Florida State takes down Oregon in the first marquee matchup of the day on the Men's side.
May 22, 2015 by Patrick Stegemoeller and Simon Pollock in News with 3 comments
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Ultimate Central. All opinions are those of Ultiworld. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Ultiworld possible!
Pool C did not disappoint with its opening round.
After speculation that three possible semifinalists were lurking in Carolina, Florida State, and Oregon, the latter two opened the second round of play today with high energy battle that left Florida State the victors 15-12.
Both offenses were near perfect for the first 9 points, with just a few turns shared between both teams when the score was FSU up, 5-4. Chris Larocque and Connor Holcombe were unstoppable at the game’s outset. By the time FSU got their first break to make it 6-4, Larocque had been involved in all but one of his team’s scores, racking up 4 assists and one goal. Oregon’s first four goals game from four different players; Dylan Freechild assisted on two of them.
DUF had little success frustrating speedy Ego cutters to start the game, but applied just enough pressure to cause Ego to miss on a few shots late in the first half. Drew Larocque found Peter Van Brussel to break again for DUF, who took half 8-5.
The cleanliness of the first half dissolved for much of the second as both teams started to turn the disc over. FSU spent much of the first half finding free resets, often flashing a reset handler from the open side up line into break side space. In the second half, Oregon latched onto the FSU backfield and Chris Larocque’s brilliance faded slightly as he added some throwaways to his stat line.
On the back of some impressive defense from Freechild, Ego mounted a late 3-0 run to tie the game at 11, with soft cap threatening. On a D-line point for Ego, they forced another DUF turn and got their shot at a break to continue their run and take their first lead of the game. But a diving Holcombe intercepted a swing pass nanoseconds before William Watkins snatched the disc out of his hands. Holcombe, calling the strip from the ground, had his play upheld by the observers, and FSU marched back down the field for the 12-11 hold.
“Our offense was stagnated,” FSU coach Pete van de Burgt said of his team’s less than savory start to the second half. Holcombe’s point-saving catch seemed to reenergize the DUF sidelines.
The energy in the game changed again as the result of two technical foul calls by the observers. First, while complaining about a continuation following a pick call, Ego picked up their third technical, and DUF’s D-Line was able to advance a dead disc to their attacking brick; they punched in the break for 13-11 lead.
After advancing upfield on the ensuing offensive possession, Ego added another technical, which moved their offense back to their own brick. FSU remained in control, ending the game on an exciting set of bookends from Brian Phillips. Phillips was a nice compliment in the FSU backfield, but Chris Larocque shone brightest with a monstrous 10 assist, 2 goal game. Andrew Roney and Holcombe each added four goals.
Adam Rees was an excellent compliment with Freechild in the backfield, the former tallying 3 assists and 2 goals with the latter adding a very respectable 5 assists and 2 goals. Chris Strub landed the difficult defensive assignment of Chris Larocque, and was effective underneath, but the height mismatch favored Larocque. After tweaking an ankle early in the game, Connor Matthews added 1 assists and two goals for Ego.
Florida State take on Carolina at 2:30, which will be streamed live on Ultiworld.
Illinois 15 – 13 Maryland
Illinois notched the first true upset in Pool C, knocking off Maryland 15-13 in a sloppy game for both teams. Illinois was terrific on hucks, connecting on both good and bad decisions to stay ahead throughout the game. Illinois Junior Nicholas Prozorovsky had 1 assist and 5 goals in the win.
Maryland spread the disc out well for its scores; Mark Lin led the team with 4 assists. It was a tough beat for a College Park team that has faired well in rough conditions and grinding formats so far this season, but Illinois seemed to have the mental edge throughout the game.
Both teams will have steep hills to climb in their next games. Maryland will look to redeem a close loss at Easterns against Ego at 2:30, with both teams frustrated at 0-1 to start the day. Illinois will face a double-bye before they take on the UNC, the pool’s top seed, who will have just finished their marquee matchup with Florida State.