The Eighth Man

Rock You Like a Hurricane: Miami Meets No Resistance on the Way to Regional Title

Credit: Matt Ziff

Credit: Matt Ziff

The Southern Regional was unsurprisingly dominated by the University of Miami, the region’s highest ranked and most vaunted squad, which won the finals, 120*-0. But below the number one spot, there were plenty of surprises, especially from the non-Florida sides. Tennessee Tech shocked everyone by making a run to the championship game, taking out University of Florida in the semifinals, while the University of Southern Mississippi earned a bid as well by shocking the University of South Florida, who were forced to qualify through the consolation bracket.  Rounding out the World Cup bids was Florida State University, leaving well-season Ringling College on the outside looking in.

Broken Teams:

Ringling College—With the majority of their players suffering or recovering from some sort of injury, and the loss of captain and go-to-chaser Steven Wong, Ringling clearly suffered. With their successful bid for Div. II, and the majority of their players given time to heal and return, expect an impressive performance at the World Cup

University of South Florida—The loss of Jody Louis was apparent for USF. As their primary go to chaser, and the cornerstone on perimeter offense, his loss meant an unfortunate loss of defense and offense for USF. In addition, the injury of 6-foot-6 Austin Clooney in the UF—USF game meant a huge seeking and chasing loss for the Bulls. As a result, big men Tyler Gross and Justin Goodman were forced into a position they have not been in before, consistently having to drive and score without a tall man around the hoops. They did enough to make it to the World Cup, and will be expected to impress there as they figure things out.

 

Surprises:

University of Florida—After going nearly all season without a win over top Florida teams, UF made a huge recovery this regionals. Fractured leadership in conjunction with reluctance to play newer players in certain positions had led to a group of individuals rather than a cohesive team. Chaser Dre Clements has managed to step up into a much larger role on the field and on the sideline. While their bludger game has always been on the weaker side, and their chasing and seeking has not been up to its usual standard, there is something about large tournaments that bands this team together. Winning World Cup is about being hot on that particular weekend. Those playing UF should take care. With their leadership solidifying their squad, they could peak on just the right day.

Tennessee Tech—This team hits hard. With a few former football players in their lineup, their strategy centers around powering through defenses and getting an open shot. Against teams with a weaker bludger game, Tennessee Tech should have no problem putting points up on the board. In this tournament, they managed to hit harder and break through the majority of defenses out there. Against teams that are used to pressure on offense and able to give hits or burn defenders, this team should be very playable. By no means should they be underestimated though. It only takes a few big hits to change the pace of a game, and Tennessee can do it as well as anyone.

Southern Mississippi—While this team managed to pull off an upset against USF, anyone that can pick apart their blob-like frontal attack should have no problem with this team. Their strategy centered around bringing up a group of chasers and beaters very slowly to just past mid-field, and bursting apart to try and score a goal in the confusion. Their gameplay was based on trying to slow the ball down to the point where a snitch grab could change things. Against USF, this strategy worked because of a hurt seeker and a defense that did not send a beater up to challenge the blob. Against Miami, this strategy was picked apart fairly quickly, with Miami sending a beater and chaser to break apart the blob and land quick steals that translated into goals.

The Champs:

Letting in a total of 7 goals the entire weekend and scoring 124, University of Miami was dominant throughout. A nearly perfect defensive performance led to almost constant bludger control and a resulting weak single bludger defense was all too easy for Miami’s chasers to punch through. New talent at beater and chaser contributed to an almost full roster, and provided Miami with substitute talent for the first time in two and a half years. Fresh legs, years of experience and well-trained physical athletes led to a dominant presence on the pitch.

Pool 1

University of Miami

Florida State University

University of Southern Mississippi

Florida Atlantic University

University of South Carolina

Winthrop University

 

Pool one was largely dominated by University of Miami and Florida State University, with both schools beating all of their opponents, and Miami beating FSU. There were very few surprises in terms of results.

 

Pool 2

University of Florida

University of South Florida

Tennessee Tech

Collage of Charleston

Ringling Collage

Brevard Community Collage

Pool two saw far more surprises than pool one. Tennessee Tech, University of Florida and University of South Florida all remained relatively close, but University of Florida managed to retain a slight edge over the rest of the competition, while Ringling dropped far.

 

Bracket Play

Semifinals

University of Miami vs. University of Southern Mississippi

Miami came out strong, retaining bludger control for the majority of the game, and using their strong chasing contingent to put up plenty of points on the fast break before Southern Miss. put themselves out of their own misery with a suicide snitch.

 

Tennessee Tech vs. University of Florida

This match got rather heated, with University of Florida not able to capitalize on a few early chances they had. Even though Florida managed to get close to the hoops, missed catches, a few long shots, and a loss of bludger control cost them this match. Tennessee’s strong driving team, combined with a relatively weak Florida defense, resulted in Tennessee managing to pull the snitch with a solid lead.

Finals

University of Miami vs. Tennessee Tech

This game was dominated in nearly every aspect by Miami. A relentless offense and tenacious defense kept Tennessee well out of snitch range. On field, Miami’s defense managed to retain bludger control nearly the entire game, while the offense capitalized on a slower Tennessee team to spread out the defense and burst in shot range. Shortly after a delay of game, seekers returned to the pitch and Miami caught the snitch in a matter of seconds.

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