2015 College Championships: Pool B Men’s Round 1 Recap, Presented by Ultimate Central

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Cinci Fights Back Twice But Falls Short in Round 1: Texas A&M 14-12 Cincinnati

Give Cincinnati credit; they fought back twice and did a lot to prove that they belonged. Down to the wire, it was as close as 12-12, but Texas A&M, led by the star power of Dalton Smith and Matt Bennett, pulled out the victory, scoring the next two.

The first four points both teams looked extremely smooth, with no turns, and the breakside worked as if there wasn’t a mark or a force on.

But up 3-2, Texas A&M started to throw their junky 3-3-1 zone, employing traps on the sideline and tight marks to generate miscues. Dozen Ultimate pulled ahead with quick strikes to go up 6-3. Dalton Smith (clad in an eerie skull face-mask for most of the match) and Matt Bennett finally took their first rest point, and that’s when the momentum started to shift.

A&M’s O-Line, previously extremely calm (almost unusually so) started to throw miscues as Cinci’s D grew tighter. After a nice layout block, Cincinnati threw a huge hammer corner to corner on the goal line and tied it at 6’s.

A&M had another couple of turns, but the offensive line had the confidence to throw their junk both ways, and Dalton Smith and Bennett were aggressive with switches and poaches even in man. Smith got a nice block on the mark, deflecting a high pass (another near double-team), and then shot upfield to finally take the O-point. Another long point led to a break and Dozen took half 8-6.

The second half started like the first, with trades — despite the near constant junk of A&M. Cinci started to figure out how to beat the wall, but the game got chippier as more double-teams and fouls were called.

The aggressive nature of the defense, especially by Dalton Smith and Matt Bennett, would be equal parts chaos and success. When it worked, and they trapped a line, got a poach D, or forced a turf, it seemed genius. But at other times, it looked like the pair were tired and Cinci would shred through to find an open man downfield.

As the game wore on, A&M started to look impatient to score, growing more aggressive on their deep looks, throwing blades or longer break looks to space. The game grew even tighter, with lots of turns coming in bunches, Cinci getting lots of chances before they finally broke again.

It was neck and neck 11-11 when the critical marathon point occurred; there were at least six turns. Bennett threw a huge inside break that was defended, but he got it back with a nasty layout D on a dump. Timeout called.

A few short passes after the timeout, Bennett had the ball on the goal line corner and threw another inside break, this across the entire field to score. Yelling “That should not have worked!”, he shook his head, and the game was 12-11, soft cap coming on.

Cincinnati would fight through double-teams and the 3-3-1. They threw three hammers in a row, one a nice layout grab to tie it at 12-12. Texas A&M received and while itt wasn’t pretty, they put in the O-point.

Up 13-12, with a chance to break to win, Dozen went man. Bennett and Smith were switching every pass, sitting in the lane every chance they could get. Cinci swung their way past midfield before trying to take advantage, shooting a forehand to a guy streaking deep, but Dalton Smith leapt into the lane and crashed it down.

Not hesitating, he hucked that same second and a streaking Ben Lewis laid out for the 14-12 win. 9 of the 14 total assists from Dozen were from Bennett and Smith combined; those guys did it all on O and D.

Cincinnati has proven they belong. In fact, they’ve shown they’re gunning for that second spot in the pool, and, looking a lot more poised than Central Florida, they could have a good shot to take it.

Texas A&M didn’t have the first round they wanted; they know they need to improve. Legs are far more tired than preferred, but they still have the open road to the best bracket spot.

UCF Overwhelms Western Washington, 15-10

The first point of Dirt vs Dogs of War was indicative of the game — lots of sloppy turns on high stalls, but Central Florida took the point when it mattered. UCF would push through to win the game 15-10.

After a five minute, 9-turn point to start, UCF got the first break. The teams would move back and forth, Western Washington having a lot of trouble when trapped on the sideline. Central Florida had the better deep game and just looked far more comfortable on offense.

Michael Fairley was a rock of UCF, touching and distributing the middle (and difficult) sections of their offensive points, but “Kid” Bullock was the assist-monster, shooting at will. He threw 5 of their first 10 goals.

Western had scrap and speed, especially in their handler core, but just couldn’t put it together, struggling to finish red zone possessions and to swing effectively side-to-side. When they were at their best, they would use the give-and-go or the around break to take advantage of their handler studs. At their worst, they were pinned on the corner sideline, with high stalls leading to turnovers on dumps or late deep shots.

The first half, UCF played down, creating a sloppy game, failing to convert multiple (good) scoring opportunities for breaks. It traded back and forth to 5-4 UCF, before the Dogs started to finally capture their goals, first from an assist from Brawley to make it 6-4.

A three break run made it 8-5 at half, with Fairley and Bullock as the stars.

The second half was somewhat cleaner for both teams, but Western Washington was finally able to apply a little pressure and get break chances (and eventually breaks of their own). UCF started to look a bit tired on the offensive side, but the gap was too big and their skills too strong.

The final hammer came at 12-10, Dirt in the midst of a small comeback. It was stopped in its tracks by a Dogs of War Callahan. The momentum was gone for Western Washington and so was the chance at the game, losing the next three straight.

Hucking over a zone on a few occasions, using a solid vertical stack on others, UCF pushed down the up-and-comer Dirt to win 15-10.

Central Florida’s game ended before the tight Cinci-A&M battle one field over. The players got a glimpse of what they’ll have to face ahead as they prepare to take on #2 overall Dozen Ultimate in the third round at 12:30.

UCF has a bit more rest, but if they play as sloppy as they did in this turnover-filled game, they won’t have a chance. It’s the same story as their season — can Dogs of War play at their potential? Western Washington gets to face off against a fresh Grey Duck, and will have to move the disc a lot better laterally to compete.

  1. Alex Rummelhart
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    Alex "UBER" Rummelhart is an Ultiworld reporter. He majored in English at the University of Iowa, where he played and captained IHUC. He lives and teaches in Chicago, Illinois, where he has played for several ultimate teams, including the Chicago Wildfire and Chicago Machine. Alex loves writing of all types, especially telling interesting and engaging stories. He is the author of the novel The Ultimate Outsider, one of the first fictional works ever written about ultimate.

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