As we hit the fields Sunday morning, we were greeted with fog, overcast, drizzle, and very little wind. It was the perfect weather for ultimate. Coached by Jane "Austen" Griffin and Loryn Kanemaru, last season's A-team graduates, we split into two teams, X and Y. Thanks go out to both of them for helping out during the tournament and throughout the past practices. Both captains were unable to attend due to Safari practice, since they're going to NATIONALS in Florida!
I don't really know the play-by-play on Loryn's side since I was with Austen's team, but I do know one thing, our rookies are AWESOME!
Austen's team, UCSD-X, started off our first game against Cal Tech. They had a strong team with many returners and only a couple rookies. Needless to say, we lost 13-2. But on the two points we scored, there was great flow and our offense was starting to look better. Our running defense was slowly improving and for the entire tournament all our rookies set the right marks! We also played with 3 returners and 4 rookies every point, so there was a lot of playing time for the rookies as well as a lot of handling for the returners. 2 returners would handle while the third set a permanent stack, meaning all the rookies were cutting and made a lot of continuous cuts for each other and dumped it back to restart the stall count.
The next game was up against Pomona. Ending in a loss of 9-7, there was a dramatic improvement from everyone on both offense and defense. None of our scores came from big hucks, but a lot of short passes and with patience. It was impressive how the rookies were able to hold onto the disc, stay calm, and throw it to a cutter or dump it back. There were also so many rookie to rookie points and flows, it was awesome! I played as a handler for the entire tournament, and every time we scored when I was on the line, it was rarely a rookie who caught it in the endzone from a handler, but a rookie who caught it from another rookie.
Defense improved a lot this game too! There was one point where the rookies d-ed the disc at least 7 times. Our running game forced the other team to dump it back to their handler and also lead to a lot of skying on the big hucks.
Our third game was against USC and lost 4-11, but stopped their big hucks and forced them to throw shorter passes. Again, we were playing better ultimate, d-ing the disc several times while also getting some hucks in our offense as well.
Finally, we played CSU Long Beach. We scored on the first drive leading the game 1-0. We were able to slow down their offense, but eventually lost 11-1 to a returners-stacked team. Great job to everyone who played the 25 minute point and dug deep to constantly get d's after playing 3 tiresome games.
All in all, it was a great tournament and there was so much improvement from everyone. And huge props to Coach Austen for winning every disc toss and letting UCSD-X stay in our darks the entire time! And from what I heard, UCSD-Y also improved tremendously as the tournament progressed.
Again, huge props to the rookies for doing amazing at their first ever ultimate tournament and to the returners (many of whom just finished their first rookie season last year) for stepping up and leading the team. Can't wait for our next tournament, which will be the annual Sean Ryan Tournament on the weekend of November 13th. Stay tuned!