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Ultimate in 2018: Worlds, Triple Crown, AUDL, oh my

Discussion in 'General Sports' started by InstaFace, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Any other ultimate fans or players around here?

    If the World Cup left you with a void in your work calendar where gleeful procrastination used to be, may I recommend:

    The World Ultimate Club Championships, happening this week in Cincinnati. Happens every 4 years. This is the first time the mainland US has hosted since 1993, and US club teams are the favorites in each division. Most importantly, the live streaming schedule is crazy - as many as 20 games a day, in 5 different time slots, with very few ads, letting you catch your fill.

    I enjoyed playing in college and got back into local rec leagues here in NYC during grad school. As the AUDL got started a half-dozen years ago, and as ESPN picked up the college and club championships, I've been pleasantly shocked at how watchable the sport is from a web stream with 2-3 camera angles and halfway decent commentary.

    Anyway, with Worlds, they had two rounds of pool play the last 3 days and now the championship brackets are largely set. In the Men's and Women's divisions, the top 8 teams get byes, the next 16 are playing games tomorrow morning for a spot in the R16 wednesday afternoon. In the Mixed division, with the larger group of teams, it's a straight bracket of 32 teams starting tomorrow morning.
    - The USA's teams have taken only one loss to a foreign team, with the Denver women's club going down to Colombia Revolution (who are a legit threat to win the title).
    - Boston, in particular, has three teams representing: Brute Squad (women's) and two mixed teams: Slow White, and Wild Card. The latter two despise each other, and could meet in the semis.
    - There's intrigue in the Men's division, as two of the USA National Team's best players, Jimmy Mickle and Chris Kocher, each saw their US club teams fail to qualify for Worlds... so they went and joined up with an Australian team who did qualify. Here they are going against the best team in Canada, GOAT, earlier today:



    ---

    New to ultimate? You're gonna be glad you checked it out. Here is:

    - Ultimate in 10 simple rules
    - A 3-minute video that gives a pretty good feel of what it's all about
    - A few of the plays that made SportsCenter top 10.

    There's a few things the sport overall has going for it:

    - Unlike ball sports, the disc hovers in the air, inviting players to go get it, and waiting around for plays to be made. It can bend or slice beautifully, in the right hands.
    - The sport lives a commitment to gender equity, rivaled only by tennis. Men's, Women's, and Mixed teams get equal billing at events and TV
    - The sport is self-officiated, even at the highest levels, which sounds impossibly quaint, even quixotic... until you see it working and see the genuine sportsmanship and mutual respect that "calling your own fouls" creates. If opposing players can't agree that a foul happened or (say) a catch was out-of-bounds, it becomes a do-over.
    - It's stupid-easy to get into, all you need is a disc (though soccer cleats help). You can pretty much drop into a pickup game anywhere and anytime.
     
  2. Rico Guapo

    Rico Guapo lurker

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    I play, summer league/pickup only at this point though.

    I know people on SW and WC, might have to ask them about this, lol.

    Are there any rules for rostering for worlds? I'm surprised this is allowed...
     
  3. Import78

    Import78 Member SoSH Member

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    I played for a little over 20 years before my ankle gave out a little over a year ago and I've mostly move over to disc golf. I helped start Enough Monkeys and we've played against Slow many, many times and also watched the birth of Wild Card. There was certainly some animosity between the two some time ago, though I don't know how things are these days as I'm a bit out of touch.

    As far as watching the series etc, I do on occasion. Timing can be rough for me. I paid attention to Women's College Nationals as a good friend was coaching Dartmouth, and I occasionally check in with some of the AUDL games as I used to play with some guys in the league. Commentary has gotten a lot better and production is good too.

    For those who don't play/watch I'll also add that a floating disc provides ample opportunity for some great sports tension while players jockey for position and get ready to make a play. Also a good player can put the disc anywhere on the field from anywhere else on the field, so there are lots of opportunities for big plays. Here's a video from last year's nationals, the way it is cut is a bit annoying/jerky, but it gets the point across.
     
  4. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    "despise" might be too strong, but commentators yesterday were speculating that WC might be rooting for Japan's UNO in their close match against Slow White. And that it would be in their interest to do so. Might have been mostly about bracket seeding, but my sense is they have the same relationship as Ironside and Dig did.

    "whatever is allowed by the home-country federation" giving a bid to the team, it seems.

    Now, that said, Kocher and Mickle were apparently planning on moving to Australia and playing their club season during this offseason anyway. So they moved there, they played the full southern-hemisphere club season with the team, earned their way on, etc. But yeah there is certainly a feeling of Lebron-to-the-Heat, Durant-to-the-Warriors. Maybe more the former because a non-US club team has never been the favorite.
     
  5. Import78

    Import78 Member SoSH Member

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    I think this is right. In the early 2000s I had a good friend and his now wife, who played for DoG and Godiva spend a year in New Zeland. They played some down there and got invited to play on the NZ Worlds team with no connection to NZ other than they were spending some time there.
     
  6. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    So the Crossovers are going on right now. These are basically play-in games to the R16. Two of the men's 9am games went to universe point (sudden death, next-point-wins), with Japan Nomadic Tribe taking it over Relampagos of the DR, and the New Zealand Wildcats upsetting Australia's Juggernaut (which will probably go down in legend, given the relationship those countries have...). The Wildcats have earned themselves a shot at an even bigger Aussie fish, as they get Colony in the R16.

    Even bigger shockers happened with the women, as Japan UNO (who, again, came one turnover away from beating Slow White yesterday) goes down to rival Japanese team Swampybarg. Several other power-pool teams have gone down to challengers.

    Meanwhile, hard-luck #5-seed mixed team GRUT, from the Netherlands, was featured in the opening-night showcase against Boston Wild Card, and despite having a 14-12 lead, gave up the last 3 points to lose. They ended up having to play a crossover game yesterday afternoon, which they dominated, and just now finished their R32 match against a frisky Philippines squad, and so if they beat an (excellent) Aussie team in Pie Wagon, they will earn themselves... a rematch in the QFs against Wild Card. That will be some tasty puddin' indeed.

    What I'm watching right now is one of the best foreign women's teams, Italy's CUSB Shout, about to go down to a Finland team punching way above its weight. Really looking forward to the R16 starting, though, I bet we'll see some meaningful upsets there today. Yesterday really didn't feature very many second-tier teams punching above their weight. And sentimental favorites Kisumu FC from Kenya were actually the only 4-seed to lose their crossover match to a 5-seed and get dumped down to the chumpionship bracket.

    If you want something to watch over lunch hour today, my pick of the 1pm games would be Italy (whose U24 team, mostly composed of CUSB Shout players, came damn close to beating the USA at U24 Worlds back in January) vs Japan Nomadic Tribe. Here it is, live on youtube:

     
    #6 InstaFace, Jul 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  7. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I'm just gonna keep posting here because this tournament is some awesome watching. American teams were undefeated today, they're 88-1 against non-American teams.

    Men's:
    - In one of the chippiest games I've ever seen, Italy Bologna (CUSB Shout) goes down to a Japanese team, Nomadic Tribe, who now get #6 seed Toronto GOAT tomorrow in QFs. GOAT is the only team other than the Americans who are still undefeated and they have the highest point differential in the field.
    - Defending US champ SF Revolver fall behind in the second half 10-11, before pulling it out against a Swiss Freespeed team that had fought their way up from the purgatory pools.
    - England's premiere team, Clapham, goes down to the wire against European rival Germany Bad Skid. Watch however much of this you have time for, it's great.

    QF Game to watch tomorrow: #4 AUS Colony vs #3 Raleigh Ring of Fire, 11:00am ET

    Women's:
    - The Russian team, Brilliance, was playing Japan Huck in the R16, and I went in rooting for the Russians just to get some diversity into the QF. But they were such an ill-spirited team - chippy calls, and their coach accusing the Japanese of suggesting a spirit timeout as a ruse to get some rest, while they were in a huddle discussing whether the game needed a spirit timeout. Japan had 2 normal timeouts at their disposal at that point. It went to universe point (sudden death), and people on the live chat with no connection to either team were biting their nails off, it was that good.
    - Denver Molly Brown was down 9-12 to Montreal Iris, before Claire Chastain went into beast mode, they left their O-line on the field and scored the game's final 6 points.
    - All 5 US teams made QFs, and there are 2 USA pairings tomorrow, Atlanta Ozone - Denver Molly Brown, and a peach: Boston Brute Squad vs SF Fury, the two top women's teams in the world. That is, unless you're a believer in Colombia Revolution, which I am.

    QF Game to watch tomorrow: #1 Fury vs #2 Brute Squad, 11:00am ET

    Mixed:
    - All final 32 teams played 2 bracket games today, basically no upsets, although a few higher seeds needed universe point to win.
    - Scotland's Black Eagles gave defending US champ and #1 seed Seattle Mixtape a game today, tying it at 8-8 right after half, before fading down the stretch.
    - Netherlands GRUT did indeed finish off AUS Pie Wagon, setting up a QF rematch with Wild Card after losing on universe in the tournament's showcase opener.
    - GER Hässliche Erdferkel apparently means "Ugly Aardvark", and they polished off a domestic rival before downing the #8 seed from Japan on universe point. They get the horns tomorrow though in QFs: Philly AMP (and my girl Yuge Xiao, who is a college junior) has been straight crushing fools.

    QF Game to watch tomorrow: no surprise, #5 GRUT vs #12 Boston Wild Card, 11:00am ET. WTF, WFDF.

    Guess I'll be catching some replays.
     
  8. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    That 14-13 point in the Bad Skid/Clapham game was awesome.
     
  9. Rico Guapo

    Rico Guapo lurker

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    SW over Mixtape today, 15-12.
     
  10. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I'm so glad I didn't look at the results before watching the Colony - Ring of Fire game. Lots of twists and turns in that one. Absolute mayhem the first couple of points.

    Pick of the semifinal games tomorrow is, I'd say:

    1. SF Revolver - Toronto Goat in the other men's semi. Goat is undefeated, beat Colony in the power pools, if anybody's going to dethrone the defending champs, they have as good a shot as any.

    2. Speaking of defending champs, Boston Brute Squad beat 2017 US champ SF Fury over in the women's QF, and now get sentimental favorites Colombia Revolution at 11am. Mauricio Moore started a sports club in Bogota 10 years ago and in that time, from basically no awareness of the sport in the country whatsoever, has recruited and trained a pool of players who can and have beat all comers for a major championship. And he's got a chance to make it twice in 2 years.

    3. The ill-spirited Russian women's team, Brilliance, is playing a team from Finland, for who-cares-what-place, in a game I wish I could watch.

    4. American teams have closed semis here in the Mixed division - they saw off all foreign comers, including Wild Card 15-10 over GRUT in that rematch. So tomorrow it's Slow White - Wild Card in a Boston grudge match at 11am. Mixtape might even make it a 1st-through-5th sweep.
     
  11. Mr. Wednesday

    Mr. Wednesday lurker

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    I played in rec leagues and pick-up until ca. 2011. At that point, I felt like I had lost a step and didn't have a consistent enough handle to make up for it as a "crafty veteran" type.
     
  12. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Yeah, I'm in the "crafty veteran handler" phase, but I keep deluding myself that I'm going to get into shape in the offseason and be a competitive-league player. Never played club, probably never will (though the "2 tournaments a year" plan for Masters and Grandmasters sounds pretty nice once the kids are a little older). But rec leagues totally have a place for people who can throw and catch who are carrying a few extra pounds - the better the throws, the more fun everyone has.
     
  13. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    That Riot/Revolution final started ugly with an oob pull and a oner huck and ended boring.

    Great play by the Riot but a bummer of a game to watch when the Rev had been so exciting all tournament.
     
  14. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    That throw in the mixed finals to make it 4-4 was great. Solid game all around.
     
    #14 SumnerH, Jul 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
  15. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Yeah Revolution never really showed up that game. They played ok in the second half but too many unforced errors.

    I thought the men's final was the most intense and well played, but the mixed final the most watchable. Colony-Ring of Fire in the quarters was probably better than any of them though.
     
  16. Rico Guapo

    Rico Guapo lurker

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  17. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Yep, should be fun!

    NY Empire picked up some massive ringers this year. They got their first win ever @Toronto to punch their ticket to the championship weekend and it was basically driven by Beau Kittredge turning what would normally be 50-50 jump balls into 90% catches for him, like a dozen times. And they still had to force a turnover on the goal line with 20 seconds remaining to avoid a tie at the end of regulation.

    I still think Madison takes it, but NY has a chance at their first ultimate title of any kind since the 1987-1993 dynasty ended.

    A bunch of summer leagues have their season-ending tournaments this weekend, and my local rec league has shifted their games to start at 9 in the morning (a ludicrous proposition if you've ever met any ultimate players), all so that the finals can be over and they can be at the bar by the 4:00pm first pull.
     
  18. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Also, the semifinals and finals of Men's, Women's and Mixed are available streaming on-demand on ESPN. You go to ESPN3 -> Schedule -> Replays -> sport = 'Games' -> date set to last Saturday or Sunday.

    For my money the best games were the Men's semifinals (both of 'em) and the Mixed Finals. I went to college with a girl on each of the mixed finalists (Philly AMP and Seattle BFG), so it was a bit surreal to see them out there mixing it up on an ESPN production.
     
  19. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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  20. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    the Pro Championships are this weekend, the second "crown" of the Triple Crown Tour. The event is in the NYC area; most of the tournament is an hour upstate, but the ESPN-streamed Finals of each division are on Monday, i.e. Labor Day, in uptown Manhattan. (sidenote: fellow locals can join me there to watch in person for $10). Free streams of pool play and knockout games saturday and sunday are on Ultiworld and USAU.

    The Men's division really turned out, all but one of the country's top teams will be there, including the hosts, New York Pony, who picked up an absurd amount of talent for this year's roster, won the US Open, and are a legit threat to the sport's established powers. The Mixed division likewise has 8 of the top 10 teams present. But among the two qualifiers is the local #2 mixed team (XIST Ultimate), who totally didn't deserve to qualify, and will probably get thrashed, which will make me sad because some of them are my friends. Meanwhile, the women's division had a bunch of top teams, all on the west coast, decline to fly cross-country for the event (they threw their own little round-robin party last weekend instead). So it'll probably be a romp by Boston Brute Squad, but great experience for everyone else.
     
  21. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    The big one is here: the club National Championships, held in San Diego. 16 teams in each of Men's, Women's and Mixed, each of whom qualified through two previous regional rounds, now playing at the pinnacle of the sport. Today is pool play, tomorrow is early bracket games, and then the semis and finals are on ESPN3 on saturday and sunday.

    Here's the full broadcast schedule. USA Ultimate themselves are live-streaming games on youtube (field 1, field 2). Coming up right now on Field 1 is a Mixed match: an upstart team of ringers, DC Space Heater, vs defending champs Seattle Mixtape.

    Ultiworld is broadcasting today and tomorrow (schedule). Half their games will be on tape-delay for subscribers, but half will be carried on their live channel. Tomorrow they have a pre-quarter at 12:00 and then two QFs at 2:45 and 5:00pm.

    Starting in an hour on Ultiworld is probably the game of the day, in Men's: NY PoNY vs DC Truck Stop, in what will be for the pool winner spot and a bye to the QFs. Head to head this year, Truck Stop won by 3 at the Colorado Cup in July, PoNY won by 3 at the US Open in August, and by 4 at Pro Championships on labor day weekend. Truck Stop has had one of the best seasons this year, and would be a dark horse for the national title but not a shocker. PoNY is probably co-favorites for the title alongside the decade-long hegemons, SF Revolver. However, PoNY lost in a shocker just now, so they need to win by a few in order to take the pool on point differential.

    Saturday's semifinal schedule has two games (Mixed and Men's) at 1:00pm, followed by an ESPN streaming quadruple-header:
    - 2:45pm ET: Mixed SF
    - 5:15pm ET: Men's SF
    - 8:30pm ET: Women's SF
    - 11:00pm ET: Women's SF

    Sunday's championship matches are all on ESPN3 / TSN GO:
    - 1:00pm: Mixed Final
    - 3:30pm: Women's Final
    - 6:00pm: Men's Final
    (n.b.: Patriots-Bears at 1:00pm ET)
     

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