Thursday, May 18, 2006

Westerns in less than 36 hours

Westerns begins in less than 36 hours now - so if you dont have your flick down yet its beginning to be a lost cause.

The open pools are up, as are the ladies'. With the Northwest school topping both.

Last year the Northwest School dominated - winning in the finals 15-7 over a Churchill squad who had just won on universe point the previous round. Will Northwest reign supreme again? Or has Churchill set their sights on upsetting this grudge match.

Will Alameda be the first California team in history to make it past the quarterfinals? Can the Hopkins boys from Minnesota bring the HUrt in Boulder?

Will a team from somewhere other than Oregon or Washington become a contender? (Junction City, Lakewood im looking at you guys)

Only time will tell, but perhaps the talk in this open thread will give us some idea as to how this weekend will turn out...


Morales of Diskfunctional said...

I'm familiar with a few of the Westerns teams, particularly those who attended Slopfest--Churchill HS, SEHS, and Dark Meat. I'll try to present what I know about these teams, objectively and without bias. Please keep in mind that this is based on Slopfest.

CHS is a team that knows the mechanics of Ultimate. During Slopfest (which was months ago, I know) CHS had brought a squad who knew the basics and fundamentals of frisbee. Sharp cuts, precise throws, and well-organized plays led them to the endzone numerous times. The Horizontal and Vertical Stack are (were?) their two weapons of choice for slicing up the D.

The strength that CHS has is that their handlers aren't limited to handling only, as each of their players has the capability to throw all of the basic throws with great distance and aim. One of the most impressive players (in my opinion) on CHS is Daniel Force, who has an amazing repertoire of throws. His handling capabilities fuel their offense along with other handlers. Their offense is strong because they know how to throw, how to cut and how to adapt to any defense. Their deep game is backed by tall athletes, while their short game is supported by numerous handlers who have amazing skill with the disc. When I had first seen Churchhill, I noticed that their style of play was run by Ultimate at its finest--at its simplest. Hardly any of their plays are flashy; they are just well-timed and well-organized, and that will be a huge factor for them I think.

As for their defense, they are quick and not afraid to layout. Their defensive scheme is also a unique one as well, as they run (ran?) the strong Clam defense, which consists of players who poach on both sides of the stack, not allowing any throws to either side throwing lane of the stack. Their Clam / Zone-man defense is good against shutting down teams who run a basic vertical stack; however I'm not too sure of its ability to shut down teams who run a horizontal stack, or a team who uses a quick-dump -> deep offense.

Alameda's Dark Meat is a team very similar to Churchill. Watching both teams play against each other in the Slopfest finals was a great experience, as it gave the mere mortals of California youth ultimate a chance to see top quality teams play. The players on Dark Meat are incredibly athletic. They are tall, fast and can jump very high. Their players run hard and make strong deep cuts that most of their players can huck it to. Their offense utilizes all of their players, not just limiting it to a few of their players. They aren't afraid to layout to make the big grab, or aren't afraid to make the huge sky in the endzone for the point. Dark Meat's offense utilizes strong in-cuts and fast deep cuts for easy, big scores. Dark Meat also plays swiftly, hardly wasting any time moving the disc up the field. Their throws are precise and well-controlled which when combined with a tall deep-game is a lethal combo.

Their defense isn't limited to man, but also zone. Their zone is strong with a quick cup and a tall backfield, moving the disc up the field is a chore. They are fast, but do not necessarily stop all the dump swings, which I think is their strategy to create an easy turn. Dark Meat is a great team with the most athleticism I've ever seen in an Ultimate team--this I believe will be their strength going into Westerns.

I haven't seen much of SEHS play, but from my game against them, I recognized that their strongest players were John Bloch and Jacob Janin. John Bloch has great disc-handling skills and a great reach. Jacob Janin has a lot of agility and speed and can make any cut on the field at any time, most likely losing his defender in the process.

Best of luck to all teams.

Lukester said...

We get on a plane in about 14 hours... I shouldn't be up, but laundry and batteries to charge have dictated I must.

I thank the above post for its' praise of the CHS team. There is talent in the squad, that is for sure, but what excites me most about our team is that we will have with us 5 freshman, 9 juniors and only one single senior. The team that will be seen this weekend will be almost exactly what will be seen next year. Our team is coming into Westerns not with a grudge against Northwest. In fact, we really like their team and were honored to play them last year in the finals. And as for their coach, Mike Mullens; I've looked up to him and the program he has created so much. They are doing things right up in the north and we learn from them more than any other team every time we have the privilege to play or watch them.

The two games I think will be the best on Saturday will be the fight for the number one seed in pools C and D. Hopkins and South Eugene in C and then Alameda and Crescent Valley in D.

Thomas Sanchez said...

Been here for two days now... getting acclimated and such.

Thanks for the hype Morales, i think you read our team well.

We're looking to bring a good finish (if not the Championship Trophy) back to the Bay. Reppin Nor. California out here in the mountains.

I'm going to try my best to post updates as soon as games are over tomorrow, so keep tuned for that.

Anonymous said...

It's going to be off the chain.

Remember, Hopkins wasn't at Westerns last year. Instead they came in 3rd at Easterns to Amherst and Columbia.

Look for a spectacular showing by Hopkins this weekend.