EUCR South 2019: Tournament Recap (Mixed)

Lisbon and Paris to the EUCF!

Disc’Over Lisboa after winning the region and a spot to the EUCF

VERSAILLES, FRANCE -After an exciting first day of EUCR S-X, three teams remained in the running. Disc’over Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal), Ah Ouh PUC (Paris, France) and Sharks (Barcelona, Spain) played in a round robin series with two spots to the EUCF on the line. Disc’Over Lisboa won both games in the round robin and Ah Ouh PUC disposed of Sharks in the final game to go. This earned Lisboa and Paris the two available bids to EUCF 2019, in Carole, Italy in late September.

Results

Disc’over Lisboa proved stronger than Ah Ouh PUC in a hard fought opening match and won 15-13. Disc’over Lisboa were able to hold and get a few breaks on errant PUC hucks that they fired straight back in the other direction with their signature deep game connecting to an early 3-1 lead and continued their momentum to 5-1. The Parisiens woke up, first with a foot- block to goal bookend out of Celment Giffard, before Scott Graber made his impression on the next point by saving a few throws with a layout and a skying grab before throwing his assist to the ever present Elisa Bruni. Once more Ah Ouh PUC broke as Giffard laid out on the goal line, had it called ‘not in’, threw a dump pass and laid out even more horizontally to count the point. With a strong run of points the French got the disc back again and saw their game leveling throw for goal end in a stone cold drop before Lisboa went quick the other way with a pair of spectacular layout grabs, including one for the goal from Maria Castillo, who once again dominated her match ups by throwing her body around with reckless abandon and catching everything in her vicinity.

Ah Ouh PUC continued to trade, and though the Lisboa offense played a scintillating deep game, Ah Ouh PUC kept finding themselves with disc in hand and opportunities to score, before giving back the two goal lead. PUC had the disc with looks to score, and with each misfortune Lisboa slammed the door shut with quick, deep, and precise bombs for goals. Although the Parisiens couldn’t quite get to even points, they never let Lisboa stretch ahead by more than two points either. At 13-14, the writing was on the wall, the break chances were too elusive and with points cap backing the French into a corner. Finally, Disc’over captain Nicolas Santamaria sent a high shot to the endzone for Jhonny Zuleta who dominated the Versailles skies as he had done all morning to close out the game for Lisboa.

With very little rest, Lisboa started their next game against Sharks without a warm up. Barcelona took to the field fresh, rested and hoping to take advantage of the visible Portugese fatigue. Despite the fatigue, Disc’over Lisboa opened with a break before Sharks held their second effort to tie 1-1. Lisboa continued to play tight enough team defense and stretched the lead to 3-1. Sharks answered with a hold and a break and tied the score again at 3-3, 4-4, and 5-5. After Lisboa took a 6-5 lead, a long multi turn point went their way after Alexandra Zuleta matched her husbands stellar performance by laying out 3 times in the point for a threat to block, a block, and a possession saving catch before Lisboa went up 7-5, and then took half 8-6. Sharks had their opportunities to stay in it, and it seemed that the early ‘fresh energy advantage’ was now neutralized. In the second half Lisboa looked very comfortable on Offense scoring with more clean holds and an abundance of deep options coming from Johnny Zuleta, and more sensational layouts from Alexandra Zuleta. Stretched to 12-8, the Sharks kept their top players on the field for many long points, pulling out all the stops to try and get the win. They fought back for a hold and a break, but with time cap hitting before points cap, Zuleta finished off a Zone-O march with a casual spinning pop pass release to Jose Cateano in the front corner of the endzone to seal their fate as Power Pool winners, and awarded them the top spot from the region to go to EUCF.

With PUC and Sharks both sitting at 0-1 going into their final game, the implication was simple: win and go with Lisbon to EUCF to represent the South region, or lose… and go home empty handed.

This time it was Ah Ouh PUC taking the field fresh and well rested and the Sharks feeling the discomfort of of their previous game as they looked completely drained. Though the preview speculated that the Parisien ladies would be the strength, this game saw the men taking over. Edwin Grappin, specifically, made his mark. Out to a 3-0 lead, Grappin had already chalked up a goal and an assist, and there was plenty more where that came from. With the men getting their glory, the ladies contributed too when Elisa Bruni popped a speculative over-the-shoulder backhand break to Haude Hermand at mid field, and Hermand finished the job with a well wound up backhand OI to the opposite sideline and into the endzone to make it 4-1 to PUC. Only moments later the score progressed to 6-2, and the sideline energy was all for the ‘home team’.

The French side took their foot off the accelerator, and may have seen the win too early. The Sharks tasted the chum in the water and mounted their attack. Starting with strong pulling they backed PUC into uncomfortable deep endzone throws time after time, with Aina Perez contributing by getting a handblock, a selection of layouts, and a few bailout second effort grabs. The Sharks snatched the beloved momentum and scored multiple breaks in a row limiting the PUC possessions to less than two throws before converting their breaks, the scoreline was back to within one. At 6-5 against them, the Sharks were fired up, the sideline was roaring with energy, and they were right back in the game. Sharks again got a turn, and patiently executed more than 20 completions to march into the red zone before a fit of impatience saw Nil Dalman’s blade to a well covered receiver in the endzone result in a turn over. With Spanish heads hanging the Parisiens threw out of their endzone to Giffard, who was quick to continue to Grappin for the run stopping score and made it 7-5. This was the momentum stopper and the virtual end for the Spaniards. After failing to mount the comeback to level score, the top Sharks players were in denial, and sidelined for a point due to fatigue and diminished morale. With a ‘bench line’ on the field for Barcelona, the French exploited them and took half 8-5. The French men abused some of the speed mismatches they noted in their favor against the Spanish second unit. Grappin was scoring hucks at will to the likes of Tazio Torrieri, and Thibault Houbron, and the quick counter run spelled the end for the Sharks. The French extended their lead to 11-6, and the Barcelona natives came apart at the seams. With strong pulling in their favor this time and tight handler coverage, Ah Ouh PUC didn’t allow Sharks to have another possession beyond half, and limited three of the next four possessions to less than three throws and PUC were quick to capitalize on their breaks. PUC dominated the second half, and won the game, and with it the bid to EUCF with a convincing 15-6 victory.

The Sharks were disappointed to miss out, but Pau Garcia Puig was quick to reference the loss as fuel “to get better,” and “something to remember when we train for next year.”

The final ranking:

  1. Disc’over Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal) – Qualified for EUCF
  2. Ah Ouh PUC (Paris, France) – Qualified for EUCF
  3. Sharks (Barcelona, Spain)
  4. Ultimate Bergamo (Bergamo, Italy)
  5. Discterics (Girona, Spain)
  6. Monkey (Grenoble, France) – Spirit Winners!
  7. Sesquidistus (Strasbourg, France)
  8. Tsunamixte (Nemours, France)
  9. CUSB Mixte (Bologna, Italy)
  1. Stefan Rappazzo
    Stefan Rappazzo

    Stefan has been involved in ultimate since 1996 in his hometown of Burlington and then in the neighboring Toronto scene. He spread his wings and was actively involved in Korean Ultimate, a decades worth of Australian Ultimate, and a few years of rural development in Nicaragua. He is now in Paris doing work with French ultimate. He has played all the while and has been actively involved as a tournament director, coach, captain, and an active commentator across the globe.

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