Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The west coast take on YCC

I was at the YCC this past weekend as an assistant coach for the Seattle boys (Sunshine) - here are my thoughts:

The boys division:

On Saturday, it became clear early on that the pools were uneven (in a tournament like this, it's nearly impossible to create realistic seedings so this wasn't surprising) as Seattle took their pool in three relatively easy games, subbing evenly and using different defenses to beat each team. Pittsburgh was the strongest out of our three opponents (along with Texas and Madison) but our boys stepped up and played particularly well at the end of the day. Madison clearly had some strong individual players but were not deep enough to put a full strong game together against us.

On Sunday, the boys came out strong against minnesota and went up 6-0. Then suddenly it was 6-3. Then 7-6. We were dropping easy passes, throwing poor choices. With each of Superior's scores, we were visibly demoralized. With a team full of boys from State and Westerns champions, it was clear that we were unfamiliar with the mental game associated with a team truly fighting to come back and win. However, in the end, we took half and went on to win, though it stayed close the whole game. Minnesota has some very strong players, led in particular by Shock and Kaminsky. The team as a whole played very good defense and their zone was particularly instrumental to our first half staggering. We had about 4 minutes to prepare for the semifinals - while our boys were scrambling to get water, food, and reapply sunscreen, Colorado was warming up and looking ready to go. Unsurprisingly, they came out with a 4-0 lead. Again we were strangers to losing and did not quite find the proper mindset of 'get it done, now' until it was nearly too late. Colorado took half and we mounted a comeback at the beginning of the second half, but it was too late. The soft cap went on, and Colorado scored two points before we could score the 5 it would have taken for us to win. The game ended 12-10 and Colorado, deservedly, rushed the field and celebrated the upset. White Out played ridiculously good man defense - every one of our cuts was challenged, pieces were taken out of multiple throws by our top throwers. They also brought a strong zone to mix it up. During our comeback we too threw a zone as it was fairly windy on the weekend, but our multiple layout Ds in the cup did not make up for our carelessness near the endzone and misscues on longer throws.

I hear that Colorado was quite tired after our game, and Philadelphia was able to take advantage of this and take it all in the finals - i didn't see this game so hopefully someone else can post a recap. Sunshine took the 3rd place fairly easily in a rematch against pittsburgh. We were very proud to receive the spirit award, but the boys were disappointed. Looking ahead, we lose only 4 seniors and retain most of our handlers who will have another year of experience under their belts by this time next year.

The girls division:
I didn't get to watch that much, but what I did see was that the Seattle girls' general skill level was simply much higher than that of other teams. I think this was most likely accentuated by the wind, but I don't think it would have been much different on a calm day - Seattle Black Out was clearly dominant, from the top of its roster to the alleged bottom, all these girls played amazingly well. They had the experience from last year as well as multiple state and westerns champions to lead their way to the finals. However, I was very excited to see the strong showing from the Colorado girls in their first appearance at YCC.

The mixed division:
I watched even less of this, but I know that Winnipeg and Cinncinnati were very strong and split games, with Winnipeg winning the important one. Which leads me to...

Next week at junior worlds:
this is going to be very interesting - all the members of Team USA played very well this weekend that I saw, both on the girls and boys sides. They have all been training very hard and are beyond excited to play in Devens. But, the Canadians are clearly ready to bring it, too. It will be an exciting week on the west coast and i can hardly wait the 12 hours before i get on the plane to head out there to coach the girls.

Congratulation to all the participants in YCC - it was a great tournament with great spirit and we from Seattle can't wait to come back next year.

west coast out,


Anonymous said...

are there any pictures up online from YCC? For example, the ones that were shown Saturday night in that huge place where we had pizza

Anonymous said...

It might not look like it, but EMU (the NE mixed team) was not far off of Winnipeg or Cincy. EMU had a 5-1 lead on Cincy in pool play when a string of drops and throw-aways let them score 8 poorly contested points. Coming off that defeat, EMU was up 10-6 to Winnipeg in pool play, before falling something like 13-11.

Winnipeg seemed to always turn it on when it counted, coming back from down 10-6 essentially three times (twice against EMU and once against Minnesota) especially with the cap at 12 or 13 is impressive.

I know there are a lot of YCC detractors out there, but it seems like it's promoting the growth of legitimate youth club teams out there.

Thanks to all the directors for a great tournament.

Anonymous said...

colorado broke seed by just a bit...

Fantusta said...

It's almost impossible to seed a thing like this.