This is going to be a great year.
We rolled into Brown having no legit tourney performance beforehand this Fall, and left having (in my opinion) proven to ourselves that we’re more than capable of running with any team in this region. As always, it seems, but there remains SO MUCH room for improvement, it’s almost silly to think about where we could be in a month, in a few months, come the spring. We’re at an amazing stepping-off point, and I’m beyond excited to help our team reach new heights.
At any rate, on to the recap…
Game 1: vs Wesleyan
After a relaxing bus ride down (interrupted only by a forced switch from a finicky long bus to a reliable short one), we got ready to play and came out strong. It was a cold and windy day, so all the games had a pretty solid upwind/downwind component to them, especially the earlier ones. We got started a bit late, and our first point (we started on D downwind) was long and hard-fought, as we worked the disc up the field a couple times, punishing their foolish choice to force us out with solid puts to deep cutters–while we didn’t manage to put in in on that point, our ability to get the disc from them (and their ability to give the disc to us) persisted throughout the game. Our failure to score going upwind did not.
They’re listed as Wesleyan-B on the SRT, which would explain a lot–I was sorely disappointed after hearing them get hyped up so much. The game was a good starting point for us, as we established some of our zone sets, began to apply some of our offensive strategies, and had some moments where we really ran and played extremely well. We won 8-4, apparently–I do believe that was in hard cap.
Game 2: vs MIT
I was sorely disappointed this game. Not with Dartmouth, but with MIT. Again I had looked forward to playing a good team here–MIT went all the way to the backdoor semis last year (where we beat them in a really, really good, hard-fought game to make it to the backdoor game to go), but this year it seems that they have not only graduated their two best cutters but they also lost their core handlers who were such a huge rock for them on offense last year. We threw a lot of zone again, and they really didn’t have an answer for it, with lots of short turns going upwind and downwind letting us rip this game wide open. It’s not surprising at all that Wesleyan beat MIT after this, given how they played against us.
At one point during this game (at least, i think it was this game–perhaps it was against Wesleyan) Misha sprained his wrist, taking him out for the weekend. Definitely missed seeing him play, but that we continued to roll over the weekend was a testament to our depth as a team. This is easily the deepest team I’ve been a part of at Dartmouth. Perhaps the A-team was like this in 04-05, but I really don’t think so.
Not too much else to say here. No highlights in particular leap to mind. 13-4 win, us.
We chilled/slept on the bus. Thank you, Raines’, for donating 4x our allocated budget from Dartmouth so that we can take a bus to the occasional tournament!
Game 3: vs Brown-Y
A compilation of Brown-B and Brown-C (how that adds up to X and Y is beyond my algebraic understanding), these guys are better than your average B-team.
That said..this game was not close. Final score tallies were something like Carson 7, Bollox 3, Rest of Dartmouth 3, Brown-Y 2. Carson was flat-out ridiculous in this game. Granted, they couldn’t really cover any of us, but Carson was just on fire when it got to the endzone. I think he only sat out 3 or so points total over the course of the game. That guy loves ultimate, and I’m glad he does–we all benefit.
Interlude: Night at Brown
No good stories from yours truly this time (I can only get called “Dartmouth’s fastest man” so often) but a few scraps I picked up from gossip circles…
-”W, your scruffy beard tickled my face and my heart…give me a call if you’re ever in DC -XOXO, C”
-Shmi leaping into the bushes after a lost rosham
-The dorm we were staying in apparently consisting entirely of steaky football players and scantily-clad women
Game 4: vs Cornell
Another day, another Dunkin’ Donuts stop. We had plenty of time to prepare before our first game–I commented at one point, while we had already run and gotten limber and were drilling while Cornell was still mulling around on their sideline that we had “won the warm-up,” and sure enough, we came out a lot sharper, opening with an upwind break on D and continuing to roll out to a 4-0 lead. Our D was tenacious, and our O, while not perfect, was good enough. We made the plays.
However, after storming out to our 4-0 lead, Cornell fought back a little as I think we mentally started to take them for granted. We went into half up 8-5, as I recall, and we talked about getting our grit back and really battling for every play in every point. And then we went out and took it to them, scoring three unanswered out of half to finish things in soft cap and close out the 11-5 win. Cornell is a good team, and especially given their athletes I had expected them to a) put the disc more often and b) make more plays, and while they did get their fair share of Ds and catches on floaty puts, they never seemed to find a groove on O–due in large part, I think, to our great D. When they went spread we were poaching smart and taking away all kinds of space, and when they went straight we contained their cutting threats downfield and forced their handlers into making uncomfortable decisions. All-around solid play by Dartmouth.
This was the game that got me really excited for the coming year–watching us run so hard and play so well here showed me just the capability that I think we can bring consistently on the field, and I think there’s plenty of room for growth on top of that, too.
BYE: We watched our women play MIT for a bit (Sam Snow, I don’t care if your girlfriend plays for them–know where your loyalties lay!), then returned to our fields to prepare for what would be our last game of the weekend. That is, of course, Harvard, whome we can never seem to escape playing.
Game 5: vs. Harvard
In an almost ironic reversal of our last game, Harvard went up 4-0 on us early as we had a few botched executions to go with a couple iffy decisions, and Harvard pounced on the turns and quickly struck to score. Despite the score, we continued to play our game, making a few defensive adjustments, pressuring the resets more and mixing in a couple other looks to take them out of their rhythm a bit (similarly to how they tend to crowd the lanes and mix in some varied zone sets to keep us on edge, including a clam set in the endzone off of a timeout). After their early lead, we fought back a little, but basically wound up trading points the rest of the game–we went into half down 8-4 or 5, and the game ended in their favor, 13-9.
Lots of great plays had in this game. Crambo had some bitchin’ moments on D especially (and played with the consistency and hucks of a young Sam Routhier!), and we had plenty of plays to rally around during this game–some great, team lockdown D at times, Will DeKrey and the hand of God pulling down a prayer, lots of all-around awesome.
Personally, I felt GREAT this weekend. The elusive second gear was not only present, it was persistent! It’s a good sign for my summer conditioning and speed work, as well as for the lifting I’ve been doing all term. The real test will come when it’s time to play 3 games in a row, 4 games in a day–we’ll see how the knee holds up then (it was on the cusp of being on the cusp of being a problem, but nothing I needed ibuprofen nor the knee strap for–though I did need some ibu for my ankle after I rolled it on Brown’s shitty slanted fields). For now, though, I’m feeling like I’m in probably the best shape (or at least the best health) I’ve ever been in at this point of the year, which is exactly where I want to be if this is going to be the best year I’ve ever had and the best year Dartmouth Ultimate has ever had.
Things are nicely on track for what has already been an amazing senior year to continue. Now if only my studies were as enjoyable as ultimate…
I felt good going in to Brown, and I felt pretty damn good leaving it, too. Dartmouth rolled to a second-place finish at Brown’s Huck-a-Hunk-a Burning Pumpkin tournament after losing to the home team in the finals.
Vs Brown B
Do I really need to say anything? We put up a bagel on them. I think they had one time where a huck was almost caught in the endzone by Brown B…but they dropped it. 13-0. We used the game to get ourselves set to play, things already looked fairly solid in this game.
We came into the game with BU expecting to be challenged, and we stepped up our game accordingly. BU couldn’t keep up with us, and we took half up 7-3, I think. We came out of half committed to the idea of not letting up, and continued to roll to a 13-5 victory. Probably the highlight of this game was BU’s main handler (Nate?) who had the most convincing backhand huck fake I’ve seen (though he apparently never actually throws from that position). At one point Socks and I were in a clam on their handlers and he goes with this fake–not only does Socks leap to get in the way on the mark, but I, poaching off my open-side handler mark, also jump to try and stop the throw, which is just a fake. Ironically enough, Nate then passes to his now-poached handler compatriot, who proceeds to drop the pass. I don’t have any other real memories of highlights, just general dominance on both sides of the disc from us.
After a bye we lined up against UMass, not really knowing what to expect but anticipating better competition than the last two games. The game started off tight, I think, but we rattled off a few unanswered breaks to take half on a seemingly out of it UMass, 7-3 or 4. I may be remembering this incorrectly but I think UMass breaks us right out of half to pull themselves right back into it, and we trade points for a bit, UMass slowly chipping away to bring it to 11-10, the cap meaning Dartmouth needs to score the next point or face a universe point. We take care of business to get the 12-10 win. Again I’m at a loss for highlights–my memory is a bit fuzzy on Saturday right now–but we ran hard, and frustrated UMass with a couple different defensive looks.
Somehow the seedings and format had us playing Harvard in quarters. It only sort of made sense in the format. Anyways, we start this game off VERY strong, throwing clam, zone, and man in succession and getting breaks with each to take a 3-0 lead as Harvard calls a timeout. They come out of their TO better able to deal with our D, not sure what the halftime score is but we take half by a couple points. At some point Harvard starts throwing zone against us with good success, getting enough breaks to force a universe point. We work it down and score on a floaty huck from Poohface that Dermott reels in (not the first or last time he does that Sunday) for the score. Despite it coming to universe the game had a more relaxed feel for me than I’d have expected. Maybe it’s just playing Harvard and being unable to feel intimidated by players you’ve given nicknames such as “Dreamboat” and “Uncle Moneybags” to. We win 10-9, in any case.
Vs Tufts (semis)
(semi-)Finally, a rematch with our season-enders from the past year. Compared to the relative tightness of the last game (or at least the second half of the last game), we do a pretty good job of running Tufts around and rebound from an early deficit to win 13-8. We had some early easy turns due in part to yours truly with a drop and an ill-executed jugular pass, but Tufts’ early lead was more endemic of our own mistakes than Tufts overmatching us (a theme of all of our games), and that we came back to win so commandingly is proof of that. This was probably my worst game of the tournament, I got off to a slow start, but I moved on and kept playing my ass off and did my part to make up for my errors instead of getting into my own head. Definitely played solid D this game, and apparently Tufts earmarked me as one of Dartmouth’s “studs” and matched me up accordingly. I also got a few pats on the back during the postgame handshakes after this game from Tufts players, which was really cool. I’m kind of a big deal!
Vs Brown (finals)
This ain’t yo’ Purple’s Brown. The addition of C-Mo meant we’d have a whole new factor to reckon with in this game, though he wound up being less of a factor, relatively speaking, than anticipated. Mahoney got several D’s against us and did flex a bit of deep game muscle, but by and large we did a good job of limiting his impact as far as simply being a deep target in every point. The relative difference in his impact may also be due to the fact that Brown hosed us fairly decently, 15-9. The early goings were at least somewhat close, we were broken a couple times to start, but we got one back and I think were only down one or two at half. Brown continued to roll and we couldn’t keep up, however. It wasn’t so much that we were overmatched, but we gave Brown the disc a fair bit and had mixed success getting it back as Brown did a good job converting. This was probably my second-worst game of the tournament, relatively speaking. I got off to another bad start, getting the force mixed up on the first point and twice getting beating by Brown’s fast guy to the cone in the endzone. I was pretty pissed with myself for letting myself be beaten, I was starting to feel the fatigue from playing so much and wasn’t capable or willing to go as full-tilt for as long as I expected. I wound up sitting out more points this game in part due to that fatigue and in part because we decided to open things up in the rotation to get fresh legs, a decision I definitely endorse and think we should try and do earlier and more often (without sacrificing team capability) in the future.
Great tourney. We played very well, with solid D looks, our core of returners looking very good, and some solid play from our young’uns, too. Personally I was very happy with how I played–I don’t know if I could say any one game was my best–maybe the BU game–as I feel like I played very well in all of my games, playing a bunch of points and putting in a solid effort on O and D. I was very happy with my athleticism for the weekend–I took it easy the week/week and a half before Brown, in part due to being a little under the weather, and the recovery showed on the field. My knee even held up all weekend (though I did take a fair bit of ibuprofen), which was a very encouraging sign going into my next training cycle. Seigs showed up and offered guidance for much of the tournament, which was greatly aprpeciated (though it would’ve been real nice if he hadn’t claimed a couch and not slept in it, as I slept on the floor nearby unknowingly…). Personal highlight of the tournament was off the field; I think it was me, Chimpo, and Downtown who ran into some UMass guys who were apparently already drunk at 9:30 (we were getting stuff from Will’s car), and one of them was all “hey, great game Dartmouth…see you at the party tonight?” and I was all “uh…maybe” and he just goes “That’s a no from Dartmouth’s fastest man.” Hehe. “Dartmouth’s Fastest Man!” I like it. Though I don’t know if it’s actually warranted just yet, it’s a nice indicator of the effect on other teams I have on the field (and plan to continue to have).
This week marks the start of training in earnest again. Some more posts on that (and Frozen) to come in the following days and weeks.
Pretty good weekend. Lot of play, lot of good games, high-quality (or at least, not low-quality) competition to work on our game on. We went 3-0 on day 1, highlighted by a victory over Harvard in which they score the last point after hard cap to lose by a point (really weird way to end a game), 12-11. Day 2 saw a pretty good steamrolling of Tufts, and then an epic semis game with UMass Zoodisc where we were down 9-4 at one point before going on a 7-2 run to tie things up for universe before they scored again. A bit disappointing to have lost, but really not a disappointing game at all in my mind–we were down early and seemingly out, but we stuck to our guns (or perhaps more accurately, found our guns and started using them) and really swung momentum in our favor. It’s exactly the sort of mentality we need to keep in that sort of situation.
As an aside, I’ve been reading Buster Olney’s Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, and part of what was discussed as an attribute of the late 90′s Yankee dynasty was their utter, unrelenting confidence, the sense that, no matter the circumstance or opponent, if the Yankees were in a position to come back and win it, they would find a way to do it. The sort of chemistry and sense of team they had obviously played a role in their success; and it’s that sort of feeling that I think we’re capable of having on Dartmouth’s team as well. We just have to play hard, keep our heads up, and play our own game, and there’ll be few things that’ll keep us down.
Personally, I felt great over the course of the weekend. Came out flat in our first game against Roger Williams, a trait I think is common for Dartmouth in general, but after getting sufficient warm-up, proper adrenaline flow, and realizing that part of the soreness came from running up and down a slanted field, I played pretty well. Finally feeling like I’m getting a feel for Cabo, getting better about switching as a wing (after getting beaten several times in the first game), and running forces as the mark, which is good. Still lots of improvement to be had, but I wasn’t ineffective, generally speaking.
Only had one D on the weekend, I think, but it was a pretty sweet one by most recounts. I was a bit worried I was beaten on the play but I didn’t give up and wound up getting the D, which was sweet. Otherwise on defense, I had a pretty solid mark, didn’t get broken that I can remember, and though I did get beaten a couple times in man generally I held my own. I do need to work on my positioning though, particularly when I’m tired and can’t move quite as quickly as I’d like (though this’ll also go away with better conditioning; I’m real excited to train this winter).
Offensively, well, I had one turn on the weekend, and really it could almost count as a D as I mis-played the situation and wound up skying my teammate. Still don’t know why I didn’t just play conservative and look to get the mack, but we were playing Brown B so it wasn’t as crucial that we value the disc in that situation I suppose. Other than that, well, on Saturday, all of my touches (aside from the one turn) were either assists or scores, and on Sunday I only had a couple non-scoring touches (I caught a score or two), so I had pretty solid ratios despite a low touch count (such is the fate of D-line cutters). I do need to work on my cutting a bit though; several instances where I didn’t get the O going as a first cut or wasn’t doing great generating flow occured that I can remember, though I generally cleared out pretty quickly. I guess working on the cutting, and also just running all-out, too, as that made a big difference in a couple points where I was all fired up.
All in all, pretty good weekend, personally and from a team standpoint. I know some people weren’t happy with their play, but I think ideally we can focus on the positives, that we played well as a team and stepped it up when it counted, rather than get bogged down in the negative of a particular throw or missed catch.
Decision-making (in a limited role)
Sky-ing in a couple instances
Cutting (as always)
D positioning, particularly when tired
Not skying own teammates