Labor Day 2010 – Day 2 (Sunday)

Sometimes when you drive up the hillside onto the UC Santa Cruz campus in the morning you’ll reach a point where the heavy fog suddenly disappears and you climb into brilliant, refreshing sunshine. Other times you cannot climb high enough to get out of the fog. Today fell into the latter category. Adding to the gloom, Beau Kittredge and Martin Cochran both sat out with injuries, though the former intended to suit up for semifinals if we won our early game. Mac Taylor could barely see out of his bruised and swollen left eye, but he would play. We also learned that Nick Chapman would arrive in time for semifinals from a wedding weekend.
Game 5 – Pool play, pool A – 9:00a vs Wolf (Bay Area, CA)
Wolf features many men that Revolver know very well, including several of our old teammates (including Nat Kinsky, Louis Eisenberg, Ian Ranahan, David “Fetch” Janinis, and Kevin Buchanan), several former Jammers, and a solid young core. The game commenced in a thick fog, so that each team could barely identify seven shapes on the other line and pulls became invisible for a couple of seconds before swooping back down toward the field. For matchups on the opening point, Wolf’s clipboard man for the day, Jason Zhang, walked halfway down the field to figure out which shape belonged to which player on the Revolver O-line. We punched in the first goal, then broke. After Wolf converted to 2-1, Revolver scored and then broke three straight times to 6-1 and an 8-3 lead at halftime. Wolf settled in a bit out of half, trading to 11- 6 on some nice throws by #32 Adam Scow. Offering a different look, we ran a zone, but Wolf continued with patient swinging and a couple of timely hammers until #11 Kevin Buchanan’s lefty around backhand swing was snared by our own #11 Nick Handler on a layout D from the wing position. A rapid fire string of fast break throws later, #4 Jon Levy passed a short IO forehand to #7 Russell Wynne, wide open for the break to 12-6. As the sun burned through the fog layer, Revolver won 15-9 after a few holds and one break apiece.
Our long bye before semifinals commenced while we enthusiastically watched the exciting double-game point between Johnny Bravo and Emerald City, featuring fourteen turnovers, including a two-handed layout point block by Danny Karlinsky. Exhausted by the long point and adrenaline, everyone was a little relieved when ECU finally punched in their O-line conversion to win. Johnny Bravo still locked up the top spot in semis over Revolver. In pool B, Doublewide upset top seed Sockeye, so the semifinal matchups were the same as if everyone had held seed.
Since we would meet Doublewide next, a few of us stuck around to observe their last pool play match against Streetgang while the rest left to graze for lunch. The big changes for Doublewide since Worlds in Prague: standout cutter Kiran Thomas is gone (moved to Atlanta and Chain Lightning), outspoken University of Florida alumnus Brodie Smith joined the squad, and Max Cook was freed up for D-line duty. Their O-line dynamic looked completely different than we remembered it as they let Smith do whatever he wanted: throwing plentiful long, accurate goals and occasionally deciding to cut deep himself. He also pissed off the entire San Diego team. In one incident, he yelled from the sideline to one of his teammates repeatedly to call a time-out in the red zone. Most of Streetgang stopped running when they heard “Time-out!” but the thrower didn’t use a TO, instead throwing the goal.
Game 6 – Semifinals – 2:45p vs Doublewide (Austin, TX)
It’s tough not to focus on someone when he draws so much attention to himself, so we decided to put one of our best markers, #14 Mark Sherwood, on #10 Brodie Smith. But after Smith caught a couple of early goals, his teammate #17 Jacob Anderson yelled to us, “Why do you keep putting that little kid on Brodie?” With #50 Beau Kittredge on painkillers and cleated up, we traded to 4-4 before #40 Mac Taylor caught a D when his man turned downfield just as a swing throw went up. He tossed it ahead to Wynne for the first break of the game (in the downwind direction) and a 5-4 lead. A couple of dubious calls on the part of Smith (one in which he ignored two of his teammates’ out of bounds calls from the sideline, another after #80 Taylor Cascino got up for an awesome D on a hanging disc in the endzone) provided a readily replenishable source of motivation for the Revolver D-line. Excellent team defense and frantic marks brought us to a 13-7 lead and continued when a wide hanging dump throw was snagged up high by #27 Ashlin Joye. He tossed it to #19 Ryo Kawaoka, who swung over to the backhand sideline to #8 Eric Halverson, who saw Joye streaking and launched a big OI flick for double happiness and the UC Davis connection. At 14-8, Sherwood ran a tidy forehand out to #9 Cassidy Rasmussen in stride for the 15-8 victory.
Game 7 – Finals – 4:40p vs Sockeye (Seattle, WA)
Again we meet Sockeye in the finals of a major tournament! After defeating them twice in Prague earlier this summer, they walloped us 8-15 at ECC. Though we were both reseeded to second in our respective pools, we met in the finals as the original top two seeds after they beat Johnny Bravo in the other semifinal 15-10. Revolver received going upwind to begin and we traded to 2-1, when Halverson knocked away a stall nine hammer to #10 Moses Rifkin, then picked it up and walked to the front forehand corner of the endzone to shoot a full-field flick to Taylor, who went up at the same time as #31 Matt Rehder, but both missed and Taylor grabbed it back on land for the first break. At 6-4 an excellent upwind pull pinned Sockeye back in their endzone for about ten throws, including a near Callahan by Levy, except #40 Adam Holt boxed out perfectly to grab it. Eventually a stall nine huck by #2 Aaron Talbot was easily eaten up by Taylor and Revolver’s D-line worked it along for an IO flick from Sherwood to Levy for the break to 7-4. On the ensuing point Sockeye advanced to the red zone but another stall nine crossfield hammer was knocked down by Taylor, who picked it up and launched to #12 Nick Chapman, but it floated and #21 Dave Bestock made a great play in the air to break it up. A few throws later Sockeye faithfully ran a deep shot out to speedster #23 Andrew Fleming, but Sherwood accelerated past him to steal it away. A quick swing later, Joye ripped an IO backhand to Taylor for the break into half 8-4. In the halftime huddle we recognized that we were playing with more passion, but–as always–that it’s not enough. Out of half Sockeye’s O-line used many passes but couldn’t push very far due to the continuing stellar team defense. #24 Alex “Dutchy” Ghesquiere finally snatched a tight, high-stall dump pass and shortly #17 Jit Bhattacharya sped a leading backhand to a full-extension layout by wild-haired Wynne and a continuation to fellow UCSC Slug Chapman for another break to 9-4. At 10-6, Cascino leapt above a pack near the vertical stack for a D before #13 Tyler Grant threw a short huck to Taylor for another break to 11-6. On the next point #12 Ben Wiggins hucked downfield but Chapman, who was trailing by several steps, angled quickly toward the sideline upon hearing the “Up!” call and barely managed to knock it off path and out of bounds. Kawaoka picked up and sent a lefty flick way downfield to Sherwood who gave and go with #37 Jonathan Hester for a short hammer goal and a 12-6 lead. At 12-7 Sockeye presented a junk defense and #1 Tim Gehret produced a catch block when our popper didn’t see him coming. After swinging it across to the flick sideline, #15 Nate Castine fired a big hammer to the far front of the endzone for a neat grab by #5 Reid Koss and a break to 12-8. Revolver pulled at 14-9 and Levy skied #16 Thomas Sebby for a D on a huck. We worked it across the field a few times and then Taylor threw a flick to an easily open Wynne for the break and a 15-9 victory.
At Labor Day in 2009 Revolver lost to Doublewide and Sockeye. We also lost our most recent match to each going into this tournament: 14-15 to Doublewide at Texas Shootout in May and the shellacking to Seattle at ECC. Though we avenged these losses today, we know it won’t be long before we encounter either team in October, hungry for their own vengeance. We’ll need something extra to overcome that.
Two weeks until Sectionals.

Labor Day 2010 – Day 1 (Saturday)

After our 4-3 finish at the Emerald City Classic, we had two weekends to work with before Labor Day. We only practiced once, albeit a productive day, and two optional weeknight scrimmage sessions with an unusually strong, motivated turnout. Revolver co-founder Nick Handler married in Lake Placid last weekend and joined us on Saturday morning sporting a bright blue tracksuit. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Handler!Brian Garcia, Nick Chapman, and captain Bart Watson are absent this weekend, but the remaining twenty-three are all healthy enough to compete on the gorgeous hillside fields of Santa Cruz. The sun shone brightly with an occasional light breeze to propel the sailboats down on Monterey Bay.
Game 1 – Pool play, pool A – 11:30a vs Furious George (Vancouver, BC) This marked our first meeting with Furious in 2010. Through all the years they’ ve had time to figure out what works, a fact that showed right away as they struck with two quick deep shots in their first two possessions to the towering #9 Andrew Lugsdin, a formula familiar to many of their opponents. On their next possession #8 Eric Halverson knocked away another throw to Lugsdin in the endzone but #33 Andy Collins laid out and simultaneously toed the sideline for a fantastic goal to energize his teammates. Revolver broke first to take a 4-3 lead but Furious went right back to Lugsdin deep to knot it up at 4-4. On the next point Furious D’ d a huck to #50 Beau Kittredge and, after a little work, tossed an inside out huck to #2 Adam Silverstein to break back to 4-5. At 7-6 Revolver pulled and #40 Mac Taylor skied for a D on a flick huck. A few throws later #7 Russell Wynne rifled an inside-out forehand that Kittredge muffed. Then Furious swung across the field to the break side to shoot a backhand up the line… but #28 Martin Cochran grabbed a layout catch block with good positioning. Soon Kittredge lead his old Colorado pal Taylor with an IO flick huck to break for half 8-6. Out of half, his confidence high, Kittredge launched another huck, only just as #6 Josh Wiseman turned back underneath, which lead to another break back for Furious George. The rest of the game remained fairly close but we held on to win 15-13. Revolver will probably have to go through Furious George to return to Sarasota, and we’ ll need to play better next time or they could go through us.
Game 2 – Pool play, pool A – 1:15p vs Southpaw (Philadelphia, PA) Revolver has never played a team from Philly, but that didn’ t seem to bother this young squad helped by 6’ 5” #12 Joel Wooten, an old foe from last year’ s championship Chain Lightning team, responsible for some memorable plays in the finals. Southpaw served notice and broke to start the game after #9 Cassidy Rasmussen attempted a floaty huck to Wiseman. One long defensive point with multiple turnovers eventually saw #11 Nick Handler anticipate an IO flick break and cut it off by taking an aggressive angle for the catch D; a couple throws later, #14 Mark Sherwood placed a flick huck to Cochran for an easy goal as his defender #25 Trey Katzenbach ran out of gas for Southpaw. On the next defensive point, Revolver still needing more breaks, Southpaw threw it out the back of the endzone. #27 Ashlin Joye picked up on the backhand endzone line and blasted it full field to Taylor, open by ten steps for another break goal. Southpaw pulled at 7-7 showing junk and #6 Leon Chou tallied a nice block from the short deep position by laying out past a surprised popper; they quickly broke to take half 7-8. After a gut check halftime pause and with the time caps approaching, we forced a huck just too long for a man well-covered by Taylor. Taylor quickly picked up the disc, tossed an outlet to Halverson— whose tired defender was busy trying to switch—for an unmarked flick bomb to wide-open Sherwood and a tie at 8-8. Though we traded the next two points, Revolver had gathered sufficient momentum to finish the game with three breaks for a 12-9 win. Unfortunately, we lost one of our defensive leaders when Cochran fell on his throwing hand on a layout, sending him to the hospital with a broken metacarpal.
Game 3 – Pool play, pool A – 3:00p vs Emerald City Ultimate (Seattle, WA) ECU is another newly formed team that we’ ve never seen before, but they will be an important opponent in the Northwest region, so we hoped to establish ourselves early as an overwhelming force. Co-founded by our old teammate and friend #23 Danny Karlinsky, the Seattle boys share many of the same values we do, like a determined and humble ethic, though ECU emphasizes spreading their values to a wider audience. We received first and traded to 3-3, including the first two goals for Kittredge on throws from #99 Joshua Greenough and Rasmussen. We earned our first break for a 5-3 lead but ECU scored and broke right back to 5-5 after a crazy layout catch block by #1 Mike Kiyoi, who took the inside line on #10 Robbie Cahill on an upline dump pass. Revolver punched in our next possession and then Wynne tallied a footblock on an ECU forehand, then completed the bookend when #17 Jit Bhattacharya swung an around backhand in the red zone for a 7-5 lead. On the next point Joye got a sky D on a deep huck in the endzone. After a couple swings, Halverson launched a tight backhand up the sideline to Taylor for the break into half, 8-5. Out of half Revolver notched another break when #17 Jeremy Cram of ECU hucked a backhand upline that stayed aloft long enough for Wynne to sky for the D. Patient offense led to the red zone conversion when a long breakmark swing enabled #32 Sam Kanner to sneak a quick around backhand to #4 Jon Levy for the 9-5 lead. On the next point, Seattle’ s #8 Patrick Bayliss almost snagged a super-extension layout bid on a huck; but, Revolver worked it briefly before Kanner put up an IO backhand that threatened to sail out the side before Taylor toed in the very back corner to break to 10-5. Then #5 Jimmy Chu, who featured extensively for ECU all game on both sides of the disc, caught a flick on his finger near their own brick. We converted after more small ball and another end zone formation goal from Bhattacharya to Handler for a convincing 11-5 lead. Final score 15-7. In October, when they bring their full roster to Regionals after another month of gelling, it may not be so easy for us.
Game 4 – Pool play, pool A – 4:45p vs Johnny Bravo (Boulder, CO) Yet another opponent we met for the first time in 2010, though we have a bit more history with the Boulderites. Johnny Bravo was the second seed in the pool and gunning for us and their three old teammates, now three of the tallest members of Revolver: Martin Cochran, Beau Kittredge, and Mac Taylor. A doctor was putting Cochran’ s hand in a splint during this game. Beau Kittredge accelerated for a spectacular flying layout D but collided with a young Bravo player and hurt his left hand and shoulder. #19 Parker Krug accidentally whipped a forehand fake into Taylor’ s face and put him on ice with a black eye that swelled almost shut. We traded to 3-3 until speedy #16 Ryan Farrell picked off an IO flick on a poach barrel roll for Bravo. An ensuing blady flick from #20 Josh “ Richter” Ackley to #12 Jordan White gave them the first break. They took half convincingly at 5-8 and we still looked uninspired, but out of half Bravo hucked too far and Joye laced a flick to Wynne, who passed to Levy for a short return flick blade to Wynne for the break to 6-8. Several breaks rounded out the second half, including one for Revolver to close the score to 13-14, but since the hard cap was on, Bravo wouldn’ t need to score the final point. Their fast, aggressive play paid off and we ran out of time to turn the game around, despite mounting a confident push the last few points.
Unenthused about our performance today, we nevertheless joined for a team dinner at Sushi Totoro on Mission St, where the waitress remembered us from the last Santa Cruz tournament: “Wait… are you the guys that play that game with the credit cards?!” Yep, that would be us. She poured Dutchy a Sapporo on the house because she pitifully remembered him being stuck with the bill last time. Everyone gorged themselves on delicious meals and 14 pieces of plastic dropped into Ashlin’s hat with $140 in cash on the table from those opting out of credit card roulette. The waitress, Julie, plucked out the cards one at a time, each participant gleefully raising his arms, blowing kisses to the sky, or yelling in relief as his name was called- -until there only two remained, which happened to be the two most unpronounceable names on the team: Ryo Kawaoka and Jit Bhattacharya. You could have cut the tension with a sushi knife as they mutually agreed that the cash would go to the next card pulled and the remaining would pay the entire bill (instead of “friendly roulette,” when the cash goes toward the bill). As the entire restaurant looked on, Julie pulled the card, made a face, and decided not to try uttering Jit’s name. Ryo picked up the huge bill this time as everyone wound down and headed out for a night of R& R.