What To Watch For: Thursday’s Second Round

The logo for the USA Ultimate 2012 Club Championships in Sarasota, Florida.Here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on in the second round.

OPEN

It seems only appropriate that Vancouver’s Furious George and Portland’s Rhino would be seeded back-to-back – #8 and #9, respectively — and set to meet again on the first day of pool play in Sarasota. The last time these two met, which was in the 2/3 game at Northwest Regionals, the Monkey was able to steal a game that came down to the wire to claim the higher ranking for this weekend. Rhino won the season series 2-1, though, and it’s safe to assume they will be fired up to make a statement after the teams’ last showdown ended in controversy.

In a match-up that’s expected to have big implications on Friday’s power pools, Chicago’s Machine takes on North Carolina’s Ring of Fire for just the second time this season. Despite their rankings going into the weekend — #7 and #10, respectively — Ring got the best of Machine in their only meeting, and in decisive fashion, winning 13-8 at Labor Day. Both teams enter Nationals somewhat under the radar and if either is going to make a run, it will likely start with a strong showing in this match-up.

MIXED

One of the important early East Coast v. West Coast matchups, Boston’s Slow White takes on Oakland’s American BBQ in the 2/3 game of the nasty Pool C. Although the Flycoons could also surprise, this game could well decide who heads into power pools. This game should also signal how the average strength of the two coasts compares.

WOMEN’S

In the always hard-fought 8/9 game, Boston’s Brute Squad plays Madison’s Heist in a critical matchup for power pool placement. On paper, the lower-seeded Heist has the edge, with a big win over a Bent team that Brute Squad had trouble with in the Northeast Regionals finals. Should be a classic.

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