Wisconsin arrived at the newly termed “D1 Conference Championships” in the midst of a torrential downpour only to get word of a cancellation of Saturday play. Seeing no rain (only freezing temperatures and 30mph wind), there was still hope to play the tournament on Sunday. After a change in the format, it was decided that this Sunday-only tournament was possible. Arriving just before 8:30am after a drive back from Madison, the Hodags found standing ice and water all over the uphill/downhill field. But, the game against Marquette didn’t last long as Wisconsin was able to handle the conditions better as they cruised to a 11-2 victory behind the play of Jerome McGinnis, Dan Park, and Tanner Marshall.
The Hodags spent the long down time at the local playground where Cullen and Wiseman exposed a scary glimpse of themselves as children, playing dirty and mercilessly in an otherwise harmless game of tag. On the other side of the park, Jerome dominated a game of king of the hill that ended up ending the day for EA. In the next game against UW-La Crosse, the sun had come out just a bit and certainly made the temperature feel above freezing. In the game, Nick Zeman had the catch of the year on a one-handed, full-extension layout grab right in the middle of the biggest puddle right near the end zone. Controversy ensued as Nick then continued to slide out the back of the endzone raising question of whether he was in the end zone at the start of his slide. After being called out and about 20 pounds of water weight heavier, he threw a turn on the next pass. Bummer. Noob. Sweet catch, though. Also in the game, Danny threw a perfect huge upwind backhand that Simmons dropped, Colin slipped on an easy throw to him and ended up snatching it trailing edge left handed while he got a face full of mud, Scotto threw a huge upwind 10 yard backhand while yelling “BOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!”, and he also cut up line for an 02 while yelling “DUMP DUMP DUMP,” then throwing a goal. The game ended quickly despite the poor conditions. 11-3.
In the next game against UW-Milwaukee, the game started sloppily many unforced errors by both teams. First half highlights included Dayu skying for a goal, Dan Park shredding the zone with hammers, and Scott and Jordan working in and playing outside of their comfort zones with throws even they knew they didn’t have. The O-Line got broken for the first time all day after an uncharacteristic one-handed drop from Camp, and the lead was cut to 6-4. Hector responded by calling a timeout and focusing the team, who cruised thereafter to a 13-5 victory and spot in finals against UW-Whitewater.
Coming in overconfident and not expecting a game much closer than the previous ones on the day, Whitewater capitalized on unforced errors and took a 3-1 lead. Down Pat, EA, and Colin in finals, the O-Line struggled to cut together cohesively, which led to turns that Whitewater used as opportunities to huck deep to Mike Swain. This strategy was successful for them seemingly all game, which remained within a 1-2 point margin until softcap came on. Colin and EA geared up and made a return for the second half which helped with the O-line struggles, but the D-line couldn’t punch in opportunities for breaks. The only thing keeping the Hodags in the game was the play of John Bergen, who showed the Wisconsin world how great he is by playing the last 10 points, throwing most of the Hodag goals and getting one of the most clutch d’s of the year, laying out and tipping an O2 pass. The ensuing score brought the game to 16’s. The Hodags started universe point on defense and finally played with some defensive urgency as Whitewater was forced into a stall on the second throw of the point. After the handlers worked the disc to within five yards of the goal-line, Simmons slipped in a force side upfield reset to another spectacular Bergen play, a full extension layout for the victory. After escaping a scrappy Whitewater team, the Hodags know there is still much work to do as the squad gears up for Regionals. See you back in Appleton in two weeks.