Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thoughts on Nationals

I saw bits and pieces of games not involving Purdue women, but not enough to really judge anything.

Friday / Pool Play - I was present this day. The weather was completely clear skies and really hot (in the 90s). Not as bad as Austin in 2003, but close.

Texas 15, Purdue 8

The score is fairly reflective of the game. Texas was just too deep for us. Texas put great pressure on our handlers - a theme that would repeat itself throughout the weekend. On offense, they do a great job of clearing a side and hitting cutters running away for 15 to 20 yards. Texas was a great team and really fun to play against - I'm both unsurprised and happy that they made semis.

Carleton 15, Purdue 8

Unlike the previous game, this score is not really reflective of how close this game was. It was very close until mid second half when Carleton pulled away. This is the one that gets me when I think back.

Basically, we lost for two reasons:

1) We run a very tight rotation in big games (basically 9 players), and we simply could not deal with the heat. Katie missed about a third of the game vomiting (mild heat exhaustion) and one of our top cutters had an asthma attack. If I had it to do over again I would have subbed deeper throughout this game. It might not have made the difference, but I don't think it would have hurt.

2) Carleton was very aggressive on the mark. This is the nice way of saying they foul a lot. My team, frankly, is just not used to this. Great Lakes teams are, by and large, very clean. Despite my urgings, my players let Carleton get away with a lot of contact. This really affected our ability to hold onto the disc. And as AJ or Miriam can tell you, we depend on our handlers' ability to weave and reset until a downfield cutter breaks free. Conversely, our downfield cutters time their cuts based on smooth handler motion, and when things slow down the cuts end up being in the wrong place.

In Carleton's defense, they did not contest most of the calls we did make, and they didn't make bad calls themselves (with one exception). They simply were accustomed to a much more physical game than my players, and my players never adjusted. This is where not playing Centex or any other big preseason tournaments (except Terminus) really haunted us.

Purdue 15, Rutgers 9

Both Purdue and Carleton had a serious hangover after the previous round - Purdue only takes half 8-7 on Rutgers (lots of drops), while Carleton fell behind Texas 8-1. In the second half, Purdue started playing like we had all season long, and we pretty much rolled. There was a little wind, and Rutgers threw a 4-person cup through most of the game, but we had no trouble with it. (Carleton also recovered and traded points with Texas in the second half.)

Saturday / Prequarters & Placement - I wasn't there this day. Apparently it was much more seasonable.

NC State 15, Purdue 9

From what I hear, more of the same in terms of aggressive marks, only more so, and NCSU contested stuff (although the observers upheld the calls). NCSU also did some creative poaching on the cutters. I actually called in a play by cellphone after having their defense described to me. Apparently the play worked, but obviously I can't help much from 2500 miles away. I would have enjoyed experimenting with a zone-and-1 approach to slow down Molly. Did you try this AJ/Miriam?

I think my presence would have helped, but I doubt I make 6 points worth of a difference. Our best path to quarters went through Carleton on day 1, and Brown on day 2, but we didn't get it done. As such, we were exiled to the purgatory of placement games.

Northwestern 13, Purdue 12

This game frustrates me more than any other, since it represents our sole loss in-region all year. Yeah, the game was meaningless, but it still sucks. Not much to say - apparently the girls were flat after the prequarters loss, and a couple key players had really bad games. I heard Northwestern threw their 4-person cup zone in the first half, but abandoned it when it was not working. We were up 1 or 2 most of the game, but not when it mattered.

This does bring up an interesting point - should 4th place teams from pool play really get a bye to play a prequarters loser? We would never do anything like this in a sectionals or regionals bracket format where the place matters for advancement. There's actually complaints about this on RSD right now. Between the two divisions, the 4th place teams (who had a combined Friday record of 0-24) went 5-3 against the prequarters losers (whose combined Friday record was 11-13). To me, that's a red flag that there's something wrong with this format.

Carleton 13?, Purdue 9?

This one isn't even reported on the score reporter. I know very little except that it was pretty windy, and that I told them to make sure everyone plays a lot.

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