Friday, June 4, 2010
Natties Part 1 of ?
This picture is Nationals for me: Pure joy. Pure yellow.
Thanks first. I don't think we did what we did without the awesome alumni/family support from Danielle, Kelly, Hannah, Mackenzie and Cheryl. They all gave up their whole weekend, not to be alumni, but to work. They fetched water, carried bags, went to the grocery, made lunch, forced us to eat and drink and mommed us through a physically demanding four days.
For me personally, a big thanks to Mizu. There's no way I could have done this without your help!
Once again the UPA/USAU has raised the bar on itself for quality of product and professionalism. It was an awesome, well-run tournament. In both the men's and women's division there were crazy upsets and collapses which led to some surprising Semifinalists, but in the end, some not-so-surprising finals. The weather was (and always is) a huge factor in the outcome of the tournament. The heat was absurd and managing it became a major issue for us. We managed it well and it showed. Other teams, particularly on the men's side, did not and it showed. The wind was nice. It changed over the course of the weekend ranging from still (pre-quarters) to hammer-difficult (quarters) without ever verging into offense-shattering. Of all my nationals, this was the best wind-wise because it presented teams with a variety of conditions without ever being prohibitive.
Part One: UNCW
One of the things I really like about the new 20-team format is the schedule. I like two games a day and I like getting to watch and visit. Most of all, I like that everyone's schedule is different and that planning for your schedule is an important part of your tournament preparation. We were going to open the tournament in Round 2 with Seaweed and then carry a double bye into Round 5, 6 and 8 games. The tough part was that Round 5 was 530-715 PM and Round 6 was 830 AM. I was also concerned that we were going to play our most difficult game first when we were least prepared and they were freshest. That led me to divide our pool play into two parts: UNCW as the first and Texas-Pitt-Carleton as the second.
Not much stands out from this game; mostly because it has faded into the haze of the weekend. We were still pretty ragged from our two-week taper. We tapered harder this year than in past years because of a number of injuries accrued at or after Regionals. (Hamstrings: Q, Julia, Aubri, Claire. Knee: Butters. Ankle/Foot: Kimber, Nij, X. Stress fracture: Tina. Shoulders: Molly. In the end, everyone played although Q and Aubri were limited) Essentially, our last full practice was two weeks before the tournament. It was a pretty tricky decision, but in the end I chose healthy over polished.
Rather than run with Seaweed we chose to play junk. It was pretty effective throughout the game, although it left Kelly Tidwell to run free across the middle of the field which lead to some obvious problems. Sara Casey played well in leading their throwing attack, but generally they played very balanced and never left us with any single player to key on. I was most impressed with Weed's refusal to lay down. Every time we went on a run, they'd answer back with a little run of their own. Our runs were threes and fours, but theirs were twos so the final ended up 15-9.