What To Watch For: Thursday’s First Round

The logo for the USA Ultimate 2012 Club Championships in Sarasota, Florida.The first games of the 2012 USA Ultimate Club Championships are almost here! Stay with us all this weekend for live updates, scores, previews and recaps, and video. Here’s what to watch for tomorrow morning in the first round:

OPEN

The last time Boston’s Ironside faced Portland’s Rhino in an early morning game was in Seattle at the Emerald City Classic. Rhino pulled off the shock upset – their first of six consecutive universe point wins. What’s more, Rhino was without two of their top players – Chase Sparling-Beckley and Dylan Freechild. Ironside will be fully prepared, but this seems like their most losable game of the day.

At the Chesapeake Invite, Atlanta’s Chain Lightning was on their way to an easy win in the semifinals over Toronto’s GOAT with a 9-4 lead in a game to 13. But GOAT, showing amazing poise, rallied back, capitalizing on Chain mistakes to get the shocking upset victory. The two teams face off in a rematch tomorrow morning in a statement game for both teams. A win is critical to GOAT’s chances to get into power pools and they’ll go in with confidence after their Chesapeake success. Chain will be looking to silence the doubters.

MIXED

Aside from Drag’N Thrust, Iowa’s Chad Larson Experience hasn’t faced much top competition since early July. They’ll have their hands full with San Francisco’s Blackbird, last year’s National Champion. CLX is feeling confident that they have a chance to go all the way this year, but Blackbird will be hungry for an early win to smooth their chances for a repeat.

WOMEN’S

You might think paying attention to San Francisco’s Fury during pool play isn’t worth your time – they’re just going to dominate. But their first round game against Madison’s Heist could be interesting. They are the only two undefeated teams remaining in the Series in any division (except for the Capitals, who have only played Sectionals and Regionals). Heist hasn’t really been tested yet this season against a top team – this will be quite a first challenge.

Additional reporting from Wesley Cronk.

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