So, Chesapeake came and went and it wasn't blazingly hot or humid this year. I didn't even put ice in my cooler (note: I have started to take an ice water cooler with me to practices down here). If teams don't do that for nationals, they should. Putting an ice water towel on your neck and head is awesome in the florida heat.
anyway, so this was the first year playing chesapeake that i haven't stayed 5 minutes from the fields with danny clark's awesome parents' house. instead I stayed with the team at the sheraton in the sprawl that is outside of the dc beltway. the 30 minute drive to the fields just meant that we would have a looooong day ahead of us before we could get back to sleep.
Ring's saturday had a grueling format of game, bye, game, game, mini bye, game. The first game was against NYC's replicants. They hucked it a lot and tried to force the disc to the center cutters in the ho. we countered this with poaching off the sideline handlers and making sure we didn't get beat deep. they still completed a good amount of hucks on us. although, that is what they do and they seemed to do that on everyone all weekend long.
We won with a good margin, and then we had a bye where we hydrated, ate food, got out of the sun, and tried to get prepared for a long day.
The second game was against Tanasi and they have some talented handlers and cutters. they break the mark well, give-n-go well, and huck well, but they had some execution errors and forced a couple deep looks to covered men that ring capitalized on. We win in a good hard running game. they are a team that no team should overlook at regionals. especially early since they don't have a very large team.
the third game was important because if truckstop and ring win their sections, the winner of this game would have the #1 seed at regionals. we had the same record at ecc, so i was kind of curious how this game would play out.
there were a couple things to keep in mind: 1.) brian stout was injured and was not playing. he was injured by a revolver player at ecc and will be out until regionals. 2.) i think Ryan Todd has gone to about 2 practices with truck, so he wasn't what you would call seemlessly integrated into their O yet.
Anyway, we start out on D and go up 2 breaks on them. We take the half with momentum and maybe one more break. we are making sure all our players are fresh and keeping their legs in the game because it is hot, and there is a lot of tourney left. anyway, we are in firm control of the game until late in the second half when truck breaks us twice to make it 11-10. We then punch it in on O to win.
Truckstop seems to be running spread a lot on O this year. there are a lot of teams that seem to be moving away from ho and moving towards different looks on O. it will be interesting to see how stout affects the cutting patterns of the other players if he is playing O this year. on metal he definitely ate up a lot of the deep cutting space by the way he "cuts" (read cherry picks), but man, you can toss up some meatballs to him and he will bring 95% down or more.
We then have a mini-bye to play in the showcase game against chain. it looks like chain lost tall joel wooten, jay hammond, rob barrett, cricket, and one or two more. of course they replaced them all with very competent players.
anyway, we start out on D. i get down on the pull and mark PV. he proceeds to launch an 80 yard backhand to zip. yep. it isn't like i used to see that one before.... man, PV is ON this game. the rest of the handlers are missing their mark. we give up two breaks early in the game, and then claw our way back into the game with some gritty D. I think they take half either up 1 break or we are even. We are close to on serve at 8s or 9s and then they pull away right at the end.
i left that game thinking that chain didn't look as "on" as they did at this time last year. They looked more like the chain of two years ago that could be forced to give the disc up if you put enough pressure on them.
On sunday, we were supposed to play the winner of goat/machine. when we get to the fields and are warming up, goat and machine are in a heated game. the last couple of points take a long time and have a few turns by each team. goat ends up winning by one.
we start to play goat. I don't recognize any of their normal O handlers. the russian handler tolly? and their european handler joel aren't there and in their place are significantly younger players. The cutting core is their usual crew of andy, hassel, inian, keanu look alike, and #20 who is a blazingly fast goal scorer.
i forgot what it was like to play goat when it gets ticky-tack. it was physical on both sides and the calls were contested a lot. we go down early and try to claw our way back in the game.
it seemed like every break we got the offense would then go out and promptly get broken. this would have crushed some teams, but ring's D line just kept going out and doing work. we eventually go out on double game point on D and manage to get a coverage D ending with tuba stalling out hassel near their own goal. It was awesome.
a great win for Ring. every tight game that we have and we can pull out a victory is well worth it. good teams play in tight games and lose; great teams find a way to win.
We are coming off of a big victory, feeling good, and the ring guys from last year want a shot at ironside. they seem to hold a special place in their hearts for boston as they (we) ended Ring's season for the past 3 years.
It was a little weird playing against everyone. i guard jeff a few points and i pretty much could have just stuck a pylon out there and done just about as well.
it was hard watching boston get up so many breaks in the first half. too many. 7-2 or 3 is crushing. we trade out point for point in the second half.
So, Ring finishes our regular season with only 3 losses. We have had some good victories, and in our losses I would say a large percent of the reasons for those loses begin and end with confidence and not realizing we can hang with any team if we just go out and play our game. out of the 3 teams we lost to, we by far have the most room for growth, the most area for rapid improvement, and the best potential for player development before nationals. we have A LOT of work to do before now and then if we want to have a chance of beating these and similar tiered teams at nationals.
ironside looked really good. their O was very clean. goldstein tore his right thumb ligament or something in the finals and that will hurt them, but man, it is kind of a blow to the ego that they could be so good after losing 10 players. They were by far the strongest team we played this season. I would equate them to how much head and shoulders chain was above everyone last year at this time.
i'm tired. that's all i got for right now. i am going to spend the next couple posts on confidence, progressive marks, and why the death of the vert stack means no one can score near the endzone anymore.