B-Co vs. the Wind at Stanford Open
There’s nothing better than a 7 hour drive to a tournament. Unless, of course, that tournament is also located at the wonderful Central Valley Polo Club of Stevinson, CA, which is where UCSD B-Co found themselves heading for their third tournament of the season.
Even after such a long drive and maybe a little less sleep than desired, B-Co was still ready to take on the tournament. Following a quick warm-up, the team started off against Chico State, an opponent who had lost to B-Co in universe point at this same tournament the year prior. Despite the history of this matchup, this time it was an easy game for B-Co, who got their first win of the day with a 9-1 victory. Then it was on to the next match against Carleton Eclipse. From the beginning, B-Co knew this would be a tough game to win, as Eclipse is a very talented team that often wins DIII College Nationals. Although the score was 9-5 Carleton at the end, B-Co undeniably played very well against their fast-paced offense and tight defense. For the third game of Saturday, B-Co took the field against Humboldt State. This opponent was a good matchup, despite only having 9 players, but B-Co earned the 7-5 win.
The last game of the day saw B-Co facing off against Reno in some incredibly strong winds. These winds would prove to be not just annoying, but B-Co’s biggest enemy during the game. B-Co decided to play their usual O-line on defensive upwind points in the hopes that they could generate turns, then score to put the team ahead. Fighting against the wind made this almost impossible, yet B-Co still gave it their absolute best. On each one of these points, Reno had the advantage: they started on offense and got to throw with the wind, but B-Co continually pushed back and made those points very long and difficult for Reno. The most memorable point of the weekend was this game’s universe point, where, once again, B-Co was on defense. For an entire 30 minutes, B-Co refused to let Reno take the game, making a spectacular amount of defensive plays and even working it down the field and almost scoring. Eventually, however, Reno got the point, ending the match 5-4. B-Co may have lost the game, but their sheer determination on the field, especially during the long point, and spirit on the sideline, demonstrated best by rookie Olivia “T-Bolt” Dance, made them true victors.
The exhaustion from Saturday was clearly hitting B-Co hard the next morning, as they had somewhat of a “slo” start in their game against Cal Poly SLO. After getting down by a few points, B-Co decided to open the lines up and give more players more playing time. Although they lost 8-2, it was a game with many learning moments. Next up was Cali Roll, the high school all-star team. The last two times B-Co had faced off against this team, the most recent time being at SBQ earlier in the year, they had lost. This game, however, they really got into their rhythm, defeating Cali Roll 6-4. After that game, it was time for bracket play, and UCSC was first up. B-Co took advantage of the crosswinds that were blowing through and played most of the defensive points in zone defense. This patient approach worked very well, and even though B-Co lost 8-5, it was a much better result than when they played UCSC in Santa Barbara.
Finally it was time for the last game of Stanford Open, the rematch of the century: UCSD B vs. Nevada-Reno, Part II. B-Co had a score to settle, and the wind wasn’t going to stop them this time. They fought through the exhaustion of the past 7 games, through the sporadic rain, and through collisions and tumbles on the field, with every player giving 100%. Returners and rookies alike had spectacular moments, such as returner Bella “Chila” Ely’s beautiful backhand huck that went nearly two-thirds of the field into the endzone for a score. Just like on Saturday, the game’s last point was a universe point, but B-Co had the advantage of being on offense this time thanks to a break earlier in the game. Indeed, they took home the hard-fought win, with a score by rookie Lacey “Tecate” Potter and a final result of 4 to 3.
Overall, Stanford Open was a very impressive tournament for B-Co, with a lot of distinct improvement from each player on the team.