Men’s Day 2: Round 4 Recap, Presented By Spin Ultimate

SLO came up just short of a bracket spot.

Photo: Kevin Leclaire -- UltiPhotos.com
Photo: Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

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Pool A

Washington 15-14 Cal Poly SLO

This pool finished in a hot cloud of dust when Washington pulled out a double-game point victory, 15-14, over Cal-Poly SLO. Washington was playing for pride, having been eliminated by circumstances the round before when Georgia rested their starters and gifted a win to Texas A&M.

SLO, on the other hand, was playing for their season. A win over Washington would have landed the Southwest champs tied at 2-2 with A&M, but owning the head to head. With their double-game point loss, Slocore dropped to 1-3 and out of further contention.

The teams were knotted all through the final points of the game. Exhaustion started to set in, defensive effort waned, and the dirt of the fields caked onto legs, faces, and arms.

At 14-14, SLO sent out their D-line to pull, but let it fly too far out of bounds. Washington took the disc nearly at the attacking brick to start the possession. Fittingly, it was Khalif El-Salaam who went streaking across the front of the end zone to reel in an around backhand for the game. As the finish of the second day washed over him and his teammates, he stayed down on the ground as teams gathered on the field to line up.

Pool B

Oregon 15-11 Florida State

A Florida State win could have sent them into the bracket and they came out hot. DUF took a 6-3 lead early, capitalizing on simple mistakes by Oregon. But Ego fought back to bring it within one just before half. Despite the 8-7 halftime lead, FSU had only earned one block in the first half. It was the offensive miscues from Oregon that kept it close.

Great teams use their halftimes well. All week, Oregon has looked like a different team in the second half, and this game just added to the trend. Ego quickly held, and then broke twice by spreading the disc in the d-line offense. A zone forced FSU to throw the disc more than they wanted, and their offensive impatience cost them.

Oregon ran away with the game. Seven different players recorded an assist or goal in the final points as they flashed an offensive style that we’ve yet to see at this tournament. Their win sets them up as a dangerous prequarter matchup, with Ego close to true form by the end of round five.

Colorado 15-12 UNC

Colorado came into round five looking to close out the pool and claim a first round bye. Mamabird stayed true to form, notching an early break then hanging onto it for the entire game. A quick 2-0 start had some worried that Mamabird would roll on Darkside in the same way they did against Oregon. But UNC showed more fight.

Unlike Ego, UNC forced turns from the Colorado offense. Vikram Sethuraman was a huge part of that, notching two layout blocks in the first half. The problems came when the disc changed hands. The UNC D-line offense struggled to find a rhythm. They had go-to matchups, like Warshauer v. anyone, but these weren’t enough to capitalize on their several opportunities. They were able to get one break back, but they still trailed 8-6 at the break.

After several traded holds, UNC found their first chance to come back, down 13-11. A huck to Nathan Kwon seemed to get them back within one, but an earlier pick call sent the disc back. Colorado fought for the disc, and managed to hold for the 14-11 lead. A demoralized Darkside couldn’t manage to bring it closer, eventually falling 15-12. Colorado’s Mark Rauls had his best game of the tournament, scoring five goals and throwing three assists. UNC didn’t have an answer for the speed of Rauls. It will be hard to find any team that does.

Pool C

Wisconsin 15–6 Harvard

After taking down Wilmington this morning and securing a spot in the bracket, Harvard elected to not challenge Wisconsin for first place in the pool, and instead sat their starters, hoping to save legs for their prequarter matchup this evening.

Given how dominant Wisconsin has looked all tournament, this may have been a wise move. Wisconsin certainly continued to look like the best team at the tournament in this one, as their juggernaut offense had no trouble carving through Harvard’s depleted team.

Wilmington 14-12 Michigan

Wilmington avoided the ignominy of becoming the first one seed in years to lose all of their pool play games, but their win this afternoon was merely conciliatory as they were already eliminated from contention this morning.

With Harvard deciding to not genuinely contest their game against Wisconsin, Michigan sat their top players to save legs for their pre-quarter matchup against North Carolina this evening.

While not playing against Michigan’s top team, Wilmington did seem to relax without any pressure on them, and their big shooters were able to play around and make some audacious throws. It leaves one to wonder how the team could have done if they had played with such freedom all weekend.

  1. 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_ .

  2. 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).

  3. 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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