14 June 2009
Stanford was a game filed some of the most intense highs I’ve experienced in frisbee. Stanford kept things close early on, like most teams. We had our first break at 4-3 and then continued on a 5-2 run to go up 9-5. Stanford was the first team to punish us with their handler offense. They rarely throw downfield to cutters save for Tom James – their Callahan nominee. They relied on lots of handler resets and scored a majority of their goals with throws to handlers or hucks from handlers.
I got some great marking advice this tournament, which we shared with the team but at nationals it’s hard to implement fundamental changes like marking technique. Think of a circle on the ground around the thrower, this is how most people mark - their feet somewhere on the circle. When you take away the inside your feet are following this curved line, and then to take away the backhand you shuffle around on the same circular arc. STOP THIS
Take that distance you travel on the arc of the circle from hard inside to around and stretch it flat, it’s long, you are covering a lot of ground if you’re moving on the mark, so to be more effective make this line shorter.
Instead of marking on an arc, mark on this straight line – like when you draw frisbee on a whiteboard the marker is always denoted by a line with force, this is good. This means that when you are taking away the inside you are not right up in people’s shit. You are at the end of the line and actually further away from the thrower than you think. As a thrower, it is much harder to throw an inside with the mark back further.
I break inside by throwing through the mark; it’s easy to throw under a hand – around a leg etc. When the mark is back there is suddenly this wall of mark that is intimidating and cannot really be broken inside
Continue on this line to stop the around. Instead of curving stay on the line, again you are back from the thrower more than you would expect but this stops the around for yardage gain. I’m not talking about a no dump mark just a normal mark.
So you really only have to move on this straight line – the shortest distance between two points. With good footwork this is a great generic mark and stifles non-huckers. I’ve now incorporated this into my mark but I change it throughout the course of the count. If I see the thrower looking past 10-15 yarders I adjust and If I feel they are committed to the dump I adjust.
Good throwers have great vision. If you can look to your dumps but always keep the hucking option (40-50yd) you are a more effective weapon.
Stanford plays through Tom James, watch the highlight video they made of him – catches/throws goals, gets Ds. That same video though gave us some great insight. He really only hucks forehand and he releases right on the ground. The great thing about CUT 2009 was that it didn’t mater how good the other players were, we always had better matchups. I’ve never seen Kanner lose a matchup battle over the course of a game. And when we can switch out Kanner for Jerome or Luke, it’s discouraging for the offensive player. Not to mention all Tom’s favorite receivers were rarely open – Evange/Christian/Grant on the # 2-3-4 cutters, we win each of those battles.
The highlight video from the UPA doesn’t provide much insight. A couple of times you see Stanford score on stall 9 throws, a symptom of our defense. We are breaking a lot and Stanford isn’t getting Ds
At 10-7 Tom James makes a late bid on an under and lands on Kanner’s legs, Kanner goes down. At first I thought Kanner has hamming it up a little – Stanford was making bad bids, desperation, who wants to lose? He stayed down longer though. He was lying on the ground face up as Dadbob jogged over to do some stability tests. I remember this all very vividly. I knelt down by Sam who had his jersey pulled over his face and he said, “this isn’t happening” over and over again.
Kanner is not fragile, to see him so vulnerable – clearly hurt was an awful feeling for me and the rest of the team. Thinking about a torn acl made me physically sick – I stood up and walked away to an empty part of the field as tears ran down my cheek.
Kanner is an incredible player and teammate and leader. He trains with a desire and passion that I had never experienced. Our relationship has changed a great deal since I first met him at Jr.Worlds. It was the fall before his freshman year and we knew we’d be teammates soon but he seemed distant. We did not click at Worlds. Partly because I had a bad rap with the Amherst kids – Tiina Booth – whether deserved or not.
Freshman year he played lots of D line, I played only offense. We didn’t party together outside of CUT and there was still a divide between us. It’s hard for me to pinpoint the moment where this began to change. But it did. He has a great mind for frisbee and our weekly meetings to discuss strategy and workouts were exceptional. Bouncing ideas off each other, laughing as we thought up gut wrenching drills – good times. We started hanging out more and whatever was between us disappeared. It came full circle a week ago – when for the first time, Kanner stopped by our apt just to hangout – a send off to Jerome and I, maybe, but I’m so proud to have been his teammate and to see him at alumni weekend for years to come.
Kanner was eventually helped off the field; I was under the impression he was done for the rest of nationals. Luke subbed in and we scored the point, I was in a daze and I could tell Stanford added an extra step to their game – seeing our captain down. We called a timeout and I felt the same feelings as the Pitt game, there was no way we were going to lose this game, not now. That was a weird huddle. You've seen films where the generic halftime/huddle speech whatever, is "DO it for XXXXXXXX" and you see everybody get pumped up. And it's silly, but in that situation that's all we said. Lets fucking win this shit for Kanner. And it wasn't corny like in the movies, it was empowering. I was so angry - instead of the cool resolve we played with at the end of Pitt – we were emotionally on fire. It helped we had a lead so we could play looser, which we did, and was effective, but the intensity we had on defense was unmatched. Stanford struggled for their last 3 goals while we dominated for our 4.
I didn’t feel tired, I expected to dominate my man, I expected CUT to win. 15-10. Kanner came up to me after the game – walking – thank god – he hadn’t seen but the last points – coming back from the trainer. We hugged – he was still shaken up – again I remember this very vividly he just kept thanking me. I was thinking we’re in this shit together. You weren’t alone on that track, in the weight room, aching after tournaments. We both want this team to succeed more than anything. We played for you Kanner, because we are all apart of the CUT.
09 June 2009
The Pittsburgh game was the first time I knew for certain we were champions. Though we had been unchallenged since Centex and walked through pool play, there were still doubts in my mind. Whether we’d run hard enough, tapered correctly, and instilled our offensive and defensive fundamentals. Where in the past we measured ourselves against the Hodag’s physical fitness, now we were the standard, it was hard to know.
However, I had no doubts that we’d succeeded as a team. A championship does not measure the greatness of a team, at least to its players. The most important piece of advice I have ever received was to forget about winning it all. Derek stressed this all season long, he said to revel in the glory of CUT 2009 and that winning would only be a perk. When Chase spoke Kanner and I, he kept stressing ‘enjoy your teammates’ and it is not until now that I feel I fully appreciate those words.
I’ve been finished with work since Thursday and each night I sat home I only wanted to be hanging out with the CUT. And I realize now why that the 2009 team is a great moment in my life.
The game. Everything went according to plan in the first half. We’d seen Pittsburgh at Vegas and absolutely crushed them. They have a few players, namely Chris Brenenborg a teammate of mine of the 2006 Jr. Worlds team. - He can really ball. But across the board we are much deeper and Pitt had no answer for our offense. The half time talk was really no different than our other games, keep running and dictate the intensity of the game - hell we had an 8-4 lead, our second largest of the tournament.
But for the first time since Centex – literally – our offense started giving the disc back. Not making bad hucks but literally throwing it away. A dropped pull, a turfed first pass, and a few out of reach throws – We were letting Pitt back into the game. Pitt, like most teams were unable to contain our cutters with man defense and so switched to a loose 3-man cup. And not to take anything away from Pitt, but we were setting the disc on the ground with a ribbon on it.
Pitt fought for a brutal win a day earlier in prequarters against regional rival Cornell. Unlike the ME regional finals where Cornell was victorious, Pittsburgh came out ahead on double-game point. There legs were starting to go in the second half, but their zone allowed them to conserve energy, and to their credit, their Defensive O was flawless after the turn.
I get the chills ever time I watch the highlight video. The first clip is after we had been broken once out of half we’re up 8-6 and we drop the pull. I line up on my man, force is backhand and the throw is marginal, I had a play on it. I don’t layout often or very spectacularly but why not. We score that point on a throw from me to Jerome, 9-6 CUT. I don’t remember these points much, except for our bad turns. I had a horrific throw to Jerome at 13-12 CUT which led to Pitt tying it 13-13.
I was so frustrated at this point because we were giving them the disc. I think I brought in Kinsey and Mike because I was so sure we would score – we were done messing around. But no. Again we turn it and Pitt scores on a well placed falling backhand that Miq in 2 years will get a huge layout d on. 14-13 Pitt
At 13-14 Pitt, I walked back to line telling myself ‘this isn’t how it is going to end’. With Me, Kanner, Luke, Jerome, Mammel, Pbob, Grant not much had to be said on the line. Pitt continued there zone and we were finally disciplined enough to score an easy goal. I remember thinking back and I felt like we all had ice for blood, a very cool headed point.
Next point, Evange takes Mammel’s spot. Again we all knew we had a job to do, nobody fuck around and we will get the D. This marks the biggest moment in my Frisbee career. Pitt is barely moving up the field, playing tight, playing scared. Downfield D is tight, each cut by my man I’m on his ass waiting for an opportunity. Finally, I give him a yard and as he turns to go under - I’m thinking ‘throw throw throw’. It goes up and boom – layout catch block.
We score the break 15-14 CUT. Same line (maybe Christian for Evange) and Pitt over throws a receiver deep, again we work it up, and Grant catches the game winner.
After Pitt I played with no fear. It’s not that I knew we would win, but that I didn’t care if we lost, and that thought allowed me to unconsciously know, we were champions.
07 June 2009
Georgia always brings their A-game vs the CUT. Thank goodness we avenged our loss in 2007 on the very same field. In 2007 we had a hell of a schedule - Williams - Georgia - Stanford. The frisbee gods opened the door wide on that Friday - only to slam it in our face. We beat Williams then in our 2nd game Sambob destroys his ankle on the third point. We were forced to make some adjustments - Jacob had been cutting but moved back to handle with myself and Josh which was a big change for us. But yes we go up 13-10 on Georgia and choke it away 16-14 and then a similar story vs Stanford where we are up 13-10 then lose 16-17. We had a chance to take the pool but no such luck and the next day we lose to Florida in quarters 14-16. we finished with a 2-3 record but but with a + score differential.
Then 2008 we face Georgia at Centex. the grueling 5 game Saturday we played Georgia 4th. Our offense was plagued by poach Ds this year and Georgia was great at it. We ended up going to double game point and lost which put the nail in our coffin and we were out of the championship bracket. Then again our epic battle at nationals in quarters. We are up 8-7 out of half and get broken to make it 8-8. We score the next O point to 9-8 and neither team can break the other, we win the game 15-14. That was a hell of a game.
So 2009 - a very different story. Though we saw Georgia at Stanford and beat them, I believe they took half on us pretty badly. Going into our last pool play game we knew Georgia would be fired up. Like most other teams - Georgia had a very difficult time matching up against our offense and unlike 2008 nationals, our D line was getting huge blocks (see the highlight video) Both Kanner and Evange had Ds close to the Georgia goal resulting in easy breaks.
Again my memory of this game is fairly cloudy, the offense played 10pts I think. My defender played super physical at the beginning of the game, but after I beat him up line a few times he backed off and the dump swing was effortless (story of the season). Georgia had some unfortunate drops and with our Defensive O (Kanner, Luke, Curme, Evange, Christian, Adam, Adrian) we don't give the disc back all that often.
Another win, 15-10 our closest of the four pool play games. Unfortunately for Georgia they were out after going 1-3. They seem like a young team though and are always well coached, expect them to be good in the AC next year.
Check out all the pictures from our Georgia game at Tish Fagin's awesome webiste.
06 June 2009
Day 2. After playing only 17 points on Friday I felt good - as did much of the Oline and Dline for that matter. playing 2 games a day is a real luxury after tournaments like Stanford and Centex. Not to mention we were never at full strength and so I played something like 100 pts in the 2 days of Stanford. But that's why nationals seemed so easy (at times) - we had worked harder before.
So are game against Tufts was easy. The day before they had played two 15-12 (split 1-1) games and I noticed their top guys shouldering a lot of the load. Another thing about Tufts and Carleton is the Amherst connection. Tufts captain Andrew Hollingworth is bff with Christian Foster and played with Kanner/Pbob in high school. This leads to a lot of off the field feelings getting in the way. Which reminds me of something else.
Kanner loves to match up against Will Neff. It makes sense - our best defender, especially against players that touch the disc a lot. The funny thing is that Neff is so in Kanner's head, in terms of Kanner always think he is being outplayed and convinced that Neff is the better. Will is good - Callahan - but the two are very different players, though I think Sam's style is better. Basically there is all this old bull shit that gets in the way, even though players have progressed at different rates and really become different players. Digression
Right so I think Andrew-Sam-Pbob-Christian have all these preconceived ideas about each others play and it gets in the way of good play. That said, Kanner dominated the matchup though I think we switched defenders on Andrew throughout the game. With Andrew neutralized Tufts falls apart, he was an integral part of their play all year and other players were not prepared to step up. Not to mention our Handler D was again absolutely shut down.
Why doesn't the ME and NE regions fly to better tournaments? (Everybody was touting Cornell, saying they were seeded to low) The year Brown won they flew out to Stanford and Centex(?) Take a look at Tufts season schedule they played some pretty poor teams - how can you expect to win at nationals when you haven't seen a good team since Vegas? Maybe that was not their goal - for some teams it's just making it to the big show but come on, there is a correlation between team finish at nationals and strength of season schedule. Teams improve by leaps and bounds in only 2 days at events - very evident for our team this year.
So the game - nothing stands out in my mind, breakfast mostly. The game went like most, Tufts hung on for the first 8 pts. CUT is too deep and our 4-7 players on the field are hands down better than our competitions 4-7. Especially on Offensive no team can match up with us. 6 and 7 are forced to match up against Mammel/Pbob/Jerome and that causes some problems. The reason our offense was so successful - somebody was always getting open (with a bad player on them which means a bad mark etc.)
We blew Tufts out - ohwell they managed to to win their next game and make prequarters, a definite accomplishment. Also I'm not trying to hate on anyone, just telling it from my point of view. I don't know the Amherst crew as well as most but those are my observations.
UPA READ THIS - why not hire 4 reporters for Friday and Saturday, I bet you could even get volunteers. Have 1 reporter per pool that way there is more detail on each game and the reporters will 'know' the dynamics of their pool. Good for everybody, shit why not have 2 people do write up for finals some opposing views - Good for everybody
UPA - I will be a reporter for CUTs pool/schedule at 2010 Nationals
Again Thx to Tish Fagin for letting me publish her photos on my blog
05 June 2009
I remember going into this game it didn't feel like only our second game at nationals. After our bruising of Illinois the team had a 5 hour bye. We passed the time with a trip to Chipotle and about half the team went to the $1.50 showing of Taken with Liam Nesson. The movie goers' adrenaline was pumping when they returned 45 minutes before the start of our game. The only disappointment was that the English (GreatBrit) version of the movie was gorier.
Santa Barbara had about 5 guys that could play. While the team was relaxing during our bye, Kanner and myself were scouting our future opponents - something that doesn't occur enough in our sport. Because there is little footage and usually games overlap it is hard to get a look at the competition, but with the schedule at nationals there was ample time. Instead of playing catchup for the first half of the game, we were keyed in on main handlers, initial cutters and defensive sets.
This did not lead to immediate results as SB had a guy that was damn fast and smoked us deep for 3 goals in the first half. Our O was almost flawless in this game as SB was content to play a supppperrrrr loose zone. Defensively we started bodying deep cuts forcing SB to make some actual moves which began to pay off. The write up on the UPA website is sparse - Chris Spittal is the worst reporter ever, the UPA needs to do some research on who they hire because he routinely writes garbage previews and follow ups (the questions he sent Kanner after nationals are absolute jokes). It's frustrating for me to read what he writes because he is so obviously uninformed.
But the game, SB showed some poise toward the end of the game though and managed to stay in the game - more so than Illinois and I felt SB made us work much harder. They were the last seed in the pool but ended up going 3-1 only losing to us before their 15-17 loss to Michigan in the prequarters. Photo of a JEDI D in the game thanks Tish (check out the huge vertical!)
03 June 2009
The first round pitted the CUT against Illinois, the 2 seed. If you know frisbee tournaments, this is a weird spot to have the 1v2 game but UPA made a conscious decision to space out all the 1v2 games in an effort to cater to the spectator. The UPA figured our matchup with Illinios would be the least exciting thus we got the first spot Friday. The UPA was correct in assuming this would be the least competitive evident in the final score 15 - 6. Illinois played the game of their season against Michigan at regionals to earn the 8th seed at nationals - though Michigan made it to quarters and Illinois finished 0-4 in pool play.
So the game. In the pregame huddle we talk about only a couple of things. Mostly what we control - how hard we run and the intensity we bring to each point. We rarely spoke to the whole team about strategy, mostly becuase we had drilled it over the past nine months. First points are all about running - getting legs moving a sweat bodes well for the rest of the game regardless of the the score after the first point.
We didn't get broken and our D took care of things. Illinois relied on a not so good thrower to rip backhands downfield with no real aim. Our handler D ensured difficult resets thus Illinois had bad throwers without a dump look forcing throws downfield. Something I think seperates a good player is his ability to find a look at stall 8-9-10. Always throw breakside (away from the defense) and float it a little (thower decides huck or no huck). Usually the defensive is keyed in on their man and all the Offense is looking at the thrower so the O gets a better read on floaty throws. I also always try to make eye contact with the person i am "intending" to throw to
Clearly I dont remember this game very well. We were almost broken once but Pbob saved it with a huge sky in the endzone see this round highlight by Ultivillage (note the final score is wrong). Thanks Tish for the photo.