Classic City Classic 2009
The last van left Madison at 5:40pm and randomly arrived at the same McDonald's as their teammates by sheer coincidence. It is 7:30am and the sky is dark. There is no sign of the sun to come and its snowing like its Christmas, the snowball kind. South Carolina is the first victim of the day. The Hodags are 24 deep coming in and lightning fast. Cross your fingers it doesn't get too muddy.
The fields are covered in snow and very soggy. South Carolina comes out hucking taking a quick lead on foolish turnovers 1-4. Jacob Meyer scores the first 2 goals as it tightens to 2-4. Cullen Geppert gets an awesome over the shoulder layout D to save a goal, but the game remains 3-6. Wisconsin switches to zone and breaks 3 times for half 7-6 on a floaty sky D. Evan Klane and John Bergen combined for another score out of half to lead 8-6, but then surrendered an 8-10 advantage. Wisconsin stormed back to lead 12-10 with a Ben Rehman Callahan goal. The Hodags won 13-11 in a sloppy affair and are 10 minutes from playing William & Mary, who brought 12 kids for the tournament. The snow clouds have finally dispersed, probably 38 degrees and a bit windy.
William & Mary is the next opponent and the Hodag Defense is finally awake. The contest trades to 3-3 before Alex Simmons rips down an sweet Callahan for the break 3-4. The lead stretches to 5-3 with a Wiseman under layout D, but W&M is able to tighten it 6-6 before Klane finds Chris Scotto for half 7-6. Scotto cleans up a deep huck as Wisconsin presses to 8-6. Thomas Coolidge tallies up 3 D's as the Hodag pressure builds and begins to score efficiently. Wiseman's 3 D's helps save Jake Smart's 5 turns as Madison pulls away 13-6. Madison's 16 D's far exceeded the earlier effort of only 2.
Florida State was the third game as the conditions improved. Wisconsin stormed to a 7-2 half using Rehman's 2 footblocks and sick under D. Thomas Coolidge continued to play like a stud - snacking on blocks all over the field. Florida State connected on several big hucks to close the game to 11-4. Ben Feldman finishes the deal with a blade to Cullen for the win 13-4.
Alabama is the 6th seed in the pool and currently waiting on the line as Wisco huddles all 27 jokers in a mishapen cluster. The game begins in hilarity as Alabama is committed to bombing it deep. Wisconsin counters with a Kylie Cyrus stall 9 floater unto which Alter doinks after out-reading everybody. Alabama bombs deep and out-races the Dayshoe 0-1. Chris Scotto gets a nasty layout D on the goal line as Bergen finds Davidman 1-1. Kyle Geppert gets another layout D allowing Wisconsin to go up 7-1. The Hodags finish strong, taking the game 13-1.
Tennessee is last stop and the Hodags have found a solid rhythm - taking control of the momentum up 7-3. Madison finally lands two consecutive pulls in bounds as they roll to a 13-3 win. Hector congratulates the team for unselfish play as Wisconsin wrapped up a 5-0 day.
Georgia, Delaware, and Michigan all finish 4-1 in several universe point contests, knocking Natty Mich down into the B bracket. Texas and North Carolina also fall into the B bracket. Wisconsin will see Notre Dame in quarterfinals and likely Georgia in semifinals.
Sunday morning is 25 degrees and we have 30 minutes to be at the fields - not one of the 6/8 dudes in my room set an alarm clock. Bergen's cleats are completely frozen and everyone's warm clothes are still covered in dirt. The fields are snow white - a winter wonderland. If Wisconsin wants to get past the Papal Rage - handler's Klane, Smart, and Park will need to have toasty fingers because it is winter. Hopefully, the field is frozen enough that footing will not be an issue today. On the way back from McDonald's, Hector's second morning coffee is precariously placed in the backseat cup holder -- needless to explain, tragedy is in the works.
The very first point was completely indicative of how the game proceeded. A 10 minute raging battle of will's including 4 layout D's, but Wisconsin stays in control over Notre Dame 3-2. Dave Wiseman had 2 D's as John Bergen exploded on Feldman for the second time, literally choking Simba with 2 hands at the neck. Cullen Geppert jacked a huge flick for a Diablo Dunk now 8-6 half. JerryBomb went down early with a tweak, leaving Killstrong to do his dirty work. The Hodags were leading 9-6, before several costly turns put the contest at 13-13, game point. Needing only one possession saving call, Wisconsin scores 14-13 to play Georgia, who has been eagerly watching for the last 20 minutes. Chris Scotto continues to be a stud while Bergen has become the emotional fire-starter. Zach Alter is running hard and Alex Simmons is playing shut-down defense.
Georgia, dressed in blood red, is currently hucking upwind for their warm-up, at least 3/4 landing in bounds. Bill Murray is at the helm and Dylan is flashing smiles in all directions. The GA dogs score a tough first point and then break twice on Wisco miscues, freaking out to a 0-3 start. Madison burns a timeout and reiterates the correct way to downfield cutting. Evan Klane and John Bergen are rocking in the backfield scoring 1-4. Wisco breaks back on an awesome Wiseman bookends now 3-5. GA finishes half with authority 6-8. Hodags cut it to 7-8 on a Dan Park O2. Jojah scores on a boom and breaks on a drop to lead 7-10. Backs against the wall, Madison digs deep as Thomas Coolidge gets an under layout D. Matt Crumb & Alex Simmons both make great effort plays - pressuring layout drops. Turtle rips several nasty IO breaks and Wisconsin is suddenly up 11-10 on 4 straight breaks. Hector screams for the Gloatbag - 8 straight breaks. Cullen Geppert rocks awesome defense, containing Dempsey as Wisconsin's depth was shining down the stretch. The best moment of the game was on the marathon 10-10 point. Both teams have dropped goals and cuts are coming once in a red moon for Georgia at midfield. An exhausted cutter tries a floaty dump pass which makes it one foot from his hand before Dayu Park swats it down. Jake Smart is thinking "timeout" but Muffin is screaming, "We aren't tired!" GA is openly walking; Bergen races off deep (still leading Kyle Geppert in their 10th 200m), and brings down the Smart bomb for the score. Both teams score easily down the stretch as the game trades to 13-11. Zach Alter floats a 500 ball to Diablo Donovan for the huge sky and Klane rips a cross-field hammer to Feldman to take the game 15-12.
A cool 30 minutes before finals allows the Hodags to recharge and run a full end-zone drill before finals. The field is looking muddy again. Layers of clothing are being shed on the field, as the high of 48 sets in. Madison begins on Defense and opens with a break on a Jake Smart boom to Cullen. Virginia plays it chilly as trucker hat pwns with a break inside-out backhand to space 3-3. The Hodags are playing 24 deep and the legs are showing as Wisconsin breaks for half 8-6 on a Alter give-n-go. Wisco's handlers move the disc quickly as Dan Park rips O2 and zips in a goal now 9-6. Virginia's Tyler is a one-man show, ripping the pull, playing the lanes on D, and then going deep on the turn. Madison stays in control of the contest, leading 12-9 despite multiple Smart deep bombs narrowly missing open receivers. The Hodag Defense is getting multiple opportunities each point and Night-Train is running out of gas. Captain Crumbly, a middle school broad jump champion, attempts to score on a 27 foot leap-n-score. Crumbles lands a bit low as his butt grazes the ground, ripping up soaked turf with his rippling gluteus 13-10. Pat Donovan rips down a big deep ball from Lazer, leaving the disc at 11 feet for a moment for all to see. Wisco has a chance to win at 14-11, but Virginia is not quite done and battles on to 14-12. The Hodag Offense is playing their most consistent of the weekend, probably because Wisco is already down by several scores late, and no one on the Madison sideline is worried about finishing this game, especially since Notre Dame is doing their damn best to heckle Madison out of it.
Feldman give-n-go's the disc to 20 feet out, before Simba pirouettes for a backhand score. The winning goal is called back on a travel, the play is repeated and layout dropped by Diablo. Virginia converts the break deep and suddenly it is a game at 14-13. The crowd is yet dispersing, and Wisconsin glances up to see Georgia still running there-back sprints on the far field. Benji Feldner catches an under and lets loose a backhand ripper to Chris Scotto for the win 15-13.
O'Doyle Rules! Wisconsin wins CCC for the 5th straight appearance, taking home the champion cups after submitting their roster as collateral. The best stats go to Evan Klane with 226 touches, 17 assists, and 11 turns. Bergen rocked 13 goals, but Alter smiles with a nasty relevance rating at +6. Coolidge, Wiseman, & Cullen all smacked down 8 D's each, while Simba & Smart battled for turnover supremacy. Every player played in every game... and we won. It should be warned that Sunday in Illinois is National No Gas Day. Thank goodness for BP. I want to give a big shout out to winter, for being such a frigid horrible season. The Hodags love to play in the snow mind you, but we don't enjoy the cold hands that go with it (that's a Carleton thing). The second best part of CCC was looking over and seeing the Dog's running sprints. It perfectly articulated what Wisconsin had been doing for 5 straight years; winning games with legs. Traditionally, that is always the battle; the southern teams get to practice ultimate and the northern teams get to practice running. It's not conceivable to me that ANYONE else is working as hard as the Hodags on the track. Not a single other team. But it should be noted that Wisconsin did not qualify for Nationals until the McClain Center opened.