Monday, September 29

Mid Atlantic Regionals 2014 Sunday

So... now these teams should all collude, right?

I mean that, in the long run, it is now better if Scandal and Green Means Go to both finish as high as possible at Nationals, right?  If Both finish in the pro flight, then the region gets two automatic bids for next year, if my reading of the TCT guidelines is correct.  So then... should they pool resources to do as well as possible?  Should they share scouting reports and tips?  Even practice or scrimmage together? Same with Truck Stop and Temper? Same for Amp and Amp?

Spacing, Skills, Leftys.
The cross-division similarity between Scandal and Truck Stop is in that they are excellent at dictating the offensive space on the field, and then attacking it with their specific skills, both based on individual quirks and trained team-level knowledge.  They are organized and skilled and coherent.  And they each have leftys.  Never underestimate the value of sufficient lefthandedness.

As I was speaking with someone whose first polo fields these were not the phrase "I know a lasting club culture when I see one."

Scandal and Truck, Truck and Scandal.
Coaches, a game plan, top-shelf talent, dedication to improve.

DC is the place to be for Open and Women's.
It isn't close.


As for Amp, none of their games were close enough to watch.  Literally and figuratively.  I kept walking over toward their fields and either the game was over or the first people I saw who knew the score said "Amp is up at least three breaks and they just got a D."

Save for this one moment against AG.  There was a poach block on and under cut.  If AG scores, it isn't yet half.  It would have been 7-5.  Timeout.  No conversion.  Amp scores.  8-4 at half.  gap of two versus gap of four is a big difference.  Remember that, coaches, captains and leaders.

I don't know how Amp won, so I can say nothing substantive.
Then again... #IJustLosttheGame
There might be something I know about some of those Philadelphia players of a certain age back from once upon a time... but using that is speculation.

Amp is another lasting club culture.


And all these new players show up... and the young ones who had promise turn into the good, reliable club players.  Or the club players now coaches or old reliable players like Mr. Moldenhauer.


Wodatch kept DiGirolamo-ing Temper.
Of the first 4 DC O-Points, I'm reasonably certain that Wodatch caught a huck while running free to the endzone on three of them.  If I didn't know better, I'd say that Temper had never seen a player do that.  However, the previous day coming out of half, this is precisely what Temper did to Garden State Ultimate.  A quick strike of two unmolested deep cuts (like.. no defender w/in 20 yards) getting 60+ yard goals off of the pull play (either the 2nd or 3rd throw) as the other five Temper players swept across the field in harmless school-of-fish-style group cutting.  The next time down, Garden State matched up on Tyler and kept with him for the majority of the cut... until TD jumped.  The GSU defender was impotently staring up at the roof being built over his head.  Goal.

I assume that all of these teams are aware that their opponents need to make it to the other endzone to score, and of who DiGirolamo and Wodatch are.  Some sort of mesmerizing offensive structure must be eliminating all possibilities of help defense. Perhaps voodoo?  A hypnotist?

As magical as that sounds, no.  The answer is more basic.  If you're playing straight up, no-help man, you're making the game a series of one-v-one matchups.  Which plays to the offense.  TO put it another way, there should be no moment when the most dangerous deep receiver on the opposing Offensive Rotation is on an island versus a single defender.  The structure of the defense must reflect the threats present in a given offense.  There are 6 players (not counting the mark) who could be responsible for the endzone.  When zero are? Structural problem.

As for the sort of player who reshapes the field, in the games that I watched at MARegionals, those players were:  DiGirolamo, Wodatch, Green Mean's Go's Pullers, and Sandy Jorgensen of Scandal.

Each of them changes the geometry of the field.  Bending either the defense (DiGirolamo & Wodatch primarily play offense) or the offense (Pulls and Jorgensen generally play defense) or both to their benefit.  By changing the underlying equations of the game, they all pose a question to their opponents that must either be answered or circumvented.


And then Temper Truck Stopped Garden State Ultimate.
Temper looked bad at ultimate against Truck Stop.  Then they capitulated.
Garden State fought back through the backdoor registering a momentous victory over Patrol in the backdoor after losing to Temper in the front door, 15-11.

Which brings me to something important when it comes to tournament play:  The number of games teams play over a weekend.

The game-to-go in the men's division was Temper's fifth on the weekend.
The game-to-go in the men's division was Garden State's seventh on the weekend.

Oh wait... let me check my math:  That was Temper's 4.5th or so game on the weekend.  They threw in the towel in the final at about halftime (It looked like they brought their O starters out for the first point of half and then never again.) while Garden State fought like hell against teams they needed to beat.  Sure, you'll say, that's the penalty for losing.  I'll respond that this is ridiculous.  My next post will cover this more in-depth via cloning technology.


In the Women's Division, Scandal was the best. It wasn't close, even though Green Means Go (After not trying to win their pool play matchup which was a 13-1 Scandal victory) made a 3/4ths of a game of it in the final.  That is, GMG can hang with Scandal.  But an upset is near-incomprehensible.  The 15-9 finals game was close at 10-8, but it got to 15-9 in a hurry.

Green Means Go was clearly the second team.
Hot Metal was clearly the third best team.

GMG was consistently aggressive in all phases of the game, the gap between their play and Scandal's is a matter of execution&skill rather than structure or strategy.  The two play different offensive sets, but both are capable of working the breakside, openside and deep.  GMG is more dependent on some of their deep shots succeeding than is Scandal, but the aggression both teams show with their D Rotation offense is remarkable.  If you throw a short turn against either of these teams and then pause to think about it for a second, you might as well start walking back to the line for the next O-point. Your moment of remorse is just the window they've been trying to open.

They both have players who are top-shelf quality.  However, Scandal has Team USA players.  Scandal is the reigning national champions who have traveled the world over the last year. Green Means Go is, simply put, green in comparison.

Woe to the team that underestimates this Philly women's team.  You will pay the price.  The women on this team play fast, play hard, and have a clear team identity.


Are Ultimate Players Orange-Green Colorblind?

The fields at the Capital Polo Club have enough space around each field to have a restraining line.  Ultimate players put their bags on inside the line.  They stand inside the line.  They put the tents and umbrellas inside the line.  They bitch and moan when you tell them to move.  They get int he way of the observers.  When there are no other games going on anywhere, spectators line up so closely that a player leaving from inbounds can layout and collide with sundry dangerous items from a spectator looking the other way to tents nailed into the ground to coolers to speakers to umbrellas.

Why Why?
Why Why Why?

Stop it.  Stop endangering your fellow travelers.  Stop making the world more dangerous with no gain.  5 steps behind the orange line... your view is nearly unchanged.  The safety of the players, however, is vastly improved.  Just do it.  How many years... how many folks laying out into stuff... how many Paul George injuries?


Best games of the weekend (in no particular order):
Garden State over Patrol in the game to go to the game to go (Incredible GSU comeback)
Scandal over Green Means Go in the final (Scandal Challenged!)
Green Means Go over Hot Metal in pool play (GMG big comeback!)
Green Means Go over Hot Metal in the game to go (PGH fought the whole way... big plays both directions... no fear from either side)

Worst games of the weekend (in no particular order):
Truck Stop over Temper in the final (White Flag Game)
Temper over Garden State in the game-to-go (Outta Gas Game)
Scandal over Green Means Go in pool play (White Flag Game)

Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other:
Temper v Patrol in the semis (Incredibly bad/ugly game which someone had to win I guess)


Had a decent time spectating this weekend, but I've had about enough ultimate in one weekend to last 2-3 months. I hope I'm more interested by the time my fall league team plays this coming weekend.
*- I have been politely corrected by Mr Miller that this is no longer the case.  I had difficulty discerning from this page as I quickly scanned earlier.  In the relevant section it states that "this rule is effective for the 2014 season." I took that to mean that the note from above was effective as I scanned.  The rule of 1 region, 1 auto bid makes more sense.  Section B.2.c.i

•  Each region will receive 1 automatic bid.
Note: Regions that finished the 2013 postseason with more than one team in the Pro Flight do not receive an additional automatic bid to 2014 Nationals for each additional Pro Flight team.
This rule is effective for the 2014 season.


Anonymous said...

DC is the place to be for Open and Women's.

...the Bay Area? Scandal is arguably better than Fury at this point, but the addition of Nightlock pretty clearly takes the Bay Area past DC. And no one will argue for Truck over Revolver, obviously.

dusty.rhodes said...

The Bay Area is not in the Mid Atlantic region.