This last weekend the Air Squids got the chance to defend their home turf from 17 teams from all over the United States (and Canada) at The President’s Day Invite.
For the first game of the tournament, the Squids came out strong against Vermont. Due to the Squids’ high energy, tough defense and high level of athleticism, Vermont’s offense had great difficulty in scoring and the Squids were able to capitalize on Vermont’s mistakes. The Squids took their first win of the day 13-4 and prepared themselves for their next game.
Coming off a hot win against Vermont, the Squids started out with 4 breaks against the Columbia team. The Squids took this game with tough and gritty defense with a seventy-five percent conversion of defensive plays to points scored. As the Columbia team came back with a break against the Squid O-line, the Squids responded by taking the half and proceeding to break Columbia three times after the half. The squids finished out the game with the win with 13-5.
After two games and two easy wins, the Squids found a tougher opponent in the Dogs of UC Davis. For the first half of the game both teams steadily traded points, until Davis made a mistake that the Squids could capitalize on and took the half 7-6. Coming out of the half the Squids adjusted to the offensive flow of the Dogs and were able to capitalize on more of their mistakes, leading to a third win against the Dogs 11-9. This game showed the tough grit of the Squids’ defense and the team’s ability to adapt to unfamiliar strategies.
The last game of the day, the Squids faced the toughest opponents in the pool, Colorado MamaBird. The game began with the teams trading points until Colorado was able to make some plays and gain a few points over the Air Squids. By the middle of the second half, the Squids were down by 5 points, but they weren’t going to go down without a fight. For the remainder of the game, the Squids were a different team. They had excellent defensive pressure, higher energy, and better decision making. Unfortunately, the Squids rallied too late and MamaBird came out victorious, 13-11.
At the end of the day, the Squids finished second in their pool with a 3-1 record, and advanced to a Sunday Power Pool with Cal Poly SLO and University of Washington.
In the first game of the Sunday Power Pools, the Squids faced a tough opponent in the athletic and huck-happy Cal Poly SLO. With a couple breaks from SLO the Squids found themselves down by two at the half, but SLO kept coming with the breaks leading to the Squids having to dig deep in order to have a shot at advancing in the tournament. The Squids went on a four score run to bring it down within 2 points, but SLO took the game with 12-15.
Coming out of a tough loss against SO, the Squids were determined to win against Washington. A tough Squid defense was able to generate turns, but they were unable to convert these defensive plays into points scored. The Squids found themselves down by one break at the half and the teams traded all in the second half except for the last point where Washington broke the Squids for the win at 12-15. This loss put the Squids out of the championship bracket, leading the Squids to compete in the Consolation Bracket.
In the first round of the consolation bracket, the Squid got another chance to beat the UC Davis Dogs. With this second game came the opportunity to put new players in different positions that they were not as comfortable in. This led to Davis taking the half. However, as always, the Squids don’t give up without a fight. The fought back hard and took the game 14-10.
The Squids finished up on Sunday with a 1-2 record, and would be back on Monday for one more game.
For the last game of the Pres Day Tournament the Squids went up against Colorado State University. The Squids started out with a break, but were quickly broken and finished up the first half trailing their opponents by 2 points. Throughout the game, it seemed as if the Squids were feeling the grueling effects of two days of hard ultimate, never seeming to match the intensity of previous games. With a series of breaks against the offense to start the second half, the Squids had to push in order to stay alive in this game. The Squids made a two break run towards the end of the second half, but were unable to recover leading to a win by Colorado State 12-15.
Overall, the Squids finished 9th place at President’s Day Invite with a 4-4 record. They faced a lot of strong competition from all across the United States, and even though they struggled to close out games, they are in a very good position for the rest of the season. The Squids showed glimpses of excellence, comparable to the team two years ago that made it to Nationals. If the Squids learned one thing this weekend, they learned they have the ability to make a comeback. Unfortunately the comeback always came too late, but as soon as the Squids learn to start a game with high energy, gritty defense, and the urgency to win, they are going to be a very difficult team to beat. Until then, the Squids will be practicing hard and by their next tournament they will be a force to be reckoned with.