Nationals Recap – Crash wins Nationals!

Day 1

Game 1: Max Power

Our journey at nationals started out against Max Power, from Toronto. We expected a tough game playing against former MuD players Andy Kubinec and Eric Blanchard along with others from the Toronto Rush and Union. This team definitely had talent to spare, but we were able to contain them by playing zone on a very windy afternoon. They struggled to find space beneath the zone and the wind took away a lot of their over the top throws, leading to a straight-forward win for us. This game also featured a ridiculous number of hand blocks from Jake Redekopp including the one pictured here.

Jake gets one of many handblocks in our first game!

1 Jake gets one of many handblocks in our first game!

We ended up winning this game 13-7.

Game 2: Quest

For our second game, we played against Quest. While this game was not close, ending in a 15-4 win for us, it was super fun. Quest were clearly having a great time playing ultimate and it rubbed off on us during the game. They were laughing, racing to the line, and just generally enjoying their time at Nationals. It was a delightful game.

Game 3: Animals

Our final game on day 1 was against Animals from Sherbrooke, QC. We had played them before at Comedy of Errors in the quarterfinals and were looking forward to another great game. We came out with a lot of energy and a stifling zone defense and took an early lead. Animals hung in the game with some excellent handler motion inside of the front of our zone, but could never get the game back within reach (some timely point blocks helped here again). We worked hard to the end of this game and ended with a 13-8 final score.

Chris makes a throw up the field to Kelvin against Animals!

2 Chris makes a throw up the field to Kelvin against Animals!

After day 1, we were 3-0 and feeling good about how things were going. We had succeeded in winning games with the depth in our roster and had got into a bit of a groove in the wet, windy, weather. Following our games, we went back to Neil’s house for supper and to hang out.

Day 2

Game 1: Bunny Thugs

Day 2 started with a game against Bunny Thugs from Saskatchewan. They played an aggressive swarming zone defense as it was still windy and we struggled a bit in the first half. We gave up a break to open the game, and threw a Callahan later in the half to keep things close. Luckily, our defense was firing on all cylinders like they had been all weekend so far and punched in a lot of breaks. Once the offense got rolling, the game opened up and we ended with a 15-8 win.

Jason Murray was with us all weekend, taking stats and generally making sure everyone was having a great time!

3 Jason Murray was with us all weekend, taking stats and generally making sure everyone was having a great time!

Game 2: Raft

Before our second power pool game against Raft, the energy and passion from the team was palpable. Without even having to say anything, it felt like we understood that this was a big game and that we needed to bring it and bring it we did. We started out on defense going upwind and took a couple breaks to start the game. From there things kept on rolling and we took half 8-2. Raft continued to fight hard in the second half, but we kept them at arms length with clean offense and hard work on defense. This was the best ultimate we’d played all year and it was after this game that I first felt like we might have a chance to win the tournament.

Chris flies through the air after the disc in our game against Raft!

4 Chris flies through the air after the disc in our game against Raft!

After this game, a few of us hung around to watch the pre-quarters game between Sea To Sky and MagnetX that would decide who we played in the morning, while most of the team headed over to Jon’s house for supper. We enjoyed some fine asian cuisine while preparing ourselves for the next day’s toil.

Huddling!

5 Huddling!

Day 3

Quarterfinal: MagnetX

For quarterfinals, we were set to play against MagnetX from New Brunswick. We had played them once before at Comedy and were looking forward to another good game. This game followed the now familiar pattern: we started on defense, got a break and kept pushing from there. This game featured a huge grab from Heather Neary over the top of a MagnetX defender who very clearly had a better angle at the disc. Maybe the play of the tournament for us.

Heather catches the disc over top of a MagnetX defender with impeccable positioning!

6 Heather catches the disc over top of a MagnetX defender with impeccable positioning!

We took half easily and rolled to a 14-10 final. After the game we had our first ‘spirit circle’ of the tournament which was awesome. MagnetX were a great opponent and they told us that we were the most team-like team that they’d lost to this tournament. Since one of our goals is to develop our full roster from top to bottom, this was possibly the nicest thing they could have said. A great game with a great team.

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Semifinal: Backdraft

Our semi-final matchup against Backdraft was a struggle of titanic proportions. More than any other team we’d played against so far, Backdraft was prepared to match our work ethic and drive for a full game. The weather was dreadful, and we struggled mightily on offense throughout the game. On their side Steve Armitage provided more speed than we were used to and they put so much more pressure on our bails than any game so far. As usual, our defense played awesome and got some early breaks, but we couldn’t hold the lead despite a huge sky by Jake late in the first half.

Jake catches the disc over LP right at the back of the endzone.

8 Jake catches the disc over LP right at the back of the endzone.

We led for most of the game, but gave up back to back breaks late in the second half to give them a 10-9 lead. Instead of playing our usual O line, we went with our D players who had played an awesome game so far to try to bring the game back. The hard cap horn blew and we turned the disc, but got it back on a huge play by Cam Bruggeman flying all the way across the field in our zone to get a D on the opposite sideline. We then worked it up the field carefully before Cam threw the disc over Neil’s head at the front cone of the end zone. Incredibly, Devy, as she has done so many times, somehow got to the disc as it settled in the end zone, tieing up the game at 10s. An incredible athletic play to set up a massive universe point to get to the finals!

Amanda Devries saves the tournament for us by laying absolutely flat out to pick the disc off the turf.  Typical!

9 Amanda Devries saves the tournament for us by laying absolutely flat out to pick the disc off the turf. Typical!

With the game now tied at 10s, Cam B came through with another D around midfield to get the disc back for us. From there, Matt and Nate worked it methodically up the away sideline before finding Cam in the end zone for the final score! I’m pretty sure Cam held onto that disc for about 20 minutes after making the catch. It was an incredible end to the game!

We followed up with another spirit circle where both teams showed the respect that they have for each other and the energy which they put into the game. This may well be the most exciting, hard working game of ultimate I’ve ever played in. We were off to the finals in sensational, very emotional, fashion so we celebrated by going to the Mongolian Grill for supper. Delicious!

Day 4

Final: Max Power

Turns out that in the other semifinal, Max Power had defeated Local613, bringing our Nationals journey full circle back to where it started. On paper, looking at our previous score against Max Power (13-7), you might have thought we should be heavy favourites going into the final but this was not true. The weather on Sunday was very different from Thursday with light winds and sunshine, and Max Power had had lots of time to figure out what worked for them on the field over the past 3 days. They’d clearly found their way to success and we were ready for a battle.

We started the game on defense (as we like to do) and for the first few points, everything went to serve. Both teams had to work hard for their points, with a few turns going each way but it took a while for anyone to get a break. The first break came to us to take the lead and then we got another to follow it up and that was all for a while. We gave up a break just before half, but were still up one 8-7 at half time.

If our game against Backdraft had been about the defense, this one was more about the offense. Despite defensive switches and an attempt at zone, Max Power struggled to find ways to stop us from marching the disc down the field. Wayne made a great throws through the cup and Lindsey and John-Eric moved the disc patiently side to side as necessary.

Dan catches the disc in the final after a huge swing across the field from Wayne!

10 Dan catches the disc in the final after a huge swing across the field from Wayne!

Heather and Dayna played incredibly well for us this game, Dayna finding space and gaining yards underneath while Heather was open in the end zone all game long, scoring many many times in the game. Overall, 11 of our first 12 points were scored by our women with Dayna, Bry, and Christa also getting in on the action.

Dayna catches the disc in the finals against Max Power!

11 Dayna catches the disc in the finals against Max Power!

In the second half, we kept things rolling on offense and eventually got another break to widen the margin to three. Nate did an incredible job containing Cam Harris throughout this game and he and Matt combined for some excellent handler motion after the turn.

Nate attempts a footblock on Cam!

12 Nate attempts a footblock on Cam!

Matt catches the disc moving up the field.

13 Matt catches the disc moving up the field.

We gave up a break (only the second we’d allowed in the game) at 13-11 to narrow the gap to 13-12, but we scored the next point to get the game within one at 14-12. After they got one more to make it 14-13, we went back out on the field to try to win the game. We started off moving well, finding space in the middle of the field, but eventually they got us stuck on the sideline near the stands with limited options. With many of their players crowding and poaching near the disc, Lindsey found Jake over the top at a very high stall count to open up the field. Jake threw to Heather, Heather dumped it back to Dan who then threw a break to Jake in the endzone for the winning point.

Jake catches the winning point in the final!

14 Jake catches the winning point in the final!

We’d won the game and won a National Championship! It’s a great feeling! Heather was name MVP of the game having caught many, many points in the game, including this huge grab off a way too floaty huck from me.

Heather catches the disc over two defenders early in the final!

15 Heather catches the disc over two defenders early in the final!

Team photo after the game!

16 Team photo after the game!

Congratulations to the other 4 Ontario teams on making it a top 5 all from Ontario this year! Well done everyone! Congratulations also to PPF also from KW for winning their first Nationals this year! And finally Congratulations to Maverick from KW for beating GT in the 5th place game in the Open Division! An awesome year for touring ultimate in the region!

Photo credits go to Ed Kung, Eye to Ngai Photography, Phurazar Bhada of E-Fire, and Kevin Schuster and were downloaded from Facebook. If any of you would prefer that we take your photos down, let us know and we’ll do so.

OUC 2014 Recap

The Ontario Ultimate Championships happened this past weekend in Kingston, ON and it was a great time! We came into the tournament excited to show the province what we were made of, and thrilled to have almost our entire roster both at the tournament and healthy for the first time since TUF. We were also pumped to be wearing our shiny new uniforms with fancy designs by Lisa Hunter. We looked sharp, and were confident we’d have a good weekend.

Team Photo at OUC 2014

1 Team Photo at OUC 2014

Crash was seeded 5th at the tournament, and with 21 teams in the tournament this meant we were in pool D along with 5 other teams: Local 613(4), LegenDairy(12), Hustle(13), Bulldogs (20), and MMV (21). This meant we’d be playing 5 games to 11 on Saturday to decide where we’d finish in our pool. And this was important, where we finished in the pool mattered a lot to where we’d have a chance to finish on Sunday. Only teams that finished 1st, 2nd, or 3rd would be able to qualify for Nationals, and only teams that finished 1st would have a chance to win. To help clarify, one of our players (thanks Cam!) made a handy, easy-to-read chart, of the Sunday bracket.

Cam's Easy to Read Simple Bracket Explanation Diagram

2 Cam’s Easy to Read Simple Bracket Explanation Diagram

Simple…right?

Games started Saturday morning at 9am for us against Bulldogs. We got things rolling with an 11-4 victory and had success playing deep into our roster. Our goals for Saturday were to win our pool and maintain as much energy as possible for the big games coming later in the day and on Sunday. Next, we played LegenDairy and got another 11-4 victory. We then moved fields and played Hustle on the showcase field. Obviously, we were inspired by the livestream of the game (thanks to our 61 fans who watched!) and we rolled to an 11-0 victory. Then we had a bye before our last two games of the day.

The one photo we have from our game against Bulldogs!

4 The one photo we have from our game against Bulldogs!

After the bye, we played MMV and got off to a quick start, rolling out to a 10-1 lead before things started to fall apart. We gave up four in a row as they started to connect on their hucks and we made some uncharacteristic errors. We finally ended the game at 11-5 to set up our final contest of the day against Local613.

We were back on the showcase field for our game against Local613, so here’s a link to the Youtube video if you want to watch the game. This was a big game as it would decide who would win Pool D and have a shot at the championship, and who would be forced into the lower brackets. We came out firing, with a big effort on defense and stoic determination to score on offense. The game wasn’t always pretty, but thanks to some heroic efforts from Neil Thomas against Andrew Carroll and the fact that we seemed a little better rested than them we pulled out a tight 10-7 victory.

Neil makes a catch!

6 Neil makes a catch!

This was also a nice bit of redemption for us as we’d lost to Local613 in the semis at Comedy a few weeks ago. Good to get back on the winning track!

Dan makes a grab in the end zone against Local613

7 Dan makes a grab in the end zone against Local613

The win meant we finished first in Pool D and would play in the semi-finals on Sunday morning against Backdraft. Needless to say, we were pretty pumped!

Crash cheers after winning pool D!

]8 Crash cheers after winning pool D!

On Sunday morning the weather turned from beautiful to bad. With high winds, rain, and a lack of sunshine that made it a great day for playing some ultimate! Unfortunately, the livestream of the games was shut down by the bad weather but even without our internet audience we were still ready to play some ultimate. We were especially excited to play because Amanda DeVries had shown up to join our team for Sunday morning and that was a nice, not completely expected, bonus!

Cam marks against Backdraft!

9 Cam marks against Backdraft!

Unfortunately, our game against Backdraft started very badly. We played D on the first point and they scored…then we gave up a break…then another break…and a third break… It was 4-0 and things were not looking good for Crash. But then Heather arrived after missing Saturday due to her sister’s wedding. She scored the 5th point of the game making the score 4-1 and then got a couple breaks to bring the game back into reach at 4-3. It was a starting point and we were looking to build on it. Backdraft scored a couple more points and took half (it was a timed half), but we were energized and looking great on defense.

We play defense!

9 We play defense!

After half we went on a run and tied the game at 6-6. Then we played a really, really, long point. Both teams had multiple chances to score, timeouts were called, and everyone on the field was looking exhausted. We pulled that one out and never looked back. Final score was 10-7 and we’d scored 10 of the last 13 points in the game and won the second half 6-1. It was a struggle, but we’d qualified for nationals and made it to the championship game!

In the final, we played against Raft from Ottawa. We came out hot and never looked back! We took half 8-2 in the windy conditions and won the game 10-3 to finish off our run through the tournament! Emily made a sweet grab in the end zone to close out the game and we celebrated!

Emily catches the winning point against Raft!

11 Emily catches the winning point against Raft!

Celebration!

12 Celebration!

Congratulations to the other 4 teams which qualified for Nationals this weekend! We’re looking forward to seeing you all at Nationals in Waterloo!

With the cup!

13 With the cup!

Here are the final standings for the weekend. We’re also very proud of how well Thunder played and are pumped for their 12th place finish after being in a very tough pool on Saturday! Well done!

1. Crash
2. Local613 3. Raft
4. Backdraft
5. Max Power
6. NoBS
7. The Tribe
8. Quick & Dirty
9. Glide
10. SPF
11. Legendary
12. Thunder
13. Zen
14. Force
15. Bulldogs
16. Hydra
17-21. (Not listed on Ultimate Canada website)

We did it!

14 We did it!

We’re thrilled that we’ve met one of our goals for the season, and we’re proud of how we accomplished it through hard work and depth throughout the roster! It’s been an awesome season so far and we’re only looking forward to build on this success at Nationals in a month!

See you in Waterloo!

Thanks to Ed Kung for taking most of these photos!

Comedy of Errors Recap

So, first of all, sorry for missing a tournament recap for the MayDay tournament in Waterloo. Here’s a short one to make up for it. We played 5 games in one day and came 2nd in the tournament. Wins over Thunder, Wendigo, Quick and Dirty, and Hydra, and a loss (on universe again) to Tribe in the final. Great tournament, lots of good things to build on.

This past weekend, we drove out to Montreal for Comedy of Errors. We were a little short rostered for the weekend with only 16 players suiting up for the squad (8 guys and 8 ladies). Low numbers, but an awesome group. I’d like to give a special shout out to Jake Redekopp, who flew in direct from China for the tournament and played great despite maybe a little lingering jet lag. Thanks for making the journey in time and welcome back to Canada!

Team Photo at Comedy of Errors.

Team Photo at Comedy of Errors.

Due to the rain over the past few days, the tournament had to be moved from the original fields to a set of outdoor turf fields at a local school. The facilities were great, but it meant that each team had to play a game or two indoors. For us, that was our first game of the tournament against Bebop from Montreal in pool play. We didn’t really know what to expect from them, but it was clear from the outset that they were very used to the indoor game. They played a sagging poaching defense near the end zones and in the lanes that we struggled to beat and were very comfortable defending on the narrower indoor fields. We struggled to find space up the field and ended up losing the game 15-10.

For our second game, we moved outside for a match against MagnetX from Moncton. We hit our stride in this game with a much stronger play on both offense and defense, cutting down on mistakes and forcing turnovers with a stifling zone to take half 8-3. The second half was more of the same with the game ending 13-6 at the time cap. A nice bounce-back game after a frustrating loss.

For our final game of day one, we played against Glide from Ottawa with an important (especially for us with our short roster) bye into the quarterfinals at stake. It was a tight game all the way through with a few (well, many) contentious calls. Christa made a number of key catches right in the back corner of the end zone to get us enough breaks to take the lead, and we closed out the game on universe point for an 11-10 win. We headed back to our hotel for supper and went to the Rush-Royal game in the evening.

Packing up at the End of Day One

Packing up at the End of Day One

Sunday morning began with a game against Animales from Sherbrooke. They took half 8-7, after a bit of a lacklustre effort from us in the first half, but we stormed back with fury in the second half breaking 6 times in a row to take control of the game. An enormous effort to take the game. Also in this game, Animales completed the most phenomenal ‘greatest’ that I’ve ever seen in my (admittedly short) playing career. A full layout catch out the sideline followed by a beautiful floating throw behind the head back to the middle of the field. It was a thing of beauty. Fortunately, it wasn’t able to change the outcome of the game, but it was still awesome! Unfortunately, Jon Hines hurt his ankle during this game, further dropping the number of players we had available for the rest of the day.

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Our semi-final game was against Local613, from Kingston, who got out to a quick start by throwing a nifty zone at us early in the game. We struggled to score and fell behind by a few breaks early in the game. We got a couple back later in the first half, but never managed to close the gap. A well-fought game, but in the end a 14-9 loss.

Losing that game did let us play one more new team in the tournament though as Undertow lost the other semi-final to Glide and we were set to play them for 3rd place. I felt like we controlled this game from the start with an early break and clean offense and we pulled it out with a 13-10 win by the end of the day. We played very well on tired legs and fought hard for every point. A great way to end the weekend.

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Finally, we stretched, and some people gave us Nestea. It was weird, but it was also awesome!

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Day Two TUF – 2nd Place Finish

Day two began with a heated matchup against Thunder Ultimate. Coming right out of tryouts, there was a little bit of extra intensity involved in this game and Thunder showed us just how good they could become this season. Thunder took an early lead, but we slowly worked our way back in front to take half 8-6. The battle between Neil Thomas and Brad Froese in the first half was especially fun to watch with both guys throwing themselves at every possible play. The second half went Crash’s way and the final score was 15-8 Crash. This was a great game with huge plays on both sides and the final score doesn’t really do justice to how close the game felt. Thunder went on to finish 8th at the tournament, a huge jump from their original seed! Awesome!

Running after the pull.

1 Running after the pull.

After our game against Thunder we had a round off before the semi-finals during which we enjoyed some delicious cake brought by Suze from her wedding shower the day before. Amanda DeVries also arrived, providing a boost to our roster for the afternoon games.

Amanda plays some zone defense.

2 Amanda plays some zone defense.

Our semi-final game was against Smoke, from Peterborough, and once again we fell behind by a break in the first half (I sense a theme here). We were playing well on offense, but struggled to stop their hucking game in the first half. Some adjustments and a little more zone defense got us a couple breaks late in the first half to get back on top in the game. In particular, Devy came up with a huge block in the endzone on a swing pass that led to a score. We stayed ahead for the rest of the game eventually scraping out an 11-10 victory and setting us up for a rematch against The Tribe in the final.

Jon Hines throws a pass!

3 Jon Hines throws a pass!

In the final, we once again fell behind in the first half. We forced lots of turnovers but struggled to punch them in for scores and The Tribe successfully converted their opportunity for a break. The game featured a ton of big plays with huge D’s by Eugene for them, and Neil for us. We were down 8-7 at half time.

Dan tries to throw around Jacky, gets fouled.

4 Dan tries to throw around Jacky, gets fouled.

In the second half, we came back with two breaks to tie the game at 10-10 with us starting on offense. The horn blew and it was universe point. The final point of the game was just like the rest of it, hard fought, competitive, spirited, and filled with opportunities for both teams to put the game away. In the end, the game was won with a massive grab by Ron in the endzone jumping over Neil. He was clearly fouled on the play and did an amazing job to hang onto the disk! It was a fitting end to a great game.

Congratulations Tribe! I’m sure it won’t be the last time we play each other this year and I’m looking forward to all the future meetings.

Ron Siu makes the game-winning grab!

5 Ron Siu makes the game-winning grab!

Once again, thanks to Ed Kung for taking all of these photos. You can find more photos from day two in his album on Facebook.

TUF Tournament Recap – Day One

This weekend was our first tournament of the summer, the Toronto Ultimate Festival at Sunnybrook Park. This is the first significant tournament for Ontario touring in the summer schedule. We were seeded first in the tournament which put us in Pool A with Skerj Ultimate, Quick’n’Dirty, and So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (Big Fish at a farewell tournament).

Team cheer after our game against Tribe on Saturday.

1 Team cheer after our game against Tribe on Saturday.

Our first game Saturday morning was against Skerj, a team featuring several of our friends from Whiplash last season. We took care of business in this game and came up with a 15-2 win. Good way to start to the season! We then played against the Fish crew from Ottawa and came away with a convincing 13-4 win. Our final pool play game was more of a battle. After starting out strong and taking a big lead early in the first half, Quick’n’Dirty came storming back to bring it to just an 8-6 halftime lead for Crash. It was a hard fought first half with lots of big plays both ways.

Chris Sanderson throwing a sweet flick down the field.

2 Chris Sanderson throwing a sweet flick down the field. Check out that face!

Our final game on Saturday was the 1 vs. 1 crossover game between pools A and D so we scheduled to play against The Tribe, a new team from Toronto made up primarily of players from the University of Toronto. They are young, athletic, and talented and had won their pool with convincing wins over BULLDOGS, Hubris, and Raft. We knew heading into it that this was going to be a game.

Everett Walls lays out next to Eugene from Tribe who is getting a huge defensive block!

3 Everett Walls lays out next to Eugene from Tribe who is getting a huge defensive block!

We started off going down a couple points as a few ill-advised hucks were met with some excellent deep defense, but battled to keep the game close. Late in the first half we got one break and then another to take the lead at halftime. Perhaps my favourite play of the weekend happened during this game. Playing Offense against a zone, we were stuck on the sideline for a bunch of throws in a row. Their defense got a little agressive trying to make sure we couldn’t get out of this spot and missed Christa sneaking deep down the field. Wayne threw up a perfect huck in the wind the length of the field and Christa was 40-50 yards open to catch it. Beautiful throw!

Neil makes a catch!

4 Neil makes a catch!

This game was also a bit of a coming out party for Neil Thomas, new to touring ultimate this season. Neil got some significant reps at big moments during this game and made the most of it. The game finished with a final score of 10-8 in our favour with a big huck to a laying out Cam Nugent (also new to Crash this season) after he snuck away deep from a poaching defender. Awesome grab by Cam!

The crossver game win meant we held our top seed going into Sunday’s play and set up a showdown with Thunder Ultimate in the quarterfinals.

High fives!

5 High fives!

Thanks to Ed Kung for taking such great photos all weekend! So awesome. More photos from the tournament are available in his albums.

Day two recap coming soon!