After a long pre-season of international clinics, a great and arduous tryout that included both Flowerbowl and Solstice tourneys (and multiple games against our northwest regional competition), and finally countless gritty battles between the newly formed O and D teams, Sockeye is just chomping at the bit for some new competition — and ECC delivers this in spades.
On Saturday, the 2011 Fish kick off this regular season against Urutau, a small and speedy Colombian team whom Sockeye first saw in Colombia in 2009 at the Torneo Eterna Primavera. Urutau has quick breaks and is fast and squirrely across the board — they move the disc quickly and well, rarely putting themselves in tough spots and are always moving. Sockeye’s height might prove a disadvantage on D if Urutau can consistently maintain a high pace of disc movement, although deep shots will have to be well-placed and not floaty. Look for the Fish to slow the pace and force the long ball on D, and expect a few deep looks from the Sockeye O.
Immediately after Urutau comes Ironside. Sockeye took down the Boston boys in Worlds 2010 quarterfinals in a now-famous showcase game that featured the highlight of highlights and multiple lead changes — truly exciting. Then, Ironside exacted revenge at Nationals 2010, ending Sockeye’s series season in the semifinals in a well-played, and again, highlight-filled game. Now the two meet again at ECC, without the pressure of elimination, but both seeing new faces and missing old ones. Each by now is well aware of who to watch out for and both come in with an idea of match ups already — always the makings of an exciting game.
After Ironside, Sockeye faces Truck Stop. One year ago, Truck Stop came back from a slight deficit to hand Sockeye their first of many ECC losses, and the Fish haven’t forgotten. Impressed by a strong performance against Nexgen, Sockeye will certainly not be looking past Truck, and will look to throw everything and the kitchen sink at them to see what works on D. Offensively, nothing new — get the job done and put that D back on the field.
Finally, the Buzz Bullets. For many Fish this will be the first time playing Buzz, as Sockeye has had a great deal of roster turnover since their trip to Japan in early ’08. No need to hide it — the boys are excited, and don’t be surprised if it looks like the first game of the day instead of the last. Buzz is known for very accurate and blading forehands to the weak side, as well as a stifling yet confusing defense that gives the appearance of open throws, yet clamps quickly on mid- to high stall counts. Another exciting game in a very strong ECC pool of teams.
Sunday pits the Fish against Streetgang, whom the Fish also saw a year ago. Always dangerous, Sockeye found success against Streetgang at ECC, but also watched as the same team nearly upset a strong Doublewide at 2010 Labor Day — so clearly, they have the potential to give anybody a game, and are quite athletic. Sockeye will look to figure out their strengths quickly and make them play their “plan B” game throughout.
This year’s ECC will be as exciting as ever, and we haven’t even gotten to elimination games. Bring it on!