Mamabird Takes Down UNCW on Universe Point: Round 5 Recap (Men’s), Presented by Ultimate Central

Colorado's double game point win over UNCW was the notable result in the last round of the day.

Colorado 14 – 13 UNC Wilmington

What. A. Game.

With the structure of the bracket putting the 4 and 5 seeds in the same pool, the 4 vs. 5 game is always one of the most anticipated matchups of the tournament. While anticipation and expectation can often led to disappointment, no one in attendance this afternoon for the UNC Wilmington/Colorado showdown left the fields wanting anything more from the game.

Both teams were coming off of first round victories in which they had looked good in stretches but still clearly in need of some polish.  Neither team played perfect in their afternoon, but both showed glimpses of being potential title winners in the stretches of the game that played to their strengths.

Wilmington started off the game on the front foot, getting a quick upwind break off of a Colorado drop just outside of their endzone. Drops would plague Mamabird all afternoon, possibly as a result of the physical defense that Wilmington played throughout the game. One of the key struggles of the conflict was Mamabird’s attempts to keep their composure and avoid mental errors in the face of Wilmington’s relentless pressure.

For the first half of the game, they lost that battle. Wilmington was largely able to dictate the pace of the game, and on points that devolved into lots of turnovers and deep shots, Wilmington almost always came out on top. Winning the mental battle combined with Xavier Maxstadt’s throwing prowess in the wind allowed Wilmington to take an 8-6 lead at half, up two breaks.

The last point before half demonstrated exactly what makes Maxstadt and Wilmington so dangerous and why they can beat any team at the tournament on the right day. Mamabird put up a huck to a streaking receiver who had beat his man deep, but the thrower didn’t see Maxstadt helping off the back of the stack. The Wilmington captain elevated for a huge D just outside the endzone, and then promptly launched an 80 yard flick bomb to Cale Ward that sealed the point and sent Wilmington into half with a lead.

At halftime, Colorado knew they had their work cut out for them, as they would have to break Wilmington at least three times while playing near flawless offense. They did just that in the second half, as they put together an incredible performance that gave them their biggest win of the season thus far.

When Colorado was able to run their signature vert stack their offense was very successful, but they had struggled in the first half when Wilmington’s various zone looks forced them out of their comfort zone. They did a much better job in the second half moving the disc around Wilmington’s poaches, and were able to get large gains up the sideline once the zone had been compromised.

While Colorado’s offense was finding their stride in the second half, Wilmington’s offense was starting to wilt. The deep shots that had been connecting in the first half were just a hair off, and when that was combined with a couple crucial drops from Wilmington’s receivers, it gave Colorado the chance to climb back into the game.

With the score 10-9 Wilmington, Colorado’s Jeremy Harker intercepted a swing pass on the doorstep of the endzone and dished it to Peterson for a quick break that evened the score. From that point on, the game was back and forth, with the lead never exceeding a single point.

After Wilmington’s Luke Hancock overthrew a huck, Colorado got another break when they patiently worked the disc upwind, highlighted by a Stanley Peterson grab just in front of a bidding Maxstadt. Two throws later Colorado put the disc in the endzone to give themselves a 12-11 lead, their first since 1-0.

Soft cap had gone off, and with the game to 14, the two teams had to play their best seven players on every point. The offenses traded holds, and with the game at 13-12, Mamabird pulled downwind looking for a break. Maxstadt sent a big huck into the upwind endzone, but a great block from Erik Hotaling gave the disc back to Mamabird.  After a couple throws, Colorado’s Oak Nelson sent a long huck to a wide open Hotaling in the endzone.

Chaos ensued as it appeared that Mamabird had won the game, but a travel call brought the throw back, and because Colorado’s players had stormed the field before the goal was signaled, the technical made Mamabird take the disc at the reverse brick mark of their own endzone. Nelson tried the huck again, but it came up short and Wilmington scored a few throws later on an around backhand from Luke Hancock to set up double game point.

Colorado received the pull and worked the disc all the way up to the endline looking for the winning score. Great dump defense from Wilmington forced Colorado’s Pawel Janas to try a tricker scoober to the break side that Xavier Maxstadt was able to make an incredible play on for the block. Maxstadt sent a huge huck downfield, but it bounced off the hands of Jack Williams. Mamabird picked up the disc and after a few throws Janas found Nelson open in the back of the endzone to complete their dramatic win and put themselves in prime position to win Pool D.

Pittsburgh 15 – 4 Auburn 

Pittsburg took advantage of an exhausted Auburn team and came out hot early. A quick 5-2 lead allowed Pitt to show off some of their junior talent including Kevin Tang, Sam Van Dusen, and Daniel O’ Conner. Auburn gained valuable experience but never was able to scare the tournament favorite. They did show that their O-line D is stout, forcing Pitt to improve their D-line efficiency. Auburn failed to make any meaningful half-time adjustments, leading to a final of 15-4.

Minnesota Shows Poise in 15-12 Win Over Cincinnati

From the beginning it was clear this was going to be a tight battle of the O-lines, and it was Minnesota Grey Duck who had the better play down the stretch in a 15-12 win over Cincinnati.

It wasn’t the feisty or intense grind that many thought it might be, but instead a calm, cool staring contest to see who would blink most often. Cincinnati, somewhat smaller in depth, played well, but failed down the stretch.

Both teams’ previous games were long, somewhat sloppy affairs with a lot of turns and missed opportunities.

This match, by comparison, was a test of offensive efficiency, with talented units only allowing a few chances for opponents to break.

“This was a team we knew had some firepower and some good players,” said Minnesota Coach Tallis Boyd. “It was back and forth all game and we were able to get some key breaks.”

The early points traded to 2-2 with no turns at all before teams started to throw zone. Dubey got a nice snag D for Grey Duck, but Cinci proved twice that they could march down the field, despite the junk. The Bear Cats scored 3-2, then scored a break after a couple of Minnesota huck aways, Alverson running down the long bomb for a layout score. Cinci up 4-3.

Minnesota blinked first, but recovered quickly. Smooth offense and then their D got one back to tie it up. Points traded until tied 7-7, when Grey Duck loaded up a hybrid line, Cinci turned a hammer under pressure, and Osgar hucked to Jagt to break 8-7, taking half.

Jagt was a monster this game and is the real deal. He seemed to be always open; he caught several deep shots, had a few D’s and assists, and was integral to the flow.

“Jagt’s size and speed…I don’t know if it exists besides him in the college game,” said Boyd. “They started standing three feet behind him and he was great getting big unders.”

Klane was also big in what was a resurgence game for him; he’s been injured a lot recently, but returned to his glory days here, with awesome swings and some clutch sideline deep shots to Jagt and others. Klane had at least six assists.

Minnesota switched away from zone and started to have better success with man in the second half, clamping down on Cinci’s resets and making swings very hard.

“In the second half they got tired,” Boyd said, “They were running the same guys each point, getting tired, leading to some turns, and we were able to capitalize.”

Minnesota did their best to limit Cinci’s handlers with flashing flat marks and cutter defenders pushing guys under. Cinci would either get the disc into a cutter’s hands or a high-stall swing situation, with tight defense on the dump. There were a lot of turns on miscues or attempted breaks in these situations.

Minnesota’s depth and star power combined to take the win. The second half saw a lot more Cinci turns and defended passes; Grey Duck’s Anderson made big plays on defense and defensive offense while others like Reese Hornes and Van De Moortele also contributed.

Minnesota earned a few breaks late and then was able to survive a break back and late trades, both teams easily scoring the final few, to win a largely well-spirited game 15-12.

Cinci had great play from Kieran Kelly, who had a great layout late, Alex Flamm (big huck scorer several times), and Daniel Latz. But there were also drops and miscues — Kelly with a few huck turns, Ford with a few missed chances — and a combination of mistakes and tiredness led to their demise.

Minnesota, now 2-0 against the bottom of their pool, looks to see the top seeds tomorrow. Coach Tallis Boyd said it’s about focusing on the team and execution. “We feel good about our chances against any team when we do what we’re supposed to do.”

Cinci has played well enough to prove that they belong, but are still winless, which stings.

UNC 15 – 12 Illinois

With Maryland, Oregon, and Florida State headed for dinner and showers, UNC trotted out to face an Illinois team coming off a double bye. Deep shots were working early for Illinois, the same looks that had powered them past an athletic Maryland earlier in the day. And yet, much the way Carolina needed time to take a few punches and adjust against Florida State, the getting beat deep proved only to be motivation. Darkside pulled out the 15-12 win with superior defense, depth, and patience.

Illinois stayed out ahead for most of the first half as Carolina worked through what coach Mike Denardis called “the yips” — otherwise known as a barrage of uncharacteristic drops that have plagued his normally sure-handed cutters. As the pace slowed and Carolina adjusted to cover deep, they managed to take half 8-7. Illinois would never have the lead after that, in spite of some excellent cutting from their deep bench of senior talent.

  1. Preston Thompson
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    Preston Thompson has been a staff writer for Ultiworld since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama where he played for four years. He started playing ultimate in the AFDC in Atlanta, GA in 2009. You can reach him by e-mail (preston.james.thompson@gmail.com) or follow him on Twitter (@pston3).

  2. Simon Pollock
    Simon Pollock

    Simon Pollock is a Contributing Editor at Ultiworld. He lives in Seattle and started writing for the site in 2014 while living in Baltimore, MD. Email him: simon@ultiworld.com or tweet at him: @_simonpollock_ .

  3. 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.

  4. Patrick Stegemoeller
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    Patrick Stegemoeller is a Senior Staff Writer for Ultiworld, co-host of the Sin The Fields podcast, and also a lawyer who lives in Brooklyn.

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