UNCW Coach Greg Vassar On Nationals

UNC Wilmington head coach Greg Vassar shared a fascinating list of scattered thoughts about National over on r/ultimate. Take a look at what he shared below, and be sure to check out Reddit for the comments.

-Tournament was worth every penny. Hats off to CUPA, Dale Wilker and USAU for putting on a good show. For anyone complaining about $75/player I’d be interested to know what more you want for that kind of money. It was a bargain if you ask me. If anyone disagrees, please tell me what you are willing to pay for that kind of weekend. I’m really curious.

-Mason is a tough area for a team. I looked a long time for a hotel that fit all our needs and thought I found one but we ran into issues with eating over and over at the same places and with the hotel itself. None of our rooms had fitted sheets on the mattress and the hotel was easily 20 years past it’s prime. Bad hotel call by me.

-Cabs from the Cincinnati airport were pushing $100 to the Mason area. This was tough on the players and coaches who couldn’t make the bus ride up with us.

-Bus rides are awesome. 12 hours of team bonding, poker and bad movies. I’m always interested in how other teams travel to events like this and am curious to hear from others on what worked or didn’t. For us, the charter bus option is just too easy and economical for this distance.

-Format can be a challenge. With a long bye do you go back to the hotel? Camp out at the fields or what? We went back to the hotel after day 1/game 1 when we had a 6.5 hour bye. On day 2 we stayed at the fields when we had a 2.5 hour bye before pre-quarters. Both decisions were the right ones.

-The parents and family members that travelled with us were difference makers. They gave us anything and everything we asked for. It’s safe to say they helped us win a few games.

-Oregon was really good. I was impressed by them and not surprised to see them make Semis. I thought they would either beat or play Colorado much closer than they did.

-The Carleton story is amazing. Phil Bowen did something with them this year that very few people in our sport could do. I simply can’t say enough about that.

-Pitt was the most methodical team we faced. They were very, very good at what they did. All we could do was try to contain them and hope they cracked.

-It’s a shame that more games weren’t recorded by NGN/Ultiworld/Skyd and that more video coverage wasn’t in play for the entire tournament. I think the ESPN treatment is great and huge for our sport but I also think there is a lot to be said for the more grassroots type of coverage that Skyd and Ultiworld have provided. The static assignment of games to be filmed also means that there will always be some stinkers. If the NFL can flex schedule, so can we.

-Discs seemed to float at the turf fields. Not sure what it was but guys could throw further and discs remained stable for longer. We had one pull that almost went through the opposing field goal. Maybe it was heat rising off the turf?

-The extra sideline space at the semis/finals fields changes the game. It makes it harder to coach and harder for teams to be involved from that far away. I really would like to see USAU allow a coach in this space and since there are already tons of volunteers and photographers their so it really wouldn’t be a big deal. I get that TV angles are important and that observers need space but there really is room for two more coaches who are involved in the game.

-We had hand signals for our defensive and offensive calls during the semis game and debated making signs beforehand knowing that the field setup would be a challenge.

-UNCs roller pulls against us were genius (ahem…) on those fields. We knew someone would do this against us this year but the extra sideline space made it that much harder for us to react.

-We played one sport out at the Heritage Oak fields and another one inside the Mason HS stadium. UNCW tried to prep for that but I’m not sure we did a great job of it.

-I’d be curious to know how many games had yardage penalties from cursing/field encroachment. I’d also be interested to know if any women’s teams were assessed a yardage penalty all weekend. I suspect it’s only the men.

-UNCW is the only team to make semis from pre-quarters since the change in Nationals format to 20 teams in 2009.

-UNCW’s Jack Williams led the tournament in goals. He didn’t have any goals counted in the 1st game because he had a different jersey on (we cleared this with observers/staff beforehand) so there were 5 missed. That’s 25 goals. He’s 18 years old.

-UNCW’s Erik Esposto was top 10 (14) in goals and this was his 8th ultimate tournament. Ever.

-UNCW’s Luke Hancock had 25 assists (4th overall) and missed 1.5 games with an injury. UNCW’s Xavier Maxstadt and Trueman Nottingham were both top 10 in assists.

-Jack, Erik, Xavier and Luke have multiple years left with UNCW.

-UNCW has 6 guys on the roster with a youth ultimate background. From what I understand, we’ll have at least that many freshman trying out for the team with youth experience in the Fall. Things are changing for us, probably more slowly than other teams, in big ways.

-UNC missed making Regionals in 2011. That means there are guys on that roster now that ended their season in 5th place at a Conference tournament in April, 2011. That’s pretty nuts and a testament to program building and quality coaching by Mike Denardis.

-Jimmy Mickle more than deserved the Callahan award. Great guy, great player and great teammate. Congrats to him.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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