Sunday, January 03, 2010

Top 10 Plays of the Decade

Ok, this is a little late (most top 10's of something or other should come out before the actual end of the time period and all), but here it is. I've got a couple more coming. This was inspired by this thread on RSD.

There are links to the plays (some video, some pictures). If you can take the time to find the others and post on the comments, I'll link them up.

10. Matty Lipscomb foul on Alex Nord (2000 UPA College Championships, semifinals: Colorado vs. Carleton)

At 14-14 game to 15, Carleton had possession 65 yards away from the upwind endzone and a spot in the finals against Brown University. This was one of the best rivalries of the late 90’s and early 2000’s with both teams playing in the same region up until the regional redraw in 1999. Colorado had never beaten Carleton in a UPA series game. Sam O’Brien puts up a long hanging forehand deep to Alex Nord, Carleton’s 6’5” receiver. Nord had two defenders on him as the disc was approaching and from across the field CU’s short, fiery defender, Matty Lipscomb, blazes in to the group. The disc goes over everyone’s head and Nord calls a foul. Nord is willing to send the disc back but Lipscomb insists on appealing to observer Mike Gerics, in perfect position. Gerics rules that Lipscomb undercut Nord. Nord takes possession and completes the game winner a few seconds later.

This play, notable not by the amazing play of the players involved but by the role of the observer, signaled to all the potential impact of observers on the outcome of games. Almost ten years later the question of how active observers should be is still being actively discussed and Mike Gerics is still pushing the role forward.

9. Derek Alexander to Oscar Pottinger to send Furious to 2002 finals(2002 UPA Club Championships, semifinals: Furious George vs. DoG)

Taken out of context, this play was not terribly exceptional. Derek Alexander completed a short backhand to an extended Oscar Pottinger (who was being guarded by a bidding Josh Ziperstein) for a score. But when you add the context: semifinals of the National championships in a game that many would call one of the top games all time, with only five total turnovers between the two teams, 16-16, and game to 17, Furious battling for their first UPA Championship and DoG trying to regain the title they owned for 6 years after two years of falling short. And throw in the fact that both the Furious players involved and the defender were all a mere 19 years old at the time and what you are left with is a climatic ending to an incredible game and a symbol of the potential impact on the growth of youth Ultimate on the sport.

8. Miranda Roth's catch on footblocked disc (2005 UPA College Championships, semifinals: University of Washington vs. Colorado University)

It is an unintentional slight that only one women’s play is included on this list. In an upwind/downwind semifinals in Coravallis, Oregon, Miranda Roth looked to throw an upwind IO forehand break being marked by CU’s Anne “Pogo” Pogoriler. Pogo gets a foot out and gets a huge footblock sending the disc fifteen feet in the air and behind Roth. Roth immediately turns, takes two steps and lays out to grab the disc blading into the ground. The bizarness of this play combined with Roth’s reaction time and phenomenal hand-eye coordination dropped the jaws of everyone watching.

7. Beau Kittridge jumping over guy on SDSU (2006 UPA SouthWest College Regionals, quarterfinals: Colorado vs. SDSU)

Unlike #9, this play needs no context at all. There was never a chance that Colorado was going to lose this game as they were cruising toward another Regional title. The defender, Dave “Flock” Runner, from San Diego State, at 5’7” was little more than a prop on a play that showcased the athleticism of Beau Kittridge and got Ultimate on its first top 10 on ESPN.

6. Alex Nord picking disc off of JD Lobue’s back (2007 UPA Club Championships, finals: Sockeye vs. Bravo)

In Sockeye’s championships in the middle of the decade it seemed that they always attracted crazy and exciting plays. And almost inevitably they wound up on the better half of these plays. In two consecutive championship finals (2006 and 2007) they retained possession when the disc landed on a player instead of the ground. This one had to be watched and rewatched to be believed. At 1-0 with Sockeye going upwind, a short forehand is thrown to Nord who is only a few yards outside Sockeye’s attacking endzone. Bravo’s JD Lobue and Hector Valdivia both have position on Nord; Valdivia on Nord’s left and JD laying out from the right. Valdivia makes the initial contact with the disc and then it appears to deflect off of his cleat before landing on Lobue’s back. Nord picks up the disc and throws the goal to a seemingly unaware Blaine Robins.

Honorable mention lucky catch:

- Disc landing on Matt “Skip” Sewell’s (Sockeye) legs in the 2006 UPA Club Finals (vs. Furious George)

5. Mike Caldwell’s greatests (2004 and 2006 UPA Club Championship, finals: Sockeye vs. JAM, Sockeye vs. Furious)

In the pantheon of highlight reel Sockeye playmakers of the 2000’s, there is only one player who completed a greatest in a club final. And this player completed not one but two greatest in finals. MC never received the same popular attention that many of his teammates on Sockeye did but it says something about your abilities when your teammates repeatedly put you in that position and even more that you are able to pull it off. In 2004, MC completed a greatest to Chase Sparling-Beckley to tie the game at 2’s against Furious. In 2006, it was MC again saving an out of bounds throw this time completing it to Moses Rifkin to take a 6-5 lead over Furious.

4. Chase Sparling-Beckley’s catch on Roger Crafts’ hammer (2004 UPA Club Championships, finals: Sockeye vs. Jam)

What was Roger Crafts thinking? 15-15 game to 16. Sockeye started the point on defense going upwind. Idris Nolan for JAM had already tallied two turnovers on game winning throws on the point. Crafts ended up with the disc forty yards outside of the upwind endzone and chooses a hammer into double coverage. Sparling-Beckley stabs it out of the air for the game winner – Seattle’s first championship and again JAM was left with a bitter end to the season.

3. Mike Caldwell’s Block in the 2007 Finals (2007 UPA Club Championships, finals: Sockeye vs. Bravo)

It is certainly another slight (albeit unintentional) to defenders everywhere to include only one defensive play on this list. This play stands out for not only the block itself, but the critical moment in the game and the wild play that both preceded and followed the play. Here’s the situation – Bravo is pulling to Sockeye down 13-14 and going upwind. Sam O'Brien drops the pull and Adam “Chicken” Simon picks up the disc about 10 yards outside the endzone with the opportunity to tie the game at 14s with Bravo going downwind. Colin “JV” Gottlieb cuts up the line from a handler position and Simon puts it up. MC explodes out for the block but macs it straight into the wind. The disc comes down in a crowd of Bravo receivers and Sockeye defenders before finding its way to the ground. The crowd then takes their first breath since the pull went up 20 seconds earlier.

Honorable mention defensive plays:

- Neale Mahoney’s (Brown) block on Josh “Richter” Ackley (Colorado) in 2005 UPA College Championship Finals

- Giora Proskurowski ‘s(Sockeye) on Ron Kublanza (Jam) in the 2004 UPA Club Championship Finals vs JAM

- Alex Nord’s (Sockeye) twisting block on Doug Moore (DoG) in 2006 UPA Club Championship quarterfinals

2. Josh Ziperstein’s catch after multiple macs (2005 UPA College Championships, finals: Brown vs. Colorado)

The 2005 finals was one of the best college games of the decade featuring two teams that matched up incredibly well and filled with current and future club stars. Brown had clawed back from a 9-5 deficit to tie the game at 13-13. On that point, Brown obtained possession and had the opportunity to gain their first lead of the game. Neale Mahoney ended up with the disc on the sideline and a high stall count. Unable to get the reset off against Jolian Dahl’s mark, Neale Mahoney put up a bailout to brother Colin Mahoney. Colin, covered by Kittridge was unable to come down with it. Brown’s Will Arnold and Colorado’s Jason Buckingham then vie for the disc but neither of them come up with it. Ziperstein, the 2005 Callahan winner, who trailed the play from the far side comes sliding in and comes up with the disc for the Brown lead as they eventually win the game 15-14.

1. Alex Nord’s catch over Mark Driver (2001 UPA College Championships, finals: Carleton vs. Colorado)

The pinnacle of one of the most storied rivalries in college Ultimate was the 2001 UPA College Championships. A rematch of the double game point 2000 College semifinals and frequent Regional championships before the split, Carleton and Colorado were loaded with talent that would make their mark on the Club division for the better part of the decade. The game was a dogfight and at 12-11 the game looked to be going down to the wire. Carleton’s Garret Westlake launches a huge hanging forehand deep to Alex Nord. Nord, being guarded by CU’s Mark Driver is out positioned; the disc is angling from right to left and Driver is on the left side. Nord goes up and over Driver, horizontally, making the grab and landing hard on his head, concussing himself and giving Carleton the 13-11 lead. The play said to everyone, “yes, I would have made the catch in 2000 had I not been fouled” and defined being “posterized” for that generation of players. 1:02 of


808 said...

Sam dropped the pull in #3.

sometallskinnykid said...

a catch that i remember that does not get much love is Taylor, I think, of the Condors in the 2001 club finals. I *think* that was the only upwind score of the game and it won the game (I forget if he caught the goal or caught it and threw the goal). I think it was over a player or two as well...

romanphoenix said...

Alex Nord’s catch over Mark Driver

Emma Jasmine said...

Switching Your Child to an Online Disabilities School - EBL Coaching