(Disclosure: author played for Case Western Reserve in college)
Case Western Reserve held its annual fall tournament, North Coast, last weekend in North Olmsted, OH. Approximately 12 teams in each division attended this two-day preseason tournament. Case Western Reserve Fighting Gobies won the Men’s Division and Ohio State Fever won the Women’s Division.
The aim of this article is to discuss teams’ preseason progress in a positive manner, and to avoid being overly critical or harsh. Sectionals is not for another 6 months and most teams are still training their rookies. It was windy all weekend, with breezes ranging from 10-20 mph, making it difficult to work the disc at times. Not all teams have solidified a zone offense or defense at this point in the season.
I was able to watch all the Ohio teams during pool play for about 15-20 minutes. On Saturday, I took notes mainly on what teams were able to accomplish while playing O-points (downwind when possible). On Sunday bracket play, I focused more on live tweeting the scores. Check out our twitter if you’d like to see for yourself!
Pool Play Round 1
Men: Ohio Northern vs. Kenyon
Kenyon played horizontal stack with under cuts coming from the middle of the field and strikes from the handle set. They utilized the break side often.
ONU sometimes worked the disc up the side of the field, using their arsenal of throws to get out of jams or net some quick yards. They used OI flicks, push passes, and of course hammers. They also got the disc off the line by isolating their middle handler.
Men: Akron Y vs. Toledo
Toledo waited for good under cuts and ran strike cuts from the handler set. They threw around breaks when needed.
Akron’s handlers were also very patient while looking upfield. When a cut wasn’t available from their vert stack they would swing, use strikes, or give and go. Occasionally they took shots with a hammer or huck. They utilized both the IO window and the around break.
Men: Kent State Y vs. Wright State Y
Both teams ran horizontal stack. Kent State looked deep often. Wright State relied heavily on the IO window, targeting under cuts who dumped back to the handlers. Wright Y’s athletes made a few plays and they had no problem scoring upwind.
Pool Play Round 2
Women: Akron vs. Carnegie Mellon
Both teams ran vertical stack and targeted under cuts. Akron cuts came from the back of the stack and often resulted in 20-yard gains. CMU similarly made decent-sized gains with their upfield throws (10+ yards) and used strike cuts often.
Women: Kenyon vs. Case Western Reserve
Kenyon used several types of stacks – horizontal, vertical, and side stack. They often looked for 20 yard completions to get the disc moving.
Case ran horizontal stack, looking primarily for under cuts. Cutters sometimes looked for the run-up throw to a handler to generate power position. Case occasionally took wide-open deep shots to their athletes and looked comfortable working upwind.
Women: Ohio vs. Ohio State X
Both teams ran horizontal stack, swinging often, and looked for under cuts. Both teams also made lots of plays by attacking the disc in the air and also getting run-through Ds. Ohio State used IO break throws now and then. Ohio had a couple points of exceptionally good flow where they strung 6 or 7 10-yard passes together to score.
Pool Play Round 3
Women: Ohio State Y vs. Xavier
Both teams ran horizontal stack and dumped often. Both teams had plenty of movement by both cutters and handlers, creating lots of options. Xavier’s cutters made many excellent catches under pressure and were able to turn upfield and throw to another cutter. Ohio State’s cutters developed their cuts for longer periods of time, making it easier for them to get open.
Women: Michigan State X vs. Miami (Ohio)
Both teams ran horizontal stack. MSU used lots of dump-swing and handler strikes. In addition to under cuts from the center of the field, the outside cutter sometimes cut laterally across the field. Miami looked for a deep shot very often and sometimes sent their cutters deep after a transition from D to O. When the deep was unavailable, they used under cuts and handler strikes.
Men: Kent State X vs. Wright State X
Similar play style was seen from both teams. Horizontal stack, mostly looking for under cuts. Occasionally they used around breaks, run-ups, strikes, and layout grabs.
Men: Akron X vs. Cleveland State
Both teams ran horizontal stack.
Cleveland State’s handlers were able to swing the disc for a while, finding dumps and cross-field flicks to keep moving. They looked deep quite often.
Akron’s handlers were also able to keep the disc moving with IO breaks, lefty backhands, and well-timed dump cuts. They had great passes to space, allowing cutters to run on and catch. Akron’s team exhibited very high energy on the sidelines.
Pool Play Round 4
Men: Case Western Reserve vs. Akron Y
Case’s zone did not allow very many throws around or through their cup. Case had several short-distance, one-throw scores to begin the game.
Men: Case Western Reserve B vs. Cleveland State
Cleveland State completed many more under cuts than in their game against Akron X. They also looked for run-ups and some of their hucks were wide open.
Though CSU was up 8-0 at half, Case B put on a good show. Their handlers were very patient, often waiting for a good under cut. They used dump-swings and an occasional huck. They played great defense, shutting down strike cuts and getting both layout and run-through Ds.
Both teams had several point blocks during the game.
Case jumped out to a big lead early on the Akron split squad, though Akron showed great handler work.
Wright Y and Kent X put on an entertaining show, with plenty of layout catches and Ds and run-up hucks. The game was close till halftime, at which point Kent pulled away.
Wright X beat Kent Y in a close game 15-13. Wright X and Kent X would run into each other in the 3rd place game.
Kenyon had a 4-point lead for most of their quarters game. Buffalo’s zone seemed very effective in the second half, and they would storm back to win 14-13 after being down 11-7.
Case, Carnegie Mellon, and Michigan State Y took large leads into halftime and advanced to semifinals. Kenyon gave many different looks to MSU Y on both offense and defense. A varied arsenal will most certainly help Kenyon make another deep Regionals run (made game to go in OV-III Region 2014). Xavier showed they could connect on some deep looks against CMU. MSU X, while falling to Case, showed good handler movement. OSU X/Y played each other in the other quarters game.
Buffalo kept close to Case for a few points but Case ran away with the final 15-4. Buffalo showed great intensity and made some great plays. While Case made some excellent space passes, their key to victory was grinding on under cuts and making high-percentage decisions.
Ohio State Y had a lead of 10-3 at one point and won 13-10 over Carnegie Mellon. CMU made some big plays and was exciting to watch. Ohio State’s patience near the end zone was their key to victory.
Tournament Report Card
Props to the TDs for finding two sites within 5 minutes driving distance. I switched between Men’s and Women’s fields between every round. Parking was easy to find at both sites. Food, bathroom, and drinking fountains were readily available at all times. I would also like to acknowledge the TDs for being able to handle odd numbers of teams in both divisions (11 and 13) and teams dropping between days.
One of my “pet” issues is communication regarding cap situations, so I was happy to see that horns were used all weekend. THANK YOU!
Overall Grade: A
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