Pittsburgh Wins Back-to-Back Championships

Posted: May 29, 2013 10:34 AM


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A Sweet Repeat

The knock on Central Florida heading into the College Championships and the national championship bracket had been that the Dogs of War were unable to put together a complete performance—two solid halves of ultimate.  

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Photo Credit: ultimatefrisbeephotos.com

After the Dogs’ dismantling of traditional powerhouse Carleton in the national semifinal, not only did Central Florida ensure that the 2013 final would be the first without Carleton College, Wisconsin or Colorado since 1999, but Coach Andrew Roca’s team also proved to be capable of executing a dominant full-game effort.  However, a follow-up of their semifinal performance in the national title game proved too much to ask of the Dogs, who fell 15-8 to now-repeat champion Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur.  Pittsburgh’s top talent performed better and appeared much more composed in the title game setting.

Tyler Degirolamo made his presence known early and often amid Pittsburgh’s controlling victory.  After an Aaron Watson deep block during Pitt’s first defensive point, Deigirolamo took off deep and leapt for the grab to score Pittsburgh’s first break and put En Sabah Nur up 2-0.   When UCF thought they had broken through Pitt’s zone and put up a deep shot to Jeremy Langdon, Tyler Degirolamo took a page out of Langdon’s book and used incredible closing speed to race from the deep-deep position and tally an improbable block.  Pitt went on to cash in another break and go up 4-1, forcing Central Florida to call a timeout and try to regroup.

Central Florida’s stars struggled to deal with the pressure of the final, appearing to let nerves get to them.  Handlers turfed throws, the offensive team was stymied and jittery against Pitt’s defensive looks, and Mischa Freystaetter’s impact was marginalized (in relation to his impact on the Carleton semifinal).  When Central Florida received the first pull out of half, Freystaetter, who traditionally starts only on the Dogs’ defensive unit, was involved in a bad dump turnover.  Degirolamo promptly took over in the handler set, found Trent Dillon in the end zone for the 9-4 break and pre-empted any chance of a Central Florida second-half rally or momentum swing.  For his fifth assist of the game, Degirolamo uncorked a massive hammer to speedy cutter Max Thorne, putting Pitt up 11-5.  It was only fitting that Alex Thorne found Degirolamo – in the final collegiate connection between a duo that has proved so invincible over the last few seasons – streaking deep past Freystaetter for the game’s final goal, capping Pitt’s 15-8 championship victory.

The repeat begins to cement Pittsburgh as one of college ultimate’s true dynasties.  Having earned Championships’ quarterfinals berths in every season since 2009 and having won back-to-back national titles in 2012 and 2013, En Sabah Nur boasts some of the greatest college program success in recent history.  Though En Sabah Nur will lose and miss greats like Thorne and Degirolamo, the contributions it received in the title game from Watson, Joe Bender, Pat Earles, Trent Dillion and other younger players bode well for the future of the program coach Nick Kaczmarek has worked so meticulously to nurture.

Players of the Tournament

  • Marcus Ranii-Dropcho, Pittsburgh
    • Ranii-Dropcho was "the man" on arguably the best defensive unit in the country.  He buried teams with deep pulls, took challenging assignments and guided the offensive pace on the turn.
  • Eli Kerns, UC-Davis
    • Eli Kerns did it all for the Dogs.  He floated smartly through the Dogs’ defensive zone, cut relentlessly against top defenders and rarely turned over the disc.  Davis would not have made its stunning run to the quarterfinals without Kerns’ contributions (or Nathan White’s).
  • Topher Davis, Oregon
    • Few players possess Topher’s agility or fluidity on the field.  He’s capable of commanding the pace of a free-wheeling offense and getting the disc back with his quickness and leaping ability.
  • Jeremy Langdon, Central Florida
    • Langdon was an X factor on Central Florida’s defensive unit during its quarterfinal comeback over Dartmouth and semifinal upset of Carleton.  His speed and anticipation translated into blocks in both man and zone defensive schemes.
  • Mischa Freystaetter, Central Florida
    • Freystaetter used his size to his advantage throughout the tournament.  His marking strengthened UCF’s zone, and his play in the air topped that of other college standouts, like…
  • Simon Montague, Carleton College
    • Carleton’s best two-way player was a dynamic force on the field.  His lankiness and skill helped him release nearly any throw he wanted, and his defensive instincts led to important blocks for CUT throughout the tournament.
  • Tyler Degirolamo, Pittsburgh
    • No one could effectively limit Degirolamo’s impact this weekend.  He bested Will Driscoll, Aaron Honn and Mischa Freystaetter, three of the best big men in the country.  Degirolamo has to go down as one of the most dominant players in college ultimate history.


Day 4 - highlights - Images by ultimatefrisbeephotos.com