Mixed Nuts played in Ow-My-Knee (OMK) this past weekend in Albany (but actually Schenectady). The Northeast has been experiencing a heat wave this whole week and Saturday was projected to be hot hot hot, like high of 100 deg with lots of humidity (Look! Temperatures were near BOILING point!). We had a solid roster of 7 girls and 9 guys for the weekend and I was really looking forward to playing some awesome competitive ultimate :)
We decided to drive up on Sat morning because our first round of pool play started at 10:45am, so we only had to leave Boston at around 5:30am or so. But on Friday night I was really regretting my decision to leave Sat morning because it reached a high of 103 deg in Cambridge in the middle of the day on Friday, and the during nighttime, it was still an uncomfortably warm 81 degrees. During the day on Friday, Bryan and I found out that our AC unit was broken ("Hey, it's the same temperature in our room as it is in the hallway..."). The damn thing was never really working particularly well in the first place and it just crapped out on us altogether when we needed it the most. Anyway, I didn't sleep until 1:00am and the whole time I was tossing and turning and thinking, "Right now we could be sleeping in an air conditioned hotel room!!" Anyway, getting up on Sat morning at 4:45am was rough to say the least, but the car ride kept me entertained most of the way to OMK :)
The conditions on Saturday was really hot with occasional gusts of wind (some of them were cool breezes!) Most of the teams we played against played man defense and occasionally they (and we) would play some zone D. We had three rounds of pool play and a crossover game on Saturday. We were actually seeded last in our pool (a mix-up with the TD caused him to seed "Mixed Nuts," a NY-based team that no longer exists, instead of "Mixed Nuts (MA)," which is us.) Anyway, the seeding in pool play didn't really affect anything.
Our first game was against Hucks and Kisses. They mostly played zone on us, which we were able to work through. Towards the beginning of the game, Dent had a great D that he caught, which we capitalized on to make the score 3-1. A few points later, a well-timed huck from Wu to Miriam and an easy backhand to Kes makes the score 5-1. During the next point, Randy puts up a huck to NG but it falls short, and hits his foot as he turns around to find the disc. We give him a hard time for trying to catch the disc with his foot :) During the next possession, Shuangy gets a point block, and throws to NG who's cutting in, who finds Claudia in the endzone to make the score 6-1. A few points later, Craig finds Michelle going up the line, who puts up a huck to Kes for the score, the first of many Michelle/Kes points of the weekend. For the rest of the game, we abused their zone defense and used both in and out cuts to make the final score 13-4.
Our second game was against Shostakovich and the Angry Buddhas. The story of the game was trying to stop their hammers to the breakside for the score. The final score was 9-13 and the majority of their points (7 of them!) resulted from hammers or I/O breaks. We started off on offense, and worked through the zone D to start the game, 1-0. The next three points were from hammers and I/O breaks, 1-3. The next point we turned it around and scored on their zone defense, although we only really used 5-7 yards next the sideline, way to jam it up the sideline, guys! Kes got a huge run-through D the next point, which tied the score at 3-3. We traded points for the rest of the half where Nuts scored on my huck to Matty, an around break from Bill to Dent, a point block from NG, Dillon's layout D, and Bill's full-field huck to Miriam, to make the halftime score 7-6.
In the second half, we started off trading points, but we we dropped two breaks and couldn't convert. There were a few interesting points: Bill threw a hammer to MattyB for a layout score. I remember thinking, "Just because they score every other point on hammers doesn't mean we need to as well!" and Randy had a few nice hucks to people in the endzone. Brian Wu contracted rabies during this game when he tried to throw a backhand huck and instead backhanded his mark in the face. He has a couple of nice teeth marks in his hand to show for it. At the end of the game though, we fell short and the final score was 13-9.
Our third game was against Bidness Time. We started off trading points in the beginning... they also played zone on us, which they quickly stopped once they saw how useless their zone D was. After 2-2, Bidness didn't score another point for the rest of the game. We saw Michelle put up a few nice hucks to Craig and Kes in the endzone. Our dump-swing looked really good during this game and we had a lot of nice breakside scores. The last point was scored with a typical Shuangy I/O to Dent at the front of the stack, who threw it to Claudia going breakside. Final score 13-2.
After a nap in the shade, lots of hydrating, and playing with the puppies at the tournament, we played a crossover game against Hudson Valley Club Ultimate. We lost the first two points pretty quickly while our awesome guy handlers were still waking up from their naps. Wu bobbled the disc and dropped it on the first point, and Bill uncharacteristically threw one straight into the ground during the second. But they eventually woke up and we got on the score board. We scored the first point with Bill's huck to Cindy, who found Anna in the endzone for the score. Wu put up a few good hucks to Footsteps and Dent for a few more points. There was a painfully epic point with 8 turnovers (I was counting), a timeout, and an injury, which we eventually scored. The next point was pretty funny: we put on a zone defense with Bill as the deep deep and Hudson Valley sent two girls to their endzone and put up a huck, which went straight through Bill's hands and one of the girls caught it for the score, 4-3 us. (We ended up giving spirit nuts to the girl who "skyed" Bill, haha.) After that though, they didn't score another point.
The first point of the second half, a guy faceplanted in front of Shuangy while trying to get the D, and she threw one to Bryan for the score. The last two points of the game, I got a point block in the cup, then Shuangy did the same, the guy handlers were pretty pissed that women kept getting point blocks on them that they would nudge/push us afterwards. :P Final score 13-3.
Sunday conditions were a lot cooler but not as much wind. Our win in the crossover game put us in the championship bracket with a first game against Darkwing, the team we lost to at Mixed Easterns 13-12. We traded the first few points, with Bill's huck finding Footsteps in the endzone a few times. (Bill credited it to cuddling together the night before. I believe his words were, "We should sleep in the same bed more often." haha) We had been down a break when Kes had a huge layout D that brought us even again. We took half 7-6. During the second half, we won a few breaks, and were up 12-9. On the last point of the game, Wu put up a huck to Kes, but it fell short, almost landing directly in the hands of a Darkwing defender, but not until NG sprinted down to grab it, then threw it to Kes for the score. Final score 13-9.
We played Rut in the quarterfinals. We traded points during the first half, and I think we took half 7-6 but I don't actually remember. Michelle found Kes in the endzone with her hucks a few times, Randy had a pretty huck to Anna, and someone tried to get a D on Bill, but just smacked the disc into his hands anyway. In the second half, we went down a few breaks and couldn't come back. Final score 13-9.
In the fifth place bracket, we played Detroit Lions, which was a really fun game since I knew most of the women on their team and it was a pretty good match-up in general. At one point we were up 9-5, but they started gaining on us when we were making silly drops on easy catches and throws. I remember a timely D from Footsteps, a few nice hucks from Bill, and Miriam was really open for me in the endzone for the last point. Final score 13-10.
Wu and I tried to bluff our way through the last game against Urine Trouble by getting them to forfeit. We didn't really want to play another game, but we didn't want to just forfeit either so we were hoping that they would forfeit first. So Wu and I walked up to them and asked excitedly, "Are you guys ready to play?!" and they were like "Yep!" (We were hoping to hear "We are tired and want to go home" haha) So Wu were like, "Oh...well... then..." We eventually decided to play a shortened game to 7 instead. They played vertical stack with 4 women for many of the points (their women were all so tall!), and the women Nuts were able to bracket and contain them pretty well. I had a lot of fun playing this game even though I was pretty exhausted. I remember getting a few Ds, which is always fun. Final score 7-2.
Then we got ice cream from the ice cream truck! And french fries from McDonald's! And played "Contact" in Wu's soccer mom car the whole ride home. My favorite question was Footsteps': "Do pigs eat out of you? In a biblical sense?" for a word beginning with "M" hahaha.
All in all, a really fun tournament. I feel like I'm learning how to play with certain people a lot better and I'm learning how to play on the D line. I felt really dehydrated and exhausted the whole weekend. I slept for 10 hours last night and I still feel tired today, and I spent the last 2 hours writing this and gChatting. Productivity fail :(
Things that we can work on as a team (I feel like it's always the same list):
- Dump swing (dump's first look should always be for the swing, who should always be yelling for the disc)
- Not getting beat deep
- Backpedaling and maintaining our buffer on defense
- Timing of cuts and flow (sometimes there were 2 cuts at once, sometimes none), but I think we got better on this throughout the tournament
- What to do when being poached off of, esp third handler
- Popper/deep movement in zone O (having the deep come in wen the popper gets the disc)
- Handlers keeping the disc too long instead of looking to dump early
Things that we did well on:
- Switching on defense (I saw a few instances where we successfully helped each other out on D)
- Our endzone looked better than previous tournaments. I wouldn't say it's something that is perfect, but it did look better than it did at Mixed Easterns.
- Cutters looked to the dump early
Any favorite points/plays from the weekend? :)