Strange Blue Tournament Report

University Womens Outdoor Nationals

12.May.2007 - Cambridge

Hi all,

I will attempt to give some sort of synopsis for the weekend for those who didn't brave the rain to watch our triumphant rise to THIRD place in the NATION!!!

Unfortunately, I lack Mr. Wong's almost inhuman ability of remembering every friggin' detail of each game, but will do my best!

To start off generally, our strong suit throughout the tournament was our (if I may say so) amazing defence. Every team we were up against had to fight hard for each point they scored-- this despite the fact that we were too green to make much use of a zone. Instead we tended to rely on a tight sidearm force that had most of our oponents struggling to complete wanky forehand passes against wind and rain.
On the flip side, we too suffered from the bad weather. Although the cuts were usually there and some great decisions were made, we had quite a few throw-aways and drops due to slippery discs (I'm still trying to figure out how Alex can keep hucking her forehand in the rain...)

Handlers were Alex and I, with support from Suzanna and Tina (and Sarah of course, during the games she could make!) Alex dominated with some fantastic hucks and Tina was just everywhere. Both Mags and Suzanna were ALL OVER the field during each point and deserve some special props for their hard work! Lucy did as Lucy does and shut down all the best handlers she was up against. Emma, Nick and Jassy were always there for continuation up the field and Sonja made several memorable catches that somehow found the disc between her knees! Lisa attacked every throw and showed particular aptitude for giving a super-hard mark. Grimey Lisa was all legs and played some fantastic D for someone who'se been playing Ultimate for one week! (Keep up the great work!) Everyone made some great D-blocks, throws and catches-- I'm sorry I can't piece them all together now. I just remember you all kept the flow going, even as I was huffing and puffing to catch up from behind-- tremendous job gals!

So. 10am Saturday saw us up against the first seeds in our pool, Skunks. Considering the masterly zone they confronted us with, and our inexperience playing together we put up a surprisingly hard fight. The rain hadn't really started yet, but the wind was quite strong and when the handlers did manage to break through the cup it was difficult to keep the momentum up long enough to score-- though I was very impressed with the flow we managed even upwind! That game ended 5-10, a score we could be proud of because Skunks was a very disciplined team!

Next up were Phat Jerk, a rather apt name as I recall they did not seem to have very good spirit. In this game our defence was integral as the weather worsened and the wind made life difficult. Although we still struggled a bit with our offence, they completely fell apart against our D, and we made a comfortable win (8 or 9 to 3 or something... I've forgotten the exact score).

Our last game of the day was against a conglomerate from London. We traded points with them at the start, but they too had a very tight zone and we lost a vital downwind point that put them up 5-3. At this point I was already out of the picture with a massive headache, having over-extended myself against the Jerks, and missed the rest of the game. Unfortunately we couldn't keep it together and only scored one more point on an Alex huck (as I've heard).

BUT all was not lost! Sunday morning saw us in a cross-over with our nemisis Oxford for entry into the top 4. We had it in for them from the start, after defeating us at indoor varsity. We came out super-hard and they just couldn't find the mojo to get past our D. Crippled by the loss of one of their best handlers (broken nose during a CALL the day before) they folded again and again in the face of the advancing blue army. After taking the half 6-0 we decided to put on a zone for the first time, and they STILL couldn't manage to score! In the soft cap we practically handed them a point on a silver platter when my wanky swing to Alex dropped in our goal and they had it on the line. They called a time-out to plan. I was on their best handler attempting not to get broken (which I still did), and the girl DROPPED IT!!! Awesome pressure Cambridge, and we scored to win it 11-0!

We were now in the top 4 playing the top seed, which was (surprise surprise) Skunks again! At this point the wind had dropped a bit and we agreed that if they tried their zone again we would send discs over the top. They didn't attempt it again though, even when the weather deteriorated to driving rain in the second half. We still kept up the super-strong D, and they had to really work it for each score-- though we did have to make a concession and force them backhand after they demonstated great skill at throwing inside-out forehands past our marks. We did everything right in this game, but just couldn't keep our hands on the wet disc and lost by a larger margin than our first game against them (2 or 3 to something big...)

Now, sopping wet and freezing cold each one of us had to dig deep to find a last bit of energy to play Scotland for third place. We started out in the pouring rain with the fastest 7 to the line the ones who got to warm up by running in the first point! This game was the closest of the tournament with both teams trading points up to the half, which we took 6-5. Scotland has a massively tall woman who generally makes fools of us shorties, but this time the weather was in our favor as she dropped most of the hucks that managed to come anywhere close. The hooter went during the half so we had one more point to play before the cap. We NEEDED this point to avoid having to play sudden death to 7. We were upwind, yet managed to punch it in with a lazer pass from Alex up the line to me falling over in the endzone (not a lay, I definitely fell over myself on that one!) We were now up 7-5, game to 8. We were cold and tired and said to ourselves we were going to finish this now-- and YES! They didn't get farther than half-way down the pitch. I grabbed the disc and managed a backhand huck up to Mags right near the endzone, and a heart-stopping continuation to Tina who managed the grab to complete silence because the rest of us were half-way down the pitch and couldn't see if it was up or not! But there was agreement from all those who were close enough to see, and VICTORY WAS OURS!!!

We managed to forget to choose an MVP for the tournament, but I think it's safe to say that every one of us worked as hard as we could, and what a payoff for all that effort!!!

Special thanks are definitely due to Hayley for supporting us on the sideline the entire time, and to JB and Anna for their advice and organizational skills!

Ghuh. Don't think I'll EVER feel dry again! Now I gotta go EAT something :b