Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paideia Cup Day 2

The 2nd day of Paideia Cup is over and was filled with ups and downs. Due to potential downpour later that day the first round of the day was played yesterday. That meant that we went straight to semis today which has us play Columbia HS (Anthony Nunez). Columbia had a tough game against Grady High School (Susie Mercer) the previous day so we knew they were ready to play and prove themselves today. The game was a great game, ending with us on top after double game point (9-8).

A few thoughts on Columbia. Kyle had mentioned their resets being particular good, and that was evident. At first I through it was another instance of our marks being too flat, but the Columbia players knew how to clear the reset and then fill in from the front of the stack. The thrower would almost always throw quickly around our mark hitting the reset and then swinging the disc. Their constant resets made our downfield defense difficult. They also threw what I call the "soft" (inside) break very well. In particular #6 did a good job moving the disc back to the breakmark side with soft breaks. Last compliment (although there could be plenty) is the level of athleticism that some of their players brought to the game. Number 3 (Jordan?) and #13 were just few of a number of defenders that really worked our cutters making it difficult to advance the disc at times. Fortunately we advanced, getting a few Ds after making some adjustments.

The next game against Hopkins (Jake Raisanen) wasn't so lucky. Word on the street was that this team was big and fast, and they lived up to the hype. With a number of players over 6' our short line-up was really going to be tested. In addition to their height they had a number of seniors on that squad, which became evident in the first few points. Our offense struggled to get open against older athleticism, and they forced us into poor decisions by taking away the easy ones. When they had the disc it was clear that they had been playing together for years. They threw deep often, typically to players that had only a step or two, and frequently with risky passes (through lanes and around marks). Almost all of these hucks connected, and what impressed me was the confidence with which they released the disc. During the game I commented that they were throwing the way that I would throw to my oldest friends, where you just know they are about to cut to an area so you throw it early giving the defender almost no chance.

We lost the game to Hopkins 13-5, despite playing very well. Our boys fought hard and did what they could, but we were out matched physically and experientially. I don't think they are attending Easterns, but I wish that they would. I'll question whoever wins the "Eastern" title if they didn't beak Hopkins at some point during the year. I guess that is just part of the wacky Junior Nationals scene.

Lastly, from a coaching standpoint: Both of the teams we played today ran an (at times) isolation based sideline stack offense. Creating the one large lane out in front of the thrower. Our original defensive adjustments were pulling people off of the players in the middle of the stack to potentially help with the isolated cutter. This worked well, but they still would get some devastating deep hucks off. I wondered if we wouldn't have had success with forcing back towards the sideline stack and using the dump defender to frustrate the open side and have them swing the disc to the side of the field with the stack on it. Hopkins probably would have just switched their stack-side, but in the transition we may have gotten them to throw something they weren't comfortable with. Maybe we should have just forced middle.

6 comments:

ellsworthless said...

Jake Raisanen isn't at Hopkins any more, it's now Louis Abramowski.

Kyle Weisbrod said...

Definitely should have forced back to the stack side of the field. Hopkins may have adjusted but it is not an easy adjustment to make.

Also, Hopkins is in the "Western" part of the country so my guess is that they'll be attending Westerns.

I wish I'd gotten an opportunity to see Hopkins play some. The boys games I did see (Columbia v Grady and Paideia v Columbia) were great games. I was impressed by Grady's athleticism. Emery Ozell looked solid as did their freshman (#23) who has a lot of potential. Also, it would be a shame to not mention Maddy Roorbach (who you might recognize from your UPA ID card). She was playing with the Grady open team and starting on offense and more than holding her own against top HS boys. The '10 class of girls coming out of the Atlanta area are going to make waves for years to come.

As you mentioned Columbia has a great reset system that allows them to use the width of the field. While younger than last year you can tell that the team will be right back in the mix of it all next year.

The Paideia boys are similar to Columbia - young and with strong fundamentals. Their handling corps of Mark Vandenberg ('12), Nils Clauson ('12), Tom Barrow ('11), and Jericho Barbour ('12) are applying a higher level of Ultimate knowledge on the field than 95% of the top club players I see play.

After the awards ceremony on Sunday the Hopkins boys came to see if they could trade some of their medium sized winner's shirts for some larges or extra-larges with the Paideia Girls. When they told them that all we had were mediums also, I overheard one of them say, "I guess they thought that Paideia was going to win."

I suppose that might help readers understand the size difference between these two teams.

Joe's Brother said...

Mike Kinsella also coaches for Hopkins.

All Minnesota teams are considered "Western" teams. In fact, Westerns is being hosted in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this year.

We also hoped very much to see some more Easterns teams, which is among the many compelling reasons we can't pass up attending Paideia each year (the others being: great fields, a terrific format, and amazing host families treating us like a part of their family).

We were incredibly impressed with the poise of the young Paideia team. It's no secret we have a large group of seniors, but we also have a large number of freshman and sophomores. It makes me excited to think about the Paideia-Hopkins games in 2 and 3 years that promise to be some truly epic battles.

Good luck at Easterns!

Coach Lou
Hopkins

Martin said...

Sorry about the mis-quote on the coach, Lou. I think I got it off of the Hopkins Ultimate web page, but it might have been out of date or I went to the wrong page.

I did just recently find out that Minnesota counts as the "west" (kind of like Colorado is the south west?). Hopkins is going to be a tough team to beat. They ran us hard, and adjusted well to our defensive sets. I wish I could be there to see it.

Kyle brings up a great point with Maddy. For the points that I saw her play she was handling the disc incredibly well, and even got a poach D on a guy from Columbia. I didn't know she was only a Junior, but I agree with Kyle that the female class of '10 is going to be pretty amazing. Should make for 2 good years of YCC teams.

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