I was recruited by Michelle Ng and Without Limits to write about my experiences in my final season of College Ultimate. 2011 has many possibilities...let's see how they pan out. E-mail me (robyn-fennig@uiowa.edu)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easterns Recap

After a really long car ride, no sleep, and an extremely long night of sleep...here's what I've got. (I'll apologize for terrible typos, grammar mistakes. I'm really tired. I don't feel like editing right now)

Day 1:
Pool Play Game 1 vs. North Carolina State (Jaga)
They were an athletic team, always looking for the strike and deep throw. They had a couple of really strong throwers, #16 was a ridiculously smart, fast cutter. If they had a consistent deep game, they'd be more than a bubble team. Saucy played some sloppy points, but overall, controlled the tempo of the game. Many of our newer players got the chance to play in this game, which was exciting. We mostly focused on man-to-man defense, as the wind was definitely not a factor. We came out on top, 13-4.

Pool Play Game 2 vs. Michigan (Flywheel)
I was really nervous/excited about this game. Flywheel returns a roster of stud athletes with great ultimate skills. Much of them got some exposure to elite mixed ultimate with Overhaul. Their offense is anchored by Paula Seville, Katie Poulos, and standout cutter, Becky Malinowski. Saucy came out incredibly strong. Moving the disc well, taking advantage of our solid deep game. We transitioned quickly, taking advantage of our quick cutters. Flywheel had some turns right on the endzone line. I find this quite uncharacteristic of Flywheel...but either way, we were able to go up 5-0. I don't remember a whole lot of turns from our O during the first half. It was awesome to be able to capitalize on some turns, to create a good lead. Huge grab in the endzone by Audrey Erickson. I'll find a picture and add it as soon as Sedg posts 'em on Fbook. We ended up taking half 7-2 (I think). We knew that some adjustments would be made. Essentially, we saw a completely different team in the second half. The second-half Flywheel team was the national contending
team we were expecting. We experimented with some new things and opened our lines a bit. Flywheel came back, and we tightened up a lot more. We pulled out a win 13-10, which felt good.

Pool Play Game 3 vs. Harvard (Quasar)
We came out flat in this game. However, one thing is that we opened up the lines completely in this game. Everyone got lots of play time. Sadly, we went down a few right away. I mean we were down like 0-4 or something like that. I wasn't even worried, though. Mikey called a timeout, we regrouped, and never looked back. The wind was a lot more intense this game than it had been all day. I think it threw us off a bit. But we came out on top. 13-7, Sauce.

Day 2:
Game 1, Quarters vs. Iowa State (Woman Scorned)
We have a tendency to ALWAYS play ISU no matter what tournament it is, where we are...we love playing each other. Woman Scorned tends to always come out hard against Saucy, no matter what (Saucy does too, so it works). The Saucy O was calm, the D was stifiling. We worked the break side a lot in the game, and the ISU D couldn't shut it down. Chelsea Twohig's throws were huge in this game. Again, the wind didn't affect us a ton. Sauce on top, 13-6.

Game 2, Semis vs. North Carolina (Pleiades)
This game showcased the Saucy Nancy depth and overall skill. We demonstrated that we can succeed by working the deep game, working the disc under, using a calm-collected zone offense, going over the top of zones, working it through a zone, creating solid matchups in a man-to-man defense, zone defense...whatever was thrown at us, we reacted with poise and intensity. I was extremely impressed with our team energy in this game. All twenty-something of us came out with 100% intensity. They came out in a 4-man wall-like D. The wind wasn't a factor, so we went right over it, attacking the weak spots. There really was no hammer-stopper, as the wings were pinched in pretty tight to the zone. As long as we kept Leila Tunnell deep, we had the over pretty easily. Catching the inverted throws=not a problem for Sauce. For much of the game, we used man-to-man defense, focusing on keeping the disc out of Leila's hands as much as possible, as well as not biting on the huge fakes. Not biting took away the backhand hucks of the Pleiades handlers, forcing them to put it deep with the forehand. We had some huge deep D's by Jen Nowak, Katie Johnson, and Chelsea Twohig to keep the hucking game to a minimum. With their vert-stack offense, we found that by helping deep and sometimes switching on the unders, we could contain a lot better. Saucy also focused on cutting off the arounds, forcing them to work up the disc on the force side. This win felt phenomenal. Saucy on top again, 13-7.

Game 3, Finals vs. Wisconsin (Bella Donna)
Rematch from last weekend at Midwest Throwdown. Bella came off a huge 8-6 win vs. UNC-Wilmington in their semis game. We had some great energy going from our semis win. The sun was out, the wind picked up a bit, though it changed directions a ton. In the first half we focused on man-to-man D, in the second half, we focused on zone. I didn't see Sarah Scott there, which I think hurt the Bella deep game a bit. Primarily, the O was running through athletic cutter/handler, Jenny Gaynor. She was their go-to receiver. They were really trying to work the McKain/Gaynor connection. We focused on shutting down Gaynor, and kept Chelsea Twohig on McKain. Chelsea got a quick handblock off the pull on McKain, which allowed us to go up quick 1-0. If you're looking for a good play by play, Michelle tweeted the whole thing on the Eastern's Twitter Feed. Check it out HERE One thing I was a bit shocked about is why Bella didn't go deeper into their roster. Our players consistently commented about how the newer Bellas were the most stifiling on the mark, as they were often fresher than the folks running for points on end. We tried to keep fresh legs out there, and it really helped. Our Mikey-created conditioning/lifting/plyos are really starting to show late in the tournaments, as our players can run and run. This game showed the world: Saucy Nancy is back. Our Throwdown win wasn't a fluke. We can play in really poor conditions (See: Midwest Throwdown) or really nice conditions (See: Women's College Easterns).

Overall thoughts on the weekend:
1) We were able to switch it up between man and zone. Our zone is stifiling. I love it. Throwing different things at different times. We can vary the looks we throw, and throw them well.
2) We need to swing bettter. We have these points where handlers hold the disc (cough, cough, ROBYN). When we swing, we succeed. No one can shut it down.
3) We have a deep team. We really can match up well, and keep the legs fresh in big games. I love looking around me between points, and be confident that we'll win the match ups every time. And in the event that we don't, we don't let it bring us down.
4) Our sidelines are second to none. We have a huge team, and we'll let you know it.
5) Michigan's going to turn some heads. I'm waiting for them to blow up soon. (See: Women's College Centex)
6) UNC-W is the world's most beautiful campus. Holy cow.

I need to enjoy my spring break/sleep more.

1 comment:

  1. KP also brought down a huge deep D against UNC. Saucy was ruling the skies that game other than that time Chelsea just fell down and Leila tracked down a deep one.

    Trust your swings, Robyn! You know what to do.