The University of California Air Squids are back at it again with their second tournament of the year in Santa Barbara the weekend of the 26th- 27th of February. Teams from all over the country came to compete in the sunny 70 degree weather including University of Connecticut, Dartmouth University, and many more. The Air Squids were seeded 19th out of the twenty teams and were determined to break seed despite being placed in a rather tough pool.
Saturday started off the tournament with pool play and first up The Air Squids were playing Stanford, a team that went to nationals last year on the back of the college ultimate player of the year Gabe Hernandez, who has since graduated. The first half the Squids battled to come out on top 7-6. This was the smoothest offense the Squids have run in a while with great handler movement from Danuc (Eric H) and Johnson (Blake G) and a breakout upfield cutting performance from Shafter (Andy M). The second half was close all the way up until the end when at 9-9 the Squids lost their momentum and Stanford scored three times against our offense to win. The next game was against one of the Squid’s biggest rivals, UC Santa Barbara’s Black Tide. The game did not quite go as the Squids had hoped, while they battled all the way through they were just not able to capitalize on Black Tide’s mistakes and lost 8-13. After a big loss to a rival like that the squids were out for blood evident by their next game against UConn. The Squid offense was unstoppable and scored nearly every time they were given the disc with the exception of the all rookie point at the end of the game. The defense also made some great plays leading the game off with 4 defensive scores, which fired up the team. The final score was 13-5 in what looked to be the best game that the squids had played yet. The last game of the day was against the undefeated team University of Victoria, a notoriously good team. The squids carried their energy from the UConn game right into the Victoria game though and came out to a 5-3 lead. UCSD lost their momentum and eventually lost the game 8-13. A pretty tough way to end the day but the gameplay was a big improvement from last year, especially with an awesome vertical from the rookie Oogway (Krishna G), and great hustle from the rookie Ribbit (Brennen M).
The second day the Squids were placed in the consolation bracket, playing for 13th place. The first game was against Santa Clara who proved to be tough competition beating the squids to half with a score of 5-7. Behind some insane plays from N.E. Time (David K) and Feta (Mazden M), the squids were able to battle back and win the game 14-13. Last game of the tournament is against Dartmouth. Early on it does not seem to be much of a battle with the defense scoring two quick goals and then winning half 7-5. The second half started out well for the Squids also bringing the lead to 9-6 in what seemed like it would be an easy win to end the day. However Datmouth used a couple of mistakes from our offense to their advantage and started to come back. Their momentum proved to be too much to handle as they rattled off 6 goals in a row to bring the score to 12-9. Despite UCSD’s best effort from there it was just not enough to come back leading to a final score of 10-13.
The Squids broke seed and placed 14th but still left the tournament with a bad taste in their mouths, sure that they could play better and determined to protect their home turf with the next tournament being Presidents Day weekend at UCSD. We will see if the Squids can build upon the progress they have made and start being consistent under pressure for the next tournament.