The 2012 Emen finished out the regular season at UConn's "Bootycall" tournament, looking to defend our title from last year (when the tournament was called "One Nightstand"). This would be our last chance to tweak our strategies and practice execution before the series. With Sectionals coming up on the 14/15 of April we were looking forward to working hard against some top level Regional competition.
On Saturday our pool consisted of games against Wesleyan, UMass, Maryland and Williams, in that order, with the last game of pool play coming on Sunday morning against Boston University.
Although we came out a bit slow in this game, our confidence built as time went on. It took us a few points to adjust to a short field and the O-line was forced to work on in cuts leading to goal line dump-swings. The defense was very effective at working upwind, with Nino Figliola and Will Wong keeping the disc moving. A few breaks going into half followed by a few more shortly after half put the game away for the Emen. 15-9 victory.
Another slow start for us, as we were broken upwind on the first point and subsequently went down 4-1. Late in the first half we started to find our feet and a huge layout callahan from Freshman Tyler Chan helped us roll into half back up a couple of breaks. Again, the key to this game was discipline with the disc on both offense and defense as the windy conditions made moving upfield a bit tricky. We traded a few points out of half but put in two breaks to finish the game off, 13-9.
In the most anticipated game of pool play, we matched up against the University of Maryland Space Bastards and Senior Jack Hatchett's identical twin brother. The first half was a battle until the end when a marathon point ended in a break for the Emen. Maryland was a team that liked the deep ball and Jack Hatchett and co. on the D-line adjusted accordingly. Going into half up 8-6 we were a few execution errors away from a larger margin. In the second half the D-line handlers stood out -- distributing well and working off of each other on turns. Once the disc was in the the hands of the cutters, Robby Perkins-High and Lloyd Olson among others worked hard to keep it moving upfield. The result was a few more breaks and 15-10 victory.
In our last game of the day on Saturday we faced Williams, the 2 seed in the pool. Our depth was helpful in this game as we came out fresh despite it being our 4th game of the day. The O-line was efficient thanks to ruthless cutting by Adrian Banerji and Sam K-S, leaving the D-line plenty of opportunities to face the Williams offense. There were a few marathon points, but we did a good job of working hard through them and punching in breaks. Though the score was 8-3 at halftime, Williams was a very hard working team that we knew would not back down. The second half was a bit of a grind for us, as Williams stepped it up a notch, challenging our D-line. They gained a few breaks back, but we closed out and took the game 15-10.
Unfortunately BU was unable to make it on Sunday so we took a 5-0 record to the Semifinals on Sunday.
Heading into Sunday with a luxurious 1 pm start time, coaches Mike Bright and Jeff Brown emphasized our need to come out fired up against teams that had already had a chance to find their legs. We were set to face Maryland (again) in the Semifinals, who had come off of big wins against UMass and Cornell.
Seminals vs. Maryland:
In our second matchup of the weekend Maryland came at us hard with swing for the fences offense and solid zone defense. Deep coverage by Jack Hatchett and Alex Cooper was key to stopping the huck and on offense Cooper, Eric "Rickshaw" Shaw and Mike "Iago" Hagenow were patient with the disc, finding ways to break through the cup. Despite a couple of drops and Jack getting roasted deep by his twin, we went into half with an 8-5 lead. In the second half the O-line attempted to cut out the bailout scores that had characterized our first half. Patient cutting and a little more focus helped our efficiency. Again the D-line cutters took over on turns with Tyler Chan, Nick "DH" Adolph and Dan Pavitt all making solid plays to keep the disc moving upfield. The breaks started to come and we took a 14-7 victory and bid to the finals.
Finals vs. UConn:
The finals would be our last chance to perform in the regular season and it was a high energy, big play game against a tall, skilled UConn team. Breaks came back and forth a few times in the first half, as the O-line cutters did well to get open, but gave the disc up a few times on miscommunications and drops. The UConn defense did not give the disc back easily and demanded that our O-line work hard to regain possession. The D-line did an excellent job of generating turns thanks to Will Wong's relentless mark and Jack and Lloyd's deep coverage. Nino again shined as a handler on the turn, often complemented by Rickshaw or Cooper. A break heading into half gave us an 8-7 lead. Energy was the name of the game coming out of the break and we finally tightened the screws on offense. Piers Macnaughton was unstoppable in the cutting lanes and Cooper again wowed fans and opponents alike with his arsenal of throws. Though UConn was an extremely talented and hard-working team, our fire and execution helped us to a 15-10 victory to defend our title. Check out a video of our game winning break at the bottom of the post.
A big thanks goes out to all the parents who came this weekend to feed us and cheer us on. Also, shout out to Nate "Noodles" Tenczar and Ryan "Irish Creme" Bailey for coming out to film for us.
Conference Championships: April 14-15 @ MIT
Regionals: May 5-6 @ Dartmouth
Edit: Gene never toots his own horn in his recaps, but his steady presence and strong cutting were essential to the success of our offensive line all weekend. Freshman Carter Thallon's fantastic work rate on both sides of the disc stood out this weekend as well.