Hatch split into two teams for White Mountain Open (WMO): Team Chicken and Team Egg. Beckybear and I co-captained Team Chicken. Shira and Maya ran Team Egg. Doris the other "official" Hatch co-captain was off being delinquent in Chicago. I tried introducing myself as Doris for the weekend but I couldn't do it.
On Saturday we had 3 handlers and 9-10 cutters and all the tryouts were cutters! How intriguing.
Team Chicken started off the day with a 9 am Round 1 against Canadian team Mystik (pronounced "Mystique"). We started off with vertical stack since that's the bread and butter of organized ultimate (everyone knows vertical, right?) and man defense. Everyone is decently fast with various degrees of throwing and catching skills but in general I thought we had a solid team considering many of us have never played together before. Towards the end of the first half we threw in zone with a 4-man cup for good measure, which worked really well. For some reason Nell was like a human bulldozer this game and took out two of the Mystik girls. I think both of them tried to D Nell and they both ended up on the ground but Nell got back up and was fine while the other girls took injuries. :( We took half 7-3.
During halftime Becky explained how we run ho-stack (she is a second-grade teacher after all), so during the second half we worked on ho-stack. I think ho-stack is difficult to get used to (as a handler, I hated it the first year I learned it... it didn't seem like the cutters were getting open all that much), but it's so awesome if everyone knows how to use it. I feel like if I were a cutter, I'd like all that extra room to cut in. Anyways, we ended up winning 13-4.
Our second game was against another Canadian team: Storm (5 out of the 10 teams at WMO were from Canada). They're a fast, tall, and experienced team, much different than the first team we played. We started out in ho-stack but Storm poached off the handlers and D-ed almost everything that we tried to throw up-field. We tried doing some handler-active movement with short passes and give-and-gos among the handlers, but we couldn't seem to get the hang of it.
Our defense had trouble setting and Storm easily broke us both around and inside before our mark got in position. Our downfield defense was trailing the Storm cutters by a good 10 yards and it just seemed like they were a quicker, more athletic team. We ended up losing 13-2.
A few things I learned about Canadian teams: They give me a high-five after I've done something good (like break the mark for the score) AND after I mess up, like don't get the D and my girl scores on me. Except I'm not really looking for the high five, so they just slap my hand as it's hanging at my side. I guess they try to recognize when their opponent makes an effort? Also, they don't cheer the other team after the game. Over the course of the weekend, we tried yelling various French things like "Good Game" or "Freedom!" (we were very proud of freedom and America on the second day), and the Canadian teams don't even acknowledge it (either because our French is that atrocious or they're not looking for it).
Then we had a bye so we watched our Hatch counterpart Team Egg play Sugar Shack from Vermont. Our other half looked really good as well, there was flow happening and solid throwing and catching from everyone. I was hanging out on the sideline talking to Becky when I suddenly heard a loud "CRACK" and I look up and Daphne and a Sugar Shack girl are on the ground, holding their heads/faces. I ran up to Daphne to see if she was okay and she had fluids coming out of every orifice on her face (it sounds gross I know). Her eyes were tearing up (I think from the force of impact, not sadness or hurting tears), and snot was coming from her nose, and then she spit on the ground. Apparently she was fine, and the Sugar Shack girl took an injury. :( Team Egg ended up winning 13-7.
Team Chicken then played their third and final game of Saturday against Missconnduct. We were really pumped up during this game and it was awesome to see everyone fired up and wanting the disc. We played well together, much better than we did the first two games, and we stepped up our defense. We ended up taking half 7-3.
During the second half Missconnduct stepped up their game and cut more aggressively and came back really fired up. We barely held onto our lead as we won the game on hard cap 9-7.
After Team Egg's last round, our teams recombined for dinner and Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis in the hotel room. Everyone agreed that the scenes with Jamie Lee Curtis and Chad Michael Murray were just really really uncomfortable. =P
We wake up the next morning and guess who was our opponent for the first round??? Yep, Missconnduct again. As we were warming up, I learned a little bit more about some of our tryouts and their casual but brave attitude towards where they were going to stay for the night (as of the afternoon before, they told me, "We're just gonna find a Dartmouth dorm to crash in.") The next morning one of them said, "I crashed on a futon and people kept calling me Lindsay." (Her name is Lily.) And the other one said, "I slept in my friend's car." You guys make me feel like I never really lived it up in college. =P
We also had a different group of people for Sunday because some people only played Sat and some only played Sun. Anyway, both teams started off really fired up for our second match-up for the weekend. We traded points for the entire first half. We set some 4-man cup zone and played man D, and Missconnduct mostly played man D on us. They ended up taking half 7-6.
We came out strong the second half, tightened up our defense, and took the first three points after half, making it 9-7, then traded some more and finally winning the game 13-10. It was a really great game and our team looked a lot better, more cohesive than yesterday even if there wasn't a huge turnover in the makeup of our team.
Then our next round was against Storm (really?? again??). We knew what we needed to work on and we focused on getting as many passes as we could before a turnover. We played their poachy defense like a zone O and we ran the disc through the entire width of the field, which opened up a lot of space for handlers to throw through the "cup" to the cutters. I think we did a lot better than yesterday even if it wasn't reflected in the score that much. On defense our marks still got broken a lot and we still trailed the cutters by several yards, but at least our offense looked better than the day before.
We had a bye and we watched an exciting game between Team Egg vs Mystik (I think). They traded points the entire game and it was 8-8 when we left to warm up for our last round. Dunno if they won that game or not.
Our last game was against QUB, another Canadian team. The wind picked up during this game and it was an upwind/downwind first half. We played like we were really tired and QUB was a lot more fired up than we were. I think I played the worst in this game than in any other game this weekend. I made a lot of poor decisions, throwing it deep to people who were for sure open (they were kinda open), throwing it away on poorly executed backhand breaks, turfing easy forehands. Aghh it was so frustrating and I felt so bad (I always feel horrible when I throw something non-catchable because the cutters put in so much work to get open, the least I can do is throw something that's catchable). Anyways, I think the final score was 13-5 for QUB.
I had a lot of fun playing in WMO and getting to know some new people. Before WMO I didn't feel like I was physically or mentally ready for another tournament, but now I'm more excited for the club season. :)