Wisconsin takes down UNC-Wilmington in a fantastic game at the top of Pool C.
May 27, 2016 by Simon Pollock in Coverage, Recap with 0 comments
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While UMass took a round off to rethink being the top seed in the pool, the rest of Pool A sweated through a hot and humid mid-afternoon round. Plenty more can happen, however, as UMass takes the field to finish the day, looking for another win to keep things complicated.
Georgia 14-11 Washington
Georgia pulled out their second win of the day, a 14-11 solid win over Washington, which will put them at the top of the pool at the close of day one.
Like they did earlier today, Sam Little and Nathan Haskell engineered a blistering pace for Jojah, which left bidding Washington players almost always a second late in getting to the disc. Haskell registered two goals and six assists, creating difficult matchup issues for Washington.
While he didn’t notch a goal or assist for the Sundodgers, the return of Dongyang Chen for this Seattle team cannot be understated. The graduate student was nearly uncoverable after the turn, keeping the disc moving at a pace which his team has needed badly all year.
El-Salaam picked up two goals and four assists, but Jojah had answers for his speed and aerial skill. Lucky for Georgia, some searching deep passes for El-Salaam were sent up late, allowing the Southeast regional champs to get underneath the play and challenge the disc.
The loss leaves Washington at 0-2 today, a rough finish given the the near-win they had over A&M earlier today. Results outside the control of the Sundodgers will have to break favorably to keep them in contention for prequarters.
Cal Poly SLO 13-11 Texas A&M
In another Pool A seeding upset, the acrobatics of Cal-Poly SLO looked an excellent match for the throwing prowess of Texas A&M. In a wild, fun game, the fifth-seeded SLO rode an excellent five goal, three assist performance from Nate Pettyjohn to the win — their first of the tournament.
A&M jumped out to an early 3-1 lead on a pass from Brendan Adams to Luke Hebert, and kept their two goal margin working until 5-3. Pettyjohn got his second assist for a hold at 5-4, and SLO got a break to even the score. The teams traded from there until SLO’s Dillon Whited snuck in for a break to take his team’s first lead of the game and the half, 8-7.
The second half was all trading, with A&M refusing to cough up another break under pressure. As the temperature hovered in the high 80s and clouds passed through, A&M cutters may have tired some, while both lines from Slocore continued to seek out Dalton Smith hucks to contest and send their own searching for the other endzone.
At 12-11, the soft cap on for a game to 13, SLO sealed the deal with Sean Liston finding pay dirt.
The depth of SLO’s athleticism shone through in this mid-day round, and while Pettyjohn may have put up the highlights, his teammate Cameron Wariner took the Dalton Smith matchup all game and handled the all-star thrower well. Smith picked up one goal and three assists, a quiet line considering what he’s capable of.
Slocore’s high-flying antics will not, by any stretch, give them the same sort of advantages against what is sure to be a focused and fierce UMass O-line in this evening’s final round. The Pool A favorites will offer much more talent to counter the San Luis Obispo squad.
Wisconsin 15-11 UNC Wilmington
The Hodags jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the back of aggressive defense that forced two turnovers and even more aggressive deep shots that led to vicious skies. Nick Ladas was immense for Wisconsin in the early going, notching a goal, an assist and a block in the first three points, playing a big part in staking his team a 3-0 advantage. It was a lead that Wisconsin would never relinquish, as their offense was untouchable for most of the game.
Callahan nominee Aaron Speiss proved to be completely unstoppable for Wisconsin as the first half progressed, slapping up a three goal, two assist, one block stat line before the intermission. It wasn’t just his contribution on the scoresheet that made Speiss stand out — it was the blazing speed that left his defenders out of breath and off the pace that highlighted just how dominant his performance was.
After their initial stumbles, the Wilmington offense calmed down and were fairly effective for the rest of the game, with Jack Williams carrying much of the load for the Seamen. It was the defense that let Wilmington down, as Wisconsin was able to move the disc downfield at will on most possessions. A four-man cup that Wilmington deployed mid-way through the second half got some traction and led to multiple breaks for UNCW that narrowed the score to 12-10. That would be the closest Wilmington got however, as Xavier Maxstadt underthrew a flick blade into the endzone, and Nicholas Vogt made a great read on a tipped disc to punch in the hold for the Hodags.
While Wisconsin would go on to close out the game 15-11, Wilmington may have won the battle of the highlight reel, as Jack Williams made one of the best plays of the day, and maybe the season, coming from completely out of position to snag a disc over the shoulder of Chris Wilen that gave Wilmington their eleventh and final point of the contest. Williams was the best player for Wilmington, and his three goals and three assists were crucial to keeping the Seamen close, but it was not enough to hold off the red hot Hodags who end day one with a stranglehold on Pool C
Michigan 15-13 Harvard
Michigan committed to playing small ball against Harvard, and ran a very effective triangle between their handlers and the front of their vert stack, with Sam Greenwood, Noah Backer, and Alex Russomanno taking center stage. Harvard couldn’t contain those three, and they were constantly able to open up easy action on the breakside with flurries of creative around and over the top breaks.
While Michigan’s offense stepped up in a big way, Harvard’s O-line took a real step back from their sterling performance this morning. Mark Vandenberg tallied five assists, but wasn’t able to command the disc and change the angle of attack the way he had earlier, and once the disc got out of his hands things were even worse. The back of Harvard’s vert stack was cluttered and unorganized for much of the game, making continuations difficult and Red Line’s deep game virtually non-existent. John Stubbs got his, wowing onlookers with a four goal and four assist performance, but the supporting cast of Harvard was not up to snuff, committing some crucial turnovers and clogging the deep space throughout.
Harvard are now in hot water, as they likely will need to beat one of the pool’s top two seeds tomorrow if they hope to advance.