Quarterfinals Recap: Men’s Division

Johnny Bravo and Doublewide take the line during the quarterfinals of the 2013 Club Championships.
Photo by CMBT Creative.

While prequarterfinals offered some big surprises and lots of dramatic finishes, the quarterfinals were a much more predictable affair. Although two games would finish with close margins of three points or fewer, all four games featured top seeds that were largely in control for the vast majority of the games.

Revolver vs. Sub Zero

Revolver has continued to quietly and calmly tread towards yet another finals appearance. San Francisco is the only team at this point in the tournament that truly has not been challenged by another team. This pattern did not slow against Sub Zero as captain Nick Schlag saw his team functioning at the exact level that he had been hoping for all season.

“I feel like we’re exactly where we want to be at this point,” Schlag said. “We started a little slow but have been playing better and better with each game and that has helped. Both our offense and defense are completely in sync at this point and I’m really happy with how both of them are playing.”

Revolver took that high level of play into a 8-5 halftime lead and only extended that lead in the second half for a 14-10 win. All the while, Revolver did something that few teams at this tournament have been able to do consistently, that is to pursue contributions from all over its roster. San Franscisco’s players refuse to elevate one over the rest and there is no way standout piece.

“Our emphasis going into this weekend was that if everyone plays the role that we had scripted for them this weekend, that if everybody played that role well, then we didn’t need anyone to play outstanding,” Schlag said. “We have people making plays but at this point I feel like the entire team is just going out and trying to execute and that’s the root of our success.”

Johnny Bravo vs. Doublewide

This greatly anticipated rematch of a Regional championship pitted two teams that know each other well and play a very similar, athletic style of Ultimate against each other in a fight to survive for the next round. Though Doublewide won the Regional championship title, Bravo established early in this game that this even bigger game would have a different storyline.

Bravo began the game with two breaks and, though it would eventually relinquish a break back and allow Doublewide to tie the game, it never fully gave up the lead. Captain Ryan Farrell pegged Bravo as a potential semis team the first time that he saw the roster on paper, so to see his team play like as well as it did was a very satisfying experience.

“We have guys that can win matchups, that are plus-matchups,” Farrell said. “The reality is, when you get to quarters you have to have guys that are plus-matchups.”

While on Thursday the plus matchup came from Jimmy Mickle, quarterfinals was Nick Lance’s time to shine. Lance, in his first season with Bravo, threw three 50+ yard hucks throughout the course of the game that were crucial in Bravo maintaining its lead.

“The fact is, when he’s on the field we know he’s going to making big throws for us, making big decisions, get big yard gainers where other guys can’t,” Farrell said. “We played him both ways, we knew we were going to do that. We want to have that guy on the field as much as his body can handle because things run more smoothly when we have him out there.”

From Doublewide’s perspective, Bravo was making big plays but a lot of the game comes down to Austin’s own execution.

“To be completely honest it was just drops,” Doublewide captain Jeff Loskorn said. “In the first half we had three drops for goals and then a couple more on top of that. They weren’t the easiest catches but they were catches that our guys catch 90-95% of the time.”

Doublewide refused to go quietly though. Bravo lead 14-10 and it seemed like things were all over for Austin but Doublewide scratched and clawed to get back within one at 14-13 and even had a possession to force double-game point. For Loskorn, that said more about his team than any results could possibly bear out.

“This team has a lot of heart,” Loskorn said. “That’s something that we’ve preached since the beginning of the year. There’s no lead too big, there’s no deficit too big. We’re going to be playing as hard as we can the entire time and we did.”

Sockeye vs. Machine

Machine was fresh off of its double-game point win over PoNY heading into its matchup against Sockeye and was able to continue that high throughout the first five points of the game. The two teams traded to 5-5 before Sockeye stepped on the gas pedal and really pulled away.

According to Machine, Sockeye’s many defensive looks were just too much for Machine to truly gameplan for. Slowly but surely, as Sockeye threw look after look at Chicago the game started to go south. Finally, at one point, Sockeye led 10-5 and there was not much doubt from that point on.

“They probably bring more defensive looks than any other team,” Machine captain Andy Neilsen said. “I was watching in the first half and I don’t think they gave us the same defense twice. We gameplanned for some of those but its hard when there are so many different looks.”

Sockeye, much like Revolver, gave itself an edge by not having to push too hard in quarterfinals. While Ironside and Johnny Bravo had to dig deep and survive scares, Sockeye was able to cruise and ride its depth for most of the second half eventually taking home a 15-9 victory.

Ironside v. Chain Lightning

Just like all three other higher seeds headed into quarterfinals, Ironside had gone throughout the tournament relatively unchallenged score-wise. Though Boston had tight and tough games against Doublewide and Ring of Fire, at this point in the tournament, they had looked pretty comfortable.

That comfort extended into this game as Ironside’s defense gave Boston a very large 13-7 lead late in the game.
“We really stepped up our defensive pressure,” Ironside captain Russell Wallack said. “We talked about using our bodies, which is something you hear a lot but we’re really walking the walk right now.”
Leading that defensive unit all weekend has been Will Neff and Jack Hatchett. Both players who are dangerous for Boston on both sides of the disc.
However, Chain would storm back into the game. On the wings of its huck game clicking and some intense defensive pressure, Chain started to chip away at Boston’s lead. According to Ironside captain George Stubbs, Ironside got inside its own head as mistakes started to pile up.
“We came out sloppy in the second half,” Stubbs said. “We were bothered a little too much by our own mistakes. It’s something to watch out for on our next matchup.”
Chain strung together a 5-1 run to bring the game to 14-12. Eventually, Boston was able to put Atlanta away, though, and won 15-12.
For Wallack, the adversity was important for his team to experience at that point in the tournament.
“Something we’ve been building on all year is, whether you’re down or up, on O or D, you have to come out with that same consistency,” Wallack said. “That’s something that we’ve been building towards so I thought it was more impressive that we kept that consistency up today than when we were cruising against Doublewide.”
Additional reporting by Austin Weaver.
  1. Michael Aguilar

    Michael Aguilar is a reporter for Ultiworld. He began playing ultimate in the summer of 2008 at the urging of a few University of South Carolina players. He played for USC in the spring of 2009 and for LSU in the spring of 2011. In his spare time during those years, he ran one of the first ever ultimate news blogs, Movin' On Up. He was the head coach of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, LA, from 2011-2016 and the assistant coach in 2017. He owes all his success to his loving wife Kendall.

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