Vegas Highlight video is up...
The journey began at 5:30am on Friday morning as 55 Hodags, Pimpdags, and Belladonnas packed onto a Charter Bus set to DEFCON Bonkers. Utilizing only a handful of stops - the Hodags survived the party central hotel and frenzied breakfast to arrive at the fields over an hour and a half early. It was beautifully nice, creeping to an eventual 60 degrees, no wind to speak of and clouds like circus cotton candy.
The schedule was set in stone -- Tennessee, Texas State, Minnesota, and finally Florida State. Wisconsin warmed up the big guns as the fields looked soft, dewy and painfully deserted yet. It was maybe 10 minutes before game time that Tennessee took their warm up laps. Wisconsin was confident, drilling hard, but lacking any real vocal authority. Jimmy Foster set the tone by hammering home running hard and breaking the game up into games to 3. Wisconsin started on O and worked very slowly and cautiously before Bergen hit Drews on the breakside 1-0. Animal and Tomacide were aggressive with the disc as the Hodags stormed to a 3-0 lead. Tennessee burned a timeout and completed the entire dynamic warm-up as the Hodags patted themselves on the back for such a strong start. Wisconsin traded to 5-2 as Foster skied deep finally and converted an isolation set. The wind was so soft that the idea of zone was abandoned. Adam Drews scored his third goal of the game to bring Wisconsin to 6-3. Wisco was in position to turn this game into a blowout but got sloppy with the disc, drops again. The score closed to 6-5 before Manny found Gaynor to take half 7-5.
The first halftime huddle for the Hodags was horribly hateful. The tongue lashing began immediately, exposing the quiet sideline and terrible help deep - leading to bullshit swill going in for scores. "This team is awful! Murder them!" But the response was timid and still unsure - like kids lost on Bourbon Street without their parents. The team-wide intensity was palpably lacking - just blips on the radar as Tom Murray was covering the entire field. Upon exiting the field after a double happiness, Murda was overheard, "That's why I can squat 3 hundo boys!" The Hodags came out of half tough - breaking on Defense as Cullen hit Jerry for the lead 8-5. Adam Drews scores his 4th goal of the game from Foster and Cullen rips a break to Jon Armstrong now 10-6. Again with the chance to finish the game strong, Wisconsin begins to fold like a paper crane. When the dust settles, Tennessee has rushed the field screaming multiple times and the game was tied 10-10! The Hodags slapped some faces and held on Offense to lead 12-11, still in good position to close out the game despite the miscues. Tennessee scored with another swilly deep shot to tie 12-12. Wisconsin is still ready to win before a brutal turf/slipped disc and head hanging put Tennessee up 13-12. Someone shat their pants and in a shocking turn of events a Davidman/Simmons sandwich was skied to lose 14-12. "What the fu-!" was the general consensus. Wisconsin slapped the joyous Southern hands before hanging their heads. As the Hodags pulled themselves up for a huddle, Texas State wanted to flip. Needless to say, Foster needed a minute. A Hodag needed to be sacrificed. Cullen stepped to the forefront - screaming about intensity, hate, and pwning! Foster was so angry he slipped out his favorite dagger and promptly slit Cullen's triceps, rending him paralyzed. The Hodags rallied into a frenzy and decided to play better.
But not immediately, as Texas State started strong and broke Wisconsin twice to start 0-2. Madison called their 5th timeout on the day thus far, and tried for the 3rd time to stop the bleeding on Offense. Tom Annen finally spoke up, screaming about making plays and finger pointing. The sideline intensity increased and Tom Murray exploded on some kids. Wisconsin scored 5 straight goals to lead 5-2. During the landslide, the stack is asking to run Chedderballs, but Murray just decided to take off deep, skying ridiculously (300+lbs!! in eyeball) for the goal. The Hodags were pissed and taking out their rage on Texas State. Half fell at 7-3, but Wisconsin was still very disappointed in themselves. Thus far in the season - the Hodags have dropped games to the likes of some shady teams. The second half was completely dominated by the Hodags. Manny tossed 3 breaks to Davidman and two more to Murda as the OATBAG went down big time. During one exchange Tom Murray put his hip into a kids face D'ing a disc 10'6 in the end zone. After the injury substitute, Murda takes off deep and skies in double coverage at 10'4 for the bookends 12-3. Bergen tossed the last goal to Drews as Wisconsin won 13-4, finally inspiring some confidence.
Round three would put the finally fired up Hodags against a frequent foe, Minnesota Grey Duck. The two teams chatted before the game, giving old friends had the chance to reunite. However the Pearce family reunion had to be put on hold as Chris wasn't able to make the trip because Chris was pulling a "Tim." The Hodags were fired up to start the game on D and the sidelines were finally stepping up the intensity, led by a hoarse-voiced Jake Smart and Big Patsy. But all that fire was ineffective on Tim Pearce who skied deep for the first goal and then tossed an upwind super-blade flick for a break to lead 0-2, over the outstretched Manny. Grey Duck lost their shit, mostly Lil' Orphan Arenson, who was painfully naive of the rules on several occasions. Wisconsin responded in a big way as Gaynor ripped a 40 yard cross field hammer into the end zone, Tom Murda racing and laying out for the snagged goal 1-2. Wisconsin exploded and Minnesota shat their pants. Animal immediately threw a huge flick to Gaynor to break 2-2. Big throws were going up by both teams as the game traded to 4-4, and Foster grabbed two straight goals. Manny bombed a flick break to KillStrong to lead 5-4. Suddenly, Darth Klane completely took over the game and threw the next three Hodag goals to lead 8-6 out of half. The game traded harmlessly until Davidman goes down in high-pitch screaming, wincing and writhing around the field like an earthworm after summer rain - claiming a cleated ankle. The Hodags show no sympathy from the sideline and is told frankly by Muffin to never show weakness on the the field again. "Never show pain, fatigue, or any sign of weakness on the field! I don't care what happened to you - if you broke your foot or lost your leg - don't for a single second show weakness! It is just as much a mental war as a physical war." But Davydman was in too much shock from his mental anguish to understand. Minnesota traded with the Hodags without further incident as neither defense could challenge the superior offense in the windy environment - ending 11-9 Hodags on cap.
The last game of the day was against Florida State, and the Hodags still had a chance to win the pool. The game started with Lil' Jimmy doing his best Steve Smith impression, skying a Packer for a touchdown 1-0. J-Fortune's nasty spike fired up the Defense who played relentlessly, breaking as Cup Cake layout D's the hitch and jams it in 2-0. After this transpired, it became clear that Florida State was either throwing the game or really not happy to be playing anymore. Wisconsin broke early and often, utilizing the full depth of the rookie's legs. Jerry and Armstrong paced the scoring while Dan Park got an under run-through D. Doughyu was moving the disc downfield, way better than Bergen would, and the Hodags jumped to a 7-2 lead. The scent of oats now filled the air as FSU folded and mailed it in, saving some energy for their upcoming game with Tennessee, no doubt. However, Ron Bjergendy attempted to flout his blades in the zone, giving up another score as the Hodags cruised to a 13-3 win. Simba Feldman was prowling the sidelines and giving updates all over -- and tricking the TD to get Wisconsin the #2 seed going into pre-quarterfinals on Sunday. Sure enough, as the pimped-out luxury Bus pulled out of the parking lot Simba rejoiced jubilantly as FSU was up 4-0 on Tennessee. Then later, as the Hodags showered and relaxed, Simba was on his celly - FSU takes half 7-5. And then, even at Happy Hour, Hollywood was texting his "connections" and ensuring Wisconsin's entry into ESPN Magazine.
Saturday night in Mardi Gras subsided with Bob having more beads than he could handle, Belladonna dominating the Happy Hour, and watching film. Dan Park made a cameo appearance in the balcony, sticking around just long enough to slide tackle Muffin's injured foot. Sunday morning was groggy as cell phones and backpacks were misplaced from room to breakfast to PimpBus. When the Hodags made it to the fields, again 1 hour and 20 minutes early, it was chilly and getting windier by the second. Texas A&M stepped to them in pre-quarters, the first of four games on the day. Wisconsin drilled hard and had steam starting the game, but failed to break as A&M opened 0-1. Alterzone bombed a huge flick to Lil' J-Focus for the tie 1-1. The Defense had a whole new look as Manny was resting his weary legs. Monster Mashler took control and bombed a goal to Simmons for the 2-1 lead. Wisconsin decided to throw some Zone when the wind become a noticeable factor. Texas A&M snapped a quick flick down the sideline and as J-Fo closed for the sure D he slipped in mud, wiping out and giving way 2-2. Lazer turned his cannon to Level Headshot and delivered a deep strike to Gaynor 3-2. Wisconsin increased the pressure as Bergen scored from Masler now 4-2 Wisco. At this point, J-Flow was picking up the slack as Manimal was in hibernation. But the stipulation of J-Faja playing D is that he demands to pull as Captain. However, the 90 yard blade backhand pull hit the line of trees overhanging the field, giving Texas A&M the disc before the brick, getting one under pass for the goal 4-3. After two mishaps, Lil' Jimmy was promptly pulled from the D line in favor of waking up Phenaminal. Despite the close game, Jon Gaynor rode under the radar and scoring two goals to take half 7-4 Hodags. Texas A&M has some sass and doesn't like being pushed around by these yankee Wisconsiners. Wiseman blows a deep D as the game tightens 7-4. Gaynor finds Straight Drooze in the back of the end zone for another Wisconsin hold 8-4. Finally, Manny makes an appearance in the contest, quickly dominating the disc and hitting Davidman for a break 9-4. A&M gets to 10-6 just as Adam Drews begins to hit stride, scoring the last 3 of his 5 goals to end the game 13-6. It should be noted that Murda racked up twice as many D's as Jerry's two. However, in the games nearby, Minnesota was toying too much and lost to South Florida. Tim Pearce could be seen frequenting the Hodag sideline, wishing his girlfriend still lived in Madison. Texas was also playing tight with a stacked looking Arkansas, perhaps going down early on Sunday
When the Hodags had enjoyed the shade of the bleacher's, Illinois was seen patiently waiting on the far sideline. Madison hadn't even seen the Illini sneak up, which unnerved Big Patsy the most. Muffin could see the lull lurking and immediately roused the captains to bring up the intensity. It was Sunday and the Hodags play like studs on Sunday. Illinois was looking polished in their attack drills as the Hodags seemed very loose. However, come game-time Darth Klane took control of the atmosphere and used his dark powers. "We bury this team from the very start!" Tom Animal roared and massaged his chops, knowing his time to shine was upon him. In consecutive order, upwind, down and up again, Manny tossed breaks to Davidman, KillStrong, and Murda to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Illinois shat their pants and Wisconsin broke a 4th time to rub it in. Illinois managed to score 4-1, but was losing in overall game speed. Wisconsin turned it up and Evan Klane snacked on a Callahan to lead 5-1. Lazer again tossed a pivotable goal to J-Fo to take half 7-2. Wisconsin reiterated keeping up the intensity and sideline talk. It was a heart warming moment until Cullen returned with Jumbalaya and all Hodags rejoiced. Jon Gaynor continued to dominate out of half throwing a full-field flick break mark upwind huck.... which was dropped by Bergen. But Gaynor would not be denied as he fired another huck to Simmons for the goal 8-2. Soon the Hodags resorted to push passes and break city trading to 10-4 as Simmons pwnd and Lazer zapped. Illinois fired up and broke back bringing the contest to 10-6, yelling with the power of Gaynor's belly. This made Davidman get angry... like the midget in the cabinet angry and he challenged Murray to a contest - who could dance best. Murda said fine, whatever and promptly landed his entire hip on an Illinois players head - crushing his cranium and causing clear clamor. Murda ripped a deep backhand and Davidman skied, spiking the disc silly and doing the Macarena to techno beats for the break 12-2. Illinois was appauled by the atrocious dance moves and break back twice, bring the game 9-12 upon the brink of their Mardi Gras tournament life. Wisconsin finished the game with Lil' Jimmy spiking the last goal 13-9.
Wisconsin shat itself to find that they were not playing Texas. As it turns out, Arkansas had some early morning ballers, much the prototype of Karl Doughgeee as they ripped, flew and ate pints of ice cream as they shat on Texas' unsuspecting faces. It was histaria from the beiginning as Goergia Tech then overcame the playmkaing Kansas squat with sheer legs and one decent thrower. So when the smoke cleared, it was Wisconsin resting on the shaded bleachers, savoring two satisfying wins. Surprisingly, the huck happy tournament line up for Wisco now took a turn for the worse as Georgia Tech was running a patient offense through #11. At first, the Hodags were just pissed that they were so timid and scared looking. Darth Lazer, Straight Drooze and J-Felatto were pacing the Odags as Wisconsin tied the game 3-3. Finally, it was Fatty Devilman" from hence forth known as The Corpulent One struck blood first by getting a phat layout D on a late O2 pass, which made Doughyu very pumped up. The Hodags stole the lead 6-5 with the first break as Murda hit The Corpulent One deep for double happiness. Diablo Donovan finished off his deep sky by finishing to Tomacide now 7-5. Altezone and Bjergies weaved for halftime 8-6. Thanks to a good flick and a hungry Animal, Madison started on Offense and Gaynor scored easily to J-Fro 6-9. Again The Rotundidman made a sick deep cut for Murda who ripped a deep backhand for a fat sky 10-6. Wisconsin was in it mentally and killing kids as J-Fellatio scored just before Cinnamonbums punched in the next 4 goals to win 15-10.
The Hodgas were annoyed to learn that they had to leave their shaded field to walk to the far field to battle Michigan, who successfully held off Luther in semifinals. Madison took a deep breathe and relaxed as long as possible, before running breakmark-attack at gametime. It must have been a subpar warmup because Magum scored downwind to start, broke upwind, and then Zone D broke downwind to lead 3-0. Wisconsin was shell-shcoked, almost giving up 0-4 before failing behind 2-6. The Hodags eventually score to make it 3-6 and at this point Magnum foolishly yells out, "We have more legs!" This remark was clearly reported back to the Hodags who took clear exception to that comment. Nobody ever has more legs than the Hodags! We train harder, we are deeper, we have more legs! WIsconsin buckles down the pressure and is able to grab a break back off despite an awesome Lazer under breakside D, called foul, leading to more Hodags rage and a huge Manny upwind huck, getting to 5-8 halftime. Michigan is feeling good, cheering positively, and winning the Will Neff way. Wisconsin didn't like all their happy positivity and started playing with some crazy rage. The trading continued to 9-12 before the Hodags stacked the universe line. Adam Drews was playing awesome offense as Gaynor and Klane connected for the score 10-12. With the intensity climaxing, Tom Animal makes the play of his life! A well throw Michigan huck is going deep with Manny on the receiver's heels. Without warning, Manny goes "idiot" - launching his entire body over the receiver's shoulder a full 5 feet completely horizontal in the air for the layout D, landing hard. It was the sickest defensive play of Animal's career, at a super clutch moment and was done with such reckless abandon for his body -- that Michigan's composure was instantly rattled. If Wisconsin was going to make plays like that -- Michigan was in for some hurting. Animal chuckled to himself as he limped off the field saying, "Now that's what a 300 pound squat is made for!" Wisconsin immediately breaks upwind as Pat Donovan skies the for the break windmill spike 11-12. The Hodags freak the fuzz out and create a man-pile in the upwind end zone. Gaynor gets a nasty layout D and Wisconsin ties the game 12-12. Wisco sticks to its guns, playing Studs only. Michigan shat their pants and Patsy skied upwind, putting his ballsack on a unsuspecting Magnum head 13-12. The Hodags have no choice but to geek out, puttng the pedal down and shocking Michigan 14-12 as Darth Lazer hits Gaynor for the sky blade. Diablo almost puts the finishing touches on the King Cake frosting, but turfs a huck after a giantitus sky as Michigan holds 14-13. It was patient easy Offense as the Hodags took easy unders until Dark Lord Lazer held the disc in the middle of the field. Not one pivot later and past stall 7, Darth puts a flick in his mark's eyeball for the win 15-13, as it was a most satisfying opportunity to rub in his stellar defense. As Wisconsin pulled it in, tragically and dramatically stealing $1,600 for Ben Feldman. Wisconsin downed the King Cake, snapped a team picture, and relished the comeback effort. To reiterate, Evan Klane took complete control of the disc late, bombing several ballsy hucks for huge scores. Animal played super clutch all day Sunday and Turtle managed to lose his shoes near the Illegal Burrito and was subsequently 20 minutes late for the bus as the Hodags awaited a screaming bus of Belladonna to propel their comeback! King Cake for everyone.
Wisconsin has one week to recover and prepare for Stanford, which will be tougher competition for sure. R Kelly Trapped in a Closet Commentary was thouroughly enjoyed on the ride back to frigidly cold and snowy Wisconsin.
Friday, February 06, 2009
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Winter break was good to the Hodags. All of the top players were in the gym nearly every day – lifting weights, running on the track, or polishing up their beach bodies. The semester snowed, sleeted, and froze itself forward while the Hodags were blessed with more than anticipated indoor time for the early season. With four field practices, the Hodags immediately taught the major set plays, the complicated defensive sets, and a plethora of Hector-induced technique drills – specifically tailored to the current Hodag’s shortcomings. Overall, Madison was determined to ingrain these skills into the noobdags as quickly as possible.
Yes, these winter months were good to the fresh crop of extremely athletic first year players, many of whom were taken on potential alone. These raw players were blossoming into ballers on the field – already skying for scores and making significant impacts. On the indoor field – Wisconsin is frighteningly fast! The windless drills looked spotless, but the sideline intensity was still a work in progress. However, the biggest obstacle for Wisconsin will be mentally getting their disc skills up to par. Wisconsin is routinely sloppy and their youthful energy sprinkled with experience will surely be tested at Vegas. The last indoor practice before Vegas was particularly fast paced and frenzied, as the speed of the game was reaching its fastest yet. The final huddle emphasized overcoming execution errors and beating teams with both legs and heart. The Hodags as a team are young, but the individual experience of the top players is nearly unprecedented for college ultimate. Here’s hoping that the inconsistent defense can score more breaks that the streaky Hodag O-face gives up.
Trouble in Vegas – Day 1: Wisconsin was only sending 19 players off to Las Vegas, notably without top defensive studs Cullen Geppert and Matt Crumb. The raw talent of the Hodags also had a surprise visitor at the airport: freshman and first-time airplane flier Jon Armstrong was greeted by his concerned and doting mother, who was sending him unchaperoned to the City of Sin.
The weather was nice at first, and the wind mildly calm to start the morning. It would be the same festival atmosphere the Culimate-hosted Vegas experiment bragged of creating. Wisconsin was set to play Virginia first, and oddly, the game started late. The first two offensive possessions included bone-headed execution turnovers and non-existent defense after the turn. Virginia struck hard and fast, breaking the shell-shocked Odags twice before the dust even settled. The slight, initial wind allowed Virginia to connect on their first several deep hucks, perfectly past the defenders. Wisconsin responded and snatched the lead back momentarily as the wind went from whisper to howl. Virginia was ready to drop a tight zone and Wisconsin let the breaks go one after another. The semi-open defensive lines couldn’t put any pressure on Virginia, who rotated throwing perfect deep hucks to 1 on 1 match-ups or abusing the break side under. The legendary Hodag defensive pressure was not a factor – as players were not mentally prepared to execute a physical game plan. Apparently Virginia had one taller handler who could also bomb a little bit upwind and he was giving the Hodags fits. Wisconsin’s deep help was habitually late, wolfpacking maybe 1 of 15 opportunities as the game progressed. The hard cap loomed and Wisconsin put out the universe line for the last marathon point only (with 4-5 turns each), but offensive cutter’s legs ran out of gas, their inefficient disc movement ruining Wisconsin’s ground assault. The cutters were working hard but gaining nothing as the risk-averse handlers were showing their inexperience. The game ended 10-8 on hard cap and Wisconsin was left to hang their hands and wait 1.5 hours for the next game against Arizona to begin.
Wisconsin needs to only finish in the top 8 to make quarterfinals on straight up record, so a 5-1 or a 4-2 finish would probably give the Hodags a nod into bracket play. But Wisconsin was apparently still playing indoor ultimate – chipping throws into the wind and not playing physical in your pants defense at all. If only Hector and Muffin were present – the backlash to such an effort would have been most severe. But alas, the captains of the Hodags need to get the team on the same page, and hopefully ramp up some intensity as Wisconsin wasn’t able to effectively utilize their superior depth. The only bright performances were Tom Annen’s dominant and unstoppable hucks, Tom Murray’s highlight catches and grinding defense, and Gaynor’s utter disregard to his body’s cries of pain when hitting the ground. Basically, Wisconsin is really struggling with their fundamental Frisbee skills and was disappointed to not assert their style of play – a physical grind it out mentality. The wind contributed to spotty play all around and the early inconsistencies of the O-face were obviously detrimental to the overall performance and flow of the game.
The winds are gusting upwards of 20 mph now and a change of attitude needs to occur soon for the Hodags to rebound. Top defensive handlers Jon Masler and Thomas Annen also need to load the cannons and take repeated deep shots. Wisconsin plans to move Jon Gaynor over to help the fledgling defense and put Chris Pearce on the O-face. Overall, Wisconsin needs to shake off their young and uncertain look and play with some attitude and confidence. As Jake Smart put bluntly, “We’re not that good right now.”
But don’t lose ye faith yet Hodag Nation. Wisconsin took that long bye round and did some soul searching. Actually, they were deciding which souls to sacrifice with all the anger that was radiating from Captain Foster’s vengeful eyes. The Hodag Offense talked out some of their differences while the Defense received hateful rant after determined embarrassment talk from the most passionate among them. The decision was made – Arizona must die. The wind had picked up significantly by now and it was going to be a straight Zone game. Arizona’s offense was punting and playing zone because it was becoming terribly windy. The Hodags went along, playing zone for the first part of the game before getting annoyed. The D line broke immediately to start the game, but Arizona stormed back to score and break twice, probably 3-3. The teams compromised to trade until about 5-5, before Wisconsin turned to the dark side. Animal and Gaynor completely took over and the Hodags basically broke repeatedly to finish. It wasn’t quite an oatbag, but it was surely a steady handling of Arizona near 13-7. It had taken the Hodag O a little while to smarten up and get some confidence after their flat start. They finally stumbled upon working the zone across the field and finding flowing grooves. And after a sincere Hodag love circle jerk, the logistical changes worked to Wisconsin’s advantage. Alter and Bergen were bringing up their game and Captain Klane was playing solid enough. However, Feldman was still taking silly risks, giving up too many opportunities. The hero of the day was Monster Masler, who was ripping the disc while sporting his beautifully spaced cornrows.
The last game of the day was against co-arch-nemesis Florida. They loved to cheat, especially Cole “Troll King” Sullivan. The game began ugly, the first point lasting easily 25 minutes, with countless calls and punts – very chippy. But the Hodags finally hit stride, moving the disc to within 5 yards before punching in a Manny hammer score 4-2. Wisconsin’s Offense was even getting a little cocky, popping scoobers over Florida’s zone and working it, instead of punting for field position. Tom Animal was dominating like nobody’s business, while Jimmy Foster was taking care of every foreseeable problem. Reports of Cole Sullivan cheating ran rampant down each sideline, and Evan Klane responded to these reports by hand blocking Sullivan, and throwing a nasty dirty break to put the Hodags up 5-2, energy exploding. Wisconsin was finally putting the screws to Florida and jammed in its 3rd break in a row. Madison’s exuberance was to be short lived and was eventually bogged down by Florida’s style - as constant stoppages dampened the outlook. And even as Wisconsin tried to take command of the game – it was Florida responding. Brodie Smith was playing the role of main handler – dumping it 10 times in a row and holding it until the wind died, before jerking something swilly boner check as far as he could. The wind was almost completely cross-field, but slightly directional as the Hodags began to let up just a touch, and their aggressive decisions were falling to the wayside. As soon as the game heated up, so did the wind, as it became increasingly difficult to catch the disc. Florida’s schemes began working as the Hodags dropped countless discs and were scored upon 4 straight times to give Florida the lead 5-6, mostly on swilly transition goals. It would take some extra effort from Mr. Sullivan, who was definitely in an angrier troll mood than usual and straight up lying for the majority of the game, above average cheating. The hard cap sounded and the Hodags finally scored a 20-turnover marathon point to force universe point. Wisconsin pulled and Florida sent 4 receivers deep only to jack the disc OB. Wisconsin worked it until Manny was forced to turn a hammer, as no one was open. Florida used a couple of break throws for yardage before squeezing in a quick IO for the 7-6 universe point win. The undefeated Belladonna looked on horrified, dumbfounded how the Hodags could possibly lose to Florida after leading by so much? Georgia Bosscher was overhead, “Shikies, that didn’t even look like a Frisbee game. It was more of a punt fest – in between bad ultimate and a playing in a tornado.”
Clearly Wisconsin was bummed about how the first day turned out, however they were taking the lost with a grain of salt due to the ridiculously poor conditions. However, Foster is now ready to kill everyone for messing up his last season and illustrious career. Perhaps Wisconsin needed more moral support or maybe just a steady dosage of hate – either way they need a kick in the pants. It was tough to call any sort of lines, as most players who couldn’t throw in the tough wind didn’t get into the game. Despite the rough first day, the Hodags were confident, knowing they needed to win all their games the next day just to have a chance as the bracket format no longer put fate in their hands. But where was the overpowering intensity? The conditions were terrible to the Hodags as the brutal wind made for extremely long and sloppy points. That made it hard to really get pumped when they finally scored on some swill, after a million turns – I guess it’s not really an accomplishment. Worse than that – several brutal goals were dropped, Gaynor an especially painful one, giving Florida too many opportunities down the stretch. In the end it was resolved as a call fest.
Trouble in Vegas Day 2: Wisconsin was not playing well. The lines were tight and the studs were not getting the job done. Rain was setting in and conditions were worsening. Wisconsin was tussling with Washington and the game remained close throughout until late execution errors (drops) caused the Hodags to drop another game on the weekend 11-7. At this point the screws came undone and Wisconsin showed its first real sign of weakness. It was torrentially down pouring, freezing, no one able to catch the disc, and veterans were struggling. With no answers, Wisconsin opened up the lines completely and adjusted their attitude. Oregon played well and put the hurt on Wisconsin, converting in miserable conditions while Madison could do no right. Oregon used tight D and calm executing to put the hurt big time on Wisconsin. Everything was going wrong for the Hodags – short staffed and after the poor showing the first day – the wheels came completely off. Drops were now as common as Hodags falling over – as the 2 inches of mud made solid footing a luxury. Multiple Hodags were falling down on every point, super fucking slippery fields only intensified the mistakes on defense as Wisconsin struggled. The last game of the day was against Colorado. The Wisconsin game plan was still to play it loose and open – no chalk talks and just trying to have any sort of fun or enjoyment in the freezing cold. Wisconsin would drop the last game to Colorado as well 6-10, a little closer than the Ego affair, but still not impressive. Near the end of the game – it was so absolutely shockingly cold that Gaynor and Drews couldn’t re-enter the game – as their joints had frozen and iced up after the hurricane storms. Current record for the season, 1-5. Wisconsin rushed back to the cars – just happy to be a little warmer and dryer.
You lost all three games? In all the annals of Wisconsin ultimate lore – there was never a day that the Hodags went completely winless – save 2002 and 2006 May Sundays. The schedule for Sunday includes Santa Barbara in the morning, and then anywhere from the ninals bracket to the 18th place game. As the day finished, Wisconsin was just glad to be out of the cold, hopefully warming up their hands so they can catch some discs tomorrow.
Day 3 coming shortly...
As promised, the third and final day of Trouble in Vegas. The Hodags were shocked, tired, and not to mention running short on numbers and experience. There was still one more pool play Cultimate scheduled game against the Black Tide. Despite the brutal setbacks of a winless day, at least a decade since that was plausible, excluding Championship Sundays, Wisconsin wasn’t overly concerned with the results. This was obviously a new team that wasn’t as used to winning. Having graduated the best class in ultimate history as well as losing 5 other starting line up players to other facets of life – the team is in full-fledge rebuild mode, except for the fact that they still have 11 National Champions and all the pieces to do the unthinkable – win a third straight title. But without the proper motivation and killer mentality of having to win all the time – there was a clear lacking of intensity. Even Colorado mentioned it, asking why not fire starters and usual in-your-face-intensity. Mental and emotional problems aside, there were going to be clear logistical problems with the status of the fields. J-Fo recounted that they got to fields and waited 40 minutes to see if the Vegas Parks Department was pulling the plug. Feldman strolled right up the heated discussion with Cyle and Skip vehemently arguing whether the original contract stated that the fields could be used during rain or poor field conditions. When that whole catastrophe was smoothed out (cash in the pocket), the Hodags had 20 minutes to warm up. It was a new day, but Santa Barbara scored their first O point and broke 3 straight times. That pretty much screwed everything. There wasn’t much more to say about it. Wisconsin was playing D lines with a less chance to break than Colorado 2005.
Meanwhile, Belladonna was not phased by the weather and finished third, much better than the Hodags and a higher finish than the men for he first time in several years. The Hodags regrouped one last time and decided to beat some crappy teams before heading back the Madison, which probably had better weather overall anyway. Wisconsin was able to take down Duke and Tufts in the last two rounds, as the wind picked up dramatically. Overall, the timing of cuts was off and general impatience resulted in many turnovers. Manny was the only player on the field with a 40-yard upwind huck and the blade turns from Wisco’s Offense were hurting. The Hodags could not find any footing with the mud situation, which just contributed to the soft D. Most of the TiV results are trash because of the brutal conditions and it was also the first outdoor tournament for Wisconsin. However, it will affect seedings for Nationals no doubt.