We start with a big thanks to all of our fans and those of us who have helped get us to this point in the season. We could not have done it without you. Though there have been recaps of Northeast Regionals from other sources, below is our account of this past weekend. Enjoy the read (courtesy of Josh McCarthy)
Northeast Regionals Recap
Boston Ironside competed at Northeast Regionals this past weekend October 6-7. The tournament represented the team’s final test before the Club Championships in Sarasota later this month. Weather forecast for the weekend predicted a pleasant Saturday followed by a seasonably cold and rainy Sunday. The tournament format was triple elimination with 3 bids on the line to the show.
Sailors awoke bright and early Saturday morning looking forward to defending the team’s regional championship. The team’s first round opponent was DTrain, a New York City based squad that was a late addition to the tournament. Ironside took advantage of its depth and exploited DTrain’s small roster of only about 10 players, jumping out to a quick lead before culminating in a swift 15-1 victory to advance to the quarterfinals. Props to DTrain and their tweets for making sure Score Reporter correctly reflected the outcome of the game.
The quarterfinals was against The Night’s Watch, a Connecticut based club team in its first year and captained by ex-Bentley star Alex Morrone. Again, Ironside cruised to an early lead before finishing off a 15-3 victory.
Following a bye, Ironside faced off in the semifinals against 4th seeded Garuda, a Boston based team in its second year that had recently given Ironside all sorts of fits in the East New England sectional championship game (Ironside won that match 15-12 but not without a great deal of struggle). Garuda had received a lot of favorable press and many were predicting them to make some noise and play in the final game to go come Sunday afternoon. Ironside started off this game slow out of the gates with a first pass miscue that led to an easy Garuda break, followed by a longer second point in which Ironside held on Offense but not before turning over the disc multiple times. However, at that point, the Ironside D quickly righted the ship and stormed ahead to a large halftime advantage before closing out the game 15-4. As the game slipped out of reach, Garuda appeared to open its lines in anticipation of playing meaningful games on Sunday. (Unfortunately for the young Boston team, it lost consecutive games to Dark or Light and Phoenix Sunday morning to prematurely end its tournament. We wish them well at the Ultimate Invite Championship in Sarasota later this month).
Following the conclusion of the game, Ironside headed over to watch the other semifinal between Toronto’s GOAT and New York’s PONY as it was winding down. Although PoNY held an early 6-5 lead, GOAT took half 8-7 and never looked back en route to a convincing 15-10 victory.
Finals were scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM Sunday morning with both pride and Nationals berths at stake. Although the weather forecast was ominous, and in fact the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees compared with Saturday, conditions were otherwise calm and tranquil (and neither wind nor rain would play any factor in the outcome of this game). Ironside took note of GOAT’s recent European additions (and confirmed with the GOAT coach that USAU residency requirements were properly satisfied); in particular, Sebastian Sporrong, a well-regarded player from Sweden who would play virtually every O point for the herd, seamlessly stepped into the big man cutter role occupied for so many years by Big Andy (who is rumored to have retired along with elder Hassell).
Ironside started on Offense, and quickly punched in the score for the 1-0 lead. While the Ironside D Line would generate a number of turns and near misses, GOAT would nonetheless trade out to 3-2 before Ironside would break not once but twice to open up the 3 point lead at 5-2. Trading would ensue with both teams playing crisp, turnover-free offense the rest of the way; Ironside’s O easily moved the disc down the field with Danny Clark open for multiple uncontested endzone looks, while GOAT, behind the steady hands of Derek Alexander, Thomson McKnight and Mark Lloyd around the disc, and Jeff Lindquist, Sporrong, and budding Team Canada mixed star Cam Harris downfield, started clicking. Halftime score was 8-5, Boat and by all accounts Ironside appeared in control.
The second half featured quite the turn of events. Following a smooth GOAT O point to start the half, a high backhand thrown by Alex Kapinos behind Jim Foster resulted in the Ironside O Line’s first turnover. Following an inside breakmark by Adrian Yearwood and a quick dishy, GOAT found Martinez for the easy breakside score. Ironside, unfazed, worked it down the field and was knocking at the endzone door before Yearwood on the mark tipped a George Stubbs high release backhand that otherwise was headed for an open Foster in the endzone. Again, GOAT attacked and notwithstanding some stout Ironside D, suddenly it was 8-8, on serve, the momentum had shifted, and the GOAT D and sideline had all of the energy. An ill-timed drop on an open Peter Prial in-cut led to another GOAT opportunity; however, strong D forced a stall 9 backhand huck that sailed to the opposite endzone corner. While Stubbs appeared to grasp the disc in his hand high above the pile(reminiscent of his play in the Club Championship game last year), contact caused him to lose his grasp and the disc fluttered into Inian Moorthy’s hands; after a brief conversation, the players agreed that there was no call to be made on the play. 9-8 GOAT, and Ironside called timeout to refocus. Following the timeout, again Boston would work the disc up the field, but a Clark swing misfired into the ground and GOAT was off to the races, quickly scoring to go up 10-8.
At this point, Ironside subbed in a fresh 7 consisting of D Line players. Despite heavy GOAT pressure, Alex Simmons escaped Yearwood deep for a huck from Rusty Ingold-Smith, followed by a quick pass from Simmons to Russell Wallack for the goal that somewhat steadied the ship. However, GOAT’s O Line promptly held, and the teams again traded turnover free points until 13-11, at which point Clark could not reel in a deep look, giving the GOAT D Line their 5th possession of the game. Again, the Boston D was tight and a desperation crossfield backhand was heaved to nearly the identical place in the endzone as the earlier contested Stubbs play. Multiple players from both teams converged, with Kapinos D’ing the disc….only for it to float ten yards to a hustling GOAT player who evaded a bidding Prial for the 5th GOAT break of the game. 14-11, and GOAT was the closest it had been to the regional championship since the first year of Boston Ultimate/Ironside in 2007 (which featured two GOAT possessions on double-game point).
The Boston O Line would hold with a bang-bang Kapinos to Stubbs combination. Now, it was gut-check time for the defense. With the game on the line, Harris sent a deep backhand huck to preferred target Linq, with defender Jack Hatchett in tight coverage. While Hatchett appeared to establish position, Linq nonetheless came down with the catch and an apparent GOAT victory. However, Hatchett called an offensive foul, asserting that Linq had used his arm to shield Hatchett from making a play on the disc. Linq (and his GOAT teammates) were in apparent disbelief – but when Linq went to the observer for a ruling, the observer upheld Hatchett’s call and Ironside’s hopes were still alive. Ironside worked the disc for several passes, but a Wallack huck to Colin Mahoney was defended at the last instant by Harris, who tipped the disc away and GOAT had another chance for victory – but the Boston D again went to work. This time, there would be no controversy, as a full-extension Will Neff layout catch block on a Derek Alexander post cut regained possession for Ironside. Following some handler activity, Brandon “Muffin” Malecek found Hatchett for the cone cut to get one break back, 14-13 GOAT. With the Ironside spirits picked up and the D hungry for more, McKnight’s attempted break-mark flick popped over the head of the cutting Sporrong and right into the hands of a pursuing Seth Reinhardt. Following a dishy to Stubbs, Stubbs and Neff, and then Stubbs and Simmons worked the give-and-go for the quick Stubbs score and the game was all of sudden tied at 14s, overtime game to 16.
On the ensuing pull, Sporrong received the disc on an in-cut, but miscommunicated with Linq, and Hatchett easily picked off the pass. Following a timeout called by Simmons and a busted set play, Neff found Hatchett on the goal scoring cut and Ironside regained the lead 15-14. At that point, GOAT seemed somewhat shell-shocked at the recent turn of events, and following an extremely close Simmons bid for a Callahan earlier in the point, Scottie Nicholls couldn’t connect on a short flick to Yearwood. Simmons picked up the disc and attacked right away, finding Wallack in the corner for the score. Game, Set, Regional Championship.
It was certainly an exciting finish for Ironside – and a disappointing end result for GOAT, which then struggled against a fiery PoNY squad in the 2-3 game but emerged ultimately victorious in the 3-4 game vs. Dark or Light (a team filled with Amherst Regional alums and friends). Both GOAT and PoNY may have not had the best of regular seasons, but will undoubtedly present well with their full roster in Sarasota in two weeks, regardless of how seeding shakes out.
Following tradition, Ironside completed its championship sprints and push-ups, and then enjoyed the action on the sidelines as fellow Boston teams Brute Squad, The Ghosts, Slow White and Wildcard all punched their ticket to the show. Congratulations and best of luck to all of the Club Championship qualifiers!
Meanwhile, we are back to work this Wednesday with Tim Morrill and then a double practice session this weekend as we look to work out some final kinks and otherwise stay healthy and sharp.
THIS CREW ROWS DEEP.
See you in Florida.