This past weekend, Mr. Yuk travelled to Gambier, Ohio for our first tournament of the 2011-2012 season. With just a few practices under our belts and since we hadn’t made any cuts yet, we went as a split squad, with two fairly balanced teams. I’m still injured, but I hung out mostly with CMU X, so I didn’t get to see too much of the other half of our team. This means that this recap will be predominantly about the squad I watched.
Results-wise, both teams did really well. Both teams went 4-3 on the weekend and X took 3rd place only behind the two Penn State teams. Y did a bit worse on Saturday, so they ended up in the 7th place bracket on Sunday. They won out the bracket to finish 7th out of 12 teams.
As I mentioned, this was a tryout tournament, so we focused on the basics, namely cutting, dump-swing, and hard man defense. While there were a lot of things that needed fixing, I was very impressed with how the rookies and younger players performed and, in particular, how so many players improved tremendously over the course of the weekend.
My squad did several things really well. Specifically, I liked how many of our rookies played within themselves on offense, and decided to dump the disc to veteran handlers rather than make tougher upfield throws. I also really liked many aspects of our handler defense; we earned several turnovers because we prevented easy resets. Lastly, our upfield cutting looked pretty decent (especially for a first tournament) with good timing on the cuts and good cutting structure (hard deep, hard underneath). This was especially true of our veteran players although our rookies did a decent job of this as well.
That being said, there were definitely many things that we need to work on. Most salient was conditioning. We played five games on Saturday and by the third, it was obvious that we were getting fatigued. Cuts were slower and less frequent, defense let up, and we made more and more mental mistakes. This is a huge problem, especially as we have been a team that wins games on defense with our legs. Of course it is early on the season so I’m confident that we’ll build our endurance and be prepared come spring. Other things that could be worked on include: defending up-line dump cuts, general downfield defense (positioning, footwork, intensity), reading discs (especially deep throws), and as always throwing and catching.
Lastly, I was really happy that we had many close games that we managed to win. X had close games against both Case Western teams (one of them ended in universe point) and another universe point win against Michigan State while Y had a u-point win against Akron and a u-point loss to Case. We also had a couple of come-from-behind wins that were really exciting. Last year, we weren’t very good at finishing close games or fighting while behind, so I was really excited about these results.
We’ll be making our first round of cuts soon, and then taking the A-team tryouts to Hucks off the Hilltop in October. I’m looking forward to a great (hopefully successful) season!