Open Preview - 2011 Club Championships

Posted: October 26, 2011 02:56 AM


2011 Club Championship Previews:






Pool A



Johnny Bravo



Pool A has the best second and third seed battle, with eighth seeded Johnny Bravo set to square off against ninth seeded GOAT at 12:15PM on Thursday.  Both teams will bring their best performances to put themselves in position to make the power pools.  Though GOAT and Bravo aren’t pushovers, Revolver shouldn’t have too much difficulty winning the pool. 


Pool B


Truck Stop

Sub Zero

Ironside sits atop Pool B as one of the least-tested top seeds, with Chesapeake having been cancelled and Boston having stayed home over Labor Day.  That didn’t seem to hurt them much at NE Regionals, and Truck Stop would have to put together an incredible performance to upset them.  Look for Tanasi to take down Sub Zero and break seed. 

Pool C

Furious George

Ring of Fire


Furious George and Ring of Fire will duke it out for the Pool C crown, and in this long, hot, grueling game, depth will be the difference maker.  The matchups to watch will be Furious’ handler defenders against Brett Matzuka, Noah Saul, and Paul Weeks of Ring’s offensive line.  Furious’ depth gives them the edge here, but Ring also has the capability to eek out a close victory.  It would be surprising to see Machine or Southpaw in prequarters, and I expect Southpaw to play Machine close but come up short. 


Pool D

Chain Lightning


Madison Club 

Chain versus Doublewide should be Pool D’s and Thursday’s game of the day (more on that below).  Madison Club versus Oakland should also be a hotly contested game, with lots of proven Wisconsin talent going up against rising Pittsburgh talent.  If Oakland can keep it together mentally, look for them to finish third in Pool D and make a serious run at the prequarters. 

There are countless scenarios and combinations of teams that could end up in the semifinals, but my projections have Revolver meeting Doublewide and Chain meeting Furious. In a rematch of one 2010 semifinal, Revolver will beat Doublewide again, and Chain will be in a dogfight against Furious. If Chain’s handler movement is clicking, look for them to avenge their Labor Day loss to Furious and earn a trip to the finals. In a Revolver-Chain final that could add another chapter to this budding rivalry, look for Revolver’s defensive depth to be too much for Chain to deal with, and for Revolver to bring home its second consecutive USAU title.

Seven To Watch

Disclaimer: Given the amount of talent at Nationals, it was impossible to settle on seven difference makers.  While these players are exceptional talents, I acknowledge that there are others not on this list, as well:


Mac Taylor
Time and again, Mac has stepped up for Revolver when his team has needed him to make plays.  His defense and monster throws factored in many of Revolver’s breaks on Sunday of Northwest Regionals, and spectators should expect to see more of the same at Nationals. 
Peter Prial
After playing second fiddle to Jeff Graham last year, Peter is now Ironside’s go-to cutter.  His intelligence and explosiveness make him one of the most difficult assignments in the game today.
Gabe Saunkeah
Furious George
This open division veteran still has what it takes to be a difference maker on both sides of the disc.  Case in point: Sockeye’s two victories over Furious came with Saunkeah not playing.
John Hassell
Hassell is another proven veteran with a well-rounded set of skills. Though GOAT has groomed a rising class of young talent, Hassell still stands out as the premier talent on their offensive line.
Kurt Gibson
He and Brodie Smith’s tremendous disc skills combine to form the most dangerous duo in the sport.  If Kurt’s hamstring can stay healthy, the rest of the field will have a very hard time stopping Doublewide before the semifinals.
Brett Matzuka
Ring of Fire
One of the most frustrating handlers to cover in the game, Brett has release points you’ve never even thought about.  His exceptional performance in Ring’s Regional final win over Truck Stop should give the North Carolina-based squad hope and momentum to ride into Sarasota. 
Alan Kolick
Truck Stop
Alan has evolved into the most dynamic player on Truck Stop’s offensive line.  He usually gets the disc through his quickness and agility in the cutting lanes.  Alan’s arsenal of hucks and break throws rivals Brett’s, too. 

Dark Horse(s)

GOAT is seeded ninth, but the Toronto-based team is capable of making the quarterfinals.  If they can beat Bravo in pool play, they will be in power pools and need to eek out just one win to bypass pre-quarters.  They could draw Doublewide, which would be a tough matchup, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they upset a Ring or a Furious on the way to quarters.

Tanasi has the potential to make it to pre-quarters, where my projections have them facing Ring.  They can best Madison Club in pool play and then fight through the lower power pools.  Considering that this team was seeded 16th last year and 15th this year, that would be an incredible accomplishment.

Upset Watch

Truck Stop needs to work out their offensive kinks if they want to avoid being surprised by Sub Zero on Thursday.

Madison Club cannot overlook the youthful Oakland Haiders, who carry much of their past and present Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur college chemistry over to the club scene well.

Games To Watch

      The games to watch on Thursday will be the 4v5 (Pool D) and 8v9 (Pool A) matchups.

GOAT v Johnny Bravo, scheduled for 12:15PM, should help determine which team advances from the A pool with Revolver into power pools.  In their only other meeting this season, Bravo came out on top 14-12.

Expect another close match up, and depending on the wind, another game with tons of big throws.  Bravo’s Josh "Richter" Ackley versus GOAT’s John Hassell should be the matchup to watch.

In a rematch of the South Regional final, Chain v Doublewide will begin at 4PM on Thursday.   Chain won the Regional final matchup 15-11 without Sammy C-K, Sam Gainer, or the Wooten brothers, so one would be hard-pressed to expect a radically different outcome.  Look for Doublewide to abuse the Brodie-Kurt connection as much as Chain’s defense gives it to them, but don’t be surprised if the Wooten brothers do a good job disrupting it.  There should be plenty of huge blocks and throws to keep everyone on the edge of their seats in this one.


  It’s very possible that Furious and Ironside could meet in the quarterfinals.  That matchup is the toughest to call in this entire tournament and could very well end up being the best game on Saturday. 


Inside Look

  • This will be the first time Sockeye does not attend Nationals since before the turn of the century (1999)
  • Revolver’s Mac Taylor has never lost a Nationals Pool Play game
  • Since restoring the Open Division to the Emerald City Classic in 2009, the ECC Champion has always gone on to lose in the USAU final.  Revolver won ECC in 2009 and then lost to Chain Lightning in Sarasota.  Ironside won ECC in 2010 and then lost to Revolver.
  • Stephen Rouisse, a talented offensive handler, was lured out of retirement shortly before the Series to play for Johnny Bravo once again
  • Nine of NexGen’s fifteen players will be playing in Sarasota on six different teams.