Monday, October 5, 2009

UPA 2009 Regionals- East Preview


As most of us enjoy our long weekend and Thanksgiving, some hard working Canadian teams will be making the trek to the U.S. for play regionals and qualify for UPA Finals in Sarasota.

BFC vs RIP- CUC 2009
Photo Source: Aaron J Cohen

Given the high number of Canadian teams, the hope is that we will have a record number of teams qualify for finals. With our first co-ed team this decade already confirmed.. anything is possible... but some things are more probable than others.

Before I get to the other divisions, I note the Northeast Master Regionals (featuring the relatively ultra strong GLUM squad from Ottawa) is slated for this weekend, but no schedule is up yet

Number of Canadian Teams: 4
Number of bids to Championships: 3

Straight forward format for the 16 teams that puts pressure on all teams to be ready from game one.
  • RIP of Montreal is the top seeded Canadian team. First game is versus Brooklyn's Zojirushi, who will be a tough match-up and potential sleeper team.
  • GECKO of Sherbrooke is a streaky team by nature this season. They can impress and upset higher seeds, or can drop a game 15-6 to RIP like they did at sectionals. They'll be playing a Portland squad (Mogwai) that finished 4th in a very tough section.
  • Monster of Toronto won their section and figure to advance to quaterfinals, albeit against top ranked Slow White.
  • Bytown Flatball Club made some drastic roster changes this fall and managed to upset Tundra to grab the last spot to regionals. Their first game is against number 2 seed Quiet Coyote. It will be a tough task.
Expect three of four canuck teams to make the quarter finals. It's going to be tough to get into the top 3, but I hope one of the teams can. If Pyschoplastique did it, so can RIP/GECKO/MONSTER or even BFC.

Number of Canadian Teams: 4
Number of bids to Championships: 3

  • GOAT of Toronto enters as the number 2 with one goal- ending the weekend in first against an equally good Ironside. These two teams appear to be safe locks to grab the first two of three bids to Florida
  • Phoenix of Ottawa fell short of their goal last fall of making it to fall series. This year, there are less bids from the region, but they have had a strong summer and a best ever finish at Canadian nationals.
  • Mephisto of Montreal, defending Canadian Champions, are in the same proverbial boat as Phoenix- Great team, Stiff competition.
  • Red Circus of Halifax got hot on sectional Sunday and made it to regionals. They now get a matchup with Ironside, and can try to knock off Colt .45 and Replicants.
Outside of GOAT, Canadian teams's hopes to qualify for Florida come down to this- Can you beat out BODHI, PONY, Replicants, Sons of Liberty and your Canadian foes for the one spot remaining?

Number of Canadian Teams: 2
Number of bids to Championships: 2

Capitals of Ottawa/Toronto will look to continue their ride to Sarasota with a top 2 finish on the weekend.

Finishing first is vital for seeding purposes for the Capitals. They want to make the next step in UPA finals, and move from top 6 to top 4 or even to finals.

The key opponent will be Brute Squad. Boston's top squad is tough, experienced and able to pull out the wins in key games. They won't be intimadated by the roster of Capitals.

Storm of Montreal enters the tournament seeded 5th but could be an overlooked sleeper team (Heck, in my rush I left them out of the preview). After breezing through an easy sectionals tournament, it appears a good time for this squad to make a huge breakthrough for the program.

2008 was a season of strides for Storm. They added a coach (Lorne Beckman) whose work with Camelot (2005-2006) and Magma (2007) revealed very good results. In 2009, they added an all important B team, but it seemed the 2008 CUC silver medalist lacked the mental edge to upset teams like Lotus and Stella this year. You must perceive in order to achieve.

If Storm makes it to Florida, they'll have to go head to head with these teams

  • Capitals- Stella and Lotus was a combined 4-1 versus Storm this year
  • Brute Squad- 3-0 versus Storm this year
  • Bent- Have not played Storm this year
  • Lady Godiva- 1-1 versus Storm, lost at WMO, beat Montreal at Boston in June
Given those past results, don't be surprised if Storm finds itself in the game to go this year.

UPA 2009 Regionals Review- Monkey Plastique in Traffic!


Some Regionals have already been played last weekend. Some great news, some good news, and some sad news for the three Canadian teams active.

Psychoplastique of Edmonton rose from their 8th place seed to finish in 3rd place and qualify for UPA Finals in the mixed division. This might be the first time a co-ed team from Canada has made it to UPA finals in this decade. Unbelievable. In the next few weeks, I'll do my best to find out more about the team and their makeup heading into their Sarasota debut.

Traffic of Vancouver finished 4th in their regional tournament and qualified for UPA finals. After being beaten by Fury and Underground on day one, Traffic had to make a huge backdoor run to get to the 4th place game. They then got revenge on Underground and took the last bid to Florida.

Also of note in this tournament was the defeat of San Francisco's Fury (featuring ex stella player Gen Larouche) by Seattle's Riot. For years FURY has been unstoppable and had the edge over Riot. However, Riot has registered 3 victories this season over Fury, sparking some excitement about the possibility of a new UPA champion.

Canada's most storied program, Furious George of Vancouver, finished 4th in their Northwest Regionals, missing UPA finals by one spot and for the second consecutive year in a row.

Ironically, Furious fate was the exact reverse of Traffic's- They beat defending UPA champion Jam in pool play, but lose to Jam in the 3rd place game to go.

Is it better to be in the best ultimate area in the continent and not make UPA finals, or to face weaker competition all year and have an easier trip to Florida. That's a topic being thought and/or discussed in Vancouver this week.