Thursday, April 19, 2007

College Easterns 2007



College Easterns is a tournament the Hodags have never won. In the past 10 years, it has been the premier top tournament and extremely competitive. In 2004, Centex appeared on the map and Easterns lost many of the best teams (from the West Coast) to the more centralized Texas location. Nonetheless, Easterns still holds the legacy as one the top tournaments in college ultimate history.

Wisconsin decided that Easterns was a good idea because it provided a good tournament and better location to spend Spring Break, which was beginning the moment we left Thursday night. However, it comes only a week after a super hard Centex and the Hodags were for the most part still extremely knocked around or incredibly sore.

The day began nicely enough, with hot sunny weather and beautiful green grass. The Hodags were set to play Queen’s Kingston, a Canadian team who Wisconsin played at Nationals 2005 in pool play. However, this Queens team was not nearly as polished and the Hodags took advantage early with Rebholz finding Lokke for the 1-0 lead. Jack Marsh and Dan Heijmen continued their domination of all competition as they combined for 4 goals and 2 assists in the game. Madison broke first, as Scallet found Gaynor for the 3-1 lead. Queens began putting things together and traded with the Hodags to 5-3 as Feldman caught a goal from Lokke. The late car was almost ready to get in the game by now as Jeremiah Berlin scored 3 goals for breaks as the game opened up to a 8-3 halftime advantage. In the second half, a nice D by Doede gave Seth Meyer his second goal of the game, coming from Foster who had finally cleated up to lead 10-4. The game closed out with 4 straight Hodag breaks as Seth and Gaynor both collected D’s en route to a 15-5 win and the first unofficial OATBAG of the weekend – Schmit be warned.

Wisconsin’s next game was against James Madison University (JMU). Apparently, JMU is from the ACC and not the Metro East, which was difficult to tell with the pink numbers on their jerseys. However, Madison was not playing up to their full capacity and was content with trading. The Hodags tied the game at 2-2 as Jack Marsh threw the first 2 goals of the game to Ben and Jimmy Foster. A nice Shane D allowed Wisconsin to break first as Seth found Jeremiah for the 3-2 lead. The Hodags stayed on serve for the rest of the half 8-6 on the back of Heijmen who found the end zone 7 times in the game. Tom Annen collected a D and point block along with Will Lokke getting an awesome super sick layout D that was goal saving at 5-5. In the second half, JMU broke back to bring the game to 10-9, but the D line responded as Muffin found Seth deep for the immediate re-break as Wisconsin led 12-9. Jack Marsh continued his dominance on the day, finding the end zone almost as often as Heijmen with 6 scoring plays, as Wisconsin won 15-11.

Madison’s last pool play game was against UNC-Wilmington, who won a National Title more than 10 years ago with some guy Mike Gerics. The winds picked up a little bit as Wilmington, suited up completely in black came out fast and hard, spiking the shit out of the disc. The Hodags were getting fired up and wanted to really give it to Seamen. The familiar combination of Marsh and Heijmen again put Wisco on the board first 1-0. Wilmington was going deep early in the game and was able to tie it 1-1. The Madtown O-face saw that going deep was a good idea as Dan Heyman found Feldman deep 2-1 for the obligatory re-spike. Wilmington still had an answer going downwind with a second chance goal and that guy really ripped into the disc this time 2-2 with a slam spike. The disc was getting dirty from hitting the floor so many times, but Marsh had no problem as he found Foster to the break side deep for a 3-2 lead and windmill spike with a fist pump. Wilmington was unimpressed, as they quickly tied the game 3-3 and were contemplating the breakdance steps for their next goal scoring celebration. That sort of showboating can really get some people fired up. The D line was getting angry about being spiked upon and the O-face was even getting annoyed at the Defenses lack of ability to put in a break. Matt Rebholz was making sure nothing got out of hand as he found Foster for the quick strike 4-3 Hodags. I think this is when Chris Doede became so upset with his play that he threatened to kill a teammate, as Wilmington held on O and scored the first break upwind 5-4. As soon as Wisconsin was no longer winning, the leaders on the team rose to forefront. The unguardably fast Jim Foster scored the next 2 goals from Rebholz as Wisconsin re-broke immediately for the 7-6 halftime lead. Foster was no way done with Wilmington as he went deep again in the second half from Heijmen for the 8-6 break. A second straight break, this time from Muffin to Gaynor put the game at 9-6 and a clear Hodag advantage. However, the Seamen broke back again to make it 9-8 Wisconsin. The O converts as a D by Rebholz allows him to find Animal for the 10-8 lead. After UNC-W holds 10-9 and continues the spiking, the D line decided the game needed to end. A late surge of energy from the D line ends this game on Wisconsin’s terms. A D by Marsh allows Rebholz to continue his domination as he finds Heijmen for the goal 11-9 Wisconsin. Now enter Shanezilla into the equation as he catches a goal from Heijmen 12-9. Then Gaynor gets a well timed deep sky D and Shane rewards Gaynor with the double happiness goal 13-9 Wisconsin. Shane is not done yet as he gets an under run through D, letting Scallet find Gaynor for another break 14-9. Hohenstein’s presence was definitely felt on the field down the stretch as Heijmen found Cullen for the game ender 15-9.

After winning the pool 3-0, we had our crossover game with East Carolina (ECU). ECU was low on numbers and running lower on energy. The Hodags broke twice to start the game 2-0, completing the OATBAG from the previous game to bring the Wisconsin Oatbag total to 2 on the weekend – beware Crazy Eights. However, with the perfect opportunity to make Pop Tarts feel the pain, Wisconsin blew several opportunities to score 6 breaks in a row. Wisconsin took the lead 6-1 and half at 8-2 with Seth Meyer breaking out a nasty low release upwind flick huck. Combined with Evan Klane’s Callahan goal, this game was never a contest. Matt Scallet was pwning all over the field, as he greatest his own pull back into play and was throwing breaks and goals all over the place. Wisconsin finished the game 15-4, but failed to convert the 3rd Oatbag on the day, lucky for Snoop.

The Hodags appeared pretty tired and most people passed out in anticipation for Spring Break and a hard day of games on Sunday. Wisconsin was also running out of players left and right with nagging injuries and such, down to only 17 at the end of Saturday.

Sunday was a new day and Madison would have our hands full. In quarterfinals, Wisco was set to play Edinboro, who broke seed and surprised a lot of teams by doing well in their pool. They had earned a spot in quarterfinals, while the Hodags were overlooking this team and were clearly not ready to play as the day began. Edinboro took the lead 2-0 before Marsh found Foster, but they broke again early to lead 4-1. Wisconsin was forced to call a timeout to settle down and get into the flow of the game. Right away the Hodags bounced back as Feldman found Foster in the end zone 4-2. The D line finally got a turnover and Muffin quickly launches the biggest deep shot ever to Seth Meyer streaking deep as Wisconsin grabs back an early break 4-3 and a SNAF. Slowly but surely, Madison is creeping back in the game as Wisconsin breaks again to tie the game 5-5 as Shaner goes deep for Muffin. However, Edinboro has two studs, one wearing pajama pants and a flaming orange winter hat who is throwing high release break mark flick hucks on the most intense marks ever. This kid was single handedly carrying his team with these ridiculous throws to space as Edinboro took the lead 6-5. Heijmen ties the game at 6-6 when he finds Marsh deep to space as both players recorded 2 D’s in the game. Edinboro was hanging in there and took half 8-7 despite another Feldman assist and a universe D line on the point to take half. The Hodags are getting antsy, especially when Edinboro holds on O out of half to lead 9-7. A this point things were not looking good as the Hodags were essentially sucking in quarterfinals against a terrible team with about 1 ½ good players. However, Foster finds Heijmen to keep the game close 8-9 before Seth Meyer continues his ridiculous play. Seth gets a sick D and then catches the double happiness from Shane to tie the game 9-9. Jim Foster is still unstoppable as he scores twice more, but the teams are still trading 11-11. Muffin and Heijmen resolve to finally end this team as they both grab a score and assist down the stretch to break 3 times for the 15-12 win. Seth Meyer was just beginning to play out of his mind as Wisconsin would need players to step up with the beaten up sideline.

In semifinals Wisconsin was set to play North Carolina. This would be a coming out game for several Wisconsin players. However, Darkside took the early lead 2-1 with the first break of the game. Tom Animal got into the action, finding Foster with a midrange shot sky and a 2-2 tie. The D line is just salivating at the chance of beating another team from North Carolina as Scallet finds Shane for the immediate re-break and 3-2 lead. After UNC holds, Annen finds Feldman for a goal and 4-3 lead. However, the Hodags lose their edge as the Darkside swings the game back into their control with a break and 6-5 lead. The O-face holds as Snoop finds Heyman for the 6-6 tie. With halftime looming, Wisconsin decides to turn it up a notch. Matt Rebholz records a D giving Foster the chance to find emerging superstar Seth Meyer another goal for the 7-6 break. Seth was just getting started as Wisco gets another D and Seth snatches a two-handed rocket from Heijmen in the end zone for the 8-6 halftime lead. Coming out of half Muffin jacks the disc deep to Foster who skys UNC again for the 9-6 lead. UNC saves face and scores again to bring the game to a respectable 9-7. However, Seth Meyer was determined to wreck havoc as he scores the next 3 goals, getting 2 sicks and even a D. Jon Gaynor is able to help 2 goals in late, including a double happiness after a huge sky D in the endzone and a ridiculously long huck from Muffin as Wisconsin doubles up UNC 14-7 with 4 straight breaks. The fact that neither UNC or anybody Wisconsin played all weekend could catch Evan Klane's pulls was super funny, as 3 were dropped on the weekend. The game ends 15-8 with Heijmen finding Ben Feldman to stamp a victory in semifinals.

In finals, the Hodags were set to play Pittsburgh for the 4th time already this year. Wisconsin was definitely running out of players though, as we were down to 14 and eventually 13 players, but Pitt has just come off a universe point game. Matt Scallet came out ready to go as he found Heijmen for the opening break 1-0 Madison. Pitt came right back and scored twice for the 2-1 lead as Annen makes a super sweet defensive bid, but is unable to get the D back. Madtown came right back to that as Animal found Bonkers for the first goal and Scallet found Shaner for the break as Wisconsin took back the lead 3-2. Scallet was not finished as Seth Meyer recorded a D before Jon Gaynor went deep for the 5-3 break goal. Schmittles n Bits was staying close to the disc as he found Foster in the end zone for the 6-4 lead. The rest of the first half traded out as Foster and Feldman scored twice more for the 9-7 halftime lead. By this time, all of the other games had ended and players were leaving the complex, leaving only Wisco and Pitt players to grind it out. The 9-7 halftime lead left Wisconsin unsatisfied. Ben Feldman threw Wisconsin’s first 2 goals out of half to Seth and Rebholz as we gave up a break but still led 11-9. Muffin gets a D and immediately looks to cash it in, finding Heijmen for the 12-9 break. Pitt is keeping the game close as they break back to make it 12-11, but the Hodags are clearly the superior team when it comes to stamina. Seth Meyer records his 2nd D of the game and when Muffin walks the disc into play, Gaynor takes off for the full field huck goal 14-11 Wisconsin for the break. Muffin finds Heijmen on the next O-face point as Madison takes control with a 15-12 lead. Wisconsin breaks once more after a Shane D as Evan finds Heijmen for the 16-12 lead. Jon Gaynor finishes the game right, getting 2 D’s in the game and finishing it by getting the disc to Foster in the end zone for the 17-13 tournament victory.

It was another gritty tournament performance as Madison did not even have enough players to substitute in a whole new line late on Sunday. It was sweet that the Hodags got an awesome tournament trophy and 50 discs that said “Easterns Champions” on them. At this point, Wisco celebrated, got into our cars and drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to start Spring Break and the impending Goat.

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