BOULDER (5/28/11) – The No. 2 University of Colorado men’s ultimate team Mamabird finished as the top team in Pool B and earned an automatic bid to the national quarterfinals on Sunday at the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships at the Pleasant View Sports Complex.
The Buffaloes continued their hot play in day two of pool play as they beat No. 10 Virginia 15-9 in the morning game. The victory was CU’s 17th in a row and secured them the top seed in the pool. In the afternoon contest, Colorado rested all of their usual starters and was defeated by No. 16 Texas 15-8. The loss was CU’s first since Mar. 20 against Pittsburgh.
Colorado improves their record to 32-8 overall and finishes pool play with a 3-1 mark.
The Buffs will have the chance at redemption against Pitt as they will play the Panthers on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. in the quarterfinals at Field 8 of the Pleasant View Sports Complex. No. 4 Pittsburgh defeated No. 3 British Columbia 15-7 in the pre-quarters on Saturday evening to earn the spot in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
If CU wins, they will play in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon. The Buffs are 0-2 against Pitt this season with the Panthers squeaking out a 14-13 victory on Mar. 6 and a 15-13 victory on Mar. 20.
Colorado had a great start to their day as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead against Virginia. UVA battled their way back in the first half and made it a two goal game at 6-4, but scores by senior Evan Padget and junior Cody Yeaman gave CU the 8-4 lead at halftime.
The Cavaliers struck first in the second half, but the Buffs answered with two goals, one on a Hail Mary pass from grad student Timothy Beatty to Padget and the other on a diving catch by sophomore Jimmy Mickle in the end zone.
UVA scored back-to-back goals and made it a 10-7 game, but goals from Mickle, sophomore Todd Wolma and freshman Max Schein extended CU’s lead to six, their largest of the match. Both teams traded goals the rest of the way with senior Matt Zemel and Mickle scoring late for the Buffs.
“I thought we played reasonably good defense,” said CU head coach Jim Schoettler on his team’s game against Virginia. “I think we still need to clean up our offense, but we were able to score some quick up-winders and in a game like this, first game of the day for both teams, first up-wind breaks can really put the other team on their heels and that is what we did against Virginia.”
With the pool locked up in CU’s favor and a bye past the pre-quarters, the Buffs let their younger players see some action while letting their starters rest in the second game of the day against Texas. The Longhorns took advantage of the Buffaloes’ youth early on, picking up three quick goals. Colorado ended the Texas run after sophomore Austin Killien found senior Brian McDonald deep in the end zone to get the Buffs on the scoreboard.
Sophomore Stanley Barnes and Yeaman also picked up goals for CU in the first half, but Texas kept the pressure on Colorado and held an 8-3 lead at the break.
The second half began with both teams answering each other’s scores, that was until junior Gabe Stump and Barnes scored back-to-back goals for the Buffs and made it an 11-8 contest. However, that would be the last time that CU would find the end zone as Texas finished the game with four straight goals and grabbed the 15-8 victory. Junior Chris Bubernak and senior Calvin Delamere also scored in the period for Colorado.
“They went up three points early and for the rest of the time it seemed like they were in a pretty good groove and it was hard to break it,” said junior Zander Padget of the game with Texas. “It is tough when you are not playing your top 14 guys, but against Texas, that is a good game. The younger players got a lot of playing time at nationals at home, which is nice for the fans and family watching.”
Colorado will be hoping that everybody will be ready to go on Sunday against a tough Pitt team that has had CU’s number throughout the season. Schoettler said he doesn’t think a let down by his team is an issue and expects his squad to come out strong in the quarterfinals.
“Everybody knew coming into the Texas game that we had clinched,” Schoettler said. “We have had a lot of people who were injured and it was important for us to just give them the rest so tomorrow at 8:30 in the morning they are feeling fresh. I don’t think they will have any trouble to get fired up against whatever team we will see.”
Colorado Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Jim Schoettler
On Virginia being down after CU’s early upwind breaks—“Mentally, that is something that they had to get over and I don’t think they ever really recovered from.”
On the wind in the Virginia game—“We were a little bit surprise that Virginia didn’t throw it deep more, and they ended up turning the disc over close to their goal line a few times which gave us some easy scores. I think that made our job a little easier. We have great throwers so wind probably favors us in terms of skill level in getting the disc to move in the wind.”
On his plans for the Texas game—“We are in the quarterfinals, and the next game doesn’t matter at all for us. We are going to play hard, but we are going to rest a lot of our guys just because we are coming back from a lot of injuries and it will be a good opportunity for our younger guys to get some significant playing time.”
On the 17 game win streak—“We’ve done plenty of losing this year. I read that we had that win streak going someplace and I was sort of surprised. It is nice to have, but the losses are much more there in my mind then the wins. We are going to stay humble and we know that we are going to see some really good teams probably as early as the quarterfinals tomorrow.”
On losing to Texas—“These games are tough. We probably didn’t have as much offensive skill on the field and it is really hard to score without that. I thought our defense played solid. We didn’t have a lot of expectations for the game, just that we tried hard, and I think they were definitely out there trying hard and showing what we could do. We showed flashes of some good offensive work and that was promising. I’m not too disappointed.”
On mistakes near the goal line—“That is something we have to clean up. If we are within 15 yards of the end zone – we should be scoring those all of the time, 100 percent of the time. To the extent that we are not doing that is a major concern.”
On what he told his team after the Texas game—“Good work, take what you learn from this game. Also, I think we got better over the course of the game and the lesson there is let’s take teams out of what they want to do and we did that to some extent. We got a lot more D’s at the end of the game then we did at the beginning of the game, we just didn’t convert.”
On the usual starters being ready tomorrow”—These guys have been working at this all year so the fact that they didn’t play in the Texas game, I think can only help them.”
Senior Martin Freeman
On team’s day two performance—“Virginia we played well. We came out strong in an early game, which is good for us. We played them pretty tight and we got an early lead and we kind of just ran with it and defeated them pretty handily. Texas later in the day, we pretty much rested all of our starters. We played a deeper roster and those guys played pretty well. We had flashes of brilliance and some falters, but we got our young guys a lot of good experience.”
On playing at home in Boulder—“It’s nice. The sidelines are huge to get up for the games. We have tons of friends and family that we are playing in front of and tons of support. Just having the support is great.”
Junior Zander Padget
On possible let down in quarterfinals—“I don’t know about worry, but I think people know that we are going to take the warm up very seriously tomorrow. I think we’ve played together for so long that we understand how important it is to come out ready to go. I think we will be focused and ready. It’s a worry, but I think we are prepared for it.”
Event website: http://www.usaultimate.org/competition/college_division/college_championships/default.aspx
Tournament results: http://scores.usaultimate.org/scores/#college-open/tournament/8928
CU Men's Ultimate website: http://www.mamabird.com/