Thursday, September 24, 2009

CEUUC 2009 Preview- Open


University ultimate has changed for the better in this decade.

Gone are the days where Queens was the unquestioned leader of the East, and UBC was an unstoppable force from the West. 17 open teams will take part in Easterns in London, Ontario this weekend and I would venture to say that at least 8 teams have a chance of winning the title.

Thanks to a growing number of strong junior programs in the country, players are emerging as star caliber University players in their freshman years. Teams are also committed to better fitness and development plans and attract serious athletes from other sports.

Now, greater parity has resulted and picking the winners and losers is much more difficult. Let's look at a preview of the teams, ranked by 2008 CEUUC results. Special thanks to the captains who supplied me with team information.
University of Toronto "Torontula"
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 1st

The numbers are simple

* 3 straight national championships
* 3 straight eastern championships

Tula is being led by Taylor Martin, Thomson McKnight, and Adrian Yearwood (all of GOAT fame) and being coached by Nathaniel Brown (ROY) for the first time this year.

They have many returning players, and 5 new players. Two new juniors (Mateusz Bocian of DIRT and the hard working Gabriel Brown of OJ) will be looked to contribute immediately.

Players to watch: Rob Svaluto and Mike King (a very "raw new guy").

In addition to adding another title as a short term goal, TULA maintains a focus on developing the depth of their roster, which is helped by their B team. "We always want to be breeding new players and this year has been good to us", says team captain Taylor Martin.

University of Western Ontario Sharks
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 2nd

The year of the Shark may have finally come.

Since 2005, the only team that has eliminated the Sharks from Eastern and National championship contention has been Torontula (save for CEUUC 2007, Guelph). Losing to the very best each and every time has lead the Western program to learn and develop accordingly. The program will feature three open teams this year, and the quality of the A roster is equal or better to any squad in the tournament.

GOAT player Mark Lloyd wowed fans and opponents at nationals this year with his individual talent and skill. He (along with Kielan Way) can arguably be considered the best player in University ultimate.

By no means is Lloyd alone, He is accompanied by Scotty Hislop (national and world championships in coed) Andrew Higy Higgins (Captain and star of Liquid) Andrew Watts (Grand Trunk and stud d line player) Andy Siy, Kevin Horgan (6'6 monster) , Trevor Henry (One of the fastest players in ultimate), and the addition of former Guelph captain and current Grand Trunk regular Andrew Butler. Myles Sinclair is a freshman to watch.

The leadership group, including Aaron Leung and Lee Gonzalez are quick to point out that the team lost 1/3 of the team from last year, but they will have a tough time convincing me that this team doesn't want to win it all now.

McGill University "Redmen" A
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 3rd

One of the most historic programs in the country is alive and well. After experience a bit of a performance slump mid decade, the program took off in 2006 and has consistently been a top three team at eastern and national events.

As an outsider, I expect this team to once again be a threat for the title, and to do it with team depth and a strong system. In the past, their zone defence has been a great weapon.

Here's a write up from coach Markian "Muk" Kuzmowycz:

One word this year -- versatility. we're inundated with skilled handlers who can just as easily be cutters. will try to beat teams with athleticism and lots of movement, with the usual emphasis on team defence that mcgill has prided itself on in the past several years. it's the fastest team we've had yet, and we've got great veteran leadership behind captains Rob Sevalrud and Piotr Mankowski. we only lost a handful of players last year, and this team is rallied behind the goal of a nationals win on our home turf. players to watch -- veteran cutter Rob Sevalrud and rookie handler Tim Tsang for our O-line. Piotr Mankowski (cutter) and Tobias Froehlich (handler) are going to be giving the opposing offence a very hard time, every time. they're just as skilled following the turnover.

University of Waterloo Mannschaft
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 4th

Another program that shows nothing but improvement and progression over the past 5 years. They will be sending a B team to this tournament as well, the first time I can recall they have been able to do so.

The A team from Waterloo will be looking to return to Eastern semis this year, and perhaps improve on it. Key players include Phoenix player Carson Turner, along with ex Carleton players Aaron "Kooch" Kucherawy and Bryan Cunningham.

Carleton University Ravens
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 5th

They have a seven footer! More on that later.

Carleton has been on the edge of great things for several years. Like Western, it is time to produce.

The Ravens boast Kielan Way.. who was dominant versus Mephisto in the CUC 2009 final. He has one of the quickest flick hucks in the nation and is equally strong on defense and offense. Opponents can factor him to mark the strongest player and be the go to offensive cut on every play if needed.

By no means will he be alone. Phoenix players Brent Gerhert, Rey Arteaga, Bryce Ring, Ryan Bauer, Matt Godkey, and Rob Schimdt are gifted and seasoned. Chess Club also has athletic talents Danny Van Willingham, Josh Tai and Joel Bellavance to provide even more skill. Grand Trunk veteran Jason Lobb and Liquid's Jan Gorski return to the team.

On the rookie side, I would be excited to see Karl Loiseau (Big Fish to Phoenix in one season) and 6'5 Ottawa Junior Tyler Zandbelt. Also, the team has added former Carleton Ravens Basketball player Neal Dawson. Dawson, who stands 7'0, has shown quick promise despite complete newness to the game.

In short, this team has the ability and athleticism to beat any team in the country. What they must overcome is the habit of wasting such athletic and defensive prowess with unforced errors.

McMaster University
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 7th (Tied)

Hamilton continues to rebuild their program. Gone are the late 1990's where John Hassell was leading the team to national title glory, but the A team will be building with strong juniors and a b team.

Players to watch include Matt Penman, Aiden "Kirby" Koplimae Smith, Dan Robertson, Ryan Keyfitz

According to team captain Ryan Keyfitz, the team can be described as:

McMaster has a few talented, experienced handlers and a lot of strong, athletic cutters this year and will look to make some noise grinding teams out, both on D and on O, with our speed. The team also has a number of promising young players with some touring experience with DIRT, Roy, GT, and Mayhem.

Guelph University
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 7th (Tied)

The team is lead by the young and uber talented Cam Harris of GOAT and world juniors fame. Seeing Harris play at No Borders this year, it was impressive to see a player that age be that effective against some of the best players Canadian open ultimate has to offer. He will be even tougher to face at the university level.

Harris indicates the players to watch include "3 of the most under rated players I have ever had the privilege of playing ultimate with: Andy Kubinec, Tim Likely, and Tim Martin. All three are ready to break out this year."

University of Ottawa Gee Gees
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 9th

On the women's side, Ottawa U is strong, Carleton is weaker. On the men's side, it has been the opposite. However this year might see Ottawa have it's strongest team in recent memory.

The team will be lead by Phoenix handler Scott Westwell. He will be flanked by fellow handlers Fred Caron, Joel Driedger, and Rob Ainsworth (who might be the same dread locked Ainsworth who played for McGill/Phoenix in the early part of the decade).

Cutter wise, the team has some athletes. Phil Boisvert is a great deep strike who has played with Firebird/Demon and Mephisto in the past two summers. Craig Tai is a great defender who legitimately forces turnovers.

Travis Stinson (brother of Scott "Beast" Stinson) and Corey Boucher are exciting rookies to watch.

McMaster University B Team
CEUUC 2008 Finish: 10th

As per program leader/captain Ryan Keyfitz:

Players to watch:
Philip Sy, Alejandro Carrera, David Ip, Harrison Niznick

Team style or focus:
McMaster's B team has a lot of very athletic players and a few guys with good throws. They'll be looking to hang their hats on some solid grind-out D. On offense they'll be looking to catch teams off guard with their athleticism.

Queens University Mothership
CEUUC 2008 Finish: Did Not Play

Whatever the reason, Queens did not send a reason to CEUUC 2008. Fortunately, the downward spiral of this program seems to have been quickly curtailed and the prospects for 2009 are promising.

Patrick Mooney will be a key player who can affect this team's fortunes. The only veteran left from the squad that won the Canadian University Ultimate Championships back in 2002 and 2004, and who qualified for UPA college Nationals in 2005. Mooney won WUGC gold playing with TFP during WFDF 08 and has been a member of GOAT for the past 4 years.

Mooney's take on this year's a Squad is as follows

Players to Watch:

* Captains Richie Tam and Ernie Lin: It's quite possible that these two guys are twins who were lost at birth. Squirrely handlers who play both sides of the disc well. I think both have worlds juniors experience and they have some of the best communication going in the university game right now
* Alex Ginther and Andrew Carroll: Ginther played GT and got a lot better after a junior career playing with DIRT. he will make a big impact as an all purpose player this year for ship. Carroll is the youngest player to ever get picked by GOAT (19yrs old). He had a really stellar rookie season and decided to go back and concentrate on school and Ship as opposed to playing the fall. He will be a huge impact player for ship this fall
* Geoff Powell (captain) and Steve Lee: two speedster cutters with lots of experience at the college level. Geoff played moondoggies this summer and held his own amongst some of the best goat dudes

Team Style and Focus: More than anything Queens is a team. A faceless army of players who has been hiding in the shadows over the last few years retooling a system that was one of the strongest in the country. We play balls out team defense and try to make it exciting for the fans and scary for the opposition. On offense we spread the disc around and use multiple looks to keep the defense off balance. This team is close knit and will push themselves and other CUUC teams to their limit this upcoming fall

Other Teams Competing (Unable to Preview due to Timelines)

Queens University Superfly
University of Waterloo B
University of Toronto Torontula B
McMaster University B
Mcgill University Redmen B
University of Western Ontario Seals 1
University of Western Ontario Seals 2
University of Ottawa Gee Gees B

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

CEUUC 2009- Women's Preview


This weekend the best college teams in Ontario and Quebec will be squaring off in lovely London, Ontario. London has seen tremendous growth ultimate wise in the past 5 years. The development of the local league and the University program has seen steady progress and now the league is able to host such an regional event with ease.

12 women's teams will compete for the Eastern crown. The division will feature perennial powerhouses, developing teams and new squads.

Ottawa Gee Gees
2008 CEUUC Finish: 1st

Fresh off a 2nd straight UPA college finals appearance, the Ottawa Gee Gees are looking to take thier third straight CEUUC title and return to CUUC for the first time since 2006.

Some of the core players from the last three years have graduated/moved on (Jaimie Collins, Kate Crump, Jen Reid, Alex Benedict), but the leadership trio of Anne Mercier, Sam Morris and Kathryn Pohran is terrific. Mercier's abilities to handle and play d are especially effective in the college game, so expect her to have a standout season should UPA club committments not interfere with the fall season. Morris had a great performance at Canadian nationals and can mark up with any college player. Pohran and Sonia Kommenda are very tough to stop even at the elite club levels.

Other big time players to look out for include Shannon Becker, Danielle Fortin, and Kaylee Sparks.

Expect the remaining core to work with the new junior and athletic talent and be a top 3 program in the country.

McGill University Martletts
2008 CEUUC Finish: 2nd

When one looks at the past results of McGill, we see a team that has been banging on the front door of a CEUUC championship for most of the decade.:

* 2004 Championship
* 3 second place finishes
* 2 third place finishes

It's been a strong decade, and it should continue to be that way. Outside of the club/varsity woes that this team faces, it appears that McGill is one of the schools that has strong support from its school, strong coaching (Dan Fassina) and good leadership (Kirsten Niles et al).

Players to watch include Niles, veteran Brenda Campbell, Rachel Moens, and Alison Verney. Finally, fans should watch for ex Stella/Scarlett player Emily Sangster. I was told about Sangster's ridiculous athleticism and potential early in the summer, and I saw it firsthand in August. It's an accurate description.

One question remains: Can they beat Ottawa? They will need a good tactical system and players who can carry it out to shut down Ottawa's best.

University of Western Ontario Sharks
2008 CEUUC Finish: 3rd

This team finally broke through with a 3rd place finish at last year's regions. That team boasted the likes of Tiffany Lin, Andrea Cheng, Michelle Chandler, Tawnya Jackson, Christine Moore, Erin Dahlke and Rebecca MacPherson. Some of those players won't be returning. (Chandler, Moore, Dahlke).

While there was pre-season concern about the numbers and depth of the team, much talent exists on the host team. Jordan Meron enters her second year of college play after a great season on the Canadian National Champion club team Lotus. She was not just a part of that team but had a regular shift in championship game situations.

The top end talent to compete with any ladies team in the country is there. We will soon see at CEUUC if the right amount of time and effort has been put in to make this club a possible championship team.

Queens University (Paper Bag Princesses)
2008 CEUUC Finish: 4th

Like the men's side, Queens used to be the priority destination for junior players from all over the country. The establishment and development on programs in Ottawa (for example) have cut into that pipeline, but this team seems to be headed back to title contender status.

One player to watch is Ottawa's Sarah Wildgen. Wildgen is a second generation ultimate talent who's dad is a member of the Ottawa league's Hall of Fame as a world/national level d line player for many years.

Guelph University
2008 CEUUC Finish: 6th

A long tradition of women's teams from Guelph U. Known for their trademark shiny skirts, the school has not won CEUUC since 2003. Despite not possessing a lot of touring women's club talent in recent years, the team is usually in the middle of the pack for Easterns and always has the promise to upset other top teams.

Brianna Jaffray of club team Scarlett will be on of the players relied on to help the team in the clutch.

Carleton University Stealth
2008 CEUUC Finish 7th

Despite the large shadow of cross town powerhouse U of O, the Carlton program continues to grow and develop. Lead by captain and coaches Onita Basu and Paula Saliba, the squad will look to improve on their 2008 results.

The team lists Stella/Capitals player Kate Cavallaro as their technical coach and has experienced handlers Amy Richardson and Draza Stehlikova on the team. Richardsons ability to throw deep and against zone will be helpful in the college game where zones will be heavily used.

Of the new players, Dominique Rioux is an exciting rookie from the Ottawa Junior program who has huge upside.

University of Toronto Torontula
2008 CEUUC Finish 8th

2007 CEUUC runners up had a strong day of 2008 pool play but were upset in the quarters by Western and the wheels simply fell off. Bit shocking.

Given their location and the strong club/junior teams in the area, this team could very easily revamp and contend this weekend.

Former Western striker/cutter Erin Dahlke is listed on the A team and will be a welcome edition after a full season of summer club experience with coed squad Tundra.

University of Waterloo Kinnari
2008 CEUUC Finish: 9th

Yet another school with a solid/growing local comp program and a large school population base to build on.

Don't have much information for this relatively new program.. but given the progress of the men over the past five years, I would expect the women's team to have similar results.

McMaster University
2008 CEUUC Finish: 10th

This is a big squad in terms of roster size, with over 20 players registered for the tournament. Like the men's side, the progression of this program is evident, and the team may be a factor in the quarter finals.

Universite de Montreal (Ultime Diva)
2008 CEUUC Finish: Did Not Play

Easterns loses University of Sherbrooke but gains another Montreal team.

Despite it's newbie/expansion status, reports say there is established club talent affiliated with the squad and they might be a very difficult opponent.

Sonia Krajicek of Storm fame will serve as the coach of the team, and she will be an extremely helpful resource for this new program establishing a long term system.

University of Toronto Torontula B
2008 CEUUC Finish: Did Not Play

Second squad for U of T.

A little undermanned (13 players) for a two day tournament, but should be an excellent experience for players, many of who will graduate on to the A team.

McGill University Martletts B
2008 CEUUC Finish: Did Not Play

17 players on the second squad for the McGill team. Amanda Fortier and Krista Smeltzer will be serving as coaches.

Seeing this many players on a B team, being groomed to help out the A team in the near future might help explain why McGill has had such a strong decade of performance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sectionals Weekend Review- Canadian Teams


Rundown of the results for the Canadian teams this weekend.

2009 Upstate NY Club Sectionals


  • Goat goes undefeated and wins the section as expected
  • Phoenix plays strong all weekend and loses 15-11 in first place game to Goat. Manages to hold off Medicare to secure 2nd
  • Medicare continues their strong summer/fall season with a 3rd place finish and a tight match versus Phoenix.
  • Black Ace disappeared from schedule, and Firebird made the semis despite going 1-3 on day one. Not sure what was going on in day 2.
  • No other results yet, so we're not sure how Sunday played out for the other teams or who advances to regionals
  • Capitals goes 2-0. They shut out Albany E-Z Pass and beat Starkist from Waterloo 15-3
  • Starkist shuts out the Albany squad
  • Both Canadian teams advance to regionals
  • MONSTER of Toronto has a.. well Monster weekend with a 5-0 record and a narrow 12-10 victory over a strong Rochester team (Kung Fu Grip)
  • Bytown Flatball Club manage to take the back door route and upset Tundra 15-13 to take the final spot to regionals
  • Tundra is done for the season barring some spots opening.
2009 Wash/BC Sectionals

  • Furious George goes undefeated in pool play, beats Voodoo in semis, loses in the 1st place game to Sockeye by a score of 15-10. They then regroup to crush Voodoo 15-6 for 2nd
  • Beefshark goes 3-1 in pool play, scores an impressive 8 points against Sockeye in the semis, but then trips up to Seattle b team Voodoo to finish 4th.
  • Blackfish goes 2-2 in pool play and wins their 5th place game. They qualify for what will be a very exciting regionals.
  • Flatline falls flat on Saturday (0-4) and loses a tough 15-13 game to Downpour from Seattle and goes home early. Will not qualify for regionals.
  • One day round robin tourney format, everyone gets to regionals
  • Traffic of Vancouver goes 2-2, with disappointing losses to Seattle teams Riot and Underground.
  • SFU Clam go 1-3, upsetting Bellingham squad Apartment Eleven.
2009 East New England Club Sectionals

  • Red Circus qualifies for Regionals
  • As predicted, Tufts and Brown college squads are tough and upset Halifax on day one pool play
  • Circus then goes on a big Sunday run. They beat RIO, Slingshot, and then get revenge over Brown to garner 6th spot.
2009 West New England Club Sectionals

  • RIP of Montreal goes 3-1 in pool play
  • Gecko from Sherbrooke goes 4-0 in Saturday games
  • RIP then crushes Gecko 15-6 in the semis
  • RIP beats Enough Monkeys (New Hampshire) to claim 1st
  • Gecko then works their way back to defeat Enough Monkeys and take second
  • Both teams from Canada qualify for regionals
  • Mephisto from Montreal goes 5-0 in pool play, but loses first place to Bodhi before winning 2nd spot over Chuck Wagon
  • Demon goes 3-2 in pool play but the wheels fall off in the playoffs. They lose both games and finish tied for 7th.
  • Magma has a 2-2 pool play day but have the same two loss meltdown in the playoffs. They tie for 7th.
  • Crimson from Montreal has a tough weekend, winning only one game. However, it's probably excellent experience for the players on the team who may or may not play for a school I can't mention for reasons related to school club rules. :)
  • Storm of Montreal goes 3-0 in pool play, and then wins their 1st place playoff game versus Middlebury Lady Pranksters 13-5.
  • Storm qualifies for regionals