Men’s Round 3 Recap, Presented By Spin Ultimate

Oregon takes control of Pool B and Auburn comes close to a second upset.

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Pool B

Oregon 14-12 North Carolina

Oregon and UNC faced off in round three with a possible Pool B title on the line. Oregon had a shaky start in the morning, barely overcoming Case Western, but they seemed to recover in true form by the start of round three. UNC was coming off of a huge comeback against FSU, and looking to continue their run to put the pressure on the pool favorites.

The game started with efficient offenses trading for easy holds. It took seven points for a team to turn the disc, and thirteen points for the first break. Oregon capitalized on a multi-turn point by getting the first break of the game and a 7-6 lead. They would finish the half up 8-7, with a pretty Colton Clark inside break.

UNC adjusted at halftime, and started the second half with intense person defense. A quick break made it 8-8, and then came the marathon point. An O-line for Oregon traded possessions with UNC’s D-line for 15 minutes, before finding a streaking receiver deep to take the important point. After that, UNC could not recover their energy. A wide open Nathan Kwon could have tied the game at 11, but an uncharacteristic drop allowed Oregon to convert for a 12-10 lead. They would hold that lead until the finish and close out their day with a 2-0 record.

Colorado 15-12 Florida State

FSU came into this match-up desperately needing a win to regain their confidence after a tough opening round loss and clean up their path to the bracket. But a fresh Colorado came with a plan.

Colorado’s game could be described by one word: consistency. They’re easy to predict, but difficult to stop. Mark Rauls and Pawel Janas are throwing upfield and then almost immediately getting the disc back in their hands. The first break for Colorado came early to give them a 4-2 lead. The next came right before half, giving them an 8-5 advantage at the midway point.

Colorado was able to rotate multiple people onto DUF playmakers Connor Holcombe and Bobby Patterson, making sure no one was left on the tough matchups for too long. Despite some tight defense from FSU, they never led in the contest. Colorado held onto the first half breaks they had earned, closing out a convincing performance 15-12. Wes Chow was a standout for Mamabird with six assists and only two turns.

Pool D

Carleton 16-15 Auburn

Carleton remains unbeaten after fending off hard-charging Auburn in a double game point thriller.

When CUT won the North Central earlier this month in the wind and rain, they did it primarily on the back of plain old man flick defense. That was then. Before this afternoon’s game against the Aetos, Carleton head coach Phil Bowen assured there would be a little more in the playbook.

“Their deep game will be something that we really focus on,” Bowen said. “So we’ll try and disrupt that with good switches, we’ll give them some different defensive looks so that they don’t get comfortable, and try to force them to throw as many throws as possible.”

That’s exactly how the early portion of the game unfolded.

Bowen’s crew ran a trapping four-man cup, some junk-to-man transitions, and ran great switches when in man. It was like watching an ace go through their pitch selections. The varied looks gave Auburn fits early. Jake Ritmire [two blocks, two goals, and an assist] and Eric Taylor [two assists, a goal, and a block] turned in strong performances. CUT took half 8-3, and at 12-7 looked like they would cruise to victory.

Just like we saw in the first round against Pittsburgh, Auburn wasn’t done.

“It’s kind of been the story of this year,” said Aetos grad student Evan Boecking following the narrow loss. “A lot of ups and downs, but as we’ve progressed through the year our depth has really helped us keep on fighting… Sometimes we’ve dug ourselves in a hole but we’ve been able to fight back, especially recently.”

The comeback strategy for Auburn is a patient one. When they get a chance on defense they patiently work the disc, no matter the number of times they have to reset, to find the best opportunity to break. A thrower miscommunication here, a huck too far to a bidding Henry Fisher there, and before long Auburn had clawed back with a 5-1 run and closed the gap to 13-12.

Though they were in real danger of losing the game – even after a late break and a turn over at 15-15 – CUT played the same loose game they started with.

Auburn’s opportunity to win the game was muffed on an errant swing pass and Carleton advanced.

This is your father’s CUT team, like the strong Nationals performances that have become synonymous with their program. Their defenses are practiced and they communicate extremely well.

Auburn is never out of it. Like we’ve seen in both of their Friday games – against poised opponents – Aetos never loses their cool. Graduate student handler Ryan Landry embodied this in that late game surge with him relaxed style, moving the disc around and sniffing out Carleton’s looks.

So, Auburn heads to Day 2 of the tournament at 1-1 with a zero point differential.

“Yeah, we could be 2-0 and kind of be a lot more relaxed,” Boecking said. “We’ve obviously proven that we are very beatable. But I’m kind of glad it ended the way that it did so we can keep that fight mentality. Just keep going.”

Minnesota 15-8  Utah

Top-seed Minnesota cleated up and took care of business against a Utah team that is still trying to find footing in Raleigh.

Grey Duck took control early and led 9-3 at one point but there were bright spots for ZCU, including some incredible skies in traffic by Brady Ohlsen that would result in breaks. In all, the footwork, speed, and four point game from Wyatt Mekler proved too much to handle for Utah.

Now with the rest of the pool watching on, the Minneapolis squad has a chance to send a message against a Pitt team playing for their season.

  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. Tad Wissel
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    Tad Wissel is an Ultiworld reporter.

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