As our first tournament against some big teams, Cal States was an important test. Here’s a quick recap, some photos to follow:
Cal States Recap
We had a first round bye, so we got to sleep in a little bit at the preschool and play with the fishes and the bunny. It was so foggy during round 1 that you could hardly see from one end zone to the other (side note: Word and Wikipedia both say “end zone” is two words, for whoever was debating that). Wind didn’t play much of a factor in any of our games, and the only weather we had to fight was the sun. I think all the teams we played were Bay Area teams except for 7 Figures. We went in the tournament as the 4 seed.
Game 1: Classy (12 seed)
I think this is a new team. I seem to remember seeing some Butter jerseys out there and maybe some Pants Off Dance Off people. We started out on defense but couldn’t force a turnover, going down 0-1 early. We scored 5 in a row after that though. After trading a few points, we took half 8-4. They threw deep to their tall lady a few times, and a lot of the points were scored without any turnovers: 10 points this game went without a turnover. We ended up trading points all the way to 13-8. It felt like we were a little shaky to start the day and weren’t quite playing up to our potential. Finally we got a couple breaks in a row to win 15-8. The good news was that our offense didn’t get broken once, and we spread the disc well; no one had more than 2 goals or assists in this game.
Game 2: That’s What She Said (13 seed)
After a third round bye filled with many failed attempts to throw things into the garbage, we warmed up again and prepared for our next game. The first few points of this game were similar to the middle of the Classy game. We were still getting used to playing together, and we traded points for a while throughout some low turnover points. We were up 4-3 and we found ourselves in our first long, multiple turnover point. There were 8 turnovers in this point, but Jacob shut down the dump after a timeout and got a D right by our end zone. He almost macked it into the end zone for a Callahan, but I guess he wanted to give someone an assist instead. Baby Bird threw it to him in the end zone to go up 5-3. After that, we stepped it up and started to play better all around. We took half 8-3 and continued to ride the break train, finishing the game 15-5. We made it through this game without getting broken on offense, and we continued to spread the disc around as well. We might not have gotten broken point-wise, but we definitely got broken on the mark a lot. This team has some throwers that seemed to get around backhand breaks whenever they wanted to. It felt a lot closer than 15-5, and we will need to work on our marks to stop better teams from taking advantage.
Game 3: GrasSFace (5 seed)
The last game of the day was against GrasSFace, a team that we played 2-3 times last year. We beat them every time last year, but they were always somewhat close games. It was good to get to play them again and get an idea of where we are compared to last year. We traded points without any breaks up to 3-3, but then we started to wear them down and tire them out. After getting 3 breaks and leading 6-4, we went on a 7-0 run to get up to 13-4. At this point we let off the gas a little bit and let them take 2 breaks, but we finished them off for the game, 15-7. Bayslinger stepped it up this game with 5 goals and some pretty good catches in the air. There was also a freak occurrence in the middle of the game when Pete threw 2 assists in a row. Also, miscommunication on dump cutting caused us to give away an early Callahan, but Chris more than evened it out later with a vicious grab for a Callahan on one of their swing attempts. Our depth and fitness seemed to make the difference in this game, and we definitely improved throughout the day.
Game 4: Bi-Winning (7 seed)
Winning our pool gave us another first round bye, and a chance to celebrate with burritos by the ocean. And of course, freezing cold team showers. As far as we know, only one family was traumatized. There was no fog Sunday morning and it was already hot when we got to the fields. We were matched up in the quarter-finals against Bi-Winning, a new South Bay team who took 2nd in their pool. This game started off pretty sloppy all-around; there were 26 turnovers in the first 4 points, and one of those points had 0 turnovers. Yikes. After what seemed like hours, we were tied 2-2. We slowly chipped away and got some more breaks to take half 8-4. We gradually settled down a bit and ended up taking the game on hard cap, 13-7. We only allowed one break, in the sloppy 4th point of the game. Our victory sent us to the semi-finals, where we were matched up against Polar Bears.
Game 5: Polar Bears (2 seed)
This was definitely our first major test of the season. Polar Bears finished 1st at nationals in 2010 and 2nd in 2011, and they are a very high-energy team. We would have to step it up if we wanted to give these guys a game. Unfortunately, they started off the game with too much energy and efficiency. They scored the first 6 points and only had one turnover during that run. Overall they had 12 points in this game where they scored without a single turnover. We would need to take advantage of every opportunity they gave us in order to compete. After going down 0-6, we traded a couple times and found ourselves down 2-8 at halftime. Fortunately we decided that we didn’t want to go down without a fight and came out of the half with our own 5-0 run. We also didn’t have any turnovers in our run, and we found ourselves back in the game at 7-8. We forced them to take 2 timeouts in between points during our comeback. After trading a couple, we grabbed another break and tied it up at 10s. We also forced somebody on their team to pull a Chris Webber and call a timeout when they didn’t have any left. Unfortunately, Baby Bird went down hard and landed badly on her knee trying to pull in a goal. Hopefully she will be back before too long! We were able to get the goal and tie it at 11s, but we couldn’t quite keep the energy up and let them go on another run to finish the game 11-15. As was the case in most of the games this weekend, we spread the disc pretty evenly and goals and assists were enjoyed by everyone. This one was within reach, and we will need to make sure we don’t let them go on any runs the next time we play them.
Game 6: 7 Figures (3 seed)
We talked with 7 figures and decided to play a “short” game to 11 for the third place game. Our numbers were slightly smaller and we were all tired and sore, but it was a good opportunity to play another nationals team. They mostly run their offense through their guys and like hucking it a lot. They are also very physical and look to break the mark. They threw some zone at us and gave us a little early season test for our zone offense, which was good to see. Overall it seemed like our hearts weren’t really in this one, and they were able to get a couple breaks to take half 3-6. In a game of tired legs, their hucks ended up being more successful in the long run than our attempts to work it up the field. The final score was 7-11, and it ended up taking longer than the Final (Blackbird beat Polar Bears 15-9). This is a team that we can beat, and hopefully we will get the chance to play them again this season.
We finished the tournament in 4th place, as the top 4 teams all finished according to seed. We had a good opportunity to see everybody in action against high caliber teams, and everyone gave it their all. The early season focus on fitness proved to give us a bit of an edge; there were 13 points with 5 or more turnovers, and we scored 10 of them.