Friday, June 17, 2005

RToTD - Chain v. DoG 2002

I was just looking atParinella’s website. It’s pretty nuts; he’s included a summary of every tournament DoG ever played in. I was reading his write up of 2002 Tune-Up and he talks about the DoG-Chain Game. Here’s what Jim says
We took a lead of 8-4 on Chain. They quickly tied it at 10, 11, and 12, so it was next point wins (hard cap at 13 in all non-finals games). OB pull, I cut first from the back, my defender comes very close to blocking it (he may have even touched the disc just as I caught it), but otherwise they had no bids on us, and after I caught the winning goal, I flipped the disc to a Subzero guy standing on the sideline, saying, "Here you go, kid" and walked off the field.

I was covering Jim on that play and thought I’d throw in my 2 cents. This doesn’t have anything to do with strategy or coaching, so if you’re looking for something informative you’ve come to the wrong place (if you’ve read this blog more than once, you probably already knew that though).

First some background information – Chain hadn’t made nationals since the Dark Ages. I think it had been at least 5 years since Chain’s last trip to the show and we only had 2 guys (Goode and Smitty) on our squad who had ever played at Nationals. We somehow pimped our way into the elite division at Chicago and played much better than anyone expected. On Saturday, we beat E-Pig, who went on to beat DoG in the finals, and we also beat Sub Zero so we were in great shape to make semis coming into our last round on Saturday. If we beat Valhalla we’re in the semis. Of course we lose to Valhalla which means we have to beat DoG on Sunday morning to make it to the round of 4.

We come out Sunday morning a little scared by DoG and go down 4-8. We call a time-out, settle down and go on a 6-2 run to tie it at 10’s. Three plays stick out in my mind from that run. The first is a huck to Simpson with Zip on him. From where I was standing it looked like Zip had position and would run it down easily. They both end up laying out, and Simpson is able to layout passed Zip for the ridiculous catch and goal. Another highlight is Dylan cutting back to the disc being covered by Forch, Dylan starts to break off his cut right as the disc is being released and Forch has position coming back to the disc. Dylan accelerates again and sort of half jumps/half dives and comes around Forch to make the catch. Chasing Plastic had a photo of this catch and they put it on one of their discs. I would link to it, but it doesn’t look like it’s up on their site anymore. My favorite highlight from the run though is calling the 5-2 poach (a defense my summer league team was running at the time) against DoG. We couldn’t figure out a way to get a block on them, so basically I drew this D in the dirt in between points.
is playing off-side wing and he comes flying through the cup for the huge layout block. Florian used to call Seto “mini-Stu” and this play was definitely Stu-like.

So we come all the way back to tie it at 10’s, then the offenses trade to 12-12. I feel like we turned it over at 11-12 and got it back and punched it in. Anyway, so it’s 12-12 and we throw the pull out of bounds. I’m covering Jim and he’s lined up at the back of the stack slightly in the open side lane. I distinctly remember Alex walking the disc in and giving Jim an inquisitive look, as if to say “do you want it?” Jim gives the full nod, so I was pretty confident I was going to be isolated. I talked about how I like to play defense in this situation here. I forced Jim under from the back of the stack and picked out the spot I wanted to beat him to. I was on his inside hip in a sprint back to the frisbee. As soon as Alex released the disc I thought it was a block. I had the inside path and the disc wasn’t far enough outside for Jim to be able seal me with his body. I’ve never been very graceful when going for my dives(fall downs), and I kind of stumbled as I was setting up for the disc that was coming in low, but I was still going fast enough that I should be able to make the block. I fling myself to the ground and the disc goes right over my left hand. Jim catches the low disc while still standing up. I get scored on for the loss - 13-12 bad guys….terrible. To this day, I get irritated when I think about that point. It was RIGHT THERE…JUST HIT THE DISC DUMMY!...sigh…anyway, that concludes the story of the time Chain (almost) beat DoG.


parinella said...

If I'm at the back of the stack, where else am I going to go but in?

I didn't realize that you were setting me up. Usually in that situation, if the defender is going to give me the in cut, I'll push him back as far as I can and then just start running in. I'm sure it's happened, but I do not ever remember getting blocked on a reasonable throw in that situation.

aj said...

Chuckle...I'm not sure I would say I was setting you up. I guess, the fact that I saw your nod made me more willing to fully commit to accelerating to stop the in-cut than I normally would be. Normally, I'd tried to avoid hitting top speed for fear of you changing direction and taking me to the house.

Generally speaking, if I'm covering the last guy in the stack and it's the other team's primary cutter I'll stand basically even with them on the field, but off of them a little bit into the force. As you said, if someone's at the back of the stack they're really not a huge threat to go deep. A lot of players like to fake deep and then turn and sprint in. I like to stay on my toes/lean forward and move my body in between the cutter and the deep space. Generally, the cutter wanted to go in anyway, so I'm giving them what they want. At that point it's a sprint back to the disc - as a defender I lose way more of those than I win, but you don't have to win many to have a good day.

In the case of that game in Chicago, you were definitely ahead of me, but the disc was to thrown to your inside giving me a path to the frisbee. Obviously, I'm biased, but I definitely felt at the time like I should have gotten the block. Perhaps time has made me more sure that I should have gotten it than is realistic. Were you fairly confident it was going to get past me? I guess whether it should have gottent past me or shouldn't have, it did, so doesn't matter too much.

parinella said...

I've got a terrific memory, but even I can't remember the specifics of every one-point game I've played in at Tuneup.

What probably happened is that I was called first in the play (or third if you include the catch and hitch, or second as it turns out since it was OB), saw or suspected that it was a force forehand (thus reducing the odds of a first pass huck), so set myself up for the easiest best gain. I've made that cut literally thousands of times, so I don't remember the specifics of this one. It does sound like me to reach down to catch a low one instead of sliding, but I don't think I would have needed to nod in that situation, unless I suspected that Alex had forgotten the play, which is likely (after all, he would have been expecting just to throw a swing pass). I do remember thinking, "ooh, that was close."
And I remember plain as day knowing exactly what the goal meant (for us, not that much, and for Sub-Zero, a place in the semis) and seeing Masulis sitting not 5 feet from where I caught the game-winner, and flipping him the disc and patronizingly calling him "kid". Ah, them's was the days.

heacox said...

AJ, from your defensive wirte-up and this post, how large is this "spot" that you're racing the offensive player to? Pivot foot-sized? An area roughly equal to the reach of the player you're covering? Just the general area where the most logical cut would terminate?

I might be trying to put too fine a point on this, but when I play defense I position myself between the offensive player and the area he most wants to cut to, anticipating where the logical cut is based on his current position and the position of the disc. Calling it a "spot" makes me think you pinpoint a much more specific area, but I just may be confused over your language.



Tarr said...

I hereby dedicate my fall to making sure ENE sectionals is a two day event.

parinella said...

Nobody here wants a two-day Sectionals. I can understand Sholom Simon's rationale for first decreeing that, but those reasons (teams travel to play, they want the games) do not apply here.

That's it, Tarr, I'm blogging "Formats geeks and why I hate them when I'm not being one myself." If you promise not to change our Sectionals, I won't mention you by name.

Tarr said...

If you promise not to change our Sectionals, I won't mention you by name.


Seriously, though, two comments:

1) The official policy is 4 and fewer teams, as well as 5 or 6 if every team advances, can play 1-day tournaments and everyone else must play 2 days. That said, 8 teams (that want to advance to regionals) is the true absolute maximum number of teams where a one-day format works. (Actually, 8 works better than 7, since 7 ends up having a pool of three or a bye in brackets or somesuch.) So as long as ENE Div 1 sectionals stays at 8 teams or less, it doesn't really upset me if you play a 1-day.

2) I can consent to a fair amount of wriggling around with the formats as long as there is unanimous consent among the involved teams. At Central Plains club open sectionals last fall (9 teams, 2 advance), we agreed to play the first round of brackets on Saturday, even though this meant 5 games for four teams. Initially, the SC just wanted to decide this by majority vote, but I insisted that it be done by unanimous vote or not at all. Then I voted for it.

parinella said...

Can you make it official policy then that an N<=8 team, one-day tournament is acceptable if all teams with on-time rosters agree?

How about going to a structure like the US Open in golf? Nationals finalists gets a bye into Nationals, Regionals winners and Nationals quarterfinalists get a bye into Regionals.

Perhaps there is more loyalty now to the UPA than there was before, but I could imagine the top teams jumping to an NUA-type organization or premiere league IF that organization was actually organized and there was a reasonable expectation that it would draw virtually all of the top teams.

So, give us a one-day Sectionals, or the PUPA (Parinella UPA) is going to be launched in 2007.

heacox said...

As a Northeast SC (although not for Open, and not for East New England), I am curious why you don't want a two day Sectionals? Is it because the top (Regionals) teams do not benefit much from Sectionals competition, anyway? Is it because ENE Open Team #8 doesn't benefit much from being trounced by DoG? Is it just so people get to play less?

While the idea of giving teams byes into Regionals has merit, at this stage of ultimate's growth, I think that being able to face top competition at Sectionals and Regionals is a draw for many of the teams that choose to compete in the UPA's club series. Plus, I think the top teams (except perhaps the very top team) fluctuate enough in performance from year to year that making every team have to prove itself in the fall is worthwhile.

Just curious to generate discussion. Thanks.

parinella said...

Partly it's selfish. I like to play ultimate, but I don't like to win 15-2, let alone spend all weekend doing it (not that all the games are 15-2). I only have so many hours to give, and I'd rather spend it getting better and competing against good players than by playing uncontested matches. The only reason that elite teams play in Sectionals is that they have to. Most if not all of them would probably choose to play in Regionals if they didn't have to. So, while it's a selfish view, it's no more selfish than a weaker team wanting to play a bunch of games against top opponents, and it's not elitist because the true desire is to play games in which the outcome may be in doubt.

Partly it's aesthetic. It offends me when the majority of games are blowouts. And why do you need two days to reduce 8 teams to 5 or 6?

Another reason that might pertain only to the ENE or to geographically small sections is that minimal travel is required. It's not like, say, the Arizona/New Mexico section, where every team not in the host city has to drive 3-14 hours (or even fly), in which case it would be asking too much for those teams to travel just for one day of play.

I'm not seriously proposing the byes, as I recognize that there is some value in making everyone qualify and in letting some teams get a chance to play up (although I couldn't imagine making Tiger Woods beat me head-to-head en route to a US Open title or 2nd place finish). It's a compromise, and I think you could move the compromise line a little bit more in certain circumstances and still be fair.