XEUCF 2021: Day One Recap (Open)

Time for Power Pools!

Mooncatchers celebrating a goal in their win over CUSB La Fotta. Photo by Raf Celis

 

Pool play has finished and the power pools are now set. Here is how the power pools look now:

Day 1 of XEUCF was most of all a celebration of high level international ultimate. The two-year break hasn’t affected the admirable skills of the most talented players in Europe. In the open division pool play has now finished and teams have moved onto power pools.

On Friday in each power pool the top seat will carry a win over the second seed of their pool in. The top team out of each power pool will advance directly to quarterfinals. The second and third teams from each power pool will play prequarter crossovers against another power pool.

Mooncatchers Upset the Champs

For the cynics that wouldn’t care to watch until the expected La Fotta (Bologna) vs. Clapham final, the defending champions from Bologna were outsmarted by Mooncatchers on universe.

An inattentive spectator walking by field 3 this morning could mistake the CUSB vs. Mooncatchers pool game for a final. The last showdown between Brussels and Bologna had been a ping-pong offense clinic that La Fotta rounded off on universe. In Bruges the perfect 15-14 follow-up scenario was written. Mooncatchers kept their cool starting in offense and avenged the Basel Open final. After the first pool CUSB actually broke immediately. Mooncatchers were trailing most of the time and faced a two-point deficit at halftime. Then the Belgians – technically Daan De Marrée – scored three breaks in a row to make it 9-8. Moon took another break later in the half and eventually found themselves receiving the pull at 14-13 with a shot at victory. The teams couldn’t resist the temptation of a universe repeat and Mooncatchers gave in the disc. In front of an excited crowd and with help from a time-out Brussels won the universe point on a clean hold. Game winner Sofiène Bontemps said they were “eager to avenge the universe loss in Basel”. Losing CUSB captain Simone Gasperini stressed, “we have to be ready to play any team in order to succeed themselves as European champions.”

Terrible Monkeys were outmatched in Pool OB. Against CUSB they only scored three points and after a courageous first half, Mooncatchers ran away with the game, 15-9.

Chalk in Pools OA, OC and OD

As expected, Clapham (London) had an easy day at the office. Iznogood (Noisy-le-Sec, France)  and thebigEZ (Vienna) were both crushed 15-6. Iznogood prevailed over thebigEZ 15-11 in the evening to qualify for power pools.

FUJ (Prague) and FAB (Bern) held seeding in Pool OC. The Czech and Swiss took care of BORA Bears (Aachen) and XVI (Dublin). but FUJ deservedly came out on top in the number one battle. Andrej Rydlo and his teammates are a well-oiled machine ready for war as they dispatched FAB convincingly 15-9.

Bad Skid (Heilbronn, Germany) and Smash’D (Cambridge) were happy to meet each other this morning. The boys from Northern England were efficient in O and nearly took halftime. The However, Marvin Waldvogel – Bad Skid captain ad interim – guided his team to a 15-10 victory. Cotarica Grandes (Rimini, Italy) and Prague Devils were no trouble either, as Bad Skid prevented them getting double digits. The Devils took three losses, but Cotarica and Smash’D made a thriller of their ranking relying match up. In the end the Italians put in a sprinkle of passion more and sent the disappointed British to lower bracket. Bad Skid were able to win their pool without master handler Nico Müller, who will join the team for power pools tomorrow.

Ranelagh (Dublin) had their dream path in front of them, but watched it melt away from them against MUC (Munich). The Irish were up 12-9 and still managed to lose the important game. MUC took the victory through mercurial execution, and shutting down the Ranelagh passing lanes. When halftime was Ranelagh’s, Munich turned up the heat tightening down their roster. “If you could get one break with this wind you got a guaranteed extra break for free,” MUC captain Denis Holzer explained. Ranelagh comfort themselves with the second place after more than convincing wins against FWD and Odin. The Swiss got the better of the Swedes at the bottom of the pool. MUC is the undefeated front-runner of Pool OE.

Just like at the Basel Open, Gentle (Ghent) won against Freespeed (Basel). Gentle-Outsiterz (Bratislava) was 15-8 and Gentle-NewAge (Raana, Israel) was 15-12 giving Gent the top rank out of the group. Freespeed come in second after a frustrating pool play perfrormance in which they didn’t walk in the park against NewAge and Outsiterz. They were down 13-11 against the Slovaks before coming back late to take the game away and secure their spot in the power pool.

Red Bulls (Bologna) and KFK (Copenhagen) switched places in Pool OG. The pupils of Davide Morri were dominated by KFK and their cup, losing the first half 8-0, and the game 15-6. Red Bulls recovered by overpowering JetSet 15-9. Krakens and JetSet showcased some great ultimate, but go to lower pools on Friday.

Tchac (Pornichet, France) and Wall City (Berlin) had a big game on the livestream. The odds shifted numerous times during the course of play but the Berliners made the final stretch. Wall City’s Conrad Schlör was monumental on defense which resulted in the 13-11 victory for Berlin. The French elite qualified second for power pools. The Bridge (Wroclaw) walked away with the honor after a close game against Panthers (Bern).

A Peak into Power Pools

Although KFK impressed in their group, the chances are slim they can contest the powerhouse Clapham in Power Pool OM. Davide Morri will have had a decent XEUCF if his Red Bulls move on to prequarters at the expense of Iznogood.

Power Pool ON is stuffed with experienced sides. The pool of death is hard to predict given all four teams looked really strong on the livestream. Mooncatchers and Wall City each carry over one win against a power play contender, but La Fotta remain the defending champions. The victor of this pool will dodge Clapham in the bracket and eye for the final. These four teams all looked quarterfinals level, but with the format the way it is, one team will be gutted to miss the bracket.

FUJ has the most dominant results of Power Pool OP so far.  MUC and Ranelagh could have gone either way. FUJ is a solid bet for first place and the other squads could be ranked anywhere.

In Power Pool OQ, Bad Skid will gladly welcome back their star handler Nico Müller. The question is: can Gentle take down one of Europe’s strongholds? Black and green is feared on the wet grass of Bruges. In the third spot conversation Cotarica’s enthusiasm may cause trouble for Freespeed.

Friday will separate the men from the boys.

  1. Robbe Wets
    Robbe Wets

    Robbe Wets is nineteen years old and lives in Bruges. His home club being Freezzzbeezzz he was brought up at the legendary Tom's Tourney. Winning bronze with Belgium U17 at EYUC 2017 is his ultimate career highlight. In real life Robbe studies sports journalism.

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