Even with a relatively nasty weather report, WA/BC Sectionals ended up having relatively good weather, especially on Saturday, with a windy Sunday that was only wet in spurts (I think the 2/3 game had one solid downpour, but that was the only time it really got bad).
Saturday saw a first round 1v2 matchup, kind of a crazy way to start the weekend. This pitted us against Outlaw, a new Seattle team with many athletes and a low cumulative experience level (compared to us and Furious with all of our golden oldies especially), and Furious against ECU, definitely one of the games I wish I could have watched.
With strong defensive pressure and a good early deep game, we were able to build and maintain a lead throughout. From the reports I heard, Furious did not come into the game 100% ready to roll, and as such got off to a rough start as ECU took advantage and jumped to a 6-1 lead early on. They always report well, so I’ll leave that story to them.
The rest of our Saturday we focused on ourselves and on giving other teams our best games, and we took each game at 15-5 or less. There are a lot of very, very young athletes that made some huge plays– it’s an exciting region, for sure.
Sunday was more exciting with closer games and tougher conditions. After their less-than-optimal start, Furious was at the fields cleated up and throwing as we arrived. We would face them in our semifinal, and ECU would face Outlaw, who beat Blackfish in a great game filled with great defensive plays on both sides.
The wind was consistently strong, and made it an upwind downwind game, with the occasional gust that made hucks (and soemtimes any throw) upwind difficult. Furious was without John Norris who hurt his ankle, Hayduk was playing on an injured ankle, and Seraglia was also injured but I forget how– regardless, they had many who were battling through pain to give us a fight. On our end we were missing Tim Gehret with a severe stomach virus of some sort, Moses Rifkin with a foot injury, and a few others playing through minor things.
We began the game with an early upwind break off of some amazing play by Nate Castine, throwing most of the upwind throws and narrowly missing a goal, following up with a layout incut catch D and subsequently punching it in for the crucial upwinder. Our offense had a few turns, but was able to consistently prevent any upwind breaksfrom Furious, and we entered half up a few breaks and feeling positive. However, coming out of half we knew that we would not see Furious roll over, and our huddle spoke to this in particular, as well as including a few minor downfield D adjustments. The second half mirrored the first in some respects as we earned a break upwind and followed it up with a downwind break. Furious’s offensive handling core of Andrew Brown, Mauro Ortiz, Nick Menzies, and Kirk Savage displayed great throws and patience on multiple occasions, more than once scoring upwind against our zone with many, many passes and going into a ferocious wind. With the cap horn sounding, Furious scored their final goal to end the point and thus the game, Fish on top 12-8.
This pitted Sockeye against ECU (who had just beaten Outlaw in a game that has been relayed to me as having a close first half, not-so-close second). In our short history, Sockeye defeated ECU at Flowerbowl, ECU bested Sockeye in our own pre-EC showcase game, and we were able to beat ECU most recently at their post-clinic Showcase game. Only at our
pre-ECC event did we feel we really saw ECU, as they had what was closest to their full-squad there, at both other times missing many key players.
The first half saw two strong offenses scoring at will. Sockeye was able to use hucks, blades, and break throws to open up ECU’s man and poachy/clam-ish defense, and ECU’s O spread the field very effectively and created one-on-one matchups well in a very open field, in addition to running a 3-man dominator with Danny Karlinsky, Chris Kosednar, and
Chris Rupp, who have both the throws and the chemistry to run defenses ragged in the open field. While it’s ECU’s D that earns the first turns, it’s Sockeye’s D that earns the first break, getting a crucial upwinder and the subsequent downwinder to take half, 8-6. Coming out of half, Sockeye’s O scores again to make it 9-6. Ben Wiggins is throwing big, big flick hucks to Andrew Fleming, Spencer Wallis and Mike Caldwell are cutting like crazy, and Adam Holt is being dangerous everywhere on the field, break marks as a handler and taking smaller matchups deep. Defensively, Nate Castine, Aly Lenon, and Matt Rehder are each taking turns guarding Kosednar, and myself, Eddie Feeley, Idaho, and Harkness are switching between Karlinsky and Rupp. This is definitely one of the more fun battles, as we all see each other every week at Goaltimate and there’s a definite camaraderie. ECU earns a break on a great upwind backhand huck at full extension from Henry Schneider to Doc Morgenroth. Then, after Sockeye goes on another break run to stretch the lead again, ECU fights back and at 14-11 earns another break. However, at 14-12 Sockeye goes back to its bread and butter, Ben Wiggins huck to Andrew Fleming for the goal and the
My hat is tipped to both Karlinsky and Kosednar especially, both had very strong weekends. Going into regionals, I don’t envy any team that has to face ECU _or_ Furious, both are very dangerous and I feel we only saw a fraction of the fight I expect to see at Regionals. ECU was missing Cram and Chase, and the simple addition of a gigantic thrower and massive receiver will make a major difference. I also know that on not only our team were players sitting if they started to feel any injury or tweaking occur and I can’t imagine other teams didn’t suffer the same. Sectionals is only so important.
Very excited for Regionals, too bad there will probably (definitely?) be only 3 bids to split among a number of very strong teams.