We came into Regionals this year seeded first overall, with one bid to Nationals on the line. Dartmouth, Vermont, Harvard, Williams, Boston College and Umass were all coming off of strong regular seasons and were hungry to upset us and take the trip to Boulder. The format, which was different from Regionals past, had us in a 4 team pool on Saturday followed by bracket play on Sunday. Saturday
Our first pool play game was against Umass-Dartmouth, a team that we'd seen a few weeks earlier at Metro Boston Conferences and had beaten handily. We came out fired up and rattled off a couple of breaks to go up early. As the first half went on we continued to play with fire, but with some noticeable nerves. A sweet bailout sky by Sam K-S on a bad huck helped us to convert on O and freshman Carter Thallon blew it up on the D-line with multiple layout blocks. In an exciting move that took approximately 3 years off Zalisk's life, Jack Hatchett caught a callahan and spiked it before anyone could determine whether he was actually in the end zone or not. In the end we rolled to a 15-8 victory and a solid start to the weekend.
By some coincidence of seeding our very own B-men were the 4 seed in our pool so we stacked up against them in the next game. It makes me proud to say that they played us as tightly if not tighter than the other 2 teams that we faced on Saturday. We took some time to adjust to a certain lanky handler and his thumbers, but our D-line started clicking and we rattled off a few breaks towards the end of the first half. Not much to say about the second half as we took care of business and won it 15-7.
Our last game came against Middlebury and for the 10 or so of us who were on the team in 2010 there is still a bit of a rivalry harbored for the Pranksters. Riding the fire of our Juniors and Seniors we came out swinging and broke to 4-0. After giving up a goal we continued to put our foot to the gas and went into half up 8-3. In the second half we continued to grind, despite having a few starters sitting out to nurse injuries for Sunday. We took care of business and ended it with a 15-8 victory.
Some notes for the day: Sam Dushay and Josh Adler deserve big props for cutting like maniacs on the D line, Nick Adolph was dropping bomb hucks all day to Robby Perkins-High and the D handlers continued to be one of the the most solid corps in the region.
On Sunday morning there was palpable excitement as we all felt ourselves reaching the culmination of months of hard work. We would start the day in Quarters and need to win 3 games en route to the finals.
Quarterfinals vs. UMass
In the quarters we faced UMass-Amherst, a team that had beaten Northeastern on universe point the day before to stay alive in the bracket. The big men ran the show in this game as Sam K-S was nearly unguardable on offense and Dan Pavitt worked hard to shut down their tallest player on defense. Jack Hatchett made some questionable yet exciting decisions with the disc, including a same 1/40th huck to Nick Adolph who laid out for the goal. Robby Perkins-High had a sweet layout D and Alex Cooper almost bid for an errant dump (lets be honest though, he just kind of kneeled). Josh Adler made a sweet grab on a deep huck late in the game to convert a break and Matt Taylor threw a sweet around backhand to Gene Buonaccorsi for the winning goal. 15-9 and into the Semifinals.
Semifinals vs. Harvard
My personal opinion is that Harvard is always one of the most challenging and rewarding teams to play against. I have a number of positive memories of battling with them over the past couple of years. Sunday at Regionals would be the first time we played them in the 2012 season. As expected they were fired up and ready to battle. Early in the game our D-line secured a few breaks by converting turnovers relentlessly. Will Wong, Nino Figliola and Eric Wilburn did a great job of finding Jack Hatchett and Lloyd Olson downfield and over on the O-line we converted quickly and gave those dudes more chances to break. With the score 8-3 at halftime we came out hoping to take care of business. The offense challenged deep and scored on a few hucks, including a layout grab by Gene Buonaccorsi and another play where Alex Cooper went deep from the handler spot. Towards the end we faltered a bit, giving up a few breaks, but still pulled out the win 15-11.
Finals vs. Dartmouth
The finals were quite the spectacle. Due to the tournament being on their home turf, the sidelines were crammed with Dartmouth supporters shouting a plethora of cheers. We had our work cut out for us to keep our own energy high. Some great defense on their speedy cutters led to an early break for us and after Eric Shaw made a great deep d we saved our possession after an O line turn. With the score 5-3, they scored a break when on a nice hammer catch, but our D-line got it right back to make it 7-4. Sam K-S made an incredible sky D to save another O point and Alex Cooper, Eric Shaw and Matt Taylor kept breaking through their defensive looks. We took half 8-4 and kept the fire going into the second half. Adrian Banerji made a ridiculous hammer sky for a goal late in the game and Nick Adolph had a sweet layout D on an in cut. With the score 14-9 we came out on defense hoping to lock up the game. After the downfield defenders shut down their cutters, Cenzo Vitiello had a ridiculous layout block on an upline cut. Eric Wilburn picked up the disc and fired an IO to Cenzo who found Jack Hatchett in the end zone for the win. With that goal we won the Region for the first time since 2009 and took a bid to Nationals for the 3rd time in 4 years.
- Our womens team, the Ewo, also qualified for Nationals for the second year running. Congrats to them!
- We were only losing twice all weekend, when we were down 1-0 and 2-1 to our B team.
- In the quarterfinals, the D-line generated 8 turnovers, and scored on 7 of them.
- Cenzo Vitiello and Eric Wilburn both returned from injuries to have huge weekends.
- This will be Nino Figliola's first Nationals appearance after missing last year's tournament to study abroad in France.
- In the past four years the Emen have won both the Regionals tournaments held in Hanover while Harvard has won both the Regionals tournament held in Amherst.
See you in Boulder.
(please excuse my references to myself in the third person throughout the write up, it just flows better)