UCSD AirSquids ICE break seed at Stanford Invite
This past weekend, your resident Air Squids ventured north to their latest tournament, Stanford invite. Held on Stanford University campus, the Squids played three tough games on Saturday, and three even tougher games on Sunday, all en route to an 8th place finish, breaking their original 12th seed in a great triumph of a weekend.
Things started off rocky in pool play against a well-oiled Wisconsin team, ranked 12th in the country at the time. While the squids had a strong start, playing the Hodags even for the first few points, Wisconsin strung together a few runs that left the Squids behind. The game ended 13-7, but more ominous were the overcast clouds that began to circle. Our second game was against an old foe, the Santa Cruz Slugs, who were coming in hot after their previous win. As the wind picked up and some rain drops began to fall, the Slugs came out with an early lead, and despite a great fight from the Squids, they never were able to fully come back. Even some great offensive plays by Namo and Gummo weren’t enough to close the gap, as the Squids dropped their second game, 12-8. As the final game against USC Lockdown got underway, the weather conditions took a turn for the worse. What was once a light drizzle turned into full-on downpour, as the field was drenched in torrential conditions that left players slipping and the disc even slippier. However, a wise man once said that Squids like it best when it’s wet, and that statement proved to be true as the once quiet D-line of the Squids pulled together their strength for multiple breaks in the first half. The O-line, led by the handler work of Splish, Vespa, and Zeta, also continued to hold down the fort, rarely giving up turnovers in conditions that lesser players would struggle in. Even as USC battled and tried to come back, the Squids put their foot down and won their first game of the weekend, 13-11.
On the second day of games, UCSD found themselves in pre-quarters against Utah State, a team who had defeated them at Santa Barbara Invite. Playing on extremely muddy fields from yesterday’s storm, the Squids fell behind early, and an early loss seemed like their destiny for yet another tournament in a row. However, through an incredible series of breaks led by the Squid’s D-line in the second half, they found their stride and blasted their way to a universe-point victory, led by key defenders Dumpty, Doof, and Oobi. With the wind at their backs, the squids progressed to the quarter finals, the farthest they had ever reached this spring season. There, however, they simultaneously faced their toughest match of the year: Cal-Poly Slocore. A top 10 team in the country, they were known for their consistent O-line and dynamite D-line, as well as for being the best team in California for years. With the wind at their back, however, the Squids slid through the mud past Slocore, and even led by one towards the end of the game, with key defensive contributions by Cosmo and Gambit. However, on universe-point, UCSD’s Cinderella run came to an end, as they lost by one, 10-11. Even with this heartbreaking loss, the Squids were excited at the prospect of coming so close to victory to one of the country’s greatest. Even so, in their next game against the Oregon State Beavers, the Squids fell short against an opponent they had beaten before. The muddy conditions had taken their toll, and with the teams’ legs tiring, the Squids couldn’t find the strength to beat them, losing 13-10 in their first consolation match. Their next match was against a battered UC Berkeley team, in the same muddy conditions. With the field looking more like a pig pen than grass, the Air Squids lost their final consolation game of the weekend 13-8, though both teams were certainly playing more casually than before.
Stanford Invite saw the Squids break seed and compete with some of the country’s greatest teams, and for that, they return to San Diego in high spirits and looking to build off this momentum for the rest of the year.