It was about as pristine as one could hope for an ultimate tournament this weekend in Commerce City, CO for Southcentral Regionals: hovering in the high 70s with hardly a breeze. After both teams going undefeated and relatively uncontested (CC's closest game before the finals 15-9 vs Texas, CU 15-11 vs Texas), both seemed fired up to play each other for the one seed.
My boys had been eliminated from contention earlier in the tournament by Kansas State and after playing out some consolation bracket games, the majority of the team settled into the north end zone to watch what we expected to be a very hotly contested game.
Having played or coached against Mambird and Wasabi every year for the last eight years I have to say this year these teams were fairly evenly matched. Mamabird had an extreme depth advantage (CU is a college ultimate factory), but Wasabi's top 5 or so players this were at least as talented if not better than CU's top 5. Let me note that I'm not positive I'm correct on exactly all the names and numbers, so anyone more involved can feel free to correct me. Additionally, I may not be totally accurate in the order of the scores
The game started with Wasabi pulling to Mama, the disc was centered on the first throw after the pull, Nick Spiva handblocked the next throw and Wasabi punched in a quick break. CU then reeled off an O point followed by three breaks to go up 4-1. #13 handler on Wasabi looked shaky early on in those breaks, with a very bad huck turnover and a lost disc on a fake, giving CU the opportunities it needed to take a big lead. Wasabi took a timeout to regroup.
From here the game became a bit less sloppy for CC. Both teams offenses really started to click more at this point with both teams running very deep oriented offense out of their respective center stacks, with Mamabird taking half 8-5.
Some notable plays from the first half, #15 on Wasabi (name?) is an absolute monster, with both his speed and huge ups. Had a big sky for one score over #23 on Bird. #21 on Wasabi (green hat) being covered by Jack McShane gets separation deep, huge space huck goes up and and McShane makes up ground and actually goes slightly past #21. #21 lays out and grabs the disc for the score right as McShane moves to D the disc.
In the second half, it was much the same as the second part of the first half. CC runs what looks to be a junky poach/zone the first few throws of each D while CU flat marks for the first several throws then transitions to a straight force. Both teams are looking to huck and it's a great game to watch. Wasabi actually gets a couple breaks back and brings it to within one, but the teams trade the last four or so points with CU taking the game 15-13.
Some notable second half plays: At a high stall count Spiva puts out a beautiful backhand which is caught outside the goal-line then thrown for a score. The marker called a stall but the observer overruled the stall due to a fast count and the point was thrown again. Later, a deep huck goes up to #5 on Mamabird and #15 on CC makes up ground and runs past him in the endzone for the D (although #5 immediately cramps up after the turn, which may have been a factor on the deep run, but didn't look to be). Wasabi actually had a chance at one point to tie the game with a break, but the receiver going up big for the deep had the dusc just glance off his hand.
On the whole this was a stellar game to watch. Respect to both teams who play a very similar, very entertaining style of game. My all-region nods for CC would go to Nick Spiva (amazing all-around player), #15 (looked like the best athlete on the field all game) and Ezra (monster mark for someone his size). For Mamabird, Matty, #23 (Jimmie?), and #11 (Evan?) all seemed pretty clutch for their team, but they have so many talented players it's hard to single out only a few.
I'm very curious to see how CC does at nationals, because while they are a very talented team, they don't seem super deep (I counted 11 different players that played total in the finals). Can they maintain a high level of play with that tight of lines for 3 days at nationals? Based on what I saw, I'd say yes, they could beat any team in the country, but if any of their top 4 gets hurt, they didn't seem to have a lot of throwing depth behind them.
Congrats to everybody who played hard this weekend, it was a quality tournament.