Monday, October 26, 2009

UPA Finals 2009 Preview- Women's


Two teams have dominated this division for this decade- Riot and Fury. Is this the year someone else makes the final? Can Canada get a break through in this division?

Two Canadian Teams enter this week with strong teams and stronger hopes of a UPA championship.

Schedule is here and will also be updated here.

Pool A
  • Riot (Seattle)
  • Showdown (TX)
  • Ozone (ATL)
  • Wildcard (PA)
Riot (Seattle) enters the finals with a season record of 27-4. They have only lost to Fury (twice) Uno (Japan) and Traffic this season and are on a particular hot streak. They have given us reason to think that, despite losing to Fury for several seasons, this is their year. They beat Fury at regionals and at the Emerald City Classic. Can they do it a third time?

Showdown is out of Austin and they represent the growing talent from that city and that state. After a solid season of touring, it appears that while this team is not quite ready for prime time, they will provide finals opponents with a tough match. In 30 games this year, they are 19-11 with big wins over Ozone at regionals and a very good Nemesis team at Chicago Heavyweights.

Ozone of Atlanta has had an intersting season. In compiling an impressive 26-4 record, they have beaten some VERY good teams (Zeitgeist), play Fury and Riot hard, and then lose to Showdown at regionals. Despite the mess up at regionals, they get a chance to face showdown again and get into day two power pools.

Wildcard is the third seed from the Mid Atlantic region. They've had a busy summer and fall, with 39 tournament games and posted a 25-14 record. They had a rough ride at the Chesapeake Open earlier this summer.

Pool B
  • Capitals (Toronto/Ottawa)
  • Zeitgeist (Berkley CA)
  • Nemesis (Chicago IL)
  • Safari (San Diego CA)
Capitals have had a very strong fall season since merging Stella (Ottawa) and Lotus (Toronto) as per fall tradition. The team is 16-0 this year, winning Chesapeake against some tough teams and their sectional/regionals with relative ease. As I look at their pool, I think they will have a tough day one because the teams below them are all very good. However, the Capitals are as good as they have ever been, and they need to beat teams like these to make it to semis and finals.

Here's the makeup of this team. Lotus (roughly 21-1) won the national Canadian championship this year, and won the Boston Invite in addition to losing on universe to Brute Squad at the No Borders final. Stella (roughly 12-7) finished second at CUC 2009, and both teams were able to compete against the best of the east on their own. Combined, they should be a huge threat when deployed properly.

And if they don't make semis, at the very least, I suggest they change their merger system or personnel. I really like how these ladies have stuck to their program and system for several years (others could learn from this), but they must take the next step.

Zeitgeist has always been a team of interest, because they are capable of beating the very best and being surprised by less stellar teams. In their summer season, they played 36 games and had a 23-13 record.

Nemesis of Chicago appears to be a program on the upside. They are led by a fantastic handler in Jessi Witt, and they owe a lot of their success this year to the addition of new athletic players. In 37 tournament games, they sport a 30-7. Yeah.. that's pretty damn impressive for the third seed in a day one pool!

Safari of San Diego is a tough California team that will give all three of their pool B opponents a tough match. 15-10 during the season in tournament play.. and will look to play spoiler during the tournament.

Pool C

Fury is the three time defending champions of this division and aim for the elusive four peat this year. With a 37-3 tournament record this year, they seem to have the same mystic of past years over all opponents except for Riot, who was been responsible for all three losses.

Traffic of Vancouver has been away from CUC since 2007, and as such Canadian teams and cities do not get to see them very much. Focusing on tourneys and opponents from the ultra tough north west US region, Traffic has an 18-12 record this year, and it's been a bumpy ride. They have shown to play Riot and Fury tough, but have also lost to Seattle's B team (Underground).

Lady Condors of Santa Barbara have not won a national championship since their fourth straight title in 1987. They have had a strong touring season, going 15-5 and played well at Chesapeake.

Pop of Minneapolis has had a long touring season and have collected a lot of travel points playing many of the teams that are in this finals tournament. In 35 tournament games this year, Pop sports a respective 22-13

Pool D

Brute Squad of Boston pose as one of the strongest Boston teams to come to UPA Finals in some time. After getting the chance to see them at No Borders, it seems like the team has an advantage of many strong leaders, as well as good coaching. They are also very skilled with throws and will be able to handle the winds of Sarasota. If you want to see a young player who uses angles and savvy to handle, look no further than Dory Zipperstein. In 45 games, they had a strong 34-11 record.

Backhoe from North Carolina is a squad that has long been on my list of teams to see. Lindsey Hack is highly regarded as a leader and a very fit "big" (5'10) with skill. That package causes matchup problems. In 32 games, they sit at 26-6. They appear to be a strong candidate for quarters if not semi final action depending on how things shake down.

Rare Air is Boulder's Best coming out of the Southwest region. After getting some humbling elite team spankings at their home tournament (Colorado Cup), they have gotten stronger during the season and enter finals with a 18-12 record in 30 tourney games this year.

Scandal from DC is an interesting team when you look closely at their season win/loss stats. They went winless at the Boston Invite but played every single team hard, including eventual champ Lotus. They had similar tough losses at Chespeake. Since then, they have pounded some lesser knowns and enter Florida on a high note. In 39 games, they went a respectable 25-14.


T1000 said...

Traffic's performance is always difficult to predict because they often play to their opponents' levels. Whilst capable of upsetting Riot and/or Fury, they can just as often lose to less ambitious teams such as Underground.

Based on their mental history, I think Traffic will need to see a string of either top-notch teams or weak teams to perform well; unless they cement their resolve, they'll tend to misstep against middle-of-the-pack match-ups.

Patrick Mooney said...

steve, good coverage on the womens stuff

couple notes...

i think you have pool B and C backwards.

I think the caps have finished 6th, 5th and maybe 9th in their 3 years together, a feat most teams woud be more than proud of. Last year was their worst finish but that was at least in part because of the absence of some really amazing players that played that summer and/or fall with the Team Canada womens/traffic. I also strongly disagree with your statement that anything but semis would mean the team should make some drastic changes like folding all together. They are a really young team with even more potential than they have already showed, which says alot. Ithink they should be disappointed with anything less but I wouldnt start to panic.

i personally think they are going to do awesome this year and hopefully in the future but i am a bit biased.

Sport Management Steven said...

I hope we see both Canadian Teams in semis. Would be great for the interest in the division!

As for the Capitals, I think I was trying to see the Caps would have to reevalaute the merger model if they could not break through. I'll leave my thought of that till we see how they do.

T1000 said...

Having eked out that key win over Riot, Capitals have positioned themselves very well for a finals appearance.

It now rests on Traffic's shoulders to secure the 4th bid for NW next year.