Sunday, May 17, 2009

Revisting the 2005 CUC Semi-Final


The Test Subject- 2005 CUC Semi Final- Phoenix versus Nomads

Phoenix in 2005 (Ottawa Open Team) was considered a strong candidate to wing CUC 2005. The team had managed to stock their roster with every single local talent they had coveted for years, and looked to be a very strong young team with lots of speed, athleticism and exciting talent.

Coming off their first Ontario Regionals victory against Toronto rivals GOAT, nationals seemed like an exciting opportunity, and the team made no secret that they expected to be in the open finals are the very least.

It didn't happen. The team lost in the semis to a Victoria Team (Nomads). Nomads seemed like an older team that had some very skilled players, but would be challenged physically by the Phoenix squad. Looks can be deceiving.

I went through the entire game, play by play, pass by pass and took individual stats for each and every player to find out what went wrong.


I collected the following:
• Individual Points ( o or d)
• throw attempts
• throw completions
• dump attempts
• dump made
• short throw attempts (anything up field that collects less than 10 yards)
• short throw completions
• medium throw attempt (anything 10-30 yards)
• medium throw made
• Hucks attempted (30 plus yards)
• Hucks made
• Special throw attempts and made
• Catches (and the type of catch if layout, sky, etc)
• Total Turns (with separate fields for throw, catch, etc)
• Fouls Called On
• Fouls Called Against
• Thrown Goals (and fields for type)
• Caught Goals (and fields for type)

Here's what I can say with certainty

• The offence (o line and d line) had some memorable turns, but their efficiency in the wind was pretty impressive. They completed over 89% of total throws. However, they struggled with hucks (45% including one player going a perfect 3 for 3) but even more so with medium throws (7 turns and 68% effectiveness)
• Almost all the team turnovers were unforced throwaways and only 0.5 could be attributed to the receiver.
• I was very surprised by the lack of turnovers forced by the Phoenix defense. They forced only 3 turnovers (one of them from an o line player on an o point) in the entire game. With the players involved, you would have a very hard time believing this.
• Just calculating who scored the goals and got assists would have given a much different picture from who were the most efficient players on offence.
• One starting player had as many turnovers as points, and made 40% of his throws. He actually had more turns than catches. That's hard to do, but it looks like the team recognized this good player was having an off day and made a change quick

A very interesting game that had a disappointing end for the Ottawa team. Looking at the Nomads team before the game, one would be hard pressed to think they were the better team. However, you're minds eye lies. The Nomads ended up beating GOAT in the finals to win nationals.

Nomads (despite the disgraceful hammer and sickle logo) were a very efficient offensive team in 2005. They didn't cause the turnovers that every team thinks of championship teams creating. They never blocked, layout d or skyed Phoenix. Instead, they are a bunch of experienced players that are "good at ultimate". They limit opportunities, don't take many fouls (5 all game) and score when they get the disc.


ryan said...

Where did you get this video? Is it available for others to watch?

sharpie said...

Hey Steve:

Do you have a comparison of Phoenix bail pass count vs Nomads?
From watching the clip it seemed that there wasn't a whole lot of forward progression for Phoenix. Like the cutters got bogged down by the defense...

T1000 said...

I would also suggest examining the distributions of break throws and ultimately, points scored on the breakside. A close look at the related stats can give an interesting picture of the game.

jhaig said...

I think your assesment that most of the turnovers in that game were unforced, might be a bit extreme. The defence can certainly force turnovers without getting layout blocks. It's been a few years but I remember the defence in that game being pretty good. Maybe I'll have to suffer through watching it another time.

I also got a chuckle out of your assesment that the Nomads were able to defend well without fouling. Again I'll have to go back and watch again, but I didn't remember it that way.

jhaig said...

The video was originally available on ultivillage. I'm not sure if it is still there though.

Sport Management Steven said...

Ryan- I bought a copy from ultivillage. I remember it well, I overpaid and the guy selling it to me pretty much cried when I asked him to discount the two year old disc.

Carl- Of the 178 Phoenix passes, 147 (82.6%) of the passes fell under the bail (67) and short attempts (80) category. I definined short attempts as anything of positive yardage but less than 10 yards). I did not keep the stats of the nomads and their offensive numbers.

T-1000- Totally hearing you on the break side and break side points stats. I think that is the only major stat I left out, because of my offensive nature. I'll probably go back and add that to complete the game stats.

Haig- The Nomads did have twice the fouls that PhX did (10 to 5). If they were fouling, PHX wasn't calling it. As for tough d, I agree with you that good defence can be played without flashy blocks or layouts. That seems to be how the Nomads operated in that game, both in zone and in man defence.