Friday, March 07, 2008

2008 SLUJ Preview

Games start this week, so click below for a team-by-team preview of what 2008 has in store for St. Louis Ultimate Juniors! Keep in mind, this is just one (extremely intelligent and well-informed) guy's opinion, and in no way reflects the positions of SLUA, SLUJ, or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Desmet: Tough to topple, Pete’s boys will certainly continue to hover near the top this year. They always seem to pull great athletes from the student body, and under Pete’s tutelage, they always run a crisp, precision offense and a high-energy defense. There’s no reason to suspect this year will be any different.

Francis Howell Central: I’m of two minds about what to expect from my squad this year. We were able to recruit a few very athletic seniors this year, but they’ve never played the game, so much will depend on their progression as the season begins to take shape. I’m not sure I’ve EVER had this many respectable throwers on the team, either. If we’re able to coalesce and form a Team, the potential is there . . .

SLUH: Apparently, there’s been an ultimate explosion at SLUH. With a new coach and a new JV program, this just may be the year that SLUH makes a bid to return to their former glory. For those not in the know, up until three years ago, there were two ultimate teams in St. Louis—SLUH & Desmet—but for the past couple of years, SLUH has been rebuilding (they were very young two years ago, less so last year). It should be interesting to see what the year brings for “St. Louis Ultimate High.”

Priory: The offseason has caused more turnover for this team than a 30 mph crosswind! Nearly their entire lineup graduated. This is not hyperbole. A player told me, last year, that there was only one player on the team who was NOT a senior. Still, the Jeromans’ great success last year should have been enough to draw some quality athletes into the program, and the consistent leadership of Br. Alban should keep them in the hunt.

Marquette: Marquette will be a major contender this year, I’m certain of it. They’re returning a fair number of players and keeping the talented coaches (and players) Jack C. & Tim M. Last year, they were fast but a little raw. This year, I’m looking for them to clean up the offense and make a push to challenge Desmet one more time. Grudge match, anyone?

Vashon: Definitely the top candidate to surprise, Vashon had a difficult season last year. Spotty attendance and very little practice time had them dropping games left and right. This year, however, coaches Chris M. & Ben T. tell me they’ve brought in the school’s crème de la crème, including but not limited to a D1 football recruit and the school’s 3 best female basketball players. They’ve been practicing in the gym for weeks, so maybe last year’s problem of having no reliable forehands on the team will be corrected for this year. If they have a few kids who can handle the disc, look out for the Wolverines in 2008.

Kirkwood: I haven’t a clue what to expect from Kirkwood this year. Last year, they had to combine with Webster Groves just to field a team; however, as I said . . . I have zero knowledge about their team this year.

CBC: Coach Matt R. tells me they’re very young this year and lost several key players last year; however, one thing that has ALWAYS been true of the purple people eaters at CBC: they improve over the course of the season. Just how much remains to be seen.

Chaminade: Brand new team, brand new coach, brand new fun for St. Louis Ultimate Juniors. Like Kirkwood, I know almost nothing about this team.

Clayton: What an improvement they made over the course of the season in 2007! They were practically a different team by the end of the year! I’m fairly sure their captain graduated, but they may be another candidate to surprise this year, depending on how many of those other, most-improved players they retained.

Parkway North: Unable to pull out a single win last year, the Vikings have impressed the league by remaining hungry for more and returning in 2008. I’m not sure if it’s true, but they seemed young last year, and so they may find themselves better off this year (what with a brand-new team in the league and an added JV team to battle).

JV Roundup: Of the league's JV teams (Francis Howell Central, Desmet, SLUH), it looks like Desmet will be the team to beat. Recruiting at FHC didn’t go as well as I had liked (with regard to the number of kids who came out), and SLUH’s JV program is in its very first year. Desmet’s is in its 3rd, I believe, so you’ve got to expect some success from that kind of stability. Still, look for FHC to surprise some of the league’s less established teams.


Fantusta said...

Seems like SLUJ teams have a high percentage of coaches -- whereas they're the exception rather than the rule in a place like Philly. Any comments as to why this might be?

Anonymous said...

St Louis has a core of players from the Tunas and others that still play league, but are greatly interested in seeing their offspring develop as players. That pulls more players into coaching roles.

Coach Becker said...

Lynn's right about that. Plus, for whatever reason, we seem to have quite a few players who also teach high school (English, especially). This helps us establish ongoing programs in the schools.

As a matter of fact, I'm proud to say that EVERY team in SLUJ is coached this year.

smith said...

Kirkwood wasn’t combined with Webster last year. Kirkwood and Ladue were a combined team, I believe. We, Lindbergh, had some Webster students on our team. Not that this matters much.