Friday, November 27, 2009

BRO Life

We won CSULB No Regrets' first year tournament, BRO Life (Best Regret Of your Life) a long time ago, but I’ve been lazy with this blog and not posted about it. We mainly played in this tournament to support Igloo and Long Beach State in their effort to get it going, but ended up having an amazing time and coming away as champs. Our plan was to send an all-returner team, and thought we talked UCLA into doing the same thing, but UCLA dropped out of the tournament a few days prior to it. We came in as the top seed, and unlike the round robin format of the UCLA One Day Tournament allowed us to, we could play to win this tournament. First things came first though. We decided to get all bro'd out. This meant sporting muscle tees, headbands, bro hats, and most importantly, a bro attitude. No one on our team took warming up too seriously, so we strolled up with Robit blasting the Space Jam theme song a half hour before the first round game against SDSU, cleated up, took a quick lap, and huddled up. In the first couple points, it was clear which team warmed up for an hour and which team brought four discs. They went up 3-1 and then we realized this tournament wouldn’t be a walk in the park and we would actually have to play hard to win. We buckled down and started playing our own game. It didn’t take long for us to catch up and pull ahead. Somewhere in between our mini comeback and winning the game, a girl on SDSU bid for a disc intended for me and instead hit me around the knees and flipped me over. I held on to the disc but landed hard on my head and can't remember much of the end of this game or the next. We played Cal Poly Pomona and won, probably by a lot. They're a first year team led by two third year girls that used to play with the men's team. Our third game was against Long Beach. We always have fun playing them and this was no exception. They gave their rookies a lot of playing time, so the number of times Igloo broke me inside was minimized. Cuervo was a D machine in this game. She just wouldn't let up. I’d never really played with her before, so I didn’t expect this and she blew me away. My play of the game was a face plant from tripping on my girl's cleats. I think Igloo thought about that and laughed at me every time she saw me for the next two days. I’m not sure what the final score was, but we won handily. Our last game matched us up against the second seed, Cal Poly SLO. They came out pumped up when we weren't and went up by a lot in the beginning. Then they took half 7-2 or 7-3. Our end wasn't pretty and they were playing well. I don't know any of their names, but they had one player that was making great decisions with the disc and seemed like seasoned. However many rookies they had out there weren't getting in the way or disrupting their flow. We mustered up a little bit of a comeback, probably because they were low on subs as well, but it wasn't enough and we lost 8-12 on hard cap.

On Sunday, we were down three players (Tidal, Ritz, and Mahi) but were up two (Penny and Kacto) with fresh legs. In our first game against Redlands, our play looked clean again. We quickly won 13-3 and had plenty of time to watch the Cal Poly SLO - SDSU game unfold. SDSU was down by two and pulled it back to a tie, but then lost by two. Cal Poly SLO would be the first seed, we were second, SDSU was third, and Long Beach was third (they had the same record, but SDSU won the head-to-head matchup). If SDSU had won that game, it would have been a three way tie for first and would have come down to point differentials, which would have either gone our way, putting us in first and matching us up against Long Beach in the semis, or come out the same as it did. We played better in our semis game than we did in our first game against State. Loryn threw scores over and over again and was so good that I’m fairly certain they called timeouts entirely to talk about how they could minimize her damage. We won 13-7 and moved onto the finals. I've made it to quarters at Pres Day, semis in DUDE, and the C-Bracket finals at Lei Out, but I've never actually won an ultimate tournament, so I was ready to tear it up. It was a fun game, mostly because I love winning. We jumped out to a 4-0 lead before they scored, but I didn't feel comfortable until we took half 7-1. It was a really tiring game since most of us had to play nearly every point, but we pushed through and it was completely worth it. Since Loryn threatened to put it deep every time, they desperately tried to prevent that and it was easy to get open on an in cut. We'd easily get two or three passes up the open side and then dump it back to Loryn and have her throw the score. A couple times more than we would have liked, we turned it in the red zone, but usually would get the disc back with good field position and were able to score on our next possession. The final score was 10-1. Overcoming the loss from Saturday made the win that much sweeter, but a tournament victory on any terms is fine by me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UCLA One Day Tournament

Our first tournament of the season was the UCLA One Day Tournament and we were split up into X and Y. I don't know which I was on, but I wish we called ourselves either Xoryn or Yoryn instead of letting Tambler name us after how much fun we had on Saturday night. We played Hawkins and Jolie's UCLA team first and went down a couple points in the beginning. I wasn't paying too much attention to the score all day, but before one point, Tambler came to the line to get us pumped up by saying she'd take off her shirt if one of us got a lay out D. While I was running for a disc that Chiral tipped on the mark, I was considering slowing down, laying out, and smacking it down, but I decided it would be too much of an asshole move, so I just caught it and then realized I was in their end zone. Callahan! We pulled our way back into it and won by a couple points. Our rookies had their first game under their belts and we moved on to our next game against CSULB, my favorite team that isn't us. It's a good thing I like them so much because I'm pretty sure during that game Tambler told me I'm cut and that I should see if they'll take me. It was a fun game and may have crossed the line into too silly, but it was mostly Igloo's fault and I support that in these preseason tournaments. Igloo got two successive foot blocks on one point and ended the point by grabbing a Callahan because she loves to steal my thunder. At least two of our rookies legitimately bid on a discs. Neither of them caught them, but it's so great to see that they're already not afraid of hitting the ground. When someone else was taking Igloo or she wasn't on the field, I didn't pay much attention to our matchups and kept matching up against their really short players. I still haven't heard the end of that. We took the lead of that game in the beginning and won by a decent margin. Before our third game, Tambler and Meeko switched coaching positions and we lost a couple players to the other Psycho team that had suffered a few minor injuries. Out third game was against another UCLA team that I thought was a lot better that the first. In the past, UCLA has been in better shape than we have later in the day, and that may have contributed to this, but I think there was a lot more to it. The big players on their team were Beans, Sapphire, Slavia, and maybe one or two others I forgot about. They had good flow for a first tournament and forced us to make D's instead of having a ton of drops like other teams. UCLA was playing better than we were, but we stepped up our game to play on their level, so I think we were playing better than we had been in the morning. Both teams still had a lot of turnovers, but not as many as our first two games. On one point, Loryn had five D's in the same spot of the endzone. It was insane. We were low on numbers and tired and it showed. UCLA beat us by about four points. Irvine was up next. We're used to them being a lot of fun, but they had a lot of new faces we didn't recognize. Still, they lived up to our expectations. Mel, one of our rookies, showed that she is better in most ways than the old Mel when she got a monster D in this game. She also laid out for a bad throw from me and looked pretty awesome all day. Don't tell her I think she's good though. We won that game by about six, so we went 3-1 on the day. The other Psycho team (was it Xonds or Yonds?) also went 3-1 as they beat Caltech, Irvine, and the third UCLA team, but lost to the UCLA team we beat. When I was a rookie, I didn't go to any preseason tournaments, but after this one, I think starting the year off with a one day tournament is an ideal transition into the season and a great way to give the rookies a taste of what it'll be like to be a college ultimate player.

Thanks to Igloo for the pictures.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lists Vol. 2

Grossest Psychos
1. Dada
2. Penny
3. Ferris
4. D-Wade
5. Cuervo

Biggest Partiers
1. Zeta
2. Ziggy
3. Cuervo
4. Maple
5. BC

Biggest Hippies
1. Nala
2. Quito
3. Mahi
4. Bonds
5. Penny

Best Beer Pong Players
1. Bonds
2. Austen
3. Meeko
4. Sir Robin
5. Ziggy

Wannabe Psychos
1. Igloo
2. Shy
3. The Anil8r
4. Amy
5. Monstro

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lists Vol. 1

I hope practice isn't rained out tomorrow so I can hear you guys complain about which lists you did or didn't get on.

Psychos most likely to eat 12 tacos
1. Lindsey
2. Tidal
3. Molica
4. Dada
5. Ziggy

Ultra’s favorite Psychos
1. Sir Robin
2. Bowie
3. Meeko
4. D-wade
5. Bonds

Psychos most like Ultra
1. Ultra
2. Meg
3. Ferris
4. Beesley
5. Joule

Creepiest Psychos
1. Joule
2. Austen
3. Tidal
4. Hannah
5. D-wade

Straightest Psychos
1. Ashley
2. Spipit
3. Godiva
4. Loryn
5. Penny

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We Talkin' 'bout Practice

A couple weeks ago, before we started holding rookies practices, we had a returner practice. I'd been looking forward to it for a while but somehow didn't consider how different it would be without last year's big dogs (Sir Robin, Meeko, Ferris, and Guano) on the field. Meeko was actually there, but as a coach so it wasn't the same. It didn't take long before I realized that I would have to play a part in running the show, especially once we split into teams to scrimmage. Tambler split us up into four teams so we could have two scrimmages going on at once. I found myself on a team of cutters, so I handled for the whole scrimmage other than one point that Zazu offered to step in and let me cut. However unbalanced we were, I was happy with my team. Hannah had taken a year off, which she spent abroad in Israel and Spain, but she jumped into a spread offense she'd never seen before and consistently got open on the first cut for me. For the first day of practice, our flow was fantastic. We had way less drops than I had expected, and even though my team lacked solid throwers, each player was confident enough to throw a continue once they got the disc down field. I didn't expect to get any first possession scores but we did and I had little to do with it. The outcomes of our scrimmages were interesting. My team beat Joule's team handily and Bonds' team beat Loryn's team, but then Loryn's team killed my team and Joule's team beat Bonds'. Either we're just really inconsistent or else props to Tambler for splitting up our teams evenly.

We've had two rookie practices and they've both been a lot of fun. I haven't learned close to all the rookies' names yet, but the ones I have gotten to know seem like they're going to be great additions to the program. Some of them seem pretty dedicated to learning how to play- five of them even came out to throw with me on Friday and are already throwing acceptable forehands. Our scrimmages have been messy, as expected, but looked like a real game of ultimate at select moments. I'm excited to see how they improve over the next week before our first tournament this weekend and how the younger returners step up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Psycho Recruitment

All week we've been hunting down freshmen and trying to get them to come out to our first practice on Thursday and I'm already stoked about some of the girls. Even though I've spoken with only a small fraction of the total number of girls that expressed interest in coming out to play this year, I've heard from two high school players. What a leap forward it'll be for our program to bring in players that already know how to throw a flick and understand the fundamentals of the game. A few girls are taller than me, including one former basketball player that must be sit feet tall. A ton of girls seemed really enthusiastic about playing ultimate and more girls than I expected stopped to let me try to sell them on ultimate even though they hadn't considered playing for us. As expected, most of our recruits are freshmen, but there are also some older girls looking for a change in pace. Quite a few guys came up to us for information about playing for the Squids, including a guy that declared himself to be "the best Frisbee player in the world". I didn't let him go with a proclamation like that, so we gave him some challenges to prove that he's actually the best in the world. Have fun with that one, Squiddies.

Our theme song for recruitment is "Paparazzi" because we follow potential rookies until they love us. Hopefully they'll all c-come out and see that we'd be so fantastical and that the disc is plastic but we still have fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Labor Day Championships

Can anyone tell me why this is a called a championship tournament? Would Pres Day be more legitimate sounding if I changed the name to "Presidents' Day Championships"? It was a fun semi-spontaneous road trip up to Santa Cruz with Monstro, Dada, and Nagana. What was originally thought up to be a camping trip turned into a weekend of sleeping in a castle of a house and being ultimate superfans.

Watching high level ultimate was great, but a couple big names I hoped to see were either missing or inactive and I've still never seen Fury play Riot because Riot lost in the semifinals. Usually I cheer for the underdog, but a Fury-Riot match up could have been so epic, especially since this is a championship tournament and all. The wind picked up by the time the semifinals rolled around and gave Riot more trouble than Traffic, contributing to their loss. Fury then beat Traffic in a mundane finals game even without Georgia Bosscher and Alicia White. Underground had stronger results than I expected and it looks like Rare Air had a tough tournament, going 1-4 in pool play, but other than that, the games went mostly as expected on the women's side.

There were a couple of upsets in the Open Division, but I missed most of that action. Since Revolver took second in their pool, the Sockeye-Revolver semifinal was the big game of the tournament. I didn't watch it because I was standing on the sideline between the two women's semi's, but the perimeter of that field was packed and I hear there were spectacular plays on top of spectacular plays. Sockeye won that game and the finals game against Doublewide.

Without a doubt, Streetgang was the sharpest looking team out there, especially with those new hats. However, they didn't have as much success as I thought they would. They have a ridiculous pool of talent but a tournament like this gave me some perspective on all the elements a team needs to succeed against top teams. In some games against strong teams, they had solid first halves but then would have a couple miscommunications and slide out of the lead. Their chemistry wasn't always strong, but I anticipate that down the line they'll be rocking some of the teams that beat them in Santa Cruz. As a newly formed team, they're only going to get better as they play more with each other.

Safari took seventh and held seed. They came close to taking down Zeitgeist in their first game on Saturday morning, but lost in hard cap. Freshly back from Africa, Brenda had some good D's in that game and set a killer mark the rest of the weekend. Tai had at least a couple impressive layouts dispite a dislocated rib in her back that she could feel move around when she hit the ground. They beat Box, the only Southwest team they played, and took out a Chelsea Putnam-less Schwa in the 7th place game.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Southwest Region Tune-Up

This was my first tournament with The LAW, the newly formed women's club team from LA. I expected the level of play to be a huge step up from college, but it felt a lot like what I was used to. On the other hand, I know teams were trying new stuff out, and this "tune-up" tournament is probably a poor indicator of what I should expect for the Series. My recaps would definitely be more accurate if I wrote them right after the tournaments, but there's no going back to the past, so here's the best I can do from memory:

Before our games, we were throwing around in all different colored t-shirts and shorts while other teams were doing plyos and end zone drills in their uniforms. I felt like we were the Little Giants about to take on the Pee-Wee Cowboys. The feeling was short-lived because Michelle arrived with our uniforms, and just like that, we looked like a legitimate team. The first few points in our first game against Safari were messy and we went up 3-1. They were running a vertical stack on offense and turning the disc over on miscommunications. A couple players were clearly frustrated with it, but I heard later that they were running that offense for the first time. They got in their groove and beat us 13-5 with a clam that we couldn't break. We played Mucho Gusto next, who was down players. Their best player was Tonya, who they picked up for the tournament, and there weren't any other standouts. I thought we could have beat them, but I think they beat us by a sizable margin. The thing that stuck out to me the most when we played the Lady Condors was how different the UCSB players looked. We played UCSB four times this year and I watched them play a few times on top of that, so I generally know who's who, but they threw me all off. First of all, they were wearing shorts instead of skirts. Andrea Romano wasn't wearing a hat, but another player that looked a lot like her from across the field was, which tricked me when we were matching up across and I was all excited about guarding Andrea Romano. They played a lot like UCSB on offense the way they would have a handler push up and go cut. Despite some uncharacteristic drops that caused a few long points, they looked like a really strong team . I also don't have the final score for this game but the Lady Condors definitely won by a lot. We had a chance to watch the Safari-Rare Air game during our bye and then played our last game against Rare Air. The game was short and there wasn't much that stood out to me. Rare Air beat us 13-2 and is obviously a solid team.

I'm heading up to the Labor Day Tourament in Santa Cruz this weekend and am curious to see if Safari and Rare Air can challenge the top teams in the nation. It'll also be interesting to watch how the inevitable Fury-Riot match up plays out. Can Fury can top Riot on more or less their own turf after losing to them twice in Washington or does Gwen Ambler just hold the key to winning? I'll be able to tell you in a few days (but I'll probably wait a month and forget everything).

Good luck to Safari, Streetgang, and Meeko's team!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Safari Beer Pong Tournament

This 16-team fundraiser tournament was split into four pools. Bonds and I dressed up in green basketball jerseys and NBA headbands and called ourselves the Bausten Ballers. We were in Pool A with Meeko and Jamison, Iris and her girlfriend, and Annie and Allen. Meeko and Jamison won the pool without much competition. Meeko went on fire twice in our game against them, and even though we were playing as well as we could have hoped to, they beat us by at least two. We beat Iris' team when Bonds sunk Iris' death cup when we were up 6-2. Like champs, they drank all eight cups. Allen's defense was impressive in our last game of pool play against his and Annie's team. A few times it seemed like they weren't paying any attention, but he would come out of nowhere and swat our bounces away. He never missed a chance to tell us that he's on the D-line.

The pool winners went straight to quarters while the third and second place teams played pre-quarters games. We finished second and won our pre-quarters and quarters games. Neither were too exciting. Once we got to semis, though, we realized we actually had a shot at winning the whole thing. Something magical happened at that point. We rose to the occasion and played beer pong like we'd never played before. I think we won that game by six, earning our place in the finals. We expected to play Meeko and Jamison again since they'd been so dominant, but MA and her partner pulled off an upset, knocking them out.

I'll do my best to tell the story as it happened from here on out, but I can't make any guarantees. As it was 3am, we also didn't have many fans still standing that can confirm or deny the sequence of events. We went up in the finals and took MA's team to 4-1, but then couldn't sink the last cup. MA started her trash talking and it was working on us. They pulled it to 1-1, hitting the rim of our last cup a couple times before I sunk theirs. Like ameteurs, we celebrated our win before our opposition's rebuttle. MA's partner missed his shot, but MA made hers, sending the game to overtime. Back at 1-1 in overtime, our opponents continued to hit the rim, stopping my heart every time, but sometime later, one of us sank the last cup again and they couldn't match it. Neither of us can remember which of us it was that made the last cup or how long it took but I suspect it was Bonds after quite a few turns. In euphoria and disbelief, Bonds jumped into my arms and we celebrated the Cinderella win nobody expected.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Things Loryn is bad at

1. Leaving messages
2. Drinking
3. Field vision for anyone but Joule
4. Deciding what to do with her life

There aren't a lot of things that Loryn isn't really good at. If I missed something, let me know.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Psycho Season Recap (Part 2 of 3)

Unlike its name suggests, the Stanford Invite was not held at Stanford University, but rather in the town of Ripon, which lies about an hour and a half east of the campus. It was initially disappointing to have to travel to what seemed like the middle of nowhere instead of two of my teammates’ and my hometown of Palo Alto, where the tournament was held in the past. As it turned out, Ripon wasn’t so bad. The population of Ripon is around 10,000, yet somehow we had an old teammate that lives there and she kindly offered up her house to the team. We quickly discovered that Ripon had other things to offer, including endless almond orchards, possibly the nicest people in the world, and, fortunately for us, a brand new soccer complex with beautiful fields. We’d been warned about rain, but the weather was gorgeous on Saturday morning and throughout the weekend. 16 teams were split up into four pools, and we were seeded third in a very strong pool. Our first game was against our pool’s top seed, Washington. First-game jitters plagued us at the start and Washington hucked it for a quick first score. We hung in for a while, but couldn’t adjust to Washington’s accomplished deep game. They were able to stretch out the field again and again, handing us a 13-8 loss. In the second game of the day, we matched up against Berkeley, the second ranked team in the pool and finalist at the Santa Barbara Invite. We started the game with intensity and built up a 5-2 lead. Joule essentially neutralized Cree Howard, preventing her from gaining excess yards on us by forcing her to cut in every time, but Berkeley had other tools at their disposal. Our spirits were high at first, but we disappointingly let our lead slide away. The score was close for most of the game, but then Berkeley went on a hot streak to finish us off with a 13-8 win. Our last game of pool play was against North Carolina–Wilmington, a team ranked fourth in our pool, but above us in the latest NUMP poll. We had watched them beat Berkeley during our bye, so we knew that a win against them would put us into a three-way tie for second in our pool, which would come down to point differentials. The top three teams would move on to the Championship bracket. Before the game, Ros gave us a pep talk about what she called “drunken hookup defense” and “relationship offense”. The idea was that on defense, you have your hands everywhere grabbing at everything and it’s exciting, but on offense, you should stay calm and keep your composure because you know you’re going to score. The talk seemed to be effective because we quickly pulled away in the beginning. However, UNC–Wilmington refused to go down without a fight, and a fight it was. Even though the game was under the watch of two observers, we experienced more vicious contact in it than they did in the whole rest of the weekend. Two key players went down with injuries after opposing players collided into them. First, Ferris hurt her ankle. Lying on the edge of the field in pain, the first words out of her mouth were, “Was it a turn?” She was out for the rest of the game, most of this time spent waiting for the trainer to arrive. Later in the game, Ziggy went down with what we would later discover was a torn ACL, ending her season. We had expected the game to be a little dirtier than the others, but you can never plan for injuries like that. Despite the losses, we held on to our lead for our first win of the tournament with a final score of 13-8. This set up a three way tie for second place in the pool and point differentials placed us in third, which was good enough to move onto a pre-quarters match up against Western Washington. Perhaps this behavior should no longer surprise me, but Ferris toughed it out and played on her hurt ankle. Western Washington perpetuated the trend we saw from the other Washington team and favored the deep game. Alyssa Weatherford was a threat to throw deep every time she had a hand on the disc and they had several fast cutters that would chase her throws down. They swiftly pulled away before we began making adjustments to our defense and we couldn’t catch up. The score was the same as every other score that day, 13-8, and we were knocked out of the Championship bracket. On Sunday morning, we set our clocks forward and our sights on a ninth place finish. It would be a great day for me that I now attribute to be the turning point in my ultimate career when I first realized I could be a valuable member of the team. We arrived to dark, foggy fields covered in a thin layer of Northern California frost. After a valley sunrise, we geared up to play Texas. They scored the first point, but then we went on a long run, pulled far ahead of them, and never let our lead slip away. Seven first-possession scores helped us decisively win the game 13-3. Our next game against North Carolina–Chapel Hill was offensively dominated. With eight first-possession scores, we didn’t spend long on defense, but when we did, it was apparent that some of us were beginning to feel the fatigue of the weekend in our legs. The composure of the older handlers played a huge roll in our eventual 13-10 victory. This win sent us to the Consolation Championship, where we would play USC for ninth place. The game began pretty even, but USC began to pull ahead with the help of a few goals pulled down by Lindsey Cross. The wind picked up to a breeze and we switched our defense to a 3-man cup, but USC continued to find ways to move the disc up the field. USC wrapped up the game with a well designed open side cut off a dead disc, beating us 13-9. We finished 10th, dissatisfied after that last loss but true to seed. I was undaunted and bought a ticket to Nationals when I got home to prove it. Like Pres Day, UCSB took down Oregon in the finals. For another recap and some stats, check out Meeko’s only blog post.

We mistakenly drove 100 miles out of our way towards San Antonio on our way to Austin for Centex, and maybe we should have just stayed there. There’s no way around it- Centex was a disaster for us. A week in Surfside for Spring Break left us with one casualty before the tournament even started and there would be many to come. Ferris had a busted-in tooth, but toughed it out and played on the Vicodin she had been prescribed by a dentist she found in Austin. We began pool play against Ottawa in a strong, gusty crosswind. The two teams traded points in the beginning of the game, and we were up 3-2 after five very long points, but it was all downhill from there. It was a game of field position, so we forced a lot of deep throws, many of which fell incomplete. However, Joule did well catching in the unpredictable wind and came down with some spectacular grabs. Our zone defense was effective at first, but Ottawa was able to break it down later on and we fell behind in the end. We lost to the eventual tournament champions 11-6, but this was the closest score they would see until the finals. Our next game was against Western Washington. After seeing them in Ripon, we knew their greatest threat was the deep game, which we anticipated would be debilitated by the strong winds. They instead worked the disc up the field with shorter throws and were able to run away with the game 15-8, a greater margin of victory than our previous game. We faced Dartmouth in our last game of pool play. The wind was calmer than the hurricane we had experienced in the morning, but was still strong enough to affect most throws. We threw our four-man cup at them and were able to severely minimize upfield throws, often causing Dartmouth to turn the disc over on a swing close to their own end zone. I started experiencing some lateral knee pain early on in the game, but kept playing because it wasn’t that bad. Unfortunately, it was more serious than I thought, and I aggravated it so much that I couldn’t move left during one point while I was playing in the cup and had to take an injury. It was a reoccurrence of ITBS that I didn’t fully recover from until a couple months after the end of the season. Bonds was huge on defense, managing to get a hand on the disc wherever she was on the field, helping us snatch our first victory of the weekend. This would also be our last victory. Long points against formidable opponents clearly were taking their toll on our bodies. In our game against Colorado for a spot in the quarterfinals, we were beginning to get low on numbers. Dada was fighting a knee injury and Ferris had been whacked in her injured tooth, so they both had to sit out. Our healthy players were fatiguing faster with so few subs and Colorado easily beat us 15-6 with their higher intensity level. Losing so severely to a regional competitor was a let-down, but the team still had the spirit to go out and celebrate Bonds’ and my 21st birthday, which was that day. Tambler bought us our first legal beer and we rocked out to a live band at the Tiniest Bar in Texas with some of my favorite people in the world. We called it an early night since we were serious about doing well in the consolation bracket, but I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration given the circumstances. In terms of injuries, Sunday was even worse than Saturday. I thought I felt a little better in the morning and cleated up, but had to walk back to our sideline halfway through the warm-up lap. Sir Robin was too sick to play and Meeko was hurting everywhere on her body except possibly her left forearm. We suffered a few tough losses to Claremont, Arizona, and Michigan State, all teams seeded far below us. The 11th seeded team finished 32nd, otherwise known as dead last. Out of a roster of 20 players, nine were active by the end of the day on Sunday. It was difficult for the team to play without the talent of a few of the top players on the team, including both captains, but the situation provided a unique opportunity for other players to step into leadership roles on the field and gain valuable experience. One of the few positive thoughts we took home from Centex was that this excess game experience could be advantageous for our younger teammates to develop into big time players. In a much different bracket, UCSB found themselves once again in the finals after an amazing comeback victory over Wisconsin, but this time, Ottawa took the win and came away as Centex Champions. A lot of good stuff about other teams and a little bit about how big of a disappointment we were can be found in the Huddle feature on Centex.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Psycho Season Recap (Part 1 of 3)

2008-2009 was a season of varied expectations, mild highs, and remarkable lows. A great deal of uncertainty regarding how the team would recover after our one-year suspension surrounded us. We lost many key players that played important roles in the past due to either graduation (Beignet, Spipit, Brenda, Slavia, and Yahtzee) or traveling abroad (Ultra and Ashley). Of the 22-woman roster from 2007-2008, only nine players returned. Fortunately, these nine included a solid handling veteran core of Meeko, Sir Robin, and Guano (and Ferris against her will). After we played Sean Ryan in Santa Cruz and hosted the So Cal Warm-Up, our try-out tournaments, six B-Team pick-ups and five rookies were added to those original nine to make a the team complete.

Our first tournament after the split into A and B-Teams was the Santa Barbara Invite. It gave us a preview of our regional competition and some other nearby teams. A total of 16 teams came to the UCSB campus to compete, all from California except Scorch. We were seeded sixth and began pool play against Stanford-B (Pretty Fly). Bonds had a huge game. On the first point, she got the D and then immediately the score. A light sprinkle turned into a heavy rain by midgame and our inexperience with a slippery disc resulted in lots of drops. Despite this sloppy offense, our defense was able to hold them out of the end zone for the most part and won 11-3. In the second game of the day, we played Irvine and won 13-3. Then, we faced BLU in our third and final game of pool play. We fell behind immediately as they scored a few quick points, and then the wind began to pick up. The rest of the game was characterized by frequent turns and long points. We lost 4-9 on hard cap. Since we finished second in our pool, we had a pre-quarters game that afternoon against Midas, which we easily won 13-1. On Sunday morning, we were scheduled to face UCSB, the overall top seed, in the first game of the day. The field conditions were appalling, with several huge mud patches extending across the field and high winds. The mud was the worst I’d ever played in (since we didn’t go to Vegas this year). There were four fields, and the field we were on was by far the worst. More mud than grass was visible and it would build up in your cleats until it was like you were wearing platform shoes from 1972. Then, everyone would slip around making huge banana cuts because it was the only way not to fall over. The wind was a factor as well, so both teams ran zone defenses, capitalizing on the difficult throwing conditions. It was questionable whether a zone was the most effective defense, though. It would take our cup too long to run across the muddy field on their swing and, needless to say, running though mud is incredibly tiring, so it would get worse and worse as the point wore on. Despite some encouraging moments, we lost 5-11 and were bumped out of the championship bracket. We played Scorch in the 5th place bracket in the same windy, muddy environment, so once again, we got to practice our zone offense and defense. The conditions were so bad that it was less of a competition of which team was better and more of which was struggling the least. We took the lead in the beginning but lost 6-7 and tied for 7th overall. Our last loss was surprising and startling for those of us with high hopes, but we came out of the tournament with what we hoped for going into it. The goal was to come out as a more experienced team. It was the first tournament with A-Team for the majority of the team and playing time was evenly distributed, so rookies and other younger players were able to benefit immensely from the experience. Stanford was seeded fifth and was never really tested, beating Berkeley in the championship game to win the tournament.

Our next tournament was our own Pres Day Invitational. Loryn and a few helpers brought Pres Day back in a huge way, enticing the best teams in the country to come, and making it into one of the top tournaments of the preseason. It was a three day tournament with roughly a day of pool play, a day of power pools, and a day of elimination brackets. We were seeded fourth in our pool of five. Our first win of the weekend was also our biggest win of the weekend. It came against Carleton, who was seeded second in our pool. They jumped out ahead initially, but we clawed back in the second half to win on universe point. This game was probably a poor representation of how Carleton would be playing late in the season though. Since it gets so cold in Minnesota, they have to practice inside during the winter and couldn’t have been prepared for that gloriously sunny San Diego Saturday. We took on Stanford in the next round and were brought back to reality as we lost 13-5. The wind picked up to a slight breeze by the time we were scheduled to play Sonoma State, the Pres Day Qualifier Champions. Our four man cup effectively shut down their handlers and they were able to produce very little offensive. They had most of their success throwing over the top, but even that wasn’t very effective, so they spent most of their time near their own end zone unable to get a throw upfield. We took the game 13-3. We needed one more win to finish in the top two places in our pool and move into the power pools on Sunday. This win would need to come against Colorado, seeded third in our pool. We pulled it off with a 10-4 victory and secured our place in the power pools. It was an exciting game for more reasons than just was riding on it though. It gave us our first idea of the type of competition we would see at Regionals. I found out later that their whole team wasn’t there since they had also played at Vegas the weekend before, so they may not have been representing their best play. Our power pool was stacked and we didn’t have much of a shot of sliding through to quarters with a top two finish. Our first game on Sunday was against Oregon, a well-balanced team that was ranked as the best team on the west coast at that point in the season. They absolutely dominated without even having an obvious star player. They had great spirit, which is easy when you’re winning, but also managed to be really vocal without being annoying at all. I’m really fond of that team. We fell to Ottawa in the second game of the day, but no one fell harder than I did. A concussion during that game put me on the sideline for the rest of the weekend. Finishing last in our power pool placed us into pre-quarters later that day against Illinois. Tania Reitz was phenomenal. She seemed to be able to do anything, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. On double game point, Ferris hit Joule in the end zone and sent us to quarters. Rain was in the forecast for Monday, and we had to move the tournament as moved to our backup fields in San Bernardino for the final day of play. Meeko saved the day before it even began by bringing extra cleats and letting Godiva wear them since she forgot hers. Not only was it raining hard, but it was cold, which not every team prepared for as they packed for San Diego. The weather affected play tremendously. A slippery disc and rigid hands combined to make offensive play difficult, but we counted on efficient handler motion to move the disc up the field. Our veteran handlers stayed composed throughout the challenging conditions, drawing on mostly short passes. Our top players had to stay in all game because they got too cold when they stopped moving for a point. Sir Robin and Meeko had lots of D’s and shut down their deep option. We made them work hard for their 11-5 victory, which ousted us from the championship bracket. Like nearly every other team, we chose not to play our next game and were done for the weekend. The most surprising move of the tournament was a forfeit from Ottawa. They destroyed UCLA in quarters, and then dropped out, giving UCSB a free ride to the finals. Of all the teams that couldn’t take the cold, I didn’t expect a Canadian team to be suffering the most. Later, an Ottawa player told me that this was their spring break trip and they hadn’t brought any warm clothes. UCSB eventually became tournament champions with a win over Oregon in the finals.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Psycho History

I don't know much about Griffin family history, but it's neat to learn about my other family. I can't tell you where many of my ancestors came from, but I can now tell you that Psycho Ultimate has come from a tradition of excellence. Loryn and I have been digging deep into old captains binders, looking up old tournament results, and enlisting help from Psycho alumnae to compile some Psycho history. Check out the updated Psycho website. A good place to start is at the "History" tab and then move on to the "Touraments" tab and scroll down to "Past Schedules and Results". Check out tournament results 2001-2002 and 2003-2004. Be inspired.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Disc Golf

When I tell people I play Ultimate Frisbee and they don't ask me if I mean throwing a Frisbee to a dog, they often ask me if I mean disc golf. Sometimes I just say "Oh right, that's what it's called," so I don't have to explain all the rules of Ultimate for the 7,000th time. I should probably stop doing that.

Yesterday, Meeko, Penny, Mahi, Loryn (down from Huntington Beach for a couple days), and I went out and played disc golf at the course in Balboa Park. I’d only played on the course on campus before then. Most of those times were during my freshman year when I didn't know how to throw at all, so I'd lose my disc it the middle (or beginning) of the round and go back to my room with my head down in shame, so this was basically my first disc golf experience. Despite being the middle of the week, the course was fairly busy. Then again, it was a beautiful day in tourist season. We were using regular Ultra Star discs (“Jumbos”) while everyone else on the course used legitimate disc golf discs so we stuck out. One guy gave us a hard time about it, but he was clearly just trying to make an excuse to talk to Penny (it didn’t work). Using the big discs reminded me a lot of Happy Gilmore using a hockey stick to putt in his golf tournaments. Our drives didn’t go as far as they would have, but it was good practice. I felt like I had a much better feel for the game once we were on the seventh hole or so. All in all, it was a great deal of fun. Nobody had to climb any trees to get their disc or got hit in the head by any stray flying discs. Success! Loryn was the star of the day with Meeko right behind her.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coolest Psychos Version 2.0

  1. Ultra
  2. Alicia White
  3. Beignet
  4. Bowie
  5. Penny
  6. Piper
  7. Tambler
  8. Bling
  9. Liz
  10. Vi
  11. Slash
  12. Ebo
  13. Guano
  14. Snoop
  15. Skippy
  16. Tidal
  17. Yahtzee
  18. Kroft
  19. Brenda
  20. Quito
  21. Patch
  22. Mahi
  23. Tira
  24. Ashley
  25. Dada
  26. Dwade
  27. Nala
  28. Poppins
  29. Godiva
  30. Violet
  31. Peaches
  32. Beesly
  33. Maytag
  34. Ros
  35. Brass
  36. Ziggy
  37. Zeta
  38. Bonds
  39. Cuervo
  40. Kacto
  41. Loryn
  42. Ferris
  43. Trig
  44. Lindsey
  45. Kini
  46. Meeko
  47. Austen
  48. Spipit
  49. Sir Robin
  50. Joule

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coolest Psychos Version 2.0: A Preview

The results of the Most Underrated Cool Psycho Poll are in the books and an expanded list of the coolest Psychos is coming soon. Will Ultra hold on to her title? According to the latest poll, calling her the “Coolest Psycho” is still an understatement. I’ve never met Alicia White, but playing on Team USA makes her seem like the only one that could seriously challenge Ultra for the top spot. Here are some of the other factors that will affect the latest rankings:

More Cool:
1. having similarities to Ultra, such being a Muir student or having an ear piercing in the same place
2. the ability to beat me up
3. never having heard of this blog
4. inherent coolness
5. having a second year boyfriend with a car

Less Cool:
1. spending a lot of time with either Sir Robin or Joule
2. having a science major or a nerdy job, especially if you talk about it a lot and make nerdy jokes (this may apply to Ultra, but she started out too cool for it to bring her down)
3. moving out of San Diego, especially if it’s to Santa Barbara
4. posting on Dragon Coalition after you’ve graduated (or worse, reading Dragon Coalition secretly and not posting)
5. getting one and only one vote in the Underrated Cool Psycho Poll (I know you voted for yourself)

Friday, June 19, 2009


The rankings of the coolest Psychos has been in the works since Snow Trip '08. Since this blog is the authority on matters such as this, here is the official list:

Coolest Psychos 2009
1. Ultra (no explanation needed)
2. Penny (also obvious)
3. Piper (has a second year boyfriend with a car)
4. Guano (proposed to by a Charger)
5. Tidal (might kick my ass if I put her any lower)
6. Kroft (surfer chick)
7. Tira (cool tattoo)
8. Dada (artist)
9. Godiva (hangs out with sorority girls)
10. Beesly (has friends that don’t play ultimate)
11. Maytag (ass of steel)
12. Brass (wears pretty dresses during the week)
13. Kacto (went abroad like Ultra)
14. Ziggy (has lived all over the world)

**divide between cool and not cool**

15. Loryn (spends too much time on the internet)
16. Bonds (spends too much time in the library)
17. Meeko (engineer)
18. Ferris (engineer that had braces in college)
19. Austen (has a blog)
20. Joule (having the same name as Ultra is the only thing that keeps her above Sir Robin)
21. Sir Robin (thinks too much about the coolest Psycho rankings)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Trip Home

As some of you know, I finished finals ridiculously early this quarter. I really tried not to be annoying about it, but I probably still was. My only final was on the Friday before finals week and I had a paper due on Monday for an ethnic studies class, so I scheduled a flight home for that Tuesday. For some big, long, complicated reason involving a registration renewal for my car, a smog check, a check engine light, turning off my check engine light, having it come back on, and a $3000 estimate for a rebuilt transmission, a couple hours before my flight, I decided to fly home on Saturday night instead.

You probably have never been done with finals on the Monday of finals week, so let me tell you that hanging out all week and not studying isn't as fun as it might seem. I mostly sat around with Karishma while she studied, reading a book and gchatting. My life actually appeared to be so lame that I'm pretty sure all the guys living in our house thought I was still studying until Wednesday. It was still a nice week though. I got some throwing in with Katie on Monday, a Taco Tuesday, a grunion run and other shenanigans with Joule on Wednesday, Loryn's Thirsty Thursday, watching Jean slave away in her kitchen on Friday, followed by our newest roommate's lasagna and Cass St. I really can't complain.

By Wednesday, I'd decided that I would drive home instead of flying so I would be able to go to Joule's team's practice in Long Beach on Saturday on my way home and work on my car with my dad once I got home. I threw my cleats, some clothes, and my surfboard in my car and took off on Saturday afternoon. I lucked out and got Meeko's company for part of the way up, not to mention arriving in style with the girl that is friends with everybody that has ever touched a frisbee.

When we were introducing ourselves at the beginning of practice, I recognized a lot of the girls from teams all over So Cal. There were also a couple of players from Berkeley and some that were a little older and had gone to school farther away. I was most excited to play with Carny from Claremont because I'd been so impressed with her this past season. My first glimpse of her was in the Rookie Showcase Game at Centex, where she utterly dominated. We played Claremont five times this year, so that wasn't the last of her. Talking to her in the stretching circle, I tried to figure out how she'd picked up the game so fast. I already knew she was a graduate student, but it turns out she played basketball as an undergraduate at Puget Sound. That explains her athleticism and field sense somewhat, but I'm still in awe of how she made the transition between sports and developed into such a dominant ultimate player so quickly. I also recognized one girl that was an observer this year at Nationals and actually observed that dramatic Washington-Stanford semifinal game.

Practice was laid back and a lot of fun. We ran a few different offenses and I finally got some experience playing in a horizontal stack beyond doing a sloppy version of one at Lei Out earlier this year. I found myself getting open easier than I anticipated but had some trouble moving the disc upfield at first. I let a couple mistakes go without getting too frustrated and was able to play my game again after a few bad points. We were playing sixes and my team didn't have a sub, so when a player on my team twisted her ankle, an injured Meeko stepped in and picked up the disc on the endzone line. Most of the girls there didn't know much about her or what she was capable of, but I knew exactly what she wanted to do, so I busted deep to set up a huge forehand to the middle of the endzone. I showed that I was a little rusty and misread it, setting up a more difficult reception, and letting it slip out of my fingertips, but it felt really great to cut for Meeko again, knowing that I could go wherever I wanted (deep every time) and that she trusts me enough to send it my way (maybe she shouldn't). The other team played a really solid zone defense for a lot of the scrimmage that was shutting my team down, but we were able to break it down once we got more familiar with playing with each other.

By the time we finished scrimmaging, it was past five and I had a six hour drive ahead of me. Joule offered to let me stay at her house for the night and I always regret when I pass up chances to hang out with her, so I jumped on the opportunity. After we BBQ'd and ate dinner with her mom, Joule proceeded to dominate me in board game after board game, except Pretty Pretty Princess. I took her to beauty school in that game.

Since I stayed the night, I thought I might as well go to practice in the morning as well. This time, practice was more structured, as Joule set up a 1,2,3,4 drill to get a feel for a spread offense, in addition to other standard warm up drills. The crowd was a little different, and having a few UCLA girls there noticeably improved the dynamic of our warm up. A lot of good things happened in the scrimmage and there were much less drops than there were on Saturday. Both teams opted to run a spread offense for most of the day, but the field was really short, so neither team was able to establish much of a flow before scoring. I was stoked to get the chance to guard Hawkins and Boba from UCLA, both very athletic players. Also, after playing against Carny all day on Saturday, I finally got her on my team, which was fun because I knew I didn't have to give her that great of a throw for her to come down with it.

After practice, I hit the road (for real that time). My iPod tape adapter doesn't work, so I rocked out to country all up the 5. I made it home a little after 8:00, in pretty good time as long as you don't consider I was supposed to be home a little after 8:00 on Tuesday.

I've been working at a basketball camp this week, trying to convince the campers that I still know how to play basketball. I don't think I've blown my cover yet, but there's still tomorrow...

On Tuesday, I played in a casual pick up game with Karishma and a bunch of high school friends. I got skied by a guy in a cast up to his knee. Please don't cut me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sidal Toda

Next time you're trying to get the attention of two of your teammates at once, let this list save you some time:

Tira + Penny = tyranny
Dada + Piper = diaper
Meeko + Guano = mono
Tidal + Piper = typer
Ferris + Loryn = foreign
Brass + Tidal = bridal
Ferris + Joule = fool
Penny + Joule = pool
Tidal + Joule = tool
Penny + Ferris = Paris
Bonds + Austen = Boston
Tidal + Austen = tossed in
Snoop + Loryn = snorin’
Meeko + Loryn = more in
Penny + Loryn = pourin’
Snoop + Piper = sniper
Tidal + Dada = ta-da
Nala + Dada = nada
Bonds + Nala = balla
Kacto + Joule = cool
Kroft + Joule = cruel
Sir Robin + Kroft = soft
Kacto + Kroft = coughed
Dwade + Joule = duel
Dada + Ferris = dare us
Bonds + Ferris = bare ass
Ferris + Austen = frosting
Kacto + Loryn = corn
Tidal + Loryn = torn
Snoop + Brass = snazz
Quito + Beesly = queasy
Tira + Joule = to rule
Kacto + Ferris = carrots
Dada + Penny = Denny's
Piper + Brass = pass
Guano + Brass = gas
Loryn + Kroft = loft
Penny + Bonds = ponds
Sir Robin + Guano = Serrano
Sir Robin + Bonds = sarongs
Sir Robin + Penny = serenity

Monday, June 15, 2009


So I hear my blog is pretty dry. Well, you know what? I'm not j.wo. Your time would be better spent reading one of her blog posts twice than reading one of hers and one of mine.

I'll start writing about things other than college restructuring because obviously no one cares about that. I bet you will next year though. Hopefully the start of summer hasn't lowered your tolerance towards reading boring things and I can still sneak a comparison of the two proposals in here soon.

Also, if you don't want to read about Georgia, this blog isn't for you. Neither is Els' blog.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sorting out the College Restructuring Proposals (Part II: Conferences Plan)

If you thought Super-Regionals were confusing, just wait until you read this. The Super-Regionals Plan was a significant change to the current structure, but the Conferences Plan is almost a new system altogether.

Conferences Plan:

Regional lines will be redrawn to create six regions (Northwest, Southwest, North Central, South Central, Northeast, and Southeast). Within these regions will be conferences of 8-12 teams divided by qualities such as skill level, location, and willingness to travel. Regular season play will affect the number of bids a particular region will get to Nationals, and results of 24-team Regionals determine the number of bids each conference will get to Division I and Division II Nationals through a strength algorithm. Finally, Conference Championships, which will be played for the calculated number of bids to Nationals. Two bids to Division I Nationals would automatically go to each region and the remaining eight would be determined by an algorithm. The details of this algorithm haven't been worked out yet. Additional bids to Division II Nationals will we awarded based on results at Regionals as well.

Who it benefits:
1. Fans. The way this is structured would encourage meaningful games and overall excitement because the performance of teams in a given conference or region will affect the other teams in it.
2. Teams with lower budgets. They won't have to fly all over the country if they can't afford to.

Who it hurts:
1. North Central and Northeast Regions. The season matters much earlier than it has in the past and having meaningful games as early as January is a problem if you can't practice outside in the winter. The region will suffer if all the teams are performing poorly before spring rolls around.
2. Regions or conferences that get screwed by the strength algorithm. It just seems like a knowledgable committee would have a more valuable assessment of strength than an equation. This could go the other way and benefit certain regions or conferences that get lucky as well though.

The plan is still somewhat fluid, so it's hard to do much analysis, but one problem I have with it is that the incentive to perform well in the regular season is supposed to come from earning Nationals bids for your region (or for your conference at Regionals). Claiming to make the regular season more meaningful this way is saying a bit too much. Teams are supposed to get fired up to earn bids for what might not even be their team. However insignificant it seems, I do appreciate having something on the line during regular season play, which the current system lacks. The plan proposes that it will create rivalries between teams, but the change I see coming out of this would be a rise in conference pride. In terms of Nationals bids, a team in your conference winning a game would be as good for your team as winning yourself until the Conference Championships. Using power rankings instead of a committee also worries me a little, but I wont get into this because the strength algorithm hasn't been determined yet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sorting out the College Restructuring Proposals (Part I: Super-Regional Plan)

There are considerable changes proposed by the two college restructuring plans, the Super-Regional Plan and the Conference Plan. Changes that could be put into effect as soon as the 2009-2010 season include implementing Division II Nationals, making pre-season tournaments more meaningful, and redrawing sectional and regional lines. There are a lot of differences that I’m not going to touch on here, as I’m going to focus on how the proposed changes will shape the post season in the women's division. The proposals are complex and sort of difficult to understand, but I’ll try to sort out the most important aspects and explain them without making it too confusing.

Super-Regional Plan:

This plan combines each of the eight current regions with another into four "Super-Regions" (Northwest and Southwest, Central and Great Lakes, South and Atlantic Coast, Northeast and Metro East), each of which will consist of six sections. Instead of Regionals, Super-Regionals will be played, with 12 teams competing in each Super-Region. The first six spots in each Super-Regional will be filled by six of 24 teams that are selected by a committee to advance straight to Super-Regionals. Then, the teams that weren’t selected as one of the top 24 play in their respective Sectionals, with the winner of each Section advancing to Super-Regionals. The top four finishers in each Super-Regional advance to Division I Nationals, and out of all the teams that fail to qualify, the top four are chosen by a Selection Committee to go to Division I Nationals as well, making a total of 20 teams. There will also be Division II Regionals and Nationals for teams that don’t win their sections and therefore don't qualify for Super-Regionals.

Who it benefits:
1. Top teams. They don’t have much pressure on them because if they screw up at Super-Regionals, they still have a really good shot at getting a bid to Nationals.
2. West Super-Region. They won't have to compete as much with each other to earn a spot at Nationals.
3. Weak sections. Winning one of the six sections guarantees a bid to Super-Regionals.

Who it hurts:
1. Weak Regions. They will no longer have the luxury of two guaranteed bids to Nationals.
2. Teams from cold climates. Teams that can't practice outside in the winter will be at a disadvantage because they tend to not perform as well in the early part of the season, but the selection committee will look at their results against other teams that have the luxury of practicing outside all year round over the course of the entire season, which begins in February.

Using the NUMP poll from the end of the season to predict the teams that would have been selected as the top 24 and results from Sectionals (not taking into account any redrawing of Sections) to fill the remaining spots, here's my estimation of how Super-Regionals would have looked this year:

1. UCSB*
2. Oregon*
3. Washington*
4. Stanford*
5. UBC*
6. UCLA*
7. Colorado St.
8. Claremont
9. Whitman
10. Humboldt St.
11. UCSC
12. New Mexico

1. Wisconsin*
2. Michigan*
3. Berkeley*
4. St. Louis*
5. Carleton*
6. Wisconsin- Eau Claire
7. Iowa St.
8. Northwestern
9. Case Western Reserve
10. Michigan St.
11. St. Olaf
12. Marquette

1. USC*
2. UNC*
3. UNC-W*
4. Wake Forest*
5. Colorado*
6. Texas
7. Wash U
8. Vanderbilt
9. Georgia
10. Davidson
11. Rice
12. Virginia

1. Ottawa*
2. Western Washington*
3. Maryland*
4. Pittsburg*
6. Dartmouth
7. UPenn
8. Cornell
9. Harvard
10. Middlebury
11. Georgetown
12. Wesleyan

*advance to Division I Nationals

Super-Region teams represented at Nationals:
West: 10
Central: 4
South: 3
Northeast: 3

The aspect of this plan I like the most is that it puts less emphasis on choosing teams that will result in a geographic diversity and more on choosing teams that are of higher quality. Top teams from the Northwest especially that didn’t make Nationals this year were obviously better than some of the teams from weaker regions that did because the way the system is set up now values geographic representation too much. I appreciate the Olympics-like feel of how teams at Nationals are from all over the country, but I think it’s more important to have the best teams competing for the title.

One facet of the proposal that doesn't seem right to me is how the top 24 teams are distributed throughout the Super-Regions. If there are more than six teams from one Super-Region that are selected to go on to Super-Regionals, the top six fill the spots in their own Super-Region, and then the remaining teams are distributed among other Super-Regions. If the team can afford to travel, this is almost definitely an advantage to them because they will be competing in a weaker Super-Region than they came from. I set up my mock-Super-Regionals like this, by putting the top seeds in their home Super-Region and then distributing the remaining teams to whichever Super-Regions were most convenient, giving priority to the higher seeds. This method left a large discrepancy in strengths of the Super-Regions. For example, the West is way stronger than any other Super-Region, so the sectional winners from the West would have to face much more difficult teams and have a slimmer chance at winning a bid to Nationals. More importantly, teams from the West that couldn't get a spot in the West Super-Regionals and had to travel to another Super-Region to play have the advantage of having less competition and a much easier ride to Nationals than teams from the West that are seeded higher. There doesn't seem to be a fair way to divide teams that wouldn't require a lot of traveling. Flying the top teams all over the country to even out the playing fields would make the system more fair but isn't logistically sound. Perhaps the idea behind the wildcard bids is that they would even this out.

I’ll research, try to explain, and analyze the Conference Plan next and decide which I like better.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Psycho Banquet Recap

2009-2010 Positions:
Captains: Loryn and Bonds
Tournament Directors: Austen and Joule
Treasurer: Penny
Recruitment: Tidal
Party Coordinator: Ziggy
Assistant Party Coordinator: Tidal
Fundraising: Kacto?
Meeko: Austen
Cool Down Coordinator: Kacto

2008-2009 Awards:
Loryn- Most likely to stalk opposing players online and then blame Joule
Guano- Most likely to get Spipit to settle down
Maytag- Most likely to get arrested on campus without getting written up and then swim/cycle/run/summersault home from the Santee Women’s Facility
Meeko- Most likely to make Erika Baken scream
Austen- Spam Award
Sir Robin- Most likely to be hazed as a fifth year
Brass- Most stylish scarf
Dada- Most vain
Ferris- Best head
Bonds- Most likely to know when it’s already raining
Piper- Energizer bunny
Tira- Most likely to fit in her own suitcase
Penny- Least likely to tell a hydration joke
Tidal- Most likely to need a dump
Kacto- Most likely to take the candy from the man in the unmarked van
Godiva- Most likely to rush Fall 2010
Beesley- Most likely to get a handblock with a T-Rex arm
Joule- Old man
Kroft- Why wear pants award
Ziggy- Most likely to believe that Loryn ate 12 tacos

Starting Seven:
Coach’s Pet: Tidal
Tang: Loryn
Spring Break Explosion: Piper
Most Improved: Austen
Best Offense: Bonds
Best Defense: Joule
MVP: Guano

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thoughts on Nationals

Teams came to play.

I spent my time on the fields watching the Squids whenever they were playing, but whenever they weren’t, I’d be on the sideline (behind the spectator line of course) of a women’s game. The effort level was significantly raised at Nationals compared to the preseason tournaments I’ve been at. Of the games I saw, this was most obvious in the Wisconsin-Oregon game. About five girls had to take injury subs, mostly from collisions on the field because players on both teams were running so hard to the disc, laying out for anything, and basically just leaving it all on the field. Before the tournament, I predicted that these two teams would meet again in the Championship game, and I felt pretty good about my choice as I watched them battle it out. Oregon was the only team that completely dominated us this year. We played them on Sunday at Pres Day in the power pools and I remember that they were an incredibly complete team that had all sorts of players creating plays without any one superstar. I also remember thinking that they were one of the nicest teams I’d played, which is strange for me to think because I usually like teams that we slaughter and not the other way around. Wisconsin was the only team in the top six that we didn’t face this year. I’d only seen them play on the Ultivillage Centex DVD, but the clips on that DVD were too short to get any sort of feel for the team. I’d also seen Georgia Bosscher’s Callahan video and was impressed, but assumed that the clips on it were unusual moments of greatness that were just compiled nicely. As it turns out, she’s a living, breathing highlight reel. In the Oregon game especially, Georgia was fantastic. Nearly every point she played (which was nearly every point), she would make some sort of outrageous play (or two). She would get layout D’s by baiting her player, huge skies on both sides of the disc even when it seemed like she didn’t have position, and throw every other score, mostly on deep hucks. Nevertheless, Wisconsin had a great deal of depth and no apparent weak links. Their deep cutters would beat their defenders in a footrace or jump higher to make the plays downfield as well. Oregon started the game with a 3-2 lead, but then Wisconsin went on a 5-1 run to create a moderate gap. Oregon was able to keep the game close until Wisconsin scored the last four points to take the win.

I found myself turning into a Bella Donna fan that weekend. They were, in my opinion, the most exciting team to watch, so I’d catch their games whenever I could, but somehow I was able to see almost every team play for at least a point or two. Other great games in pool play included Stanford-North Carolina where Stanford won on DGP, and UCLA-Northeastern where UCLA was down 14-15, but was able to score the next three points and win 17-15. The quarterfinal game between Wisconsin and Stanford was another nail biter. I was torn between my newfound affection for Wisconsin and my hometown loyalty for Stanford. I grew up in Palo Alto and was first introduced to Ultimate Frisbee by what must have been the Stanford ultimate teams at a summer camp when I was in elementary school (I finally understand why they had such weird names), but I did choose Wisconsin for the overall win in my predictions. The lead went back and forth, but Stanford was able to build up a bit of a lead at the end, up 14-11. Wisconsin scored the next two points, and made it look like a comeback was possible, but then Stanford took the next point and broke my heart. Alright, I wasn’t impartial at all. That was, without a doubt, the most exciting game I watched over the weekend. Both teams looked like they could have had a shot at the championship and I was a bit surprised that Stanford didn’t take down Washington in the semifinals. I also don’t understand why Georgia didn’t play more in the game. It wasn’t until the last five or so points that she stopped taking subs. A Stanford alumna I talked to afterwards said she thought Georgia must be injured. One of her ankles looked like it was taped, but she didn’t seem to be in any pain from where I stood. Maybe they were just trying to keep her fresh for their anticipated semis game. It was a tough loss, but I imagine winning Callahan that evening softened the blow.

The semifinals and finals were fun to watch as well. The west coast was represented enormously by filling all four spots in the semis, and it was comforting to see the Southwest Region come away with the win, as UCSB was basically unchallenged all weekend. On the open side, I was happy to see Adrian and Fagin win big, and to win myself a burrito in the process.


About a week ago, I was reading a feature from The Huddle on a review of college ultimate. Miranda Roth wrote in one of the articles that “next season starts as soon as you're eliminated this season." In that case, I’m about a month late in starting this blog because I told Loryn and Joule I would start it at the beginning of next season. So here it is, guys. I hope that one day someone other than the two of you will read it.