Friday, April 29, 2011

Tournaments All Over

This weekend is a HUGe tournament weekend, with teams in action all over the place!

Open Tournaments: Madison MudBath, Georgia HS Championships, Middletown Invitational, St. Johnsbury, St. Cloud Faceoff.

The Madison Mudbath looks to be the big Open tournament of the weekend, with Paideia heading up to face off against top local seed, Hopkins.  Other big teams to look out for up there are DeSmet, Neuqua Valley, Memorial, and Denver.  Both Memorial and Denver have a chance to mix up the pools and seeding, but look for Paideia to take down Hopkins in, what should be, a very good Championship Game

The Georgia HS Championships won't have Paideia's varsity squad, but their JV kids are ready to put on a show.  This one will come down to Collins Hill and Lakeside, with Collins Hill avoiding the upset bid.  I can see Grady and Woodward giving really good games to the finalists in the semis, but it seems the match-ups favor CH and Lakeside.

Middletown features a number of northern teams, several of which are preparing for a run at Eastern's.  This one is just a one day tournament, lots of games for each teams, but expect to see Amity and Hotchkiss in the top crossover, with pretty good games all day long.

St. Johnsbury has a ton of teams and should be pretty wide open.  Top seeded John Jay hasn't played in a while, while Longmeadow has only 3 games on its resume.  Stuyvesant has played much more, but have not faired so well.  Should be a even, fun tournament, and anyone's to win.

Girls Tournaments: Madison MudBath, St. Johnsbury, O'Hara Invite

The MudBath has 8 teams, about half of which have yet to play a game.  Look for Armstrong to pull this one out, over Southwest in the final.

St. Johnsbury features Amherst JVA and Columbia, as well as host team St. Johnsbury.  Amherst JVA is a force to reckon with, but Columbia should be up for the challenge.  I see them falling short, but neither team should have much problems reaching the finals.  A win for Amherst is in the cards

Finally, the O'Hara Invite.  Having worked hard to get this tournament together, I am happy it is finally here.  Amherst and Paideia roll into Philly and plan to square up in the championship game.  In their way stand YHB and Watchung Hills.  Paideia beat YHB a few weeks back at Paideia Cup, and Watchung hasn't played a game since early April.  The local teams, Haverford, Lower Merion, O'Hara and the other Virigina team, WT Woodson, look for a chance to upset some of the best girls teams around.  I don't much see that happening, but with all the talent around, it should be a good weekend in Philly.  Look for Paideia to continue their recent streak of wins against Amherst in the final.

Check out for an edition of On The Line with me about the O'Hara Invite.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Missed out

I missed out on a bunch of HUGE tournaments last weekend.  But the results are just as interesting to look at.

Paideia Cup saw both Paideia teams, Open and Girls, losing to Seattle Fryz.  Seattle dispatched all challengers, impressively, only yielding an average of 8 goals against in the open Division, and only 3 goals against in the Girls division.  

In the Open Division, the top two teams will not be at Easterns' but the rest of the field gave us a look at how Easterns' might actually break down.  3rd through 6th place will all be at Eastern's, and if this tournament gives us an accurate look, that tournament will be even better at the top than I had expected!

In the Girls Division, Paideia girls did not have a problem with any team, until the ran into Fryz.  While 5 of the girls teams involved with the Paideia Cup will be at Easterns', the O'Hara Invite looks to have a huge showdown of Amherst and Paideia, so I am really looking forward to that, and not just because I happen to be the coach of the host team, Cardinal O'Hara.

Back on the north side, Born 2 Dive also showed some great storylines.  Amherst showed they are still at the top of the pile, crusing by all competition by at least 5 goals.  On the other side, Hopkins had a little more trouble getting to the final, including a close call against North Hills.  Pennsbury and NH decided not to rematch their Steel City final, instead, choosing to save it for the State Championships.  Radnor managed to show some chops, avenging a earlier loss to Watchung Hills to finish 5th, and Stuyvesant finished well in 9th place.

All said and done, on the Open side, Easterns' look way more interesting with at least 5 teams proving they can compete for the title.  The Girls' division looks like it belongs to Amherst, but an unblemished season will rest in the outcome of the O'Hara Invite.

Side note, Paganello, one of the largest beach ultimate tournaments in the world, is this week.  I am coaching a team of players over in Italy in the juniors division, just a handful of players from Philly, the team name is PHUEL.  We are the only juniors team from the US in the competition, check out the tournament at for updates.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Weekend Tournaments - HipHop, East Invite and Texas Championships

In what seems to be the earliest HS State tournament in the country, Texas kicks off the HS championship season.  Predictions again are all guesswork as it seems that none of the teams have played any games as of yet, or at least, reported any scores.  I will take LASA in a nailbiter over McCallum, 15-12.

East Invite is the first big tournament in CO this spring, with both Open and Girls divisions.  Out of the 12 teams in the Open Division, with a complete guess, I take Boulder over Cherry Creek in the championship, 15-10.  In the Girls Division, I'll take Denver East, undefeated in the tournament, with an average margin of winning of at least 6 points.

HipHoponPop is the largest of the tournaments this weekend, 12 Open Division 1, 4 Girls teams and 6 Division 2 teams.  In Division 1, I pick Radnor winning this year, taking out Lower Merion in the final 13-10.  Girls division looks a bit more hectic, but I will pick my own team, O'Hara as the eventual champions.

I won't be betting on any teams though, I'm not Pete Rose.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

HS Eastern's and Western's

So I have been pretty focused on PA Youth Ultimate, something I know I need to change, but, given that I see that everyday, it is hard not to be.  Sorry for that, I will try to do a little more coverage of other areas, but, I will definitely be guessing.  Unless someone helps by directing me to highlights or some kind of coverage of other areas.

Let's take a look at USA Ultimate Eastern's and Western's.  First off, let's not get overly excited as to what these tournaments are, invitational tournaments of teams that were in the previous year.  In order words, teams that have yet to prove themselves in the current season.  

Teams are invited in based on a paper application and how they finished last year at the State Championship tournament.  It is rare that young teams win State Championships, so, in essence, graduating seniors win the right for the younger players to play at a tournament that confuses most other sports.  Ever hear of a HS Baseball team bragging about winning a regional tournament?  No?  Me either.  I hear tons of boasting about State Championships, but these regional tournaments really don't mean anything more than great tournaments like Amherst Invitational, Paideia Cup, Hopkins Hustle, or Madison Mudbath.

I am not saying they are a bad thing.  I am just really looking forward to the day, in about 3 years, when USA Ultimate exits the regional tournament model and fully embraces the State Championship as the end of the line for HS teams.  Then, those other tournaments, like Amherst, Paideia, Hopkins, and MudBath, become even more sought after, and followed HS tournaments.

With that said, I think I should give my (way-too-early) predictions of the final standings for HS Eastern's and Western's.  To save me some grief, I am only predicting top 4 finishers.

HS Eastern's Girls:
Ok, this one, I think I have the best chance of predicting, because I have already seen a bunch of these teams.  YHB is very good, they split their squad at their own Invite and still won, beating Columbia (after CHS beat the other half of YHB Girls) at universe despite an injury to one of their better players.  Allerdice simply kicked everyone's butt last weekend at Keystone Classic, in some windy, and very uphill, conditions.  But, Amherst Girls are coming, and as Larry Bird famously said "So, who's coming in second?"  (Paideia has graduation this weekend, and wil end their season at the O'Hara Invite)
1. Amherst
2. YHB
3. Allerdice
4. Watchung Hills

*Check out O'Hara Invite at the end of April to see Paideia match up with Amherst, Watchung Hills, YHB, and probably Allerdice, and really see how good those teams are.

HS Eastern's Open:
So, keep complaining, but Pennsbury is out.  USA Ultimate allowed them to put a bid in, but ultimately, they decided to keep them out.  Paideia is not in for the same reason the Girls are out, graduation is that same weekend.  There is still some decent competition.  YHB has been whipping everyone, USN has lost only 4 games (2 to Paideia) and I have yet to see Columbia or Amherst play a game (against HS teams...)  Radnor has put up some impressive wins, but I mean, really, who have they played?
1. Columbia
2. Amherst
3. YHB
4. USN

*Born2Dive and Paideia Cup are on the weekend, April 16, tune in to both to see some fantastic Ultimate.

HS Western's Girls
Now I really have to guess.  8 teams playing, 7 from DiscNW.  I can't seem to find anything about Summit, though I have no doubt they are a worthy team.  Looking at the standings for the Girls League in DiscNW, The Northwest School is simply pulverizing everyone, only giving up an average of 3 goals a game.
1. Northwest School
2. Seattle Academy
3. Nathan Hale
4. Summit (because, hey, why not?)

HS Westerns' Open
I read a lot of Western teams complaining that noone writes about them.  Do you want to know why?  Take a look at the teams that are going to Westerns' and try to find out something, anything about them.  I have been searching for a while now, and I have very little.  Also, Louisiana and Minnesota, I feel bad for you guys, long journey to Oregon, Philly would have been so much cooler.  At least Catholic should come out with some medals, in what I am betting will be the best game of the weekend.
1. Catholic
2. Northwest School
3. Franklin
4. Summit (host team, gotta show some love)

Ok, make me look stupid, give me your predictions.