Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talking with Trainor: Who is PsychoPlastique?


Every year, Canadian Ultimate wonders when the city of Edmonton's ultimate program will have a breakthrough. We thought it might happen in 2005 with the play of Open team EMU at nationals. We thought Team Alberta's strong play at CUC 2007 was a strong indicator that the women's team would lead the way. These were all false starts for an Edmonton breakthrough (a larger Canadian city that should be a more prominent at the national level). We were disappointed when CUPA gave Edmonton CUUC 2008 and did not see any of their teams make it to CUUC 2009.

It's official- we finally have a breakthrough in Edmonton. Mixed team Psychoplastique.

Psychoplastique is not new. They finished 3rd at CUC 2007, and were a team to watch at CUC 2008. However, the team has accomplished a very tough feat recently, beating out many Northwest region opponents to capture a bid to UPA 2009 Finals in Florida. Not only is this rare for a team out of Alberta, it has not been done by a Canadian mixed squad this decade.

I interviewed team captains Jenn Nichols, Seb Toth and
Patrick MacQuarrie to find out more about the team and their expecatations as they embark for their first UPA championship.

Best of luck in Sarasota!!
How did the team take shape? What have been the keys to success in developing?

Although th
e name Psychoplastique has been around for a while, it was only last year that we started to adhere in an organized fashion and travel to competitive tournaments to gain experience and increased exposure to higher level Ultimate. Edmonton struggles with maintaining numbers in the competitive touring scene, so a mixed team formed as we could not support a competitive separate open and women's team.
Last year, the team had a very similar core to this year, but our systems and values were not as developed. We had a good nationals, apart from our semifinal loss to TFP, and then sent a skeleton squad (almost entirely younger players) to UPAs, and finished middle of the pack at regionals.

This year, Jenn Nicholls (Flycoons and TFP last year, making her a defending UPA and world champion) moved into a captain's role (along with Seb Toth - Furious last year) and really began to push to make this team competitive . We went to Philadelphia to play the Philly invite, and played well enough to beat a couple teams that made UPA nats last year. We had losses to AMP and Slow White, but gained a lot of experience getting to play these top teams. At Potlatch, we lost games to both Mischief and DropCop, but our top powerpool finish helped players to believe that this team had the talent to compete at a high level.

Canadian Nats was a huge let-down for us. For a variety of reasons, we just didn't bring our A game. Perhaps we got a little to comfortable with our Potlatch and Philly experience, but we didn't come into Canadian Nationals with the right attitude, and we paid the price. It was a great wake-up call for UPAs , however, as we addressed a number of issues . Practice and training intensity increased, focused roles developed a little more, and talent was brought in to fill roles that were needed.

How was the sectionals and regionals experience?

Sectionals had a couple tough losses for us. We were up a break on both Flycoons and Spike early, and then collapsed after half. We decided, before regionals, that it was important to keep the energy in games, especially on D, and that started with sideline support. One comment that stuck with me was "our sideline should pump up our D line, not the other way around."

At Regionals, the cards fell into place for us. The weather was bad, but not awful. There was rain, snow and wind, but nothing compared to playing in the swamps at Canadian Nats. The elevation was an issue on the first day, but we adjusted quickly. Although, upsets in the other side of the bracket worked in our favour, we ran hard when we needed to and got our job done.

The Saturday went as expected, as we went 3-1 with a loss to Flycoons. We played Spike on the Saturday morning, and were down 3-2, with no breaks yet, when there was a long delay due to lightning. We came out focused and cohesive, and our D line rose up to take that game 8-4.

In our first chance at a "game to go", against D'oh, we came out flat and never figured out their poaching D systems. Our next game was against Night Train, who had just beaten Mischief in a nail-biter, and seemed to have burned all their energy . We led throughout that game to a 13-3 win. The next chance in a game to go was against CTR. We targeted our D on stopping their break force throws, and took half 7-3. Each team broke early in the 2nd half, and then we traded out before breaking again to win 13-9.

I can honestly say that no one on the team expected us to make it this far, but we feel like we deserve the opportunity, and we hope to be playing meaningful games on Saturday in Sarasota. The northwest is a strong region, and we feel like we can compete near the top.

How is the team preparing for UPA Finals?

We are preparing for the tournament by pushing fitness training and player connections over the next two weeks. We just had our first snowfall, and, combined with limited day-light hours, and limited numbers to practice against, our scrimmages will likely be few and short.

How would you describe your team style of play? Who are the key players on offence and defence?

If you ask almost anyone we have played, they will tell you that we like to huck to both our men and women, and that we are very physical on defense. It is difficult for me to pick out 'key' players, but, if I had to try, on offense it would be Brendan Wong and Jenn Nicholls, while defensively, Seb Toth and Terri Whitehead usually draw the tough matchups.

What's the current state of Edmonton ultimate? Growth?

Edmonton ultimate is still struggling to achieve a high number of competitive players. While there is a healthy city league (, we struggle to maintain numbers throughout a full season and at Psycho practice. We hope that this exposure in Sarasota will help with growth in the competitive scene, as well as coaching and mentoring skills that can be brought back to our university and city teams.

UPA 2009 Finals Website + 10 Things I Think I think


The big dance is but mere days away.

The 2009 UPA Finals website is up, and the teams and schedules are listed. I will be posted previews of the divisions shortly.

Canada has five squads in the championship this year:
  • Traffic (BC) and Capitals (ON) in Women's
  • GOAT (ON) in Open
  • GLUM (ON) in Masters
  • Pyschoplastique (AB) in Co-ed
In the meantime, here are 10 thoughts to be discussed.
  1. I think VC Ultimate is on fire right now, and their sublimation series is H-O-T.
  2. I think the Carleton-Western game, from all witnesses, was a great game play wise and spirit wise.
  3. I think University of Toronto's (Torontula) run from 2006-2008 qualifies as a dynasty.
  4. I think I wish the national championship at the club level was as valued as the University one is now.
  5. I think Mark Lloyd will be a captain for Team Canada at some point in his career
  6. I think the Capitals need to make semis in Sarasota
  7. I think GLUM is as good as they have ever been, and their time to win Masters is now
  8. I think GOAT getting their a$$ handed to them in the regional final was a blessing
  9. I think WFDF under 23 worlds is a great idea for 2011, but too late for 2010
  10. I think Ottawa's first national title in open since 1998 should not be underestimated
UWO Sharks 2009 CUUC- VC Ultimate Sublimation Jerseys

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ravens Soar, Gee Gees Gallop to CUUC 2009 Championship


Ottawa is the proud home to both the mens and women's 2009 Canadian University Ultimate Champions.

Open Results
Finals- The University of Western Ontario Sharks vs the Carleton Ravens.

The Sharks dominated their pool and power pool matchups. The Sharks gave up no more than 7 points in 7 pool games, including a 14-7 win versus Carleton on Saturday. Their wins of Torontula and UBC (14-12) brought their 2009 win streak to 17 heading into the final.

Carleton made it finals after winning a nail biting 13-12 semi versus Queens. They had won 9 of their first 10 games in this tournament, losing only to the Sharks on day 2.

In what is being described by both sides as a great final, Carleton had an outstanding game and took the national championship with a decisive 15-11 victory over Western.

Congratulations to everyone who helped develop this program in Ottawa and helped bring this championship to Ottawa. Team roster is below:

Tobiah Abramson
Reynaldo Arteaga
Ryan Bauer
Joel Bellavance
Neal Dawson
Gerrit De Vynck
Shaw Dungate
Brad Fackoury
Brent Gerhart
Mat Goodkey
Jan Gorski
Jason Lobb
Karl Loiseau
Christian Mahaffy
Eric Mazzei
Devin McCabe
Tim Nardi
Colin Purdy
Bryce Ring
robert schmidt
Joshua Tai
Rene Toupin-Piper
danny vanwilligen
Kielan Way
Tyler Zandbelt

Womens Results

Womens Finals- Ottawa Gee Gees versus McGill Martletts

From the outset of the tournament, this bracket seemed to be (at best) a five team race for the national championship.
  • Ottawa
  • UBC (depending on who/how many players came out "east")
  • Montreal (Upstart rookie team)
  • McGill (Constant contender)
  • Guelph
Ottawa entered CUUC 2009 with a 36-4 record this season, having not lost to a single Canadian team all year. Outside of a close 11-8 win over UdeM Diva in pool play, Ottawa moved quickly and easily to finals.

McGill entered the finals off of a big win over city rival UdeM in the semi finals. In winning 8 straight games at this tournament, McGill showed they were a worthy finalist and the strongest challenger to the Ottawa machine.

In the end, Ottawa won the title with a 14-9 victory over the host Marletts squads. Ottawa finishes 2009 with an astounding 44-4 record for the calender year, and sets their sights now on the UPA college series in the spring of 2010.

Team roster below...

Chanelle Pratt-Johnson
Jenna Atchison
Viviane Bartlett
Shannon Becker
Anita Benoit
Eloise Clement
Laura Evgin
Danielle Fortin
Stephanie Gobin
Louise Guolla
Angelia Hughes
Marie-Andrée Imbeault
Brianna Jaffray
Meghan Kane
Sonia Komenda
Julia Laforge
Kylee Letourneau
Stephanie Mandal
Chantal Mayotte
Anne Mercier
Ariane Morissette
Samantha Morris
Lauren Murphy
Aline Pfefferle
Kathryn Pohran
Gabrielle Robineau-Charette
Vanessa Scharf
Tayla Sedgwick
Kaylee Sparks
Michelle Warren