Thursday, May 13, 2010

Regionals recap

Wow I can't believe regionals is finally over... I can't believe my 5 years of eligibility is finally up! (I think Michelle on Northeastern is super happy about that.) Anyway, so here's my version of regionals (as much as I can remember of it).

sMITe drove to Jenny's house on Friday night... Thanks Jenny and Mr. Barry for letting us stay at your amazing house! Btw, Jenny's dad is *the* most interesting person I know. He's been in space 3 times, each for a duration of about 10 days. He applied every year for 14 years until his application finally got accepted so he could go up into space. He told us that his astronaut friends and he played quidditch in space. Isn't that awesome?!?! And he's also been on Survivor. AND he builds robots for a living. Their house has 3 robots or something and they talk, joke around, open doors, receive pizza deliveries, etc.

Anyways... we wake up Saturday morning and it's drizzling and windy outside. It continues to rain and be windy during warm-up and our entire first game against Harvard. The game was generally messy with lots of turnovers for both teams. Personally I felt really slow and awkward. I couldn't get a flick huck off for the life of me, because of the wind and because I semi-jammed my thumb the day before. There were so many times where we worked it down to our endzone and weren't able to convert for the score. Suddenly we found ourselves down at 2-7 (it was 10:00 am at the time) and we saw lightning in the sky. Then the horns sounded and everyone evacuated the fields to go hide out in their cars.

We were goofing off, singing to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" which was on our regionals pump-up mix. Well, I guess singing wasn't the right word. The only words we really knew were "TURN AROUND" and Michelle would croon the rest of the words to the song. We had three cars all parked right next to each other with our windows rolled down and we were trying to sync our CD players to start at the same time. =P Anyway, now "Total Eclipse" has become a pump-up song for me.

At noon, we went back on the field to finish the point (the lightning siren went off during a time-out). Harvard had the disc 10 yards outside of their endzone and they broke the mark for the score and half. After half, we managed to squeak a few points in but Harvard still won handily 13-6.

Amy played really well in the Harvard game. She's such a solid ultimate player all around. As a handler, she is proactive in dictating offensive flow. She has nice dump cuts both back and up the line and she throws accurately for both in cuts and away cuts. In zone, she is patient with the disc and has the ability to see holes in the cup and has great timing throwing through the cup to poppers. Amy also has beautiful flick hucks and amazing backhand breaks. She chases discs down and has the most amazing and aggressive catches. On defense, she shuts her girl down consistently and constantly helps out her teammates by helping them deep or having great positioning to get the D. She's a great leader by example, never presumptuous and brings out the best in people. She also satisfies sMITe's little-known requirement of having a large butt-to-boob ratio. :) And she's graduating soon!

Chenxia is a graduating senior but staying for her MEng year so sMITe gets to keep her for another year. She's a super strong and speedy cutter. She'll try 110% to catch every disc, even if it means laying out or sliding into a disc. I personally like her cutting because she's loud and I can hear when she cuts so I know where to throw. On defense, she always seems to come out of nowhere to get run-through Ds. She's tireless in the cup and a great asset to the team.

Michelle is one of our freshman this year and she has serious ups. Not only can she jump really high, she also has amazing one-handed grabs, like her arm has a mind of its own and her hand naturally gravitates towards the disc. Michelle is also really non-nonchalant about skying people, which contributes to her bad-ass-ness. Michelle came onto the team with awesome pulls and hucks and they've still improved over the season. Michelle is also a reliable and consistent deep deep in junk D and has improved so much about communicating to other defenders on the field to create a great defensive team.

Ethan is a reliable zone O handler who gets the disc across the field. She also has some amazing one-handed grabs for discs that don't seem like they could be caught. Ethan has really stepped up as a handler this year and has been actively calling for dumps and swings and has great timing on her swing cuts. She also has strong hucks that aren't pushed around in the wind.

(As you can see I'm posting part of my write-something-nice-about-everyone notes that we shared pre-regionals.)

Our next game was against Williams. The rain cleared up and it was less windy. We traded points for the first half, playing a lot of 4-man trap cup. We had a lot of frustrating points where we did a great job of working it up the field, either in ho or vert, and then turned it at our endzone line (ARGH!). Williams took half 8-7 and scored the first two points out of halftime, making it 10-7 them. We got our heads back in the game and had a lot of nice cuts on the open side and scored a few with deep looks, tying it 10-10. Theeennn I dont' know what happened but we lost 3 points in a row and they won the game 13-10.

Sunshine's enthusiasm for ultimate (and life!) is contagious and she gets everyone excited to play ultimate. She's a solid cutter and can get open both in and away. She also has an uncanny ability to read even in the craziest winds and has the most amazing catches EVER. This girl lays out for uncatchable discs and manages to grab them. Anna also has really exciting hucks. Use them more! She's super intense on defense and her pink bunny ears only make her THAT much more scary. Her girl must be like, "OMG a rabid bunny is coming to get me!" and drops the disc out of pure fright. But seriously, Anna's shut-down in-your-pants defense is inspiring, with or without the bunny ears, and she motivates everyone to play her best. She does have a long way to go in terms of her weather-controlling abilities but no one can expect her to master those skills in only a year. ;)

Patricia is one of our other amazing freshmen, but this girl has the dirtiest mouth on sMITe and wishes every play was named after a curse word or STD. Other than that, Patricia has great timing on deep cuts and has gotten really good at reading the disc. She is one of the speediest girls on sMITe and makes nice sharp cuts, especially in the endzone when it counts. Patricia also catches aggressively and is patient with the disc.

Alex is yet another awesome freshman. She's so tiny and cute (look how much bigger the Harvard girl is than she!) and she has improved so much this year in terms of cutting, throwing, and catching. She also has a great attitude and is always so happy! :) She learns quickly and has the great quality of asking questions when she doesn't understand something. She's patient when she has the disc and is great about making space and allowing offense flow to happen on the field.

Mangpo is a second-year sMITe player. She's is a super sweet girl and she's improved so much this year. She's really dedicated to the team (I don't know many other girls who can play ultimate and sing in an acapella group all year round, for two years too!). She has nice sharp in-cuts and has great connections with handlers. As a mark, she's really receptive to calls from her teammates on the sideline. Mangpo is tireless in the cup and works well with anyone in it. Recently she's gotten really good at defending the wing in zone. I also love that our beaver cheer has evolved into, "I AM a beaver" because of her :)

Our next game was against Bowdoin and it started raining again, like really big fat painful rain. Even with my visor, I couldn't really see anything the first few points. I don't even know how people saw, let alone catch things, it was ridiculous. I think we took half this game and we were up 14-12 or something, and ended up losing 14-15. I don't really want to talk about it.

Carolyn is our super tall super beautiful freshman. She doesn't wear eyeliner but it looks like she is. Smeri is really jealous. Carolyn is so much fun to have her on the field because she cuts so well and is always open. She has improved so much this year in terms of cutting, catching and throwing. I especially love her throwing fakes and long step-out stride to get her backhand off to the dump. It works every time! And even though I haven't seen her in action yet, I also know she has untapped abilities of selling discs to boys.

Becky gets my vote for the most improved player on sMITe this year. I can't believe this is only her second year! I love Becky's dump cuts - they're great and she gets open every time and it's reassuring to have her as a dump. She has some amazing catches and she isn't afraid to get dirty to get the disc. Her hucks have also been improving a lot! As a captain captain in training, she is super dedicated to sMITe and can be counted on to bring her best to practice, whether it's actually playing or being an active sideline. I can't wait to see her dominate as a handler next year. She already has the disc-hog tendency that every great handler has. teehee :)

Cindy has been away for the last few weeks because of a family emergency, but she surprised us all by coming back for regionals! She is an amazing first-year player who picked up the game really really fast. She has an infectious enthusiasm for ultimate and just makes everyone around her really excited to play ultimate. Cindy is an active cutter and initiates cuts really well, making her a threat as a middle cutter in ho-stack. I can always count on her to be open both in and away and she catches everything. Cindy plays shut-down defense and gets countless run-through Ds every game. She's also amazing as a dump defender and has an effective mark because she stays on her toes and listens to sideline help. In zone defense, Cindy is tireless in the cup and works well with anyone who's in the cup, keeping the cup together. Cindy is dedicated to the team and genuinely cares about her teammates.

Now that I think about it, I met Cindy last year during summer league. I got a bunch of emails from her early on and she sounded super excited to learn ultimate and she had just gotten married, so she came out to a few summer league games and I was trying to teach her how to be a wing, etc etc. Man, what a world of difference from last year's Cindy to right-now Cindy.

For the last game of Regionals, we started playing Vermont and we played about 6-7 points when we saw lightning in the sky, so we just cut the game short (they weren't our official opponent anyway), and headed back to Jenny's house for pizza. Oh yeah, and while it started to rain, I realized that I didn't have the keys on me so a Carolyn, Michelle, and Smeri went back on the fields to look for the keys and actually found them.

Wow, I can't believe Ashley joined in January and hasn't even been playing for 4 months. She has great hands and can catch anything coming her way. As a former rugby player she's great at using her body on defense to get in peoples' way and body them out. She's also a great mark and a reliable dump defender with those long arms of hers. Ashley asks questions when she doesn't understand something (instead of just not speaking up) and it really shows on the field as she has been improving over the spring season.

Agnes has a huge mark and gets many Ds as the mark in a 4-map cup. It's really awesome to see Agnes on the mark and the disc trapped on the sideline because you KNOW that the thrower is going to have a hard time getting the disc around Agnes. Her cutting and catching has improved immensely this year. She communicates well on the field and tells the handler whether she's cutting in or away. It's also really exciting to see Agnes grab discs over everyone's heads because she's so tall!! :D

Clare is the most intense and competitive ultimate player I know. She's super speedy and can outrun any girl on the field. On offense she can always be counted on to be open both in and away. She's not afraid of the ground and tries her best to catch anything coming her way. Her throws have improved so much since she started playing and it's really exciting to see her throw up-field. She plays shut-down defense on the dump and isn't afraid to get physical with anyone. On the sideline, she keeps up with the team and helps out her teammates with loud "up" calls. We all know that her injury-prone boyfriend is infecting her with his injuries but maybe now that she's moving off-campus, she'll heal a lot faster so she can dominate next year!!

Smerbear is the fastest girl around and can beat anyone in or deep. It's so exciting to have her as a primary cutter because she catches anything and throw everything. Smeri is an aggressive cutter who thinks (sometimes out loud), "that's MINE, b!tch!" every time she catches the disc. And with that 2/3 Asian stutter of hers, how could she NOT get open every time? And now Smeri is a jill of all trades who can play any position, O or D, including actually being a handler handler no matter how much she denies it. She has beautiful hucks that go super far and float nicely (most of the time). Sometimes she gets a little excited and trigger happy but we all know she's psycho competitive so she'll get the D right back. Smeri is a lefty and sometimes confuses a lot of people on the field because they think they're forcing the wrong direction. Then Smeri would whip out a flick break because that's what lefties do. But Smeri isn't always the most coordinated girl in the world and is known to elbow, knee, and injure herself while throwing. It doesn't help that Smeri's old either. But I guess that's just what makes Smeri so amazing... She's like, the oldest AND fastest person in women's college ultimate. Smeri is a natural leader on the field and gets everyone psyched up and motivated to play with intensity. Maybe since this is our last college tournament together I will actually find the courage to yell "GIVE IT TO ME B!TCH!" at her. (Btw, I totally forgot to yell that this past weekend :(...)

Anyway, thanks to all the fans who came to watch this weekend, Jenny, Mr. Barry, Trisha, Shan, Matt, Bryan, Eugene, Dorphne.

And thanks to Jin and Shuangy for another great season of sMITe! :)