Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CUUC 2009- Women's Preview


Results Link

CUPA took a very important and bold step last year by hosting nationals in Edmonton. Short term, it saw a small tournament, smaller than it hoped. However, it spread awareness to a key area of the country. The major dissapointment is that the University of Alberta will not be sending teams to CUUC 2009 after such an investment was made in their city the year previous.

In 2009, university nationals return to Montreal and both open and women's divisions will be heavily populated with talented teams.

It looks like there are two clear cut favorites to make the finals (UBC and Ottawa) followed by a glut of teams that could either make semis or fall out of quarters. That large group of teams after the top two will be providing the suspense and excitement as the games are played and scores are posted.

The format is 14 teams, two pools and two day pool play. Here are the team reviews based on current schedule and seed. (Schedule subject to change)

Full reviews of all East teams that participated in CEUUC 2009 can be found here.

Pool A
  • University of Ottawa Lady Geegees
  • UdM Ultimate Diva
  • UT Torontula
  • UWO Sharkbait
  • Queen's
  • McMaster
  • Carleton Stealth
U of O Lady Gee Gees take the top seed, and equally share the title of championship front runners from UBC. Ottawa looked focused and determined during CEUUC 2009, and won the tournament in style. Expect this team to be in the semis,

UdM Diva shocked many with their 2nd place finish at CEUCC 2009. They only had 12 players playing, which made this brand new program even more impressive.

The next three teams are established programs that seem to be going through a year of transistion/development. Torontula rebounded from a tough CEUUC 2008 and finished 4th in 2009. UWO Sharkbait finished 6th at easterns this year, and have a lot more talent capable of better performance. Queens Paper Bag Princess finished 7th at Easterns and such an established program will be looking to improve on that.

McMaster and Carleton Stealth finished 9th and 10th respectively at Easterns. They will be looking to take advantage of any teams above them that fail to perform up to their abilities.

Pool B
  • UBC T-Birds
  • McGill Martlets A
  • Guelph DOA
  • Dalhousie DKUT
  • Sherbrooke
  • McGill Martlets B
UBC Thunder Birds enter the tournament as the two time defending national championships. Viewers will be excited to see this tournament playing Ottawa, in the hopes of answering which team is the best women's team in ultimate this year. Of all accolades, the fact that this team won the 2008 UPA College Championship is remarkably impressive and speaks to their talent level.

McGill Martletts A finished a respectable but dissapointing 3rd place at CEUUC 2009. As mentioned in previous posts, this team has had a very steady decade and would like to cap it off with another national championship in their own city. They are a serious contender.

University of Saskatchewan SWUP enters the tournament as an unknown and will find themselves fighting off a number of good teams to hold their seed. These teams include an up and coming University of Guelph DOA team (5th at CEUUC 2009), Dalhousie (DKUT) and Sherbrooke. McGill Martletts B team is the only second team to make an appearance, and will look to improve on their 12th place finish at CEUUC in front of the home town fans.

CUUC 2009: Open Preview


Results link

Montreal hosts CUUC for the first time since 2005. Expect a great tournament from a great team, lead by TD Kirsten Niles.

The pool of open teams is both large and full of talent. Teams are reviewed as per current schedule/pools (Schedule subject to change).

Full reviews of East teams that participated at CEUUC 2009 can be found here.

Pool A

  • University of Western Ontario Sharks
  • US Tommy Douglas
  • McMaster
  • Waterloo Mannshaft
  • Concordia

The UWO Sharks are the defending CEUUC 2009 champs. It has been a long time coming. The team boasts height, speed, skill and efficiency throughout the roster. The team will have a plethora of talented players, and all will need to play as expected to making national title hopes a reality.

Of the many Shark players to watch, one will be Andrew "Drew" Watts, who plays club for Grand Trunk. Watts has always brought a winning attitude to the Sharks team since 2006. It's hard to explain, but the kid is a gamer. He brings a swagger but is a hard worker. It's invaluable to have players like Watts that don't change their game or mindset regardless of the score.

University of Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas Dream Machine returns east for the first time since 2006. In 2006, they impressed many teams with their height and athleticism. They overcame a tough seed that year to make it to pre-quarters. Expect this team to fight heavily with the remaining squads in the pool for the second place

McMaster finished 8th at CEUUC. University of Waterloo Mannshaft had a disappointing 9th place finish at CEUUC 2009, and will be looking to rebound.

Concordia University did not participate at CEUUC 2009, but did take part in 2008 (tied for 11th) and make their first nationals appearance in their home town. No one is completly sure how this team will fare. Do they have students that also play for Mephisto? Is the team made up of newcomers? What we do know is that no team in the pool is taking the unknown team lightly.

Pool B
  • UBC T-Birds
  • UO Geegees
  • UQAM
  • Lakehead
  • UWO Seals

The UBC Thunderbirds are a perennial powerhouse at the national level and, until proven otherwise, are a solid number two seed. They will be very tough to beat in this pool and should emerge However, they have not won a national championship since 2003, and they lost in 2007 to Torontula in Vancouver. Thus, they have something to prove at this nationals.

University of Ottawa Gee Gees, long the weak college sister in Ottawa, had a strong 6th place finish at CEUUC 2009. While the jury is still out on their ability to beat the top clubs above them, one can expect them to finish as seeded in pool play.

University de Quebec a Montreal is a local team that did not attend CEUUC 2009 in London. They are lead by Jean Levy Champagne of Mephisto and are rumored to have enough established club talent to pose as darkhorse sleeper candidates.

Lakehead University from Thunder Bay, Ontario makes an appearance at nationals and appears to be a growing program on the rise. Lead by ex Firebird player and Ottawa native Eric Mathieu, the team is unknown to its day one opponents and will get an excellent acid test of where the program is and where it needs to go.

UWO Seals is the B team from Western, and are a combo team of two teams that competed at CEUCC 2009. B team label aside, expect this to be a very difficult team to face given that they get to practice with and scrimmage

Pool C
  • UT Torontula
  • Queen's Mothership
  • Dalhousie DKUT
  • U d Montreal
  • McGill Redmen B

Finishing 2nd at CEUUC 2009, 3 time defending national champion Torontula from University of Toronto is by no means ready to give up their national title without a serious battle. Lead by Taylor Martin and Adrian Yearwood, this team is once again loaded with talent and working hard to build the next group of Tula starters. A player to watch would be former world junior Giorgi Traini. He's a very large physical player that needs to be a factor for the team to repeat.

Queens Mothership finished 5th at CEUUC 2009, and impressed many viewers with their athletes and their team's play. A very great and historic program seems to be on the upside again and they will look to challenge TULA for top spot in the pool.

Dalhousie (DKUT) from Halifax will be a very tough 3rd seed in the pool and are most likely a little underseeded. Matt Hogel will be an animal/machine against Tula and his alma matter Queens. Hogel also promised some of his teammates will really make their mark in this tournament.

Universite d Montreal makes their first national appearance. Like UQAM, they skipped out on CEUUC 2009 and their unknown abilities make this pool very interesting. As a host city team, expect their best players to be available and ready to play.

McGill Redmen B finished out of the top 8 at CEUUC 2009 (I wish all results were posted) and has a very tough schedule on day one. Any victories they can generate in this pool should be seen as huge victories.

Pool D
  • Carleton Ravens
  • Guelph DOA
  • McGill Redmen A
  • Sherbrooke
  • Queen's Superfly
  • UT Torontula B
University of Carleton Ravens from Ottawa finished 3rd at CEUUC 2009 and are a legitimate championship contender. University of Guelph DOA finished 4th and was gave eventual champs UWO Sharks a tough time in the semi finals. Both teams realize that their key pool matchup will be against one another. Whoever wins gets an easier route to quarters and semis, and that can make a big difference.

McGill Redmen A had a 7th place finish at CEUUC 2009, and I am sure no one on the team will consider a similar result at CUUC 2009 in Montreal an acceptable finish.

Sherbrooke finished an impressive 6th at CEUUC 2008 and that means pool d opponents have to be ready for an impressive squad. Failing to make it to London for easterns, Sherbrooke will be at a disadvantage against McGill, Carleton and Guelph, those teams already with at least one tournament under their belts.

The second squads of Queen's (Superfly) and Toronto (Torontula B) have a shot at making it to the power pools. However, they will need to win the head to head matchup against one another and beat two of the four teams above them. It won't be easy, but it's strong motivation for both teams.

Talking with Trainor- Matt Hogel, Dalhousie Ultimate


I was part of the first Dalhousie university team. DKUT was started in 2000 and was lead by future GOAT player Chris Lee and his friend Chris Ford. Playing the game (pick up on parliament hill) for less than a year, I was excited to see the yellow poster in the Commerce building indicating an information meeting in the beautiful King's College quad area. A friend (Andrew McQuinn) and I decided to check it out.

On a beautiful September day, the team was established and practices soon followed. The team was coed because there simply wasn't the interest or competition in the region. I learned a lot from playing on the team and it was a good experience playing with a diverse group of characters.

DKUT (Dalhousie Kings Ultimate Team) has evolved over time. Located in the student mecca city of Halifax and attracting students from all over the world, Going to school at Dalhousie is very attractive and DKUT has also been attractive to many excellent players. GOAT alums John Hassell, Andy Ouchterlony , Chris Lee, James Donovan have played for the team. Ramsey Wright, Brad Callaghan, Loic Dalle, Robert Macleod, Mike Lovas and Maddie Hall are also notable club alumni.

Few players will enter CUUC 2009 with as much experience as Matt Hogel, one of DKUT's current leaders. Hogel has been playing club ultimate (Phoenix, Red Circus) since 2005 when he played with Phoenix. He have been playing university ultimate since 2002 when he started with the Queen's B Team (Superfly).

Hogel joined Queens Mothership in 2003 and was part of one the best canadian unversity open teams on record. The school went to the 2004 UPA college finals and had a dominant run at CEUUC and CUUC championships.

Hogel provided feedback on his experiences, DKUT's expectations at CUUC 2009 and his assessment of ultimate in the martimes.

What's your greatest Ultimate accomplishment?

Qualifying and competing in the UPA College Championships in 2005. Qualifying for the tournament validated the incredible amount of hard work that everyone on the team put in, and being able to compete against some of the best players in college at that time was an unforgettable experience.

What's your worst moment in Ultimate?

Failing to qualify UPA club championships in 2005. Not being able to win games we expected to be able to win, and missing out on a great opportunity to play at the highest level in ultimate was very disappointing.

Favorite tournament city?

Boston. Nice fields, always good competition and if you can get into town there's plenty to see and do.

Favorite Opponent? (Team/Individual)

Haven't played College ulitmate in a while, but the most enjoyable team I ever played against was Texas. Staying closer to home, I enjoyed the rivalry that Queen's had with Guelph in the two years I played with Mothership. I can't say I have a favorite individual opponent. I enjoy playing against players I know and who know me.

Who's the best University player in the game today?

I am very uninformed regarding the players in the college game today, but with that in mind, if there is anyone playing right now that is better than Kielen Way I would love to see them play. He's like the 5-tool player in baseball. He can do everything and he has that competitive fire on the field that keeps him from getting complacent or relying in his skill alone.

Who's the best ever during your time?

Josh Zipperstein. I still don't understand how anyone is able to defend him. Staying inside Canada, Adam Melnyk. Aside from his abilities on the field he is the best leader I've ever played for.

What are DKUT's expectations at CUUC 2009?

We are limitted by the fact that we haven't played any tournaments together since UPA sectionals last year. We have plenty of depth, and a good veteran core. We will be looking to find our rhythm through the first couple of days and play our way into a quarter-final. After that, anything is possible.

Describe the state of ultimate for Atlantic school teams in general. Will we see more Atlantic schools at nationals soon?

Unfortunately I doubt it. Unless CUUCs come to Halifax or somewhere in the vicinity, they will never get closer than Montreal. With only Dal coming to Montreal this time, you won't see more teams traveling when the tournament moves to Toronto or Winnipeg or Vancouver. Ultimate on the east coast is disadvantaged by its isolation. It takes 11 hours to drive to Boston, 13 hours to get to Montreal and 15 to get to Ottawa. Those are the cities you have to travel to play Open and Women's tournaments. Everything in the area is co-ed which doesn't foster growth of men's and women's teams to play at CUUCs. Schools such as Acadia and SFX only have 8-10 men, and 4-6 women on their rosters. That doesn't allow them to play anything but co-ed. Until we start hosting open and women's tournaments closer to home, I don't see the smaller schools developing anything other than co-ed teams.

What was/is the most aggravating thing about the game?

The ability players have to make questionable calls that benefit themselves and their team. Everyone does it due to the inherent bias in self-officiating. Some are a lot worse than others. Watching the two observed games at Northeastern Regionals this past weekend, it was amazing to see the number of calls that were overturned by observers in those games. I don't think the game should be fully officiated as I like putting the onus on the players to know the rules and regulate themselves, but so long as you have quality observers that you can trust to make the right calls, I like having observers to keep the players in check.

How would you describe DKUT's playing style?

Hard nosed. If a team is going to beat us, we want to make them have to work hard to do it. Nothing is going to come easy.

Which players will DKUT rely on for Offence and Defence respectively?

I have a feeling that people will know who Bobo Eyrich is by the end of the tournament. He is still getting better, but as it stands now he can change a game in multiple ways on either side of the disc.

Given that Dal has a large majority of students who are from outside the maritimes, does the Halifax system help feed players to Dalhousie? Can the Halifax system improve to help foster better development (through Dal and HURL)?

I feel it's the other way around. Dalhousie feeds players to Red Circus (the halifax Open team). I count 11 guys on Red Circus whose first competitive ultimate experience was with DKUT.

Throughout the country, the goal has to be to get kids playing ultimate at a younger age. The next step is to get kids coming to university as great players already. It's starting to happen, but when you look at the quality of the high school system in the states and the types of players they are pumping out, we have a long ways to go. One of the major goals of Halifax Ultimate right now is to foster the growth of ultimate in schools in the maritimes. They are establishing coaches for high school teams and host a high school tournament every year, and are implementing clinics in junior high schools to target kids at an even younger age.

Talking with Trainor- Isabelle Ascah-Coallier, Université de Montréal - Ultimate Diva Montréal


On the eve of the 2009 Canadian University Ultimate Championships, we profile the captain of one of the newest teams in university women's ultimate- Université de Montréal - 'Ultimate Diva Montréal'. Despite a small roster for CEUUC 2009, the team surprised many and finished second.

Beating many established programs like city rival McGill made readers ask- Who is this team?

Isabelle Ascah-Coallier has just completed her first year of women's club play with Montreal's Mystik. Identified by coach Sonia Kraijeck as one of the key players on Diva, Isabelle was kind enough to take part in an interview with me to tell us about her team, her ultimate experiences and her hopes for the U de M program in the future.

Name: Isabelle Ascah-Coallier
Number of Years playing Club : 1 year competitive with Mystik, 6 years in total
Number of Years playing University: 1
History of the U de M women's team: It is the first year of the team. We created it because the CUUC are in Montreal, but we wish to establish a long time program of ultimate at UdeM.

How would you describe your team's style of play?

We are an athletic team. We have many fast girls that are really intense in defense. I think that this is our strength. And Sonia Krajicek, our coach, worked a lot to improve our defensive play.

Describe the team's experience of CEUC 2009 in London?

It was amazing. We went there with high expectations and we achieved our goals. We were competitive against each team and we reached the final. We couldn't have asked for more from our first tournament.

Which team does U de M most want to face at CUUC 2009?

Ottawa or McGill. Two good teams. There is lot of intensity when we play against either one. We had two friendly games against McGill and each was great. It would be fun to meet them in a tournament.

What are the team's expectations at CUUC 2009?

We want to reach the semi-finals. That said, our first goal is to finish in the top two of our pool.

Describe the state of ultimate for Montreal school teams in general. Will we see more Montreal schools at nationals soon outside of CUUC 2009?

There is strong desire in Montreal to have men and women teams at each university (Concordia, McGill, UdeM, etc). The AUM is working towards that goal this year and there will be men teams from the four Montreal universities at CUUC. With all the work done by many people at each university this year, we can just hope that long time programs will be established.

On the women's side, we have two schools with women teams: McGill and us. We hope that the girls on UdeM team enjoy their experience and that next year another womens team at UQAM will be established. I think that multiplying school teams is a good way to improve womens ultimate in Montreal. And as I said, UdeM's team was created because the nationals are in Montreal this year, but we really want to keep this team alive.

What is your favorite thing about the game of ultimate?

I like the way we can combine intensity with good team spirit on the field.

What was/is the most aggravating thing about the game?

Never-ending discussion on the field.

UPA 2009 Regionals Review- East


Review of this weekend's east regional action.

Canada had the chance to send a record number of Canadian teams to UPA finals this year, and it would be largely due to the North East region clubs who had shown promise at sectional tournaments.

As the weekend progressed, the results showed such a breakthrough would not happen. While some players offered up excuses for their team's results (Injuries, full team would have qualified, format, etc) the vast majority were professional and took their results with class and spirit. Every team has injuries. Every team is missing a key piece of talent from their roster and battling some type of adversity. In the end, you have to suck it up and avoid loser talk!

Congratulations to all teams who participated and the teams (American and Canadian) that advanced!

Dominance from Ottawa' GLUM on day one. They had a easy first match in game one, then beat top seed DoG 15-14 in a huge statement game. They went on to go 5-0 in pool play and faced off against DoG in the 1st place final.

By several first hand accounts outside of the team, Ottawa should be proud of a dominant 15-7 victory over DoG. GLUM was impervious to the zone defense thrown at them, and lead convincingly throughout the match.

As feared, the format called for teams to be at their playoff best from game one. The rundown on our solid Canuck teams is as follows:

  • RIP had an impressive Saturday run and made it to semi-finals in the 1st place bracket. They lost in the semis to eventual champion Slow White and their qualifying efforts stalled. They lost again to NTC's Puppet Regime and Enough Monkeys to finish in 6th.
  • Gecko from Sherbrooke went 3-3 and finished 9th
  • MONSTER from Toronto went 2-3 and finished 11th
  • Bytown Flatball Club was quickly eliminated from UPA Finals contention but competed strongly in the 13th bracket and finished 2-2 with a 13th place finish.
In the end, Canadian teams didn't get the Florida bids they hoped for, but they did play well in a tournament with several great American squads. It's nice to see continual improvement from a number of programs that have been in existence for several years.

We knew one Canadian team would make it to Florida, and we had high hopes for another to join GOAT at UPA Finals. Here's the rundown
  • GOAT goes 6-0 straight to the final, but loses 15-6 to Ironside and takes the second bid. The team gave full credit to Ironside for their win and will be working hard to prepare themselves for UPA Finals
  • Phoenix of Ottawa finished 6th. After going 1-1 in pool play, they defeated Red Circus before losing to PONY in Quarters. Still alive, they beat darkhorse Dark of Light before losing to Bodhi for the second time on the weekend and being eliminated.
  • Mephisto of Montreal had a very tough weekend for a defending CUC champion. They went 2-5 and lost to relative unknown Dark or Light to settle for 8th.
  • Red Circus of Halifax upset Colt. 45 in pool play and eliminated Hartford's best from playoff contention. Circus went 1-3 on the weekend, losing to Phoenix in quarters. Ironically, they scored as many points against against Ironside as GOAT did (file in the small victories) .
Everyone knew that Ironside and GOAT were likely to qualify. However, the play of Bodhi was noteworthy to many who watched them live. They have not lost to anyone in the region outside of Ironside/GOAT all year, and they seem to be narrowing the gap with the top two this year.

As expected, the Toronto/Ottawa combo team Capitals was able to hold seed and win the region.

We didn't know how dominant the Capitals would be, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. They went 5-0 in pool play, and had four games where they allowed only one point against. FOUR GAMES. That's a great killer instinct.

Straight to the Finals, the Capitals beat a very good Brute Squad 13-10 and won the region. Brute Squad then won their 2nd place game over Bent and took the last bid.

Storm from Montreal lived up to their 5th place seed but couldn't break through in the playoffs. They earned a chance for 2nd place, but had to beat a high seed in the other pool (Lady Godiva) and could not get past them. They ended up tied for 5th. So ends a very good season for Montreal ultimate, and some of the steps taken this year (like a b team program) will be huge for their chances next season.