Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UPA Finals 2009- Open Preview- Pool B


Results will be posted here

Pool B
  • Chain Lightning (GA)
  • JAM (CA)
  • Ring of Fire (NC)
  • MadCow (OH)
This is going to be a tough pool.

Chain Lightning of the A-T-L (Atlanta folks) features Josh Zipperstein (who, until he comes to No Borders in Ottawa, will be referred to Dory Zipperstein's brother) Rob Barrett and a plethora of speed and talent. They are 27-4 this season, and were tied for third at UPAs last year.

Chain should have high expectations this year. Seeing this team in the finals is a very real possibility.

Jam is the defending champion. Their handlers are world class and provide the speed and throws that make it almost impossible to game plan for.

However, it's been a real up and down year for the year and they narrowly qualified for finals out of the Northwest. With a season record of 25-16, they have not looked invincible. Still, opponents often sense that Jam still has the talent, and they have been playing possum this year. They will be exciting to watch.

Ring of Fire (24-8) from Raleigh North Carolina is celebrating its 20th year of elite ultimate. Captain Kris Bass gives the following preview of the team (and he gives a special plug to sponsors at 5 ultimate, who have provided our awesome anniversary Fire Jerseys).

As always, Ring is planning to bring it strong at all times at the tournament. We have had an exciting post-season so far, losing in a classic finals match against Truck Stop on double game point. We followed that by another one point game against a strong NC team, LOS. We are absolutely looking forward to playing any and all the teams at nationals, and interested in taking on whomever we face.

We have had lots of close games this year, and hope to avenge a few earlier losses if we can! It is always a challenge and great experience to test yourself against the best everyone has to offer.

If you are coming down, you will want to catch some of our exciting style of play if you can! Larry 'Dirty' Durgin sets the tone for our D line. Brian Lowther conducts sunday morning service in the endzone. and Thomas 'T-unit' Ward and Ken 'Kapow" Porter patrol the skies for the Ring Air Force.

Madcow (39-10) of Columbus Ohio enters their first UPA finals in their tenth year of existence. It's such an inspiring story it needs an article to itself. Rodger Oakes, team captain... provides this rundown:

is a team built around spirit, depth, and comraderie. We play Ultimate as an outlet to enjoy time with each other. Our expectations for every tournament are to play the best we can...and play our best game during our last game.

This is the first time we've made the Club
Championships...and it has been a long road. The team has been around for 10 years now...and a good amount of players have been there for nearly that entire stretch. Over the last 2 years, we've really added depth from other areas (Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Indiana).

We're hoping to win a game, maybe 2 on Thursday. But, our main goal is to get into the play-in game Friday afternoon. We're a team built for long runs...we've got a few high end players that could play on any time, but our strength is the consistent, strong play from 5-27 on our roster.

Sectionals was a good tournament for us...we were clicking on almost all cylinders, and were able to stay focused through most of the tournament.

We knew Regionals would be our real test. We had the #1 seed going to regionals, but ran into a bad matchup against Chicago's Machine. For one reason or another, we just had a little trouble against there Defense. In Semi-finals, we lost a 1 point thriller. Our main goal for the weekend was to qualify for the Championships...so we were able to get over the loss in okay fashion. Sunday morning of regionals was cold and windy...but we persevered. It was a nice setup for us, because we were able to get past Louisville and had to play a Prairie Fire team that had just come off of an upset victory over Sub-Zero. Prairie Fire virtually eliminated us the previous year in Regionals, so we had a little taste of revenge to help motivate us. We got that victory and hit a buzzsaw against Machine again. But, we were able to pull through...knowing that we had beaten Sub-Zero at CHC, we were confident in our ability to play with them...and got through.

The Central Region has 5 teams all at the same level, and we were pretty happy to get the timely victories to qualify.
We're excited to play a lot of the teams down in Florida. We have seen a few over the past few years...had plenty of run-ins with GOAT over the last 3-4. I think we realize they're all quality teams, and we'd like to see as many different styles of play as possible.

I don't think there is any one team that we're looking forward to...they'll all be great competition for us.

Our top players on offense are: David Vuckovich (Tlake), Kevin Ryan (Willis) at the cutter position, and Jimmy Hughes and Jeff Kula at the handler spots. Tlake and Willis are open all the time, and just never stop running. Jimmy has great throws, and Kula is the glue for the squad...just does all the dirty work to keep the disc alive and moving. Willis is our highlight reel on O.

Defensively, I'd put Craig Poeppelman (BMW) with any player in the world. He covers any position...handler, 1st cutter, or deep cutter. I don't think I've seen him go through a game without getting a D on his man...or he just keeps his man from touching the disc altogether. He is that good...which is tough for me to say since that was my role until a pulled hamstring put me out for most of this season. Timmy Meyers is also on Defense, and is the heart of the team. He has great passion for the game, and usually covers the largest, tallest cutter on the other team. Ryan Sitler is our main puller, and he has changed our defensive dynamic with his ability. He's been disc golfing for awhile, and does things with the pull that are tough to understand. Scott O'Brien and Josh Botti (OB and JB, respectively) are 2 way speedsters that are a constant annoyance to anyone they cover. They also double on the O line as 2nd cutters to keep things moving for us.

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