Friday, February 16, 2007

Trouble In Vegas 2007

The excitement for this weekend was unparalleled. The first tournament of the spring season is always crazy, but the Hodags had high hopes of the best season ever.

First round was against Arizona, a team that took UW to universe point last year at quarterfinals of this same tournament. It was warm, sunny and calm, perfect conditions for ultimate. With no wind, Sunburn came out looking for the deep shots and kept the game close 2-2. Dan “Q-Tip” Miller was clearly ready to dominate from the start as he threw or caught Wisconsin’s first 3 goals. However, Madison’s throws were still cold from the winter snow and the offensive units were still struggling to gel and convert efficiently. But with good pulls and tenacious energy, the Hodags trapped an Arizona player deep in his end zone, allowing Sophomore Evan Klane on his first point of the spring season to come up with a perfect in-cut style layout Callahan to take half 7-3. That play proved to be a huge momentum swing as Freshman Ben Feldman and Jeremiah Berlin scored their first goals of the season for a 10-3 lead. Handlers Tom Annen and Matt Rebholz put the finishing touches on defenders for the last couple of scores and helped Wisconsin cruise 13-6.
The second round was against George Washington, from the Metro East, who the Hodags played in the round of 32 last year. After the first round win, we took this team for granted and somewhat just expected the victory to come easy. G-Dub was staying in the game early with some well timed laser deep hucks, but Dan Miller was busy skying bitches of his own, getting a huge forehand from Kevin Riley to knot the game at 2-2.

With the game tied at 3-3, the Offense gets into a groove with Tom Animal sending a huge forehand shot down the line to a wide open Dan Heijmen who simply sprinted past his defender 4-3 Wisconsin. The defense gets physical as Shane almost gets an in-cut D and Chris Doede puts brutal hip check collision on the hitch pass, but GW scores 4-4. Dan Heijmen begins touching the disc consistently, going every other for several passes and brutally breaking several marks for cross field throws to Tim Pearce. As the offense works it, K-Fed somehow finds himself downfield and makes a nifty S cut with a behind the back point to space which Dan sees and puts to space for a Rilers sky 5-4 followed by a celebratory chest bump. Wisconsin begins to take control of the game with an up the line cut by Miller who rips a huge backhand. The disc is macked by Foster and Seth before the "Swill master" himself Cullen brings home the bacon and scores the break 6-4 Wisconsin. Heijmen continues his smothering marks, contesting every pivot fake as GW's deep hucks begin to miss. However, George W manages to punch in a goal after a super long goal line stand by Wisconsin 6-5 now. The O-face quickly converts for half 7-4 with Marsh finding Pearce for the easy looking deep goal. GW hucks right back to start the second half 7-5. The offense has a miscue, but Kevin Riley, proving his dedication to hard nosed defense, gets a an ill looking break side 2 handed layout-in D. However, K-Fed burns his man upfield only to throw a floaty pass to the endzone which Jack cannot come down with, as Riley smacks his head in clear disgust with himself. However, Wisconsin was beginning to break out of the midafternoon lull and and burst the lead open to 10-6 with a Muffin poach D and assist to Evan Klane. Jimmy Foster was also busying skying GW defenders and puttin ghis stamp on the contests.

George Washington responded and scored 3 in a row to bring the game back to 9-10. Jim Foster took a deep shot hitting cutter Jack Marsh for the offensive conversion 11-9 and Dan Heijmen just continues to break the living shit out of his marker, again going crossfield to TP. Wisconsin punches in a O2 goal from Animal to Riley and finished strong for a 13-10 victory with Heijmen catching the final goal from Bucket again. This set up the #1 Wisconsin vs. #2 Central Florida match-up after the bye-round.
With one game left to go on Friday, the Hodags were focused on finishing strong. Most of the team looked forward to playing UCF, hoping to debut in the next Dogs of War Highlight video. It was a much different team than we faced first game at CCC last fall because it was clear UCF had been playing outside and Wisconsin had been practicing… well running and jumping indoors. However, UCF proved that practicing outside has its benefits as it broke the Wisco Offense early and built a 3-1 lead. With Chiquita Banana overhearing talk of the Hodags being overrated and not as good as advertised, tempers began to rupture. This served as a major wakeup call as Wisconsin began to respond to Central Florida’s intensity and grit. Tim Pearce got the Offensive unit back on track by catching a deep huck from Jack Marsh to close the gap to 2-3. UCF was running the defense all around the field and just like all the teams we played on Friday, the Dogs of War were jacking the disc relentlessly. The Hodags made some adjustments, going Zone for several possessions and converting 4 points in a row, twice Malecek finding Heijmen in the end zone. Central Florida managed one more score at 4-5 before the onslaught continued. Shane Hohenstein made a ridiculous deep layout D on a seemingly for-sure goal and got the sidelines jacked up after landing on his face from about 5 feet high to get the disc back for the Hodags (see UV COTD). Dan Miller takes the in-cut and jacks the disc to Dan Heijmen who brutally skied a pack of players over-the-top Nord style to help secure the goal to Foster for the 7-4 halftime lead. Muffin helps out with a nice deep poach D to continue accumulating the turns and “Q-Tip” gets one of the sickiest in-layout D’s seen in months setting up a Feldman goal. Miller went horizontal at like 4 feet and smacked the crap out of the disc, clearly sparking Wisconsin’s energy. With the stakes up and passion to match, Madison turned it on late gaining 4 more breaks in a row for the 10-4 lead. Jack Marsh makes a nice reaction D on the goal line to save a goal and Kevin Riley wasn't getting whatever throw he wanted almost every time. Another huge break mark huck to Foster helped Wisconsin to a 12-6 lead. The defensive identity of the team had been realized for the first time as Feldman makes a goal line bid just too late as UCF scores 12-7. The Offense closed out the game with Foster deep air D and then a string of break throws before Foster, who must have been doing bicep curls during halftime, twice puts the disc out the back of the endzone. It only added to the suspense as Tom Animal gets an O2 catch Paco somersolt roll. Several brutal brutal breaks by K-Fed puts the disc in Marsh's hands, who throws the flat break to Foster for the 13-7 Hodag victory.
Wisconsin got the chance to watch the end of the Carleton-Colorado game which was absolutely awesome. It seemed like every CUT player was less than 6 feet tall, which made for pretty bad odds when matching up with the BIG 3 of Mamabird. However, CUT got up 8-5 and 9-6 before Colorado got their game together, put on a run and tied the game at 9-9. With the game going down to the wire, CUT used precision throws to space and fast cutting to work the disc smoothly. Colorado was jacking the disc as usual. As the game came down to 13-12 Colorado, CUT got a huge break side deep throw from Pat Baylis and tied the game 13-13, setting up double game point. Carleton, who had been doing some sneaky poaching to grab the significant lead, snatched the disc back with a Rabbit stall on CUT’s goal line. The disc quickly found Goldstein’s hands and with a transition deep look to space, Beau once again proved he was the fastest thing on the planet. He took off about 12 yards wider and probably 6 yards behind the receiver and just smoked everybody to the deep spot at what looked like a relatively easy pace and instead of D’ing it, Sir Longshanks kicks the disc out of the air for the D! (Super funny but perhaps Bad Karma?). For when the disc was put in play on their goal line, Rabbit turfs the swing and Carleton quickly converts for the first day upset, setting up a Florida-Colorado match up first thing Saturday morning.
That evening, 18 Hodags were to be found in front of the Bellagio fountain show at one point. With the parade ending at NYNY, young apprentice Tom Animal began learning the art of craps from Jack Marsh. As the dealer’s constantly reminded every other Hodag what the correct odds were and what not to do at the table, everybody at the table stumbled to victory as Annen rolled 8 after 8 after hard 8 and made the team a combined total of over a $1,500!
Anyway, Saturday morning set the stage for an intense first round game versus UC Santa Barbara. The winner would receive the #2 seed, the loser the #6 seed, which is a pretty huge difference when it comes down to who we play on Sunday.
Let’s just say it was really all the offense’s fault. On the first couple of possessions in the game Wisconsin struggled to score and had reliable cutters dropping several wide open goals. This allowed UCSB to remain in the game with a plethora of killer deep throws by Asa. Their short stack was so simple, yet it proved very effective as they broke the Hodag Offense early for a 3-2 lead. The D line stepped up and responded with Muffin finding Tim Pearce for the break back at 6-4. Kevin Riley found a dominating Jim Foster, who scored 3 times in the game, for the 7-5 halftime lead. The defensive unit was now taking advantage of any opportunities presented as Shane Hohenstein gets a poach D and Will Lokke rules the air assault as the game remained close 9-7. Despite the entrance of Andrew Mahowald who made his first major appearance on the weekend, the Black Tide scored 2 in a row for the 9-9 tie and soft cap horn. Dan Miller began to assert himself in every aspect of the game and caught 3 of his 5 goals down the stretch. The O scored very efficiently and the D line closed out the game, cashing in a break to Lokke to win 11-9 and steal the #2 seed before the reseeding and round of 32 began. The lines had tightened for this important game and the Hodags were working their way into the second day of the long weekend.
Here it comes, the lull. With UC-Irvine not really expecting to win outright, the intensity dropped ridiculously as both sides of the disc seemed to be just going through the motions. Jon Gaynor picked up some of the slack with a pretty high layout D to spark a 2-0 lead. Matt Scallet and “Dan “Crazy Eights” Schmit began to weave the disc past defenders for the goal at 6-3. Evan Klane continued to dominate the pulls and managed another in-throw D near the goal line to take half 7-3. Jeremiah Berlin collected several goals in the second half, but players were not rejoicing over the performance. The cutting was selfish, the throws were being forced deep, and things were not clicking. The epitome of the effort came when Hohenstein and Muffin made the exact same S cut in the end zone, with Muffin trying to sky the unexpecting Shaner before the defender caused the strip 9-4. Seth Meyer threw the final goal to Ben Feldman to win 13-6. However, the Hodags received a tongue lashing from the captains about team energy before the start of the round of 16.
With Colorado State as the #15 seed, Wisconsin re-warmed up with an increasingly concentrated Seattle Drill. With inter-team intensity peaking, Wisconsin could sense that feeling in the air and was getting jacked for start of the last game of Saturday. Madison understood that Colorado State thought they could play with us (See 2006 Terminus) and we wanted to make a statement game. Despite CSU being far superior to Irvine and even calling sets, half was taken 7-0! It was the smothering defense and crazy intensity that led to a plethora of defense plays. The defensive killing attitude of the team was beginning to crystallize and Wisconsin came to discover that aggressive energy can beat anyone. However, at 5-0, Colorado State had the disc with a time out on the goal line. Things turned extremely ugly when a defensive foul call in the end zone negated a Colorado score when the CS player was knocked down to his back, but still caught the disc. Wisconsin got a goal line layout D/drop by Shane and a quick deep look by Muffin found Ben Feldman deep. Colorado State was understandably very pissed, but back to back super ridiculous plays by Seth Meyer put the Hodags over the top. The first was an absurd very last second layout D covering almost 8 feet to prevent a score and the second was a nice shoulder high full extension trailing edge catch for a downwind goal from again Mr. Hohenstein. Seth’s catch was probably the play of the weekend up to that point by far! These huge plays pushed Madison forward 13-4 with the Hodags playing their best round of the weekend, gaining momentum for Sunday.
“It’s Sunday Baby, Sunday! Hodags don’t lose on Sunday!” That is the motto and with the first two rounds off, everybody slept in nice and late, barely making it to the fields an hour before game time. Instead of beautiful sunny and serene weather, it turned windy and more windy. Sometimes a 5 mph breeze upwind-downwind, other times a pretty brutal 25 mph sideways gust.
The first round opponent was actually a complete surprise. We assumed that it would inevitably be the looming Carleton-Wisconsin Quarters match-up. However, after beating Colorado the previous day, CUT lost to Las Positas on universe point without the services of Jacob Goldstein, who was having some knee trouble. And then Las Positas loses to UGMO, so we were set up to play UC-Berkeley. As the afternoon began, the second Wisconsin fan arrived – Jack’s Dad and Uncle now. With the bolstered sideline numbers, the Hodags began their assent to finals. With the trap zone clearly coming and freaking ridic huge forehand pulls by Muffin, Cal turned the disc from the corner of their own end zone often, leading to a 3-1 lead. Newcomer Jon Gaynor was making his impact felt as he hit the ground repeatedly and tallied a sweet layout D on a pass through the cup. Dan Miller was dishing out goals left and right as Madison took half 7-3, looking especially confidence going upwind. As the second half began, Kevin Riley and Matt Rebholz began to dominate the backfield, scoring end zone possessions like seasoned pros for the 12-3 lead and OATBAG. The wind was too much for Berkeley as they conceded 13-4 as Dan Heijmen punched in the last goal.
This landed UW-Madison right where they bowed out last year, semifinals. The Hodags would not be denied in 2007. As the winds reached levels where ultimate no longer becomes fun or a game of skill, both teams struggled going both upwind and downwind. It pretty much developed into a huckfest for awhile with the 2-1 point lasting several hours with both teams getting upwards of 10 chances with the disc. The tension between teams also reached ridiculous levels as disagreements on calls lasted for minutes at a time. Fingers were pointed, spikes hit players, and names were called as each team went slug for slug in the super blustery wind. After Santa Barbara finally scored their O point upwind and freaked out, they punched in the down-winder for a 3-2 lead with the cap looming. Wisconsin had left their work cut out for them, needed to respond upwind to keep the game within reach as Muffin skied for a disc between 2 SB defenders and sent it deep to Jim Foster for the 3-3 tie. Despite Will Lokke getting 2 catch D’s and Dan Miller getting 5, Santa Barbara continued to huck the disc upwind and score on a deep sky in the corner of the end zone taking the lead 5-4.

The Hodags were feeling the pressure, but continued to score upwind tying the game 5-5 with Jack Marsh scoring the goal before the soft cap. Tom Annen was literally putting together his highlight reel this game, as he tallied at least 2 sweet layout D’s and one pretty disgusting clothesline.

With time running out UCSB scored upwind 6-5 as Wisconsin was having difficulty judging/reading the disc and giving BlackTide the opportunity to go downwind for the win. With our tournament lives on the line, the Hodags responded by slashing the SB cup and Muffin throwing a 25 yard upwind hammer to the corner of the end zone, finding Marsh for the 6-6 tie. On universe point, Andrew Mahowald D’s the deep huck and Wisconsin works the disc to the goal line, with Heijmen slicing it through the cup and Muffin punching it in to Foster for the tremendous 7-6 win. Wisconsin smacked 16 recorded D’s in the game!

Ugh, I officially now hate Florida. I hate their basketball team, their football team, their Frisbee team, pretty much the whole state. I hate random people I see wearing their colors and I especially hate the names on the back of their jerseys. With some quick tips from Colorado about what Florida had been doing, (mainly double teaming, jacking the disc in transition, and Brodie making bitch calls every time he does not come down with the disc) Wisconsin barely had to time to regroup between games due to the time cap. As the lights warmed up and the crowd formed, the Hodag intensity had fallen due to the emotional universe point victory over UCSB.
The game began as the O continued to drop the disc. Wisconsin was able to get the disc back and an absurd Heijmen huck blade down the line ended with a ridiculously sweet Jim Foster sky over Kurt Gibson 1-0. Both teams were going 4 man cup zones but Florida was in a better groove gaining the first break upwind fairly easily at 4-3 with Kurt throwing huge cross-field hammers to split the deep and then hucking it deep. Wisconsin’s O must now score upwind to tie and Jack Marsh’s perfect backhand huck was called back on the first of many shitty travel calls made by Florida. The observers were not watching closely enough, so after the disc came back, Jack again threw the picture perfect huck to a wide open Jim Foster for the double score 4-4 tie. However, Madison could not deliver the kill shot as Florida scored their O upwind and broke downwind for the 6-4 lead. Jack Marsh scored his 4th point of the first half from Kevin Riley, but Florida held on to take the lead 7-5.
The Hodags needed a spark as they decided to abandon the zone and go man defense for awhile, trying to force the Florida no-name players who just stand in the stack to make some plays. However, UFUCT stuck to the game plan as Brodie, Cycle and Kurt jacked the disc to each other and built at 10-6 lead. Wisconsin seemed at a complete loss for words and called a timeout. The challenge was issued, even if we do not win this game, we better sure as hell put our sacks on the table and give full effort. With the game seemingly out of reach, Wisconsin nutted up, started running the systems and pushed up the intensity meter, scoring a chilly O point upwind 7-10. Wisco immediately stole a break downwind 8-10 with Andrew Mahowald making nice in-cuts and Danx2 touching the disc relentlessly. Florida tallied another score 11-8 before the shit hit the fan. With nothing but sure will and desire from the top Wisconsin studs who had been playing point after point, Wisconsin responded and scored 9-11 with a ridiculous layout D by Shane.

Another huge blade pull by Muffin touched Gibson as he tried to stop the roll, forcing him to put the disc in play at the back corner of his end zone. The quick turn led to a end zone iso score to Mahowald as Wisconsin stormed back into the game 11-11 The cap sounds and the captains meet midfield to discuss how universe point sounds. As Wisconsin pulls upwind, the sideline excitement had returned. Just past the brick, one of Florida’s victims gets the disc and is not able to reset it to an actual thrower and is forced to throw it OB at stall 10. Once again the observer was not close enough to rule on the stall count so the disc comes in on the sideline trapped. After several disagreements about the double-team rule and one tap-in that apparently did not count, Florida is able to get a footblock on a goal line pass through the cup by Muffin. Cycle quickly converts to Gibson as Florida snatches the victory 12-11.
Another disappointing early season defeat will only motivate the team as the indoor season continues. We look forward to watching finals on UVTV and are glad that we sacked up and made the comeback to tie the game at 11-11, forcing universe. Hopefully our performance will lead to success the following weekend as Wisconsin travels down to Baton Rouge for Mardi Gras to prove that we still desperately need that prize money.

Pictures can be found right about mmehere:
Vegas Pics
Sick Nasty

Highlight Video Baby Baby!

On a side note: Andrew Mahowald came within literally seconds (guessing about 35) from missing his return flight to Milwaukee. Apparently he forgot about the extra Nalgene full of lighter fluid, that can of coke that he refilled with gasoline so security had some things to say to him before he boards the wrong shuttle to the wrong gate. The only reason the flight was delayed and he made it was due to the heroics of Kevin Riley, who single handedly held up the plane by refusing to board and by lying out of his ass to the boarding flight attendants about actually "seeing his buddy turn the wrong way... twice!"

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