 zone and scoring handily. The real highlights came at 13-8, after a Blackbird score. Their D-line came on, and quickly converted a missed huck opportunity to a score. The same players remained, and though D5 played a better offensive point, a throwing error ended up costing them the game, as Blackbird closed out the game with a layout catch. Blackbird will move on to the finals where they will face the Polar Bears.

Club11 D3R2 3 Wu (17)
[PHOTO CREDIT: Brandon Wu, (full coverage)]

The other semi-final saw a regional matchup of Wolverines and the Polar Bears, both athletic and smart teams. This game proved that a season of hard work and well-thought out strategy would win games, as the Polar Bears are a team that works hard for months before the series, while the Wolverines came together practically at the last minute to win their Sectionals and the Northwest Region. In addition,  Aaron Richards, a big deep threat and great thrower for Wolverines, was out with a calf injury and walking on crutches on the sideline; for the first time since his injury, his team seemed to really need him (They beat Slow White 15-9 and AMP 15-9 without him). The Polar Bears were able to get up a break to take half and scored after receiving the disc afterwards to pull away, and Wolverines were unable to catch up. After halftime, the wind also picked up, making it a clear upwind/downwind game. The Polar Bears clamped down with their intense defense, and the Wolverines watched almost helplessly as the Bay Area team laid out for blocks and catches all over the field. Wolverines fought hard, but in the end, they just couldn’t catch up, and the Bears won 15-13.

Club11 X3

The finals will be an amazing clash between two evenly matched teams. Both teams love the inside break throws. Both teams have great women with skills all over the map. Both teams are able to reassess a strategy to match their opponent. Can the Polar Bears win their second gold in a row? Or will it be Blackbird, a team that has been improving not only throughout their season but also through this weekend, who snags the title? Tomorrow will tell, but whatever the results end up, both teams should be proud of their accomplishments, having played so well and such hard games the whole tournament.

Notes and Observations

  • Biggest surprise of the day is District 5 over Chad Larson Experience. CLX just didn’t play their game, and let lots of calls get in their heads. District 5 went on to Semi-finals against Blackbird, where they lost 15-8
  • The three Northwest teams all advanced to the semi-finals. This means that if the bids are allocated as they were this year, next year the Northwest will earn both strength bids and have four bids total to nationals.
  • The Ghosts, the first seed of the tournament, were knocked out of the championship bracket in the Quarterfinals with a loss to Blackbird
  • The Wolverines lost a close game to the Polar Bears in the semi-finals. Aaron Richards’ calf injury may have finally made a big difference for this team
  • Blackbird has notably grown as a team not only this season but at Nationals. Their first games didn’t show the finesse of play style we saw today, with more IO breaks and teammates seeming to all be on the same page about the offense
  • Though the wind picked up, not many zone defenses did well today. We saw District 5 shred CLX’s cup with almost all perfect hammers, and Blackbird do the same in the D5 semi-final game with low break throws and scoobers
  • Bucket lost to Overhaul in their last game of the tournament, ending up finishing in 12th place. Many people expected them to break seed, yet after their crushing loss to AMP in the pre-quarters, they were unable to keep fighting as hard as they had started that weekend.
  • The finals will feature two teams from the Northwest Region's NorCal Section: The Bay Area Polar Bears and San Francisco’s Blackbird. The national title in Women’s, Open, and Mixed, could go to a team from the Bay Area (Blackbird or Polar Bears, Revolver, and Fury)