New England Open 2013: Saturday Recap

The Logo of New England 2013BOSTON — The story of the day at the New England Open is that, well, there’s not much of one.

The teams that were expected to do well did so, as the three top seeds finished undefeated and Michigan, truly the favorite in Pool D, did as well. That didn’t mean there weren’t some upsets, but none of today’s results were surprising.

#10 Harvard and #12 Tufts were dominant throughout the day, breezing through pool play without allowing any team to score in the double digits. As good teams do, they focused on honing their execution at the highest level, even in games where they were clearly going to emerge victorious. At one point during the Tufts-Vermont matchup, a Tufts assistant coach was visibly upset by a small defensive miscue during a Vermont offensive point.

#18 Dartmouth also finished the day 4-0, but had to work a lot harder. In their game against pool two seed Connecticut, Dartmouth trailed for most of the game. Connecticut played with uncharacteristic patience to jump out to a two break lead that they held until midway through the second half. Dartmouth, thanks to strong play from Ian Engler, closed the gap to tie the game at 9-9. The teams would battle back and forth all the way until the hard cap.

When the cap went off, the game was tied at 12-12. Connecticut scored seconds later — giving them a point that should have won them the game. But there was confusion about the cap rules. After the on-site Tournament Director told UConn’s Matt Baum that the game should continue and be capped at 14, the teams agreed to play on. Dartmouth would score two straight to win. (Coincidentally, Dartmouth found themselves on the losing end of a very similar game at Warm Up. They should have won, but played on only to see Texas take the win two points later).

The Pool D one seed, Penn State, fell twice on Saturday. San Diego State came out fast in their second round game against Penn State and jumped out to a 7-4 lead at halftime. Penn State closed the gap in the second half but San Diego State kept their poise to close out one of the biggest upsets of the day, 11-10. Federalis should have a good shot to make the quarterfinals after finishing second in their pool.

Penn State played better against two seed Michigan. The teams, both athletic and physical, were both looking to win the pool. That extra importance shined through in their intensity, and the game was exciting throughout. Neither team ever held a lead larger than one, and there were five lead changes.

Michigan captain Yonatan Rafael had a strong performance and led the team to a 12-11 double game point win, keeping them perfect on the day.

***

Cornell lost big to Harvard, but looked impressive in the rest of pool play. They got an important win against Conference rival SUNY-Buffalo, blowing them out 13-7. With their crop of skilled freshmen and a winning program, they remain the team to beat in the Metro East.

***

DIII #5 Bentley didn’t win big in their three victories, but they showed resiliency, particularly in their game against DIII #11 Middlebury. The Pranksters got ahead early by running harder than Bentley on both sides of the disc. Trailing 8-5, Bentley took a timeout and decided to start playing defense. With a renewed intensity, Bentley outscored Middlebury 7-3 the rest of the way to win 13-11. Bentley is 2-0 against Middlebury this season.

Bentley continues to impress in Division III. They have just two losses in 2013, both to DI teams.

***

Rutgers looks a lot closer to the team we expected to see at the outset of this season. They almost took down two seed  and regional rival Connecticut in the first round of the day, but lost on double game point, 15-14. They later upset Northeastern 13-9 after an outstanding game from Jibran Mieser (Southpaw), last year’s Metro East freshman of the year.

Rutgers is still missing one of their top players, Albert Alarcon (PoNY), to injury.

They will take on Cornell tomorrow morning in prequarters in what could be a very interesting matchup.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

One of the most explosive games of the day could come early in the day, as Connecticut and Michigan may rematch in the quarterfinals. The teams met earlier at Queen City Tune Up; Connecticut won 11-10 on double game point. The game was extremely chippy and Michigan left the game upset with themselves, Connecticut, and the observers. They will no doubt be looking for revenge.

But Connecticut will first have to get through SUNY-Buffalo in the prequarters, who beat them at the Easterns Qualifier by jumping out to a 7-0 lead. SUNY-Buffalo will need to play better than they did today to hang with an improving UConn team.

Of course, the big games to watch will be semis and finals, as the best Northeast teams get a chance to face off in a preview of Sunday at New England Regionals. Tufts is likely to see Dartmouth in semifinals; the teams saw each other just a week ago in the quarterfinals at Easterns. Dartmouth came away with a one point win in cold, windy, and rainy conditions. Will they be able to matchup well against Tufts in the sunny Boston weather?

Harvard still looks like the team to beat, and I’d be surprised to see them lose tomorrow. But let’s not forget: Dartmouth blew them out in the fall, 15-7 in the finals of Huck A Hunk Of Burning Pumpkin.

We wrote on Friday about the importance of matchups. We’ll get to see some tomorrow.

 

 

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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