The tournament started at 8:00 AM on Saturday January 28th, 2017 for University of California, San Diego Air Squids against University of Washington. It was a cold morning with icy fields and chilly winds. Our team was not fazed at all by this change of weather from the good ole San Diego weather of sunshine and warmth. For the first half of the game, we competed with Washington, the number one seed in the tournament, trading points back and forth with them with only one break point given up at halftime. However, after the half, the mentality of the team lowered and our defense and offensive intensity lower and finished the game with a score of 7 to 13 with Washington taking the win. Despite the loss, this game demonstrated the new features of our team with Eric “Danuc” Hytonen’s ambitious hucks and Stefan “Dent” Samu’s shutdown defense. After University of Washington, Arizona State University was up next. Stefan “Dent” Samu continued to apply his shutdown defense against Arizona State, but the defensive offense struggled to convert the turnovers. Offense continued to roll throughout the whole game, but the final score was 12-14 with ASU taking the win. Next up was University of California, Davis where the offensive line demonstrated immaculate offense throughout the whole game with multiple key players. The Air Squids finally got their first win of the year with a final score of 13 – 11. After Davis, the Air Squids had only one more opponent left for the day, Colorado State. We started on offense, but the offensive line seemed lackluster giving Colorado State two breaks off the start. After a quick timeout and a motivational session with the coaches, the offensive line picked up the pace and started flowing like it did in the Davis game. Beyond the 2 breaks at the beginning, we began trading points with Colorado State. Colorado State took half only one point ahead due to the Air Squids getting back one break. After the half, the defense was aggressive and on fire. With 3 breaks out of half, Air Squids quickly took a 10 – 8 lead. With points being traded up with one break in favor of Colorado State, the score became 12 – 12. At the end, Colorado State comes up with 2 breaks, ultimately, taking the win at 12 – 14. This wrapped up the first day of the Tournament with the Squids having a record of 1 – 3 and placing 4th in their Pool. While the Air Squids did not have the starting record we wanted, many players showed signs of greatness, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the year.
Sunday Funday, The Air Squids only had two games. First game of the day was against Victoria. Overall, the game was average with trades between each team. Defense wins games and that is what happened near the end of the game as the defensive line of the Air Squids plowed its way through the Canadians for their first win of the day. Next up was Dartmouth. The Air Squids offense once again started off a little lackluster when the Dartmouth defense came down with a zone, giving Dartmouth 3 breaks (one being a Callahan). After a quick timeout, and some motivation from the coaches, the offensive line came out rolling and the defensive line pulled out a break before the half. The game continued on with scores occurring for both Dartmouth and the Squids, but the climax of the game was undoubtedly when the Squids tied the game at 10 – 10 with Zac “Fyla” Goldberg’s vicious sky over two Dartmouth defenders for an insane grab on a Migal “Chugga” Manickaraj throw. Due to hard cap, the next point with Squids starting on D was considered universe point, the final point of the game. Dartmouth slowly works their way to the Squids end zone, however, the Squids defensive line came up with a big defensive play when Gene “Mr. Snuffleupagus” laid out and smashed the disc to the ground on an inside pass to the end zone. A few passes later, Stefan “Dent” Samu hucks the disc to a streaking Jake “Crouton” Gutkowski, who skied his defender. Air Squids win 11 – 10 on universe point, and everyone goes wild.
While our record was not what we wanted it to be, the Air Squids broke their seed and moved up 4 rankings. Throughout the weekend, multiple signs of greatness were shown that indicated that the Air Squids have a very bright future ahead. The grind to Nationals has only just begun.