I was very excited to watch the Labor Day footage Rob took, especially this game. With a win over Revolver on Saturday (14-11) where credit was given to Chain's pressure, I was curious to see what happened to make the result 15-6 for the Moons. With a loss like 15-14 to Furious you can envision a close game where one mistake just happened to fall the opponents way. Even the win over Revolver the previous day, while a bit more decisive at 14-11, still felt like a close game between elite teams. But seeing a score like 15-6 makes me think one team was outmatched. I was excited that Rob put this game up first because I wanted to see the strategic shifts that made the difference. The big question I had was how Revolver's defense would stifle Chain's offense so they could only score 6 points.
Watching the tape a few times it looks like it was less a case of Revolver shutting down Chain's O and more a case of Chain completely giving the game away to an efficient Revolver team. Of the significant turns that I saw Chain give up most boiled down to chemistry. Kind of surprising that chemistry would be an issue in a final, but I guess that is what happens when Chesapeake gets rained out. All of the other teams had been to an elite tournament before Labor Day, and while it didn't show during Saturday (still eagerly waiting for that tape Rob), maybe that was the difference.
Here is a quick breakdown of the turns I thought were most significant:
-Reset miscommunication between Asa and Swanson
-Reset miscommunication between Grant and Swanson
-Huck from Swanson that was too far for Dylan
-Huck from Nick Lance that was too far for Dylan
-Swanson throws a swing pass behind a cutting Asa
-Poole throws and inside break behind Asa
-Miscommunication when Spiva breaks off a cut as CK is releasing
-Reset toss to CK from Dylan is caught for a callahan
-Miscommunication huck from Nick Lance to Grant as he turned under
Chain looked in control of this game early, getting a quick break off of a Revolver errant throw. But after that it looked like Chain players didn't know what each other were doing. Between the resets and the miscommunications Chain players were often caught changing direction right at the point of release. The hucks felt like desperation throws (although early in the count) because they were typically right of the pull and from a stand still. Great throws for distance, but no flow or good angle. I can't recall a single time that a Revolver player got a clean D on a Chain player. Even the throws behind Asa weren't blocked by Revoler. Asa was wide open, but Chain couldn't get the disc in front of him. From Greg is was particularly terrible because Asa was wide open cutting to the open side from an unmarked Greg. Poole's misthrow was a little better because it was an inside break, but that throw also felt like a desperation throw. Also, when did Dylan become a handler for Chain. I can think of two places Dylan is not one of the best players in the game: at the reset and as a distribution handler.
I guess the lesson to learn here is how important it is to have your players on the same page. To know where the next cut is coming from, and to know where the reset is going. One of the big differences I've noticed watching Revolver is that they are very good at knowing where the next look is and having a person there. In contrast to Chain looking a little frazzled on the reset, Revolver almost always looked effortless. They typically threw a quick pass to a particular spot before the mark or reset defender was prepared (I'm starting to call this the Thrower's Option). Even when that was shut down it was clear that the game plan was either to run the reset behind the thrower (in the middle of the field) or run the reset down the line and pull another person backfield (trapped on the line). I would have been hard pressed to believe that small chemistry issues could result in a 15-6 game, but that is what it felt like watching the tape. After Rob puts up more video I'll spend a little looking at the rest and seeing what is there.
One last note: I think part of Revolver's victory was determination by Robbie Cahill. He caught more deep shots than I have even seen him catch for Revolver, and independent of who was on him. I don't know if the Saturday loss stuck in his craw, but after his first goal he threw an uncharacteristic spike that made me think this game was a little personal. Great game Revolver. We'll get 'em next time, Chain.
Future of Ultimate
2 months ago