Minnesota Goes Undefeated To Win 2013 Easterns

Despite having not stepped on the field since mid-February, Minnesota had an undefeated run through Easterns, highlighted by a comeback 15-13 win over Central Florida to take the tournament title.

WILMINGTON — Despite having not stepped on the field since mid-February, Minnesota had an undefeated run through Easterns, highlighted by a comeback 15-13 win over Central Florida to take the tournament title.

Minnesota trailed by two at halftime but used a 5-0 run to take a 13-10 lead that put them ahead for good. Greg Arenson finished with four scores and five assists to lead Grey Duck to the win.

Unlike all of their other wins, Minnesota was not in control of this game from the start. Central Florida came out strong and took a 2-0 lead after the 6′ 7″ Mischa Freystaetter caught a huck from Brawley Adams for the early break. 

Arenson put Minnesota on the board as Ryan Osgar hit him in the endzone to make it 2-1.

After a Jeremy Langdon score on offense, Central Florida would take their biggest lead of the game — three — as Freystaetter got up over Arenson in the endzone.

As the rain started to pick up again after breaking for the beginning of the game, Minnesota effectively used their zone and Langdon missed his receiver. Minnesota worked it quickly and Arenson found Jason Tschida to tie the game at 5s.

The teams traded points until just before halftime, when Arenson threw the disc away deep and UCF churned up the length of the field. Kyle Reedy hit Freystaetter to take the 8-6 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the break, the teams went back and forth with good scores both ways. But at 10-8, Minnesota took control of the game.

With Greg Arenson led a focused Grey Duck team to five unanswered scores that gave them a three point lead that proved insurmountable for Central Florida. UCF seemed to run out of gas, as cutters stood in the stack and the offense lacked motion.

“We seemed really fatigued,” said Freystaetter. “You could probably see in the finals — we were just dead.”

The Minnesota run was punctuated by a Callahan from Josh Klane to make it 13-10, the clear turning point of the game.

After a Freystaetter block, UCF looked like they might get back into the game as Mike Ogren hit Reedy for the break, getting them within one. But Minnesota’s offense was patient down the stretch and they pulled out the win.

“It was a total team effort,” said Klane, pointing out the playmakers who stepped up at different times throughout the game.

Arenson clearly led the team on the stats sheet, but they got big contributions from Klane, Dave Eddy, and Jason Tschida.

“Everyone has bought in,” said Arenson.

Despite the undefeated weekend, Minnesota did not come in with lofty expectations. They were just hoping to play hard and see what happened. But they came away with a better sense of what they can do. “We just proved to ourselves that we can go out and win Nationals,” said Klane.

Minnesota has just one loss on the season: 14-12 to Arizona in the finals of the President’s Day Invite.

For the second year in a row, Central Florida finished second at Easterns. They bounced back nicely from their embarrassing 13th place finish at the Stanford Invite.

But they’re not satisfied. “Two years in a row, second place,” said coach Andrew Roca. “I hate being the bridesmaid.”

Injuries hurt them down the stretch (particularly to 6′ 5″ Michael Hickson (hamstring), who missed most of the finals). Coach Andrew Roca said that it’s a consistent issue for his team.

That could be from a lack of conditioning, something Minnesota did not have a problem with. “We ran out of gas,” said Roca. “And when you run out of gas, you make poor decisions.”

Despite the finals loss, Central Florida feels like they are on the right path towards a deep Nationals run.  “We knew we could compete with the top teams in the nation,” said Freystaetter. “And I think we proved that this weekend.”

That’s something a lot of teams have been saying this year. No team has made it to the finals more than once at the country’s major tournaments, a big contrast to last season, when Pittsburgh won Warm Up and Easterns and made the finals of the Stanford Invite. The parity between teams is greater than ever.

“There is no dominant team,” said Klane. “There are 10 or 12 teams.”

With the Easterns win, Minnesota added themselves to that list of teams that could win it all this year.

“I think everybody is going to approach Nationals the exact same way,” said Roca. “They’re going to expect the unexpected.”

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