BOULDER (5/29/11) – The No. 2 University of Colorado men’s ultimate team’s hope of winning a national championship on their home turf ended on Sunday night as they were defeated 14-10 by the No. 7 University of Wisconsin in the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships semifinals at the Pleasant View Sports Complex.
“I’m proud of them, they put a lot into the season and I know it sucks to lose,” said CU head coach Jim Schoettler. “There is not much to say about the game. This is the end of the season for them and this is the end of their college careers for a lot of them. There is not much to say other than I’m proud of them, and they know that.”
Colorado finishes the season with a 33-9 record after they defeated No. 4 Pittsburgh 12-7 earlier in the day in the national quarterfinals.
In the semifinals game, CU was led by seniors Hykle Sneider, who had four goals and two assists, Dan Gruber, who had three goals, Martin Freeman, who scored twice, and Matt Zemel, who threw for four goals in the game.
Yet even with the Buffaloes’ upperclassman stepping up, CU did not have an answer for Wisconsin’s Colin Camp, who finished the game with eight goals and two assists, many of which came while he was open down the field.
“We started playing underneath guys because we felt that we had to take out their throwers by playing a very flat mark and trying to not let them huck, so we had to play underneath everyone else,” Schoettler said on why Camp was so wide open so many times. “If the throwers get it up, it is going to be open deep.”
It took less than two minutes for Colorado to get on the scoreboard against Wisconsin as Sneider grabbed a great pass in the end zone from Zemel just 90 seconds into the game. Wisconsin countered two minutes later in what began a three goal run for the Badgers.
After a CU timeout, Sneider picked up his second score of the day, making it a 3-2 contest. Both teams traded goals for most of the first half, but it was Wisconsin that gained the edge late in the stanza, scoring three of the final four points to take an 8-5 lead at halftime.
Wisconsin opened the second half with two quick scores before Sneider and the Buffs were able to answer back. The rest of the second half was played very closely with the Badgers holding a 12-8 advantage after the 85 minute regulation. Since Wisconsin didn’t get to the 15 goal cap in regulation, the two teams played a 20 minute soft-time cap, with the club that scores 14 points first being the winner. In the extra stanza, CU and Wisconsin traded goals with Camp securing the win for the Badgers after grabbing a long pass in the end zone nearly 10 minutes into the soft time-cap.
The game could have easily have gone the other way for Colorado, as the Buffs had people open in the end zone five times throughout the contest, but each time the disc seemed to just be a few inches too far from the hands of the CU players.
“I think that is because people are being a little amped up and are just putting too much power behind the disc and not enough float under it,” Schoettler said on why his team couldn’t convert on the opportunities. “We haven’t really had that problem this year, and it showed up here and we just never made the adjustment. If those go our way, then this is a different game.”
In Colorado’s quarterfinals matchup with Pittsburgh in the morning, senior Jack McShane and junior Zander Padget led the Buffaloes offense with McShane throwing eight goals while Padget caught four goal passes, all of which were from McShane.
“Jack is one of our best and calmest handlers and Zander is one of our best cutters,” Schoettler said of McShane and Padget. “We put them out together, they hadn’t played on the same line a lot this year, but they both know exactly what they are doing. They were on the same page today and that certainly makes a big difference.”
With fresh legs after resting all of their usual starters in the Buffs’ last game against Texas, the CU offense found the end zone early and often, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead. The CU defense was also doing their part, keeping the dangerous Pitt attack at bay and not allowing the Panthers to score for the first 26 minutes of the game.
Twelve minutes after Pitt got on the scoreboard, CU found their way back into the end zone with McShane finding Snieder for the score. Pitt would answer with two goals in a matter of four minutes, but Colorado would match that total as Snieder picked up his second goal and sophomore Todd Wolma also scored to give the Buffs the 8-3 lead at halftime.
In the second half, CU and Pitt traded two goals each and had a 10-5 score after 85 minutes of regulation, forcing the game into the 20 minute soft time-cap.
With the Panther’s on the verge of elimination, Pitt scored first in the soft-time cap, but less than two minutes later, CU did the same on a diving catch by Padget in the end zone. After another Pitt goal, Colorado was patient with their offense and finally with 8:15 remaining in the soft-cap, McShane found sophomore Jimmy Mickle for the game ending score.
McShane said the difference between Saturday’s game and CU’s two previous contests against Pitt, which both ended in closes losses for the Buffs, was the team’s defense.
“Our defense came out fired up,” McShane said. “They got five or six breaks in the beginning of the game and once you get up five or six points, it takes the other team mentally out of their game, they can’t work it under, and they have to go for quick scores. We experimented a lot during the season, tried to figure stuff out and I think we were set this time.”
While Colorado lost the season series with Pittsburgh, the Buffs did win both matchups against Wisconsin during the year. However, once again the Badgers got the better of the Buffs in the national tournament, like they did in 2008 when they knocked them out of the semifinals, and in 2009 when they ended CU’s run in the championship game.
Although the loss once again to Wisconsin hurts, Sneider said the team did all they could throughout the season and in the tournament to win the school’s first championship since 2004.
“This is the first year that I felt that we could not have done any more than we could,” Sneider said after the loss to the Badgers. “We made it a goal after last nationals to come out and work harder this year. We got a strength and conditioning coach, we worked out seven days a week and I just don’t think we could have given any more. I feel good about the loss knowing that we couldn’t have given anything else throughout the year.”
Wisconsin will play No. 1 Carleton College on Monday at 2 p.m. at the Pleasant View Sports Complex in the championship game.
A live video stream of the championship game will be available online at http://www.usaultimate.org/news/2011-college-championships--live-streaming-schedule/. The semifinals games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on June 25 at noon and 1 p.m. MT, and on June 26 at 1 p.m. MT. The championship game will air on July 15 at 7 p.m. MT. Check local listings for more information.
Event website: http://www.usaultimate.org/competition/college_division/college_championships/default.aspx
Day 3 video highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w27syEVvhBg
Tournament results: http://scores.usaultimate.org/scores/#college-open/tournament/8928
CU Men's Ultimate website: http://www.mamabird.com/
Colorado Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Jim Schoettler
On the win vs. Pitt—“We came out 5-0 and you can’t start a game much better than that. That is all our defense. We are really, really confident in our defense right now, which is a great thing for us. Our offense needs to settle down a little bit. They get out there and they have all of the talent in the world, but they get a little bit nervous I think. That is something that we can improve on.”
On the defensive battle and long game vs. Pitt—“For a score 12-7, the game should not have taken that long. That is our fault for not being more efficient on offense. We could have scored all of our offensive points in a minute or less and a lot of them took five minutes or so. That is something that we have to be aware of. In the end it kind of was who would outlast who. We knew that they would be tired and longer games favor us so it is not the worst thing in the world.”
On the difference today vs. Pitt compared to previous two meetings—“We changed a lot of stuff up. Our defense is a lot tighter, we know what they want to do having seen them before and I think our deep game on offense is far better. They were planning that we were going to play it under by the way that they were playing defense. Even though we didn’t hit all of our hucks, they were all open and they were all pretty good looks. We did hit some of them and those can be back breakers.”
On preventing the Pitt comeback—“I think our changes kept them on their heels a little bit. Pittsburgh is a team that can come back and from 5-0, they played us even so our whole focus was as long as our offense can send our scorers 80-90 percent of the time, that is great and they did that. I think we got broken once.”
On Jack McShane and Zander Padget combination—“Jack is one of our best and calmest handlers and Zander is one of our best cutters. We put them out together, they hadn’t played on the same line a lot this year, but they both know exactly what they are doing. They were on the same page today and that certainly makes a big difference.”
On Wisconsin game—“Our defense has been capable of putting us up early and they didn’t do that this game. We came out kind of soft on defense. Hard to say exactly why that happened, our intensity probably wasn’t there, and they kept us on our heels because they hucked it a couple of times and scored deep. Our offense played tighter than they needed to and they probably just had some nerves. A couple of turnovers early and we get down and at that point we have to play a very aggressive defense and that is what we started doing and we just couldn’t stop their hucks. If we are playing aggressive defense and we can’t stop their hucks, then we are in trouble.”
On being close to scoring so many times vs. Wisconsin—“That was a case a lot with our offense and I think that is because people are being a little amped up and are just putting too much power behind the disc and not enough float under it. We haven’t really had that problem this year, and it showed up here and we just never made the adjustment. We turned it over our first three or four turns and they immediately scored on discs off of turnovers that were just a bit outside of people’s reach out of bounds. Those go our way, then this is a different game. To Wisconsin’s credit, they are a really good team and they took advantage of our mistakes, and that is what it is about.”
On Wisconsin’s Colin Camp’s performance—“We started playing underneath guys because we felt that we had to take out their throwers by playing a very flat mark and trying to not let them huck, and so we had to play underneath everyone else. If the throwers get it up, it is going to be open deep. That goes back to our marks and our marks didn’t do our job, their mind wasn’t there, that last point is an example. We played straight up on Brian Feldman, who hucked the last disc and we just didn’t get over on our marks so he had a wide open player deep. It was some mental mistakes.”
On what he told his team after the loss—“I’m proud of them. They put a lot into the season and I know it sucks to lose. There is not much to say about the game. This is the end of the season for them and this is the end of their college careers for a lot of them. There is not much to say other than I’m proud of them, and they know that.”
Senior Jack McShane
On his game vs. Pitt—“I thought I played alright. I was a little antsy and nervous, I mean it was a big game at the beginning so once I got that under control, calmed myself down, and it really it was our cutters doing the work, getting open and it makes it easy on the handlers, makes it easy on me.”
On the pace of the game vs. Pitt—“It was a little slow. There were a lot of calls in the middle of the game. It slowed down for sure. I think they were real tired, they were real pouchy, and you have to be a little more patient when they are that pouchy. It slowed down a little bit, but I think that was too our advantage since we got a big lead.”
On the difference vs. Pitt today compared to previous meetings—“Just our defense, our defense came out fired up. They got five or six breaks in the beginning of the game and once you get up five or six points, it takes the other team mentally out of their game, they can’t work it under, and they have to go for quick scores. We experimented a lot during the season, tried to figure stuff out and I think we were set this time.”
Senior Hylke Snieder
On the loss to Wisconsin—“We were a little tense coming out and it seemed like our hucks were just two yards off every time. It makes it really hard when you get down two-three breaks to start for the defense to get rolling. We were a little nervous to start and we never really got our offense to settle down.”
On his performance vs. Wisconsin—“I don’t think there is another team that I get more fired up to play. All of the older guys want to beat these guys and I think it came down to us being too tight to begin with. Our energy was real good, but just too tight.”
On his feelings after the loss—“It sucks to lose every time. I’ve played the last four years and every year we make it to nationals but we couldn’t win a championship. This is the first year that I felt that we could not have done any more than we could. We made it a goal after last nationals to come out and work harder this year. We got a strength and conditioning coach, we worked out seven days a week and I just don’t think we could have given any more. I feel good about the loss knowing that we couldn’t have given anything else throughout the year.”