There may be some new bells and whistles in the AUDL’s Eastern Conference, but the Rush’s core proved that the East still runs through Toronto.
With a 20-19 win over the DC Breeze (0-1) and 22-20 win over New York Empire (0-1) this weekend, the Rush temporarily quieted the questions as to whether the offseason additions for the Breeze and Empire will fundamentally change the landscape in the East. Despite securing the two early season wins (which could be crucial tie-breakers even if the late season rankings tighten up), the Rush (2-0) may not exactly be standing on solid ground. They had to comeback from down 10-6 against the Breeze and 17-14 against the Empire.
The Rush’s Saturday win over the Breeze could have easily gone the other way. In the final seconds of the game, Tyler Degirolamo had two throwaways, one of which was to Alex Thorne as time expired; a completion on either throw could have sent the contest into overtime.
The San Jose Spiders pulled away from the San Francisco FlameThrowers in the fourth quarter of the American Ultimate Disc League’s first edition of the ESPN3 Game of the Week, taking a well-earned 20-16 victory to start their season off with a win. The FlameThrowers, who stayed close throughout, were within one heading into the final quarter, but San Jose was able to put up seven fourth quarter points to take the game. Overall, the game lived up to its billing as the West Coast showcase, with numerous hucks, layouts, and contested skies.
San Jose Stars Shine in Debut Professional Performances
Used primarily as a handler, star signee Ashlin Joye led the charge for the Spiders. Joye finished with a game-high five assists, utilizing effective breaks and huck throws to make the Spiders’ offense look easy. Kevin Smith and Tim Gilligan provided assistance in the backfield; Smith moved the disc well and was also able to get loose for three scores1, while Gilligan used quick throws and cuts to run the offense on several occasions.
The Spiders’ stars looked solid, with Beau Kittredge playing big and piling up stats. Although he didn’t come down with every disc, it sometimes took two or even three defenders to stop him. The FlameThrowers successfully managed to contain Kittredge deep for most of the night, but that meant that he and other cutters were able to get plenty of separation on their under cuts.
Here are results from and analysis of Men’s Division III Conference tournaments around the country:
Carolina DIII (AC): In a one day round robin in perhaps the toughest CC in the DIII country, Elon Big Fat Bomb (4-0) prevailed. Wake Forest (3-1) finished in second after falling to Elon 14-13 in a game that Wake led for much of the way. UNC-A (2-2) beat Davidson (1-3) 14-13 to claim third. North Greenville rounded out the group. Any of the top four finishers can reasonably make Nationals, but this CC was a good indication of the serious contenders.
East Penn DIII (OV): Lehigh, Haverford, and Franklin and Marshall all qualified for Ohio Valley regionals. Lehigh didn’t see a ton of resistance outside of a 13-9 win against Haverford. They’re still the favorite in the OV. Read more →
The Northwest Challenge was the final stage setter for the college series, featuring a bevy of teams expected to make the trip to Cincinnati and important games for deciding the tenor of regionals across the country.
What we may have finally seen is the striation of the division into tiers. At the top are the elite teams contending for a national championship, like Ohio State, Oregon, and Central Florida. From there, we can drift down the list of the power rankings. The teams at the fringes of each tier still have the potential to move around, but for the most part, expectations for final team performances are becoming more clear.
As one of the season’s final tournaments, teams attending the Northwest Challenge played with some sense of urgency — although that also may have been muted by the bracket-less format — and displayed a variety of their strengths.
Chicago Invite, the largest tournament in the Midwest, brought 64 open teams and 32 women’s teams to the south side of Chicago for one of the last chances to play before the Series. Some teams opted for this to be their year’s final tournament. Others hoped to boost their rankings and see what their regional rivals brought to the field. For one team, it was their first outdoor tournament and a chance to finally be ranked by USA Ultimate.
Although the weather on Saturday should have kept spirits down, the addition of hot cocoa and Ramen noodles to the standard tournament food kept the teams and spectators happy. Still, a combination of mud, wind, fatigue, and dropped pulls made the results surprising. Read more →
A spring season highlighted by bad weather was punctuated this weekend by the shortening and canceling of tournaments around the country. Roll Call and Natural State were fully canceled, while New England Open and Garden State (among others) were suspended after Saturday play. With so much on the line for Division III teams around the country, no one wanted the rain and torn-up fields to prevent teams from deciding their own fate. With the ranked season now over, lets take a look at where things stand.
Many DIII teams played at Chicago Invite. From a bid standpoint, perhaps the most important of these was Ohio Wesleyan. Currently ranked 17th in the USAU rankings, the Firedogs may have played themselves out of a bid. They lost a winnable game against Notre Dame and Northern Michigan and also got slammed by North Park, 11-3. It’s hard to tell at this point whether or not they’ll hold onto their bid for the Ohio Valley. Read more →
Easterns 2014 had it all: beautiful weather, a nearby beach, great college ultimate, and unpredictable results. Michigan comes away with all the headlines after a huge Sunday performance to grab the title, but many other teams — including the ones more likely to contend for a National Championship — had important weekends.
Here are the biggest stories from the weekend. Read more →
CHICAGO — Austin was full of surprises last weekend, with the mighty falling and Division III teams rising. Centex held true to form with gusty winds on Sunday and a lot of mid-range movement, and regional rivals got a good look at each other before the start of the Series next month. Centex was not the stage upon which the North Central and Atlantic Coast hopefuls were able to secure bids, but this tournament proved once more that a lot can happen when you throw 40 teams together, and stir. Read more →
For a recap of DIII Easterns, check out the full tournament writeup. Elon went home with a tournament victory while the rest of the Atlantic Coast region looked very strong.
Southerns quietly featured a bracket with three of the better DIII teams in the nation. #18 Wake Forest finally earned a good win over #7 Carleton GOP, but continued their trend of losing to quality opponents. Their five losses at Southerns came by a total of 13 points. The losses include South Florida, Georgia College, UCLA, and St. Olaf. GOP looked like their usual selves, winning tough games against teams like Appalachian and Princeton. The perennial North Central contenders also lost close to Williams and both DIII opponents.
#13 Georgia College definitely proved they can play by taking down GOP and Wake Forest. They lost big to South Florida, but unless a Southeast challenger comes out of the woodwork, I’d bet my life savings that GCSU makes Nationals out of the South East.
#2 St. Olaf went 5-2 at Southerns with a nice win over Wake Forest. They fell to LSU and UT-Chattanooga. They should comfortably hold a bid for the NC. Read more →
AUSTIN — “Northeastern’s zone is terror.”
When #2 ranked Central Florida’s Mariel Hammond — one of the top players at Centex and probably in the country — says that immediately upon exiting a field where she’s just become a tournament champion, it’s probably true.
When a team’s zone is able to hamper Central Florida’s upwind movement, which earned the Sirens more upwind points than any other team on Sunday, it’s time to pay attention.