03/18/2011, 10:36pm CDT
By Eric Alexander and Zach Alter
Hodags underperform at Stanford.
The Hodags arrived in Stanford fired up to improve upon a good performance in Florida. We started out Saturday with a game against the home team. Stanford, clearly looking to defend their turf, came out strong in the first half. Their quick cutters on offense and junky zone on defense had them up a break early on--towards the end of the half, all was tied at 6-6. At that point, the O-line began to gel as handlers John Bergen and Dan Park began to throw over the cup and the cutters were able to continue for scores. The D-line converted on a number of turns in the second half, and Wisconsin took the game 12-9.
The Hodags faltered in their next game against Cal. After an O-line miscue and quick score by Cal on the first point, EA went out with a hyperextended knee in the second point, leaving the O-line with 3 of its usual rotation of five cutters (Cullen was unable to make the trip). Though Wisconsin led the game by a couple of breaks at one point, continuing miscues from the O-line and a failure to adjust to Cal's offense allowed UGMO to take the game 10-12.
The final game of the day matched the Hodags against UBC, a team with a lot of hype coming into this tournament. This was perhaps the hardest foght game of the day for Wisconsin. Though they pulled within one point late in the game, they were ultimately unable to match UBC's tall cutters in the air, and lost the game 12-15.
To start off on Sunday, Wisconsin played Whitman, last year's D-III runner-up and in many ways the Cinderella of the tournament. Though Whitman came out strong in their typical fashion with hucks from Norden to a couple of fast cutters, the Hodags quickly adjusted and ended up taking a comfortable victory, 15-11.
Next, the Hodags got to play their regional rival, CUT. The first half started off similar to the game Wisconsin had won in Florida, without a lot of turns and a break for each team. At 5-5, it seemed like we were in for another battle, but things quickly began to unravel from there. Some huge D's by CUT sophomore Simon Montague allowed CUT to take half up 2 breaks, 8-5. Discouraged and showing it, the Hodags forgot to show up for the second half. CUT never looked back and won 15-7.
The final game of the tournament was a similarly disappointing one. After being eliminated from the championship bracket, a number of players who had been playing through injuries decleated in the hopes of healing for the next tournament. The remaining team walked through the first half, going into half down a break, 7-8. Lacking physical and especially mental energy, they never mounted a serious comeback against the upstart Slugs, who would eventually win 15-11.
Tomorrow, the Hodags are playing at College Easterns in Wilmington, NC. This weekend, they will look to gain their swagger back in a pool made up of Colorado, Michigan, and Georgia. With the hopeful return of Cullen, Wiseman, Jerry, EA, Becker, and Simmons, they seek to prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with this spring. Updates will be posted on Twitter @hodaglove, the USAU Score Reporter, and here after the weekend is over.