Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fall PHUL 2006


High school Ultimate is well under way in Pittsburgh. A fall youth league with roughly 10 teams has been created and the second annual Fall PHUL Tournament took place in early October that saw 7 teams kick off their fall season. The fall is also a great time to bring out some of the new players who may interested in playing in the spring.

All of the teams that attended the one day tournament were able to test their ability by playing all 6 of the other teams. With each team showing different strengths and all teams showing a lot of potential, especially among the newer recruits, intensity at the tournament was high. Things picked right back up where they left off in the spring with the exception of Montour (3rd in PHUL last season; 0-6 at Fall PHUL). North Hills (6-0) finished in first place and was followed by Hampton (5-1). Mt. Lebanon (4-2) finished third.

It can be hard to judge a team in the fall as hard work, conditioning and determination during the winter can drastically change a team, but an evaluation of how teams stand in the fall is not bad. Let's take a look at the 7 teams that showed up at Fall PHUL (in alphabetical order):
Below the fold action...
Bethel Park: With two players who were part of Pittsburgh Impulse's 4th place finish at YCC's this past summer, Zach Reinhardt and David Macurak look to continue Bethel Park's consistent play in PHUL. After finishing the 2006 regular season with a 6-2 record, the team is one of the underrated teams in PHUL. The only problem that the team seems to face is dedication and commitment as they forfeited games at Fall PHUL because some players did not wish to stay any longer.

Fox Chapel: What a difference a year can make; from PHUL champions in 2005 to a 2-6 finish in 2006. Of course the loss of some great players is cause for that, but Dan Berk and Ariel Altschuler hope to turn their '06 woes into a winning team this spring. The team carried a lot of potential into Fall PHUL, but tough losses to North Hills, Hampton and Mt. Lebanon did not sit well with the team who should use those losses as motivation over the winter and into spring.

Hampton: With a newly acquired coach, David Vatz, Hampton hopes to keep the consistency of being a legitimate contender to win PHUL. After an 8-0 record in the regular season in the spring and an appearance at Easterns, captain Lukas Truckenbrod should be able to work well with Perry Martin, Alex Lamers and Griffin Patterson (all three were part of Pittsburgh Impulse this past summer). Adequate handlers could be a problem with Hampton, but their coach should be able to help fix that problem.

Montour: A surprise team that had quick success in its first year this past spring, Montour learned the game quickly from their coach, Darren Shultz. Undefeated in the regular season this past spring, the team hopes to keep that going this season, but will need to learn the game as their play at Fall PHUL did not look solid. However, Montour is an excellent example to show that it is possible to teach athletic kids the game of Ultimate and they used that last season to carry them into semi-finals. If Darren Shultz is able to teach these kids the game just as he did last season, there is no reason that Montour should not be able to go deep into the playoffs.

Mt. Lebanon: With the play of Julian Hausman and Zach Ehler, Mt. Lebanon should be a serious threat to win PHUL 2007. The consistency of Peter Imler is unmatched in PHUL and only adds to an already strong team. With their 15-14 universe point loss in the last PHUL finals behind them, their improvement and determination to overcome that tough loss should motivate them throughout the season. Mt. Lebanon has always been a consistent team since the creation of PHUL in 2001; and 2007 should be no different.

North Hills: Possessing probably the best handling duo in all of PHUL with Alex Thorne and Ben Funk, North Hills has a legitimate chance to repeat in 2007. Over the summer, North Hills was able to get Nick Kaczmarek to coach them this upcoming season. He is already showing signs of utilizing playmakers Colin Conner and Jeff Olko to create a very tough team to play against. This team, whose players are all juniors, should run deep into the playoffs and qualify for a bid to Easterns.

North Hills Middle School: The second wave of players in North Hills, the middle school team shows you why it's good to start early. With Max Thorne - the younger brother of Alex Thorne - and his friends already grasping the game of Ultimate, North Hills is building quite a program. Their knowledge and skill of the game has already been seen with a 6-4 win over Montour.

This is just a small sampling of what PHUL is going to bring to the table in 2007. There were 18 Division I teams (yes, there is also a Junior Varsity/Girls division) last year and the league is always growing. It's hard to know what to expect from some teams in the spring, especially if they have kept themselves quiet over the fall and winter, but no matter the case, there is always going to be good competition when it comes down to it.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

how will these teams match up against top pa powerhouses such as pennsbury.

Julian Hausman said...

I am not trying to take away from Hampton or North Hills' victory over Mt.Lebo in anyway at all when I say this, I just want to point somethings out because this is supposed to be hype:

Lebo tried to play all its new players against Hampton as much as possible, we made our strategy to involve the rookies in this game as much as possible. This included playing only 2 starters (I played, Pete Imler did not) against Hampton's starting line on universe point. On the other hand, Alex Lamers was missing from the game (YCC player). I have a feeling the game won't be as pathetic (on both sides) when this matchup happens again during more competitive games (the game took so long it was capped at 6-5.

5 of our seniors had to leave before Mt.Lebos game against North Hills, including myself, and our 2 biggest deep threats. North Hills won 11-9, but those 5 players make a very diffrent game. Also, I know for a fact both Lebo, nor North Hills played their starters all at once, so once again, we can't see how these guys match up until they play in a more competitive setting.

As far as how PHUL matches up to top PA teams (are there any other strong Philly teams besides Pennsbury this year?)I think Pittsburgh will not be pushovers. North Hills has 6 YCC guys that played against Philly in a close game. (I remember Jeff Olko playing on Noah and Ben Funk on Mark). Colin Conner (big player for NH, also plays for Burgh) went out hurt against Philly at YCCs, and did not go to states where NH played Pennsbury. Hampton has alot of height, so if Pennsbury can't bring down the 50/50s, Hampton will make it a very close game.

Fantusta said...

Pennsbury will wreck Pittsburgh.
After that, we might actually see some decent PHUEL/PHUL rivalry going down.

kevin taylor said...

the dactyls are 2nd in phuel. we were up on north hills at hiphop last year, before losing it when the time cap came on. i guess we wont know how it matches up until states.

b.hizzle said...

I think the original anonymous poster misses the point.

What's more impressive is the growing leagues in PA. Whether one team or another can beat Pennsbury doesn't seem to matter much right now. If these respective leagues can keep up the growth, all these PA teams will be hot in the years to come.

I'll take long-term success over one-hit wonders any day.

kevin taylor said...

yes, good point, but i wouldnt be one to write off pennsbury as a one hit wonder.

BnB said...

Pennsbury is going to win Easterns.

Julian Hausman said...

I dunno Chris, if Paideia is able to go to Easterns this year, they might give Pennsbury a run for their money. Three worlds players on one line is pretty tough to beat.

BnB said...

Yeah ok well if paideia is able to go, I bet on them, but historically they are never able to go because of there school prom, and I heard them say that it probably wasn't going to be changed this year again.

Anonymous said...

I believe that YCCs was quite a wake up call for all of Youth Ultimate. For most teams, it showed how powerful Philly is and what they can do. But for Pittsburg, it was a showing that they can put up one hell of a fight. Most teams in Pgh knew Philly was good, and some believed unbeatable. YCCs changed that. I beleive that Pgh can beat Pennsbury. Montour put up a fight against Pennsbury last year, Hampton put up a fight against Wissahickon, Lebo beat CB East. NH put up a decent fight against all three (without Colin Conners) I believe. And now each of those teams come with people from YCCs who know how much of a fight they can put up. Pittsburgh is no pushover anymore and YCCs showed that.

Alex Peters said...

Uh, Lebo did not beat CB East. CB East whupped Lebo's ass, 13-5.

jayhuerbin said...

I think he/she meant that Lebo won their quarterfinal game (against Lower Merian if I'm not mistaken) and advanced to semi's.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Mount Lebanon destroy columbia at easterns, and columbia beat pennsbury several times.

Alex Peters said...

It would be nice if people actually looked for the real answers themselves before posting. Hint, everyone's records are available on the UPA website.

Yes, Mount Lebo beat Columbia at Easterns. However, this game directly followed Columbia's capped 14-13 double game point loss to Pennsbury, so I think it's safe to assume that the Columbia boys were a bit more tired than Mount Lebo after a 15-2 shelacking from Amerherst. And while you were looking for convoluted 3rd hand "team A beat team B but team C beat team A" situations, you failed to mention that AT EASTERNS Pennsbury beat Mount Lebo 15-7 in pool play.

Anonymous said...

i think everyone needs to realize that columbia played almost all of their subs which were mostly freshmen and sophomores so that they could gain experience. They were certainly all tired and didn't want to play that game very much because it was a consolation game.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I cannot believe that Columbia didn’t care about that game because it wasn't just any tournament it was Easterns. Therefore every game should be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Columbia didnt play many starters at Easterns against Lebo. Montour wouldnt of even been close to Pennsbury at States if it wasnt for a ridiculous wind that kept the game close + Pennsbury was missing their two best players (Noah Saul, Frank Harris) nvm all that, Pittsburg doesnt have a legit shot at taking out Pennsbury, and it will be PHS Amherst and Paideia battling it out once spring comes around. Also, i saw the "3 junior world players" mentioned about Paideia, well Noah Saul just got plain robbed for his junior worlds spot, and Mark and Scotty can run with Ollie and Grant any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburg should work on beating Columbia who looks like they will be on the losing end of the Columbia-Pennsbury rivalry, THEN, they can start worrying about Pennsbury. I dont think Columbia or PHS will lose to anybody in PA or NJ this year other than themselves.

Ryan said...

You can't believe Columbia didn't care about the 5-8 placement games at Easterns? What about DoG and Ring forfeiting their 5-8 placement games at club nationals?

Also, three junior worlds players will not make Paideia the best team - don't forget that Pennsbury was up on them 11-7 at the Paideia Cup before folding and conceding 5 straight points.

It will be quite the battle at the top this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Amherst knocked out in the semifinals of Easterns.

Anonymous said...

North Hills will be the best team in PA next year- no question. They should be able to take out Columbia as well.

There isn't a Pittsburgh team that is stronger than Pennsbury this year.

YCCs was a wakeup call- Pittsburgh was a very young team that kept with Philly til the end. At YCCs this year there might be a reversal of roles.

Anonymous said...

pennsbury's pretty well known prom is on easterns this year.

Anonymous said...

yea Pennsbury is in the process of deciding whether to got to prom or Easterns, right now with the exception of one or two starters we should be able to go to Easterns without a major drop in talented players. Well be at Padeia and Amherst though for sure.

Anonymous said...

on the whole lebo-columbia controversy, I personally dont care whether a team is tired or not after playing a tough game before. Tournament play is a different type of play than an individual game. Teams need endurance to last the tournament. This is no different from saying, well, our star player was hurt, so our loss doesnt matter. You cant use that argument because a team needs to be multi-dimensional. One player cant always win a tournament. A team cant run out of energy on a previous game and use that as an excuse for a loss.

Anonymous said...

It seems like Hampton, Lebo, and North Hills are the three strongest teams in Pittsburgh. Of these three teams, which one deserves the "Pine" the most?

North Hills: Won finals last year and didnt lose any players from graduation. Great handling skills. NH tends to preform especially well if they can take an early lead. North hills is definately looked at as the current best team in pittsburgh.

Lebo: a very all around team. Good handlers, good recievers. Strong Zone offense. Made it to finals last year, but few of their players played to their full potential. They had some trouble with their deep game on both offense and defense during the finals game as well.

Hampton: Hampton is easily the tallest phul team. they have the strong Truckenbrod-Martin connection for a powerful huck. If hampton can improve their short game, I have no doubt they will be one of the strongest PHUL teams this year

Ryan said...

If columbia had beaten pennsbury, you can bet that the starters would have played and played well against Amherst. But a meaningless consolation game? Give the rookies PT.

Anonymous said...

COlumbia lost fair and square. Stop making excuses. Mount Lebanon is probably a better team.

Darren Shultz said...

A correction to the original post. Montour was 1-5 at PHUL Fall 2006, beating Fox Chapel.

Anonymous said...

lebo is a joke, columbia will own them. keep pretending that you won the game at easterns fair and square if you want to, but lets be real columbia didnt want to play after the pennsbury game. in the spring im sure columbia will prove me right.

Anonymous said...

If Lebo didn't win fair and square, then how did they cheat?

Anonymous said...

its not that lebo cheated its just that after a long hard tiring game and losing. u dont have the gas to really play the next game. fresh columbia vs libo, libo will get destroyed any day of the week.

b.hizzle said...

I'm pretty sure no current Columbia players read this blog.

We teach them to do their talking on the field only. Except for Ryan. Hopefully Stanford will teach him.

Ryan said...

Doubtful ...

I'm not saying that Lebo didn't deserve to win that game. I'm just saying that consolation games in the winner's bracket are generally meaningless with regards to evaluating strength, unless it's a particularly testy rivalry game or there are wildcard implications. This is true at all levels of play, from high school to college to club (and even in Mixed).

Julian Hausman said...

I wasn't there for the Columbia game, so I can't say anything about their game, they seem like a very good team.

The game is over. A winner was decided, if Columbia thinks it was unfair or that we cheated, that is perfectly ok with Lebo. I'm sure we will play some time again over the course of the year and if Columbia wins, they can throw it in our faces all they want.

We are each diffrent teams now, we both graduated players. I want to play Columbia this year to see what happens in a rematch.

Post your name and where you play from if you post anonymously.


-Lebo captain

Anonymous said...

Columbia was better than Lebo last year, is better than them this year, and will be better then them next year. Ive played both teams, and i played in that Universe point game against Columbia with Pennsbury, and i played Lebo in pool play, and losing because u played in a Universe point game, with starters getting hurt, and 15 minute Universe, and then making a coaching descision to give your younger players time at the big show is a legit excuse.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if Mount Lebanon is better than us or if we are better than them. The game should be about having fun not rubbing it in other teams faces that you are better than them. It's really stupid to bash each other over the internet and cause unnesesary arguements. So everyone please stop.
Thanks
Ben S
COlumbia high school

Anonymous said...

Ben S makes a great point. It is about having fun, and hopefully respecting opponents too.

Thanks Ben!

tiinabooth said...

I completely agree with everything that Ben S said. I would like to add that if you are going to trash-talk or air petty grievances, would you please consider doing this over private email? Matt is trying to do something new and important here on this blog, and sometimes it feels like I'm reading stuff that should be in a bathroom stall.
And, for Pete's sake, have some guts and identify yourself when you post.
We can do better.

Julian Hausman said...

I just want to clarify something for Ben;

No one from Lebo was doing this smash talk(unless you think I did), I am the only player from our team that posted here. If you found something I said offensive, I am sorry, I'm not trying to piss anyone off.

I also agree with what Ben and Tiina said, this blog is about learning about other teams and seeing whats going on in the national juniors ultimate community, if you are hear to say "We will own you"(especially anonymously) then don't post.

That being said, I still really want to play Columbia this year, I think a rematch would do both teams some good, and I want to be able to play Columbia when they are full strength, even if Lebo gets killed.

jayhuerbin said...

I feel that talk among players on different teams should be encouraged. It's a shame that some posters remain anonymous, but that's how it goes. I'm glad to see this article bring about a lot of discussion. That is something that I had hoped for, although I did not expect it to go cross state to Philadelphia.

I may go against what some of you have said here, but I believe the talk among the different players is good for competition.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a little Philadelphia vs Burgh smack talk. I'm sure most states don't have the pleasure of having two solid city programs in the same state and we should be proud of that fact. This rivalry will allow both cities to improve together and hopefully encourage emergence of some powerhouse teams on the east coast. Yes yes, I know we can do this without the smack talking, but as long as it's not too personal, it's all for fun. It creates some excitement when Burgh and Philly teams get to play one another, and in turns creates more competitive games.

Jay, congrats on your first article, it encouraged a lot of replys. Rest your injury, hope to see you on the field soon.

tiinabooth said...

It has been my experience that the best way for teams to improve is to work hard based on internal motivation. If you rely on, or even allow, what others think about you to improve competition, then you are focusing on the external too much.
It may be more difficult to develop internal motivation, but I believe that in the long run it will serve you better. I also realize that this idea is the antithesis of what most of us see and hear in professional sports.
This concept is taken from many basic readings on sports psychology, a field that I find fascinating. If anyone else would like to learn more, I suggest starting at the website of Dr. Alan Goldberg, which is competitivedge.com He works with my team throughout the spring season. His expertise has enabled us to have much more fun and focus on and off the field, regardless of the competitive outcome.