By: Grant Lindsley
The humidity and light winds returned for day two of the College Championships, and many teams looked more prepared for it than they did on day one. Today’s games determined who advanced straight to quarterfinals, who would have to fight in a pre-quarterfinals match up and who would be eliminated from title contention.
Pre-quarters was the last round of the day, and the games were close. Read on for results and tomorrow’s quarterfinal match ups.
All five games in the first round went to cap. On day one, wind seemed to separate the wheat from the chaff, but today it served as an equalizer.
Brown v. Pittsburgh began with all the intensity one would expect from two top teams. Pitt clearly had something to prove, but despite Pitt’s onslaught of defensive intensity and the grit of Leo Warren, Brown looked like the better team. Brown’s Mac Hecht found his legs, and John Randolph seemed to have recovered from the fatigue that plagued him the day before. BMo pulled away to an 8-5 halftime lead and held on through the second half to win 14-12.
The most surprising game occurred between Carleton CUT, who’d cruised to a 2-0 first day, v. Stanford Bloodthirsty, who lost both their games against lower-seeded teams on day one. Perhaps CUT arrived with this information too much in mind, perhaps Stanford had done their homework, because Stanford stunned the boys from Northfield, Minn. to take half 8-7. Even without standout Gabe Hernandez, seen in sneakers on the sideline, Bloodthirsty’s zone proved effective and their offense fluid. CUT’s Harry Wolff Landau made a spectacular catch block in the red zone to prevent a Stanford break, and by the second half, CUT rediscovered their swag. Sophomores Dillon Lanier and Stan Birdsong grooved together downfield, and CUT scored three in a row out of half on their way to a relief of a 12-10 victory.
Maryland hoped for their first win of the tournament in their game against lower-seeded Georgetown Catholic Justice. But the Pope must have been watching as Georgetown ran off with an early 5-2 lead and continued to frustrate Maryland. Christian Boxley found Matthew Collum in the end zone to seal the upset over Maryland, 13-11. Maryland, clearly a solid team, has not been able to finish games down the stretch, losing all three of their first pool play games by a mere two points or less.
The round’s last two games played out in similarly tense fashion. UMass v. Northwestern and Florida State v. Victoria found themselves sitting at a 12-12 tie down the stretch. Shout out to NUT senior Jay Valdillez for his full-extension layout block on an under pass. Despite the late efforts from NUT and Victoria, UMass and Florida State dug deep for a surge of three straight goals to win their games 15-12.
Wisconsin Hodags fans bathed in baby blue lined the showcase stadium for their challenge against overall three seed Oregon Ego. Wisconsin called many fouls early in the game, most of which the observers overruled. Both teams were ready to hit the turf on defense, and early play looked as gritty as it did sloppy. After 20 minutes of play, the score was only 1-0 Oregon. Ego finally found their stride and ran ahead to a 4-1 lead. Hodag freshman Harrison Bielski scored a deep goal to bring the score to 3-7, spiking the disc with a fury characteristic of the Wisco program. Alas, it was in vain. Ego’s Adam Rees stormed under for a layout block and then quick assist to Will Lohre for halftime, Oregon up 8-3. The Ego train rolled on with Lohre tossing the final goal in a decisive 15-8 win.
Washington’s massive inflatable toothbrush and flamingo floaty carried them to victory over a hungry Florida State DUF. Florida State matched Washington’s hype with their own to make the game much closer than Washington would’ve like. While the Sundodgers survived, 14-11, they spent valuable energy that they’d need in their final pool play game against Pitt, which would decide who won Pool D outright.
Georgia had yet another down-to-the-wire game, this time v. Georgetown. The Jojah boys had a late break upwind to gain a foothold, but an incisive lefty hammer from Max Cohen-Casado kept Gtown within striking distance. Georgia’s Sam Batson had his own upside-down look shortly thereafter, slicing a breakside scoober across the field for a goal in the front corner of the end zone. The now-familiar combination of a beautiful huck from Matthew Cullom to a sprinting Christian Boxley tied the game at 12 apiece, game to 13. Georgia received the disc, marched down the field and punched their ticket to the championship bracket with the win.
UNC’s beatdown of Texas proved about as entertaining as that of Minnesota Grey Duck over Connecticut. Both games’ final scores: 15-8. Both winners clearly held the upper hand.
The most important game of pool play went down between Pittsburgh and Washington. If Pitt won, they’d force a three-way tie amongst the top three teams (Brown, Washington and Pitt), and if they won by three goals or more, they’d win the pool on point differential to advance straight to quarterfinals. Almost every point was contested, and Pitt nudged ahead to take half 8-7. Late in the game, Pitt’s Kyle Hartley made perhaps the best catch of the tournament, so far, on a falling second-attempt grab from a huck. En Sabah Nur up 11-8. Washington’s Nick Roberts floated an around flick that got D’d, and Pitt quickly punched in the goal to go up by four, 12-8. It was all Pitt late, with freshman Kevin Tsui giving Pitt a superb layout block on a late-stall, inside flick to save an offensive hold for En Sabah Nur, who held on to their three-plus-point lead to beat Washington 15-11 and win Pool D. Shirtless and screaming, ecstatic Pitt players celebrated winning the pool of death.
Carleton CUT coasted through Auburn Aetos, riding the Lanier-Birdsong express on their way to a 15-6 victory. Meanwhile, Brown crushed Victoria to maintain their berth in the championship bracket, and UMass finished Stanford’s winless weekend in a game of little consequence for either team. Finally, UConn pulled off a double-game-point upset over William & Mary, despite a late-game comeback from the Darkhorse men.
Dubbed the “pre-pre-quarters,” Auburn Aetos v. Northwestern NUT was a battle for the last spot to appear in a pre-quarters game in the championship bracket. The other team’s season would end. Aetos took control early and had an 8-5 halftime lead, but the NUT sidelines went ballistic in the second half and carried the pool’s bottom seed back to tie the game. The fans chanted “Guy with mask! Guy with mask!” for NUT defensive stalwart Christian Rozolis, who sported a Phantom of the Opera-style black facemask and pulled down an acrobatic huck in the back of the end zone to give NUT their first late-game lead. The momentum shift was sufficient, and NUT broke to win a berth in pre-quarters; final score 12-10.
In keeping with their prior performances, Maryland kept it close against Oregon. However, Oregon had already clinched their pool and decided to rest their stars, including Adam Rees and Will Lohre. Maryland won 15-11. While the decision to rest top players is controversial to some, it’s a no-brainer for certain top-heavy teams whose studs must conserve energy if the team is to have a chance of winning later elimination games.
Both Georgia and Wisconsin had already clinched a spot in the pre-quarters, so their match against one another determined only minor differences in seeding. The teams looked evenly matched in what was a tight game characterized by physical play and a lack of discipline with the disc. Wisconsin took half 8-7 and then cruised onward to a 15-10 victory.
Minnesota and Texas also had guaranteed themselves pre-quarters games. Minnesota evidently hoped to lose this game in order to avoid the dreaded quarterfinal match up against their regional powerhouse and overall number one seed, Carleton CUT. Texas capitalized and outlasted Grey Duck to win 13-10. Finally, UNC, who had already clinched a bye into the quarterfinals by winning their pool, rested their top end, which allowed William & Mary to win a close game 13-11. If UNC wins the whole thing, expect William & Mary to tweet that they, too, are national champions via the transitive property.
The elimination games we’ve all been waiting for. Exhausted teams play their hearts out to keep their seasons alive and earn the chance to play on Sunday of the College Championships.
Minnesota v. Wisconsin
This was the best pre-quarters game. This North Central Region dogfight (duckfight? ‘dagfight?) was close all the way to the end, and the final point encapsulated the entirety of the match. At 12-12 in the game to 13, Wisconsin received the disc, and Tristan Van De Moortele got an early handblock for Minnesota on a high-release around backhand. Minnesota, inches from the end zone and a berth into the quarterfinals, swung the disc back and forth a couple times before attempting a break-side pass for a goal. But it was not to be. Wisconsin’s Chris Wilen, who, nearing age 30, somehow maintains a youthful spring in his stride, lunged across the end-zone line for a season-saving layout catch block. A few throws later, Wilen put up a floaty huck to Nick Vogt, who was stellar all game, and although Vogt couldn’t reel in the huck, he could call a foul. The observer upheld the call, and in fact, issued a team misconduct foul to the Grey Duck defender for going over Vogt’s back. Wisco completed a few more passes in the red zone to finally punch in their ticket to tomorrow’s quarterfinals. They will play Pittsburgh.
Georgia v. Texas
Georgia sprinted out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back. Texas’ legs looked shot, and after finding themselves in such a hole, they couldn’t muster the energy to stage a comeback. 14-9 to Jojah, who will play Carleton CUT tomorrow in quarters.
Brown v. Northwestern
In an act of either faith or neglect, Brown Coach Tom Annen did not attend this elimination game in order to play himself in a Radicals game in nearby Madison. It must have been faith because Brown went up early and stayed up through the end. Hecht threw a couple dimes to Randolph, and Brown in general simply played with more poise on their way to a victory. Congrats to Northwestern NUT on the pre-quarters berth, upsetting Auburn and Stanford on their way there. 15-11 Brown. BMo will face Oregon in their quarters match up tomorrow.
Washington v. Massachusetts
While Washington was favored to win, UMass was ready to fight. Zoodisc’s Tannor Johnson gave it all he had, throwing a beautiful huck to Eddie Scott for a goal to keep UMass within two points of the Sundodgers in the second half. Washington, who must have been bummed to have to play a pre-quarters game (because Pitt emerged as the winner from the three-way tie at the top of Pool D), was determined to avoid an early elimination. The game was close all the way, but Washington never wavered: 15-12 Sundodgers. The Washington v. UNC quarterfinal might be exciting tomorrow.