Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pensbury Defeats Prep - 15-2, CB East 15-6

Fall PHUEL action continues this week with Pensbury rolling on towards an undefeated regular season. They captured two pivotal wins - blowing out St. Joe's Prep - 15-2, and defeating Central Buck's East 15-6.

The win against Prep is big for a few reasons. Coming into the season many expected the Prep to be in the top 5 of the league, possibly competing with perennial powerhouses Pensbury, Wissahickon, and Cheltenham. And they may well be at that point come the end of the spring season. However the fact remains now that the Prep is a very young team, having almost no current seniors, and a team primarily made up of last years sophomores. The Pennsbury win is also big because Prep handled Pennsbury in their final meeting last year during pool play of the PA state championships. Prep was seeded 8th or 9th overall i believe, and Pennsbury was seeded 3rd. But Prep pulled out the upset winning 15-7.

This fall the meeting went a little bit different. Prep scored the first two points, and then Pennsbury went on a 15 point unanswered scoring drive. Pennsbury then wisely threw a cup zone at the young Prep team and essentially shut them down. Junior handlers for the Prep Jim Ionata and Joe Kruse were able to work the cup effectively enough to move it up field, but without experienced subs and few veteran poppers, their handling skills were rendered virtually useless. With there starters worn down from attempting to deal with Peyote's stifling zone, including 5th year senior, and essential veteran defender Kevin Venose, the Prep moved into using their bench which included a good deal of fresh rookies who had at that point only played one previous game against Lower Merion.

In the end the Peyote walked away with what seemed to be a easily had win. My prediction for later meetings between the two teams - while the Prep will definitely improve, and their rookies will get much better under the leadership and practices of captain Joe Kruse - Pennsbury will not get worse. Look for the Peyote to dominate the league this year, if not Easterns. Their only real competition will likely only come at the hands of Columbia and Amherst caliber teams. They may however be weakened by the loss of Venose who will be graduating between the fall and spring semesters.

Pennsbury also defeated CB East today 15-6, i dont know anything other than the score of the game. But from what i know about CB East i imagine they put up a good fight under the coaching of Rob Olson.

As of right now I would put the top five of Phuel at

1. Pennsbury
2. Wissahickon
3. CB East
4. Prep
5. Lower Merion

the true test however will be this weekend at Kit Kat in the Hat, where all the established PHUEL teams will face off with a few teams from outside the Philly area. Whoever comes out on top here will likely be the biggest competition for Amherst at Easterns this year.

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Nick said...
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Nick said...

I don't know about the winner of Kat being big competition for Amherst. Columbia has a shot at them if they improve to where they were last year, but I would attribute their loss more to loss of players than a Pennsbury ascension to greatness (could be wrong, too early to make a call there), but there are big time teams outside of this area that will challenge Amherst more than any Philly team. They are:
1. Hopkins (an upstart team last year, went to Youth Club Championships. Weren't great, but they have great coaching in that area and a good start to a program. I think that the Hopkins players were split between mixed and open too.)
2. Northfield Mount Hermon (they are always pretty sweet and likely tired of Amherst.)
3. Paideia (should be back after a year off.)
4. Madison (finished pretty high last year and should be a good deal better.)
5. LC Bird (scored 9 on a great Columbia team last year and 7 on Amherst (2nd most all weekend). Came out of nowhere, so I'm expecting them to back cuz they obviously had no team before last year.

All this said, this could be a big year to take down Amherst. They are an amazing team and are definitely the best coached team in the nation, but I always got the feeling last year that Darden was what put them well above the other high school teams. This was really obvious at YCCs when Seattle played an all short pass game against the Amherst zone and essentially took Darden completely out of the game on D. They played 7-on-6 ultimate and Darden was unable to make any defensive plays. They worked really hard to shut him down when he was on O, too, as there were a few guys who seemed to be specifically out there to cover him. Really amazing game and strategy to watch. Anyways, without Darden, Amherst is still an unbelievable team, but are succeptable to skilled teams who work well together. BTW, that was the only game Amherst lost at YCCs and they didn't lose to big hucks and great layouts (though layouts were there). They lost because Seattle was disciplined, structured, smart, and skilled.

McCabe said...

i didnt say big, i said likely the biggest.

as of right now i dont have enough information to comment on how any team will stack up against amerst, i havent even heard if they have played any games yet or how they are doing.

i am assuming they will be at easterns this year, as they have in the past, and i am assuming that they will do very well.

my point is, last year the only team that gave them trouble was columbia. another perpetually good team.

last year columbia went undefeated until amherst.

this year columbia got spanked by pennsbury. 15-6. 9 points. 9 points doesnt say it was a close game and pennsbury pulled it out on some luck. 9 points says they knew what they were doing, and got it done.

i played against pennsbury last year 3 times, they were extremely good then. a very athletic team. but since then they have all played summer leagues, practiced, etc. and whats more they have not lost a single player.

there is also something to be said for the amount of hype amherst has granted to it. they are not immortal. no team is. all of these teams are made of high school players, all are capable of mistake.

i would say that many teams, like the ones you listed above have the ability to take amherst's eastern title, the question is, who is going to step up to the plate, and work hard enough to take it from them.

Nick Ongpauco said...

There is no team in PHUEL that will be able to come even close to beating pennsbury. Look for every PHUEL tourney this year to be a P-bury vs. Wiss final. Now if Pennsbury wants to really show their dominance they will travel through the year (including the winter which is an off season for Philly teams) to some of the more prestigious tournaments. That is what Cheltenham did last year (went from PA to Terminus) and they played some of the best teams and beat Easterns teams (and were robbed of a bid in the process). Pennsbury will be good all year even without Venose who is actually easy to cover if you watch him for one point. But once again this year it will be those schools that have a time honored tradition of being good that will really be making headlines (i.e. Columbia, Amherst, Northfield Mt Hermon, Churchill, Northwest Boys school and Natahn Hale). maybe some sleeping teams will make a comeback like Paidea. but also realize Pittsburgh HS Ultimate league (PHUL) will still not be nearly as good as PHUEL as will be evidenced by this years states.