Everyone was excited about today’s opponents: a perennial Northwest Regional power and the team that we haven’t met since they handed us a defeat in the finals a year ago.
Game 4 – Power pool play, pool F – 9:30a vs Furious George (Vancouver, BC)
The recent addition of #10 Masahiro Matsuno–on loan from the Buzz Bullets, the team we defeated in semifinals at Worlds this summer in our tightest game of the tournament–brought a completely new dynamic to our game plan. We weren’t sure how in sync the Furious O-line would be after putting him into the rotation after losing a couple of offensive players on Thursday. While both teams prepared for the game we laughed at the similarity between warm-up routines for the two best athletes on the field, Matsuno and our own Beau Kittredge, namely that they don’t really appear to be warming up at all and just going through the motions. Somehow they’re still the fastest guys on the field when the first pull goes up.
#8 Morgan Hibbert was limited by an arm cast but still made several athletic plays, though we kept his giant backhand mostly under wraps. #25 Oscar Pottinger’s forehand did some damage, as usual. A dangerous sideline collision between Matsuno and Mac Taylor worried everyone for a minute, but both men later returned to the field. The lead shifted hands throughout the game but we separated with a late upwind break to win 15-12.
Game 5 – Power pool play, pool F – 12:15p vs Chain Lightning (Atlanta, GA)
Honestly, we had been waiting for this game for an entire year. In the pregame huddle we were reminded of what one Chain player that had been in the audience had said to a group of us as we walked off the championship field in Prague, with our gold medals hanging around our necks: “You know, you guys are lucky. You really dodged a bullet.” Bulletin board material doesn’t get much better than that. Amazing the level of determination and will that our team can unleash when we’re in top form, a level on full display as we roared to a 12-6 lead and a final of 15-6, including several strings of breaks against the talented Chain O-line.
We felt fast and fresh at the end of the day. The team scattered for the afternoon, some to the movies, some to the beach, and some staying around to watch the play-in game that would determine our quarterfinal opponent: Truck Stop defeated PoNY 15-13.
Back across town to Strahov for an early game on one of the satellite fields.
Game 8 – Pool play, power pool P – 8:30 vs Ragnarok (Denmark)
Ragnarok presented Revolver with another completely new style of play that confounded us for the first 6-8 points as we traded to start off. Our defenders tend to afford a larger buffer when the disc is across the field, but the Danes punished this with around-the-mark forehand blades for small to large gains and several goals. #1 Henrik Thomesen in particular forced his way open underneath and killed us with these throws. Ragnarok was clearly used to catching these, but Revolver was not, so our defenders blocked three of these throws that popped back into the air before the Danes retained possession. Eventually we dampened the around throws enough and reeled in our buffers to pull away for a 17-10 win. The Revolver jersey went to the fantastically spirited and good-natured #32 Thor Moller, who used his body to work all the way across the field.
Hence Revolver advanced with the second seed intact. We made our way back toward the main Strahov Stadium and ate a pasta and salad lunch at a nearby pub, then returned to the big stadium to watch Fury take care of their pre-quarterfinal opponent. We hunkered down in the shade, hydrated, stretched, and turned our minds off of our next match-up for a while.
Game 9 – Bracket play, quarterfinals – 15:15 vs Colony (Australia)
Didn’t get the name of the jersey winner for this one and the Aussies seemed dispirited to bow out, but they gave us a tough game. They were content to work underneath despite having the ability to work deep too, so we battled to a 15-8 victory in the afternoon heat.
Most of the team walked over to a nearby stadium to kibitz the last quarterfinal game between Ironside and Sockeye, the showcase game at this complex. The large crowd enjoyed the spectacle with a back and forth game, plenty of drama, and a great showcase indeed. Sockeye pulled it out 17-15 after being down two at half.
We face another early start tomorrow with our third consecutive 8:30 start in the semifinal against the dreaded Buzz Bullets. The tournament bus schedule won’t get us all the way back to Strahov in time for our desired warm-up time, so they agreed to send an earlier bus to our hotel. Time to rest.
Most of the team attended the Revolver-hosted bar night at Popocafepetl in Old Town last night, but everyone arrived on time for warm-ups at Vrsovice, where we again trekked over the hill and through the tunnels to the remote field site.
Game 5 – Pool play, power pool P – 8:30 vs M.U.C. (Germany)
Munich seemed a little jittery as Revolver took the first half 8-1, but they settled down some in the second half as #8 Philipp Haas threw some very precise hucks to get things moving for the Germans; thus, the light blue Revolver jersey went to him. #29 Bart Watson played well enough to win a brilliant blue sublimated jersey from our opponents. It was a spirited game all around and both teams enjoyed the post-game hang-out by chatting and trading jerseys and wristbands.
Game 6 – Pool play, power pool P – 12:00 vs Flying Angels Bern (Switzerland)
The Swiss featured a couple of familiar faces to Bay Area players, as #29 Lorenz Stauffer lead the charge with his dazzling array of lefty hucks and hammers to anywhere on the field, so the Revolver defenders could never allow their marks too much leash. #10 Jon Remucal played his usual calm handler role, but stuck mostly to the D-line so Lorenz could anchor the O-line. Revolver took half 8-4, though, and closed out the game 15-8. #12 Davide Morri, a superb Italian athlete, received a Revolver jersey for his workhorse approach, speed, and attitude.
Game 7 – Pool play, power pool P – 15:45 vs Phoenix (Canada)
Our neighbors from the north were tall, athletic, and included a particularly worrisome 7’0″ lanky guy, #50 Neal Dawson. As it turned out, we handed the Revolver jersey over to #12 Karl L’Oiseau for his tenacious defense, cutting, and spirited play. The youngsters stepped up big again for this hot game on turf, propelling us to an 8-4 lead at half and a sparkling second half to close it out 15-5. We chatted with Phoenix afterward and took a picture of Nick Handler on Jit Bhattacharya’s shoulders, with his hand raised high, still unable to match the reach of Mr. Seven Foot.
We secured a spot in the quarterfinals, which play out tomorrow afternoon. For now it’s R&R before another early start.
With our favorite Northwest Region rivals up first in the power pool this morning, the team chomped at the bit and arrived at the remote turf fields at the Vrsovice complex. Our field sat in a school campus atop a blustery hill. Doublewide matched Chain Lightning and took the first half before suffering an unfortunate second half surge by their opponents as we looked on.
Game 4 – Pool play, power pool P – 10:45 vs Sockeye (Seattle)
Sockeye started with an awesome lay-out catch block by #15 Nate Castine for a break, but that was their last lead of the game as Revolver would score and then tally several breaks in a row. #7 Russell Wynne skied two Fish for an endzone D and would continue with a few extra Ds to his credit. This game was played at a much faster and physical pace than the first two days, which both teams expected, but still felt very different. #1 Brian Garcia and #50 Beau Kittredge both impressed with athletic vertical goals on floaty hucks too. We took half 9-5 as a vast dark storm loomed, but Sockeye caught a couple more breaks to make it 13-10. Lightning strikes closed in and the game was suddenly suspended as the clouds opened up and everyone ran for cover. It counts as a victory but nobody was happy that it had to end before someone scored 17.
Everyone scarfed down lunch as the rain continued and then eased up, but the bad news came across the PA that most of the day’s remaining games were postponed. We headed back to the hotel for some R& R.