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!