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Late Spring Update

Recaps

Someone remarked that, given the relative quiet on the blog, you would think that nothing is happening.  The problem is quite the opposite.  Everything is happening.

 

This was intended to be a post about last week’s tune-up scrimmages.  One week later, after budgeting and finalizing our Triple Crown Tour rosters, finishing and submitting the U.S. Open qualifier’s package*, revising and submitting our uniforms order**,  registering for the Canadian Ultimate Championship (and the regional championships), and of course — you know — practice, I’ve found enough time to put something to paper.  There’s also a Riptide game tonight, and I’m not even sure where the Nighthawks are.  But ultimate is happening, all the time.  People are busy.

So, owing to a perfect-storm combination of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the neverending backhoe of progress ripping up fields at UBC, Flowerbowl was partially cancelled this year, leaving the men’s division to fend for themselves.  This was particularly poor timing for the full-squad U23 national training camp in Vancouver that week, as they wanted to practice against some opponents.  So we made some calls, and brought some teams together.  On Saturday, U23 played against Blackfish, U20, and against Furious twice.  On Sunday, Furious, Blackfish, U23, and Sockeye played a simple round robin.

In spite of a 35-strong roster, when you subtract from that 11 U23 players, 6 Nighthawks players, and injuries, it leaves a team somewhat shorthanded (this is going to be a recurring theme this year), but in spite of that, we survived the weekend with satisfactory results.  The Monkey took three universe-point victories from the U23 squad on comeback runs, won handily against Blackfish, and suffered a 15-13 loss to Sockeye.  Notably, Sockeye ran into surprise difficulty against the national team as well, but pulled out a late comeback run of their own, to the tune of 15-12(13?).

We are happy to report that the Vancouver tradition of mounting comeback efforts remains alive and well.  That good news aside, capitalizing on turnovers remains a problem of ours.  In one of our scrimmages against the U23s, we managed to produce a turn out of almost every D-point, but converted something like only 20% of them.  As a rule, our man-to-man defense, while imperfect, is quite passable at the moment, but we are not strong at running an offense from a static start when fatigued.  Unfortunately, it is a rare gift to gain possession early in a point. So we simply have to become better when tired.  This means we will be investing a lot of our attention into building simple systems that we can fall back through muscle memory as our finesse fails us.

Interestingly, Team Canada appears to be a first-half team right now, allowing late slips against all their opponents last weekend.  Unfortunately, it is too easy to over-analyze small sample sizes when there are two opponents to every match.  To what extent were their second-half misfortunes owed to themselves, and to what extent their opponents getting their acts together?  That said, Furious and Sockeye are hardly pushovers, so to gain multi-break leads on both, they must have at least some of the right ingredients.  I would argue they are tracking well to peak in July, provided that they learn to add a dash of late-game patience against a desperate enemy.

Good luck, gentlemen.

 

*Seriously, USA Ultimate asks questions about our athletes even I have never thought to ask.

H3>**Next year, we are just spray-painting logos onto t-shirts on an as-needed basis, I swear.

Alex Davis

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