Presidents Day Qualifier
Air Squids Select: It’s hard to believe but Air Squids Select ranked 7th place out of the 11 teams at SLO, with only 13 players on the roster. Although it was the second quarter of the season, this was our first sanctioned tournament. Shout out to DiGiorno for letting us know that we were ranked last place in the USAU (USA Ultimate) for the 2022 season. That way we had no pressure for potential losses and focused more on our intrinsic teamwork.
UCSD started against the SLO B team. Most of the Select players were a little bit under the weather for the first half and we were down 0-7. During half time, captain Limbo and coach Gogu gave “The Speech.” In the second half Select avoided being bageled, with the final score 13-3. The first loss did not frustrate them, but strengthened the will to win for Select players.
The second game was the one that Select kept under control. Their zone defense strategy was proved to be strong in the valley gale. The SDSU B team hardly had any continuous movements when the cup clutched them. On the other hand, the offense runnings definitely need improvement, there were a few times when the handlers were in power position but no cuts were happening. Select won the second game 8-6.
In the third game with Caltech, we crushed them in the first half by winning 7-1. During the halftime, coach Gogu delivered an inspiring piece to us “under the similar level, if we can beat them 7-1 in the first half, then this also means that they can beat us 7-1, so don’t celebrate early.” Later in the second half, although they strived to gain more points, we firmly held the advantage and kept competing. Select won the third game 11-6.
In the last game of the group stage with UCLA Smoke, we had a terrible start by losing 2-5. After Gogu’s magical speech, we got fired up and chased up to 6-6. The continuous uplines by Gambit and Elote surprised everyone. Sadly, we lost the universe point.
After a successful first tournament day, Air Squids Select moved onto bracket play on Sunday. Facing off against the top seeded UCSC Slugs, they put up a valient effort but fell short to the eventual tournament winners. Next was a rematch against UCLA Smoke. After a back and forth struggle, they were eventually bested with a nailbiting 12-10 final score. With that, Air Squids Select were out at 7th, placing above their seed and going back to San Diego with their heads high.
Air Squids Lite: Last weekend, Air Squids Lite took part in their first away tournament. It started with a long drive down to SLO, where we had a chance to spend some time together and get to know each other. Thanks to that, we woke up in good moods, ready to take on the seed 1 team: UCSC Slugs. Our good moods did not last long, as we got outclassed by the tournament favorites. But paraphrasing our coach: "Either you beat other teams, or you get beaten by other teams". Inspired by these words of wisdom, we got ourselves together and beat UCSB in a very dominant manner. Our zone was tight, our hucks were fast and victory came straight to us. Being on fire, we took on UCSC B team, winning before the hard cap was announced. Unfortunately, we were the only team without a bye that day, so fatigue started showing symptoms. In the last game, we were close to winning against UC Irvine, but the well rested team coming back straight from a break gave us no chance in athleticism. We lost 8-11 after a close match.
We spent the afternoon socializing with team members, eating pizza and trying out cookies, a great experience we would not have in a home tournament. We had what to celebrate - we advanced into the bracket.
We started Sunday - the bracket day, by facing UC Davis. The weather wasn’t our friend, as super strong wind caused us to make a lot of unforced errors. At the end it was so strong, that the match was onesided - team playing with the wind would always score. After losing few break we knew that we lost, but at least we got the tournament record for the longest point (at least 20 minutes of playtime). Being in the losers bracket, we had just one objective - keep our no 5 seed, which we did! First, we won again against UCSB, and then made a successful revenge on UCLA for eliminating Air Squids Select. We ended the tournament with a graceful rookie point won by the obviously better team 😉 With that result, we could return back to San Diego proud of our team’s shape.