Nationals – Sunday

Revolver – USA Ultimate Club Championships – Day 4 (Sunday, October 30, 2011)

When we rolled up to the fields this morning we found Ironside already warming up in the cross-field breeze. The crowd was small today but it didn’t reduce the intensity of this finals rematch. In the last four years both Revolver and Ironside have played in three finals. We didn’t have any extra special strategies for this game besides being smart and quick with the disc. Tactically we had several specific notes and match-up assignments for their O-line regulars like Peter Prial, Matt Rebholz, and George Stubbs. After introductions and handshakes with our opponents, we won the flip and elected to start going downwind, while Ironside opted to pull first.

Game 8 – 9:00a v. Ironside (Boston, MA) – Final
We received first and scored quickly. Then we pulled going upwind and they centered the disc to Matt Rebholz, so Jon Levy promptly point blocked his forehand with a two-handed layout that allowed a quick break goal from Mark Sherwood back to Levy. He told us later, “As I dove across I had no idea if it was going to work or not.” We earned our next break after Mark Sherwood stalled George Stubbs after a deep goal had been called back on a pick, resulting in a 4-1 lead. We then traded for a while as Revolver’s O-line took care of business, including a nice two-pass point on a huck from Bart Watson to a streaking Devon Anderson and later an exciting sky grab by Cassidy Rasmussen. Up 7-5, Boston lofted a poor pull to provide us good field position. Bart picked up and sent a long forehand for Robbie Cahill, but Stubbs caught up and slapped the disc for the block… but it popped right toward Robbie, who bobbled it several times before securing an 8-5 halftime lead.

We pulled upwind to start the second half but Ironside turned it over. Mac Taylor bombed a forehand to create a footrace between two of the fastest guys on the field: Sherwood and Stubbs. Sherwood just beat his man for the superb layout snag and a crucial third break. At 9-6 there was a long tough point when Ironside pulled downwind and brought out their zone defense, forcing an early turnover as Bart shot a forehand across that sailed high over the intended receiver. They couldn’t convert the break, though, as they launched a high-stall bailout hammer turnover. Our offense worked it up the field but suffered another turnover on our own hammer that fluttered too much, though Boston gave it right back on a short toss during their fast break. Josh Wiseman dished a short pass to Joel Schlachet between three defenders and a 10-6 lead. Our D-line finally got the downwind break and 12-7 lead after Ashlin Joye knocked down a huck that Rebholz almost snared on the way down. Boston struck with their only break of the game when a nice pull trapped Nick Schlag on the sideline. The pressure was high and the backwards bail pass jumped up for a turnover, as the observers overturned foul calls by both the thrower and intended receiver. This closed the gap to 12-9, though we extended the lead again on patient zone offense to 13-9. On the next point Stubbs made another spectacular play by saving a floaty short pass above a pack of hungry defenders, but Rebholz and Sam Kanner collided heads in a rather bloody mess. After the injury timeout, Tom James hand-blocked a scoober attempt and Revolver worked the disc along the downwind sideline to a series of wide-open cutters, ending in a commanding 14-9 lead from Nick Chapman to Russell Wynne. After Boston scored on the next point on a shot from Peter Prial to Colin Mahoney, the Revolver O-line sealed a 15-10 victory from Josh Wiseman to Adam “Chicken” Simon, who played for the Boston squad that we defeated in the finals last year by the same score.

Rebholz won the Farricker Award (we nominated Beau Kittredge this year) and Chain Lightning won the team spirit award. We re-collected the trophy, some gold medals, and a berth to WUGC in Japan next July! We stuck around to watch the Mixed and Women’s division championship games with beer, stories, snacks, and some friendly heckling. Blackbird defeated Polar Bears in an all-Bay Area final filled with many of our friends. In the afternoon game, Fury won their sixteenth consecutive title over Riot. (Okay, actually just their sixth.)

We stopped for dinner and NFL-viewing on the way back to the beach house, then kept the party rolling with pool noodles, drinks, pool noodle drinks, the beach, and a pinata. For now, it’s off to the Daiquiri Deck to celebrate!

Nationals – Saturday

Revolver – USA Ultimate Club Championships – Day 3 (Saturday, October 29, 2011)

A drizzle greeted us at the fields and decided to stick around for a while. We hadn’t played as well as we’d liked over the first two days of the tournament, so today’s bracket games would test whether we really deserved to advance to our third consecutive final at Nationals. We woke up glad to see that the St. Louis Cardinals had won the World Series, since Revolver’s baseball fans had rallied around Bart Watson’s fandom, a native of St. Louis. We did not overlook the fact that the Cardinals had ended the playoff runs of both the Philadelphia and Texas baseball teams. First up today for Revolver: Philly, possibly followed by Texas.

Game 6 – 9:30a v. Southpaw (Philadelphia, PA) – Quarterfinal
The defensive intensity was clearly high as we forced seven breaks on only four turnovers by the D-line’s O (or D’s O, as we call it). Attesting to the physicality of this wet morning game, the observers TMF’d (team misconduct foul) both teams simultaneously early on. The O-line only turned over the disc once this game, but reacquired possession, taking care of their end with special efficiency and no breaks against. Pulling at 7-3, Jonathan Hester poached for a layout block on an upline dump pass. Sam Kanner lofted a bendy around backhand to Taylor Cascino, wide open for the break into half and 8-3 lead. Later, captain Martin Cochran notably dove for a two-handed goal and then slid a good ten yards in the slick grass. We wrapped up the game 15-7 and advanced to semis.

The rain ceased toward the end of the quarterfinal and the clouds wandered off for warm sunlight as our long bye loomed. Some of the team headed to watch the Wheelchair v. Beyondors semifinal in the Masters division, as we have a lot of former teammates and friends on both squads. The rest of the team drove to Applebee’s for air conditioning, ice cold water, and some appetizers.

Game 7 – 2:15p v. Doublewide (Austin, TX) – Semifinal
In this rematch of last year’s semifinal, Doublewide would need no extra motivation to avenge their defeat. Not much had changed from our scouting report: their offense revolves around the tandem of Florida transplants Brodie Smith and Kurt Gibson. They have some tall, fast downfield cutters in Jake Anderson and Kevin Richardson, plus stalwart handler David “Salad” Melancon, but Smith and Gibson make themselves the focal points. We assigned the lanky Mac Taylor and handler-defender specialist Taylor Cascino to hector Brodie and nominated Mark Sherwood and Ashlin Joye to make life difficult for Gibson.

The first point featured Austin’s best O-line and one of Revolver’s best D-lines, combining with a healthy dose of overexcitement that brought on a total of 11 turnovers on tough, tight throws against aggressive, physical defense by both squads. Eventually Tom James whipped an inside-out forehand that Martin Cochran snagged between two fingers for the layout goal (he said, “I have no idea how I caught that.”) We piled on with cleaner play and blocks from Russell Wynne and Nick Chapman to break twice more and race to a 3-0 lead, then a 5-1 lead on our fourth break. At this point the Doublewide O-line settled down for a while. Kurt Gibson tallied one of his three point-blocks this game against our handler Adam “Chicken” Simon for Doublewide’s first break back, to close the gap to 7-5. Out of halftime Doublewide sent out a tall zone in the breezy conditions and we dropped a short dish pass to allow them to close to 8-6. That would be as close as the Texans would get, though, as the teams traded for a while before Revolver grabbed a pair of upwind/downwind breaks and a 14-9 lead, including a shared goal as Cochran and Zach Travis grabbed a hanging disc over a Doublewide defender at the same time (Zach claims, “I caught it and Martin tried to steal it from me!”). Beau Kittredge showed that he can throw too as he distributed four assists. Revolver received going downwind up 14-10 and sent the disc to Robbie Cahill on the forehand sideline; meanwhile, Josh Wiseman was isolated as a cutter, backed by Doublewide by ten yards, but he double-faked and zoomed to the back corner for the game-winning goal.

Excited to return to the title game for our third straight season, we guzzled Endurox, Metabolol, and chocolate milk to recover quickly during the team stretch circle. Some folks visited Kristin at Sunni Bunni for smoothies, some headed back to the beach house for first crack at ice baths, and Coach Dutchy stuck around to meet about pre-game logistics for tomorrow’s game. Team dinner with family and friends at a new-to-us Italian restaurant, since our favorite Marie’s Italian Kitchen has sadly closed up shop. It’ll be an early night because we play Ironside in the morning round, which begins at 9:00a here in Florida (if you’d like to watch the action, click on links for Live Streaming at the USA Ultimate Facebook page). We’ll try to defend our title and reclaim the trophy for another sunset on the warm white beaches of Siesta Key.

Oh, and Ashlin somehow convinced the entire team to allow him to carve speed lines into hair or beards. The guy’s persuasive… and annoyingly persistent.

Nationals – Friday

Revolver – USA Ultimate Club Championships – Day 2 (Friday, October 28, 2011)

Rain sprinkled on and off throughout the day, but the air remained warm and low on wind (not like what we’re used to in Northern California). We set up two big tents over the Insta-bench and three coolers of food, drinks, and ice, and set to work.

Game 4 – 9:30a v. Machine (Chicago, IL) – Power Pool E
Machine pulled to start but Robbie Cahill turned it over on a deep throw. Machine’s D-line took the opportunity to work the disc all the way back to our endzone before we forced a high-stall throw that hung up for Beau Kittredge to outjump the pack and swat it down. Shortly thereafter Cassidy Rasmussen sent a beautiful backhand huck to a wide-open Josh Wiseman for the goal. We traded a break each early on and then earned two toward the end of the half for an 8-5 lead. At 9-6 Revolver’s D-line went on a run with five straight break points, which included a forced stall by Jon Levy’s mark. Final score: 15-7.

Game 5 – 12:15p v. Ring of Fire (Raleigh, NC) – Power Pool E
The winner of this game would take the top seed into the quarterfinal bracket. Noticeably, super-athlete Ken Porter of Ring took the day off (torn rotator cuff from their Thursday game against Furious George). One of our main goals was to limit Brett Matzuka’s effectiveness as a many-tooled handler by forcing him away from the disc, which we generally accomplished, though he’s too good and fast to be shut down all the time. Ashlin Joye fired up our team early with a huck handblock, yielding the first break and a 3-1 lead. It didn’t take long for Ring to get that back, though, tying the score at 4-4. A few more breaks resulted in an 8-6 halftime lead. Ring evened the score at 9-9 with yet another break to keep the game close, but at 10-10 Ring pulled out of bounds, allowing a one-throw goal from Bart Watson to Robbie Cahill. On the ensuing point Patrick Baylis leaped to knock away a deep hammer shot in the endzone; thankfully, the observer overturned the intended receiver’s foul call on the play. A long slog back the other way exhibited the D-line’s capacity for patience, including two more observer-overturned calls by Ring. We finished with yet another late-game run to win 15-11. Taylor Pope displayed impressive pulls and forehand hucks, leading to a couple of important breaks for Ring’s D-line.

After catching the last several entertaining points in the Ironside-Doublewide match, most of the team headed back to the beach house as the sprinkle fledged into a rain. We’ve got barbeque for dinner, over which we’ll prepare to meet Southpaw in a quarterfinal tomorrow morning. Until then, board games and World Series game 7 will keep our attention, at least until we turn in around the 7th or 8th inning.

Nationals – Thursday

Revolver – USA Ultimate Club Championships – Day 1 (Thursday, October 27, 2011)

Breakfast: eggs and ground turkey.

Game 1 – 9:30a v. GOAT (Toronto) – Pool A
The D-line didn’t really get going for most of this game, but we led by a couple of points for most of the game until GOAT tied it up at 10-10, then 11-11 before we rattled off the last four points to win 15-11. Jon Levy notched two blocks in the last three points.

Game 2 – 12:15p v. Condors (Santa Barbara, CA) – Pool A
After lunching on honey-baked ham sandwiches we rushed out to an 8-3 halftime lead against the Condors, when Zach Travis rose above the fray to grab a floaty deep shot from Ashlin Joye. Out of half Tyler Bacon tossed a flick huck that forced Mark “The Arbiter” Elbogan into an impressive extension layout catch for the Condors. The second half was a little sloppier, including several drops, but we managed a 15-8 victory.

Game 3 – 3:00p v. Johnny Bravo (Boulder, CO) – Pool A
Johnny Bravo had just lost to GOAT, so they needed to beat us to have a chance of advancing to the upper power pools. They were ready to do just that as they ran up a 2-0 lead off a Joshua “Richter” Ackley layout comeback block, after which he crawled the couple of steps to the disc and tossed it to Jake Juszak for the break. We scrabbled back with a break to tie the score at 5-5, then got another to take a 7-6 lead after Sam Kanner called a timeout and hucked to Martin Cochran on the set play. We took an 8-7 halftime lead but Bravo broke immediately to level the score at 8-8, after which we traded to 11-11. The final score of 15-12 happened after Russell Wynne swallowed up an endzone pass by Bravo, after which we worked the disc back the other way and finished with a short pass from Nick Chapman to Jonathan Hester.

Tomorrow we will play in power pools against Machine and Ring of Fire. Tonight we take ice baths, dine on Italian cuisine, and check out game 6 of the World Series.