I have now reached cruising altitude and can resume the recapping. I’m sitting in a chair 35,000 ft in the air with a computer on my lap and full internet access. It’s the little things, people.
Okay… back to ultimate.
Skylife and KAPOW! had their final game of the season on Tuesday. Here’s Lance with the KAPOW!-cap.
The 2020 LAOUT Winter League is coming to a close. 332 players signed up to play across 19 teams, 8 of those in the A division and 11 in the B division. A late start in the regular season lead to a total of 28 games in the A division, 35 games in the B division, with some teams only getting 6 games, and the rest getting 7 to play on between 5 different fields. We saw a return to the gopher hole fields of Balboa, and the great new location of Glendale Community College. 4 new teams joined the league, and 2 existing teams re-branded themselves. All that’s left at this point is a total of 30 games on Saturday, with the A division seeding being ranked by a standard win-loss algorithm, and the B division being seeded by power rankings.
Saturday morning is going to come super fast. So first off welcome everyone again to Santa Clarita for the 2020 Winter League tournament! Don’t complain about us “getting to sleep in” or anything like that since our Saturday morning games normally meet up at 6:30 AM and start around 7 – I can guarantee that most of us will be wide awake before 7 AM just due to our normal schedule, especially the few of us who live within walking distance of Central Park. Actually, Some of us even wake up earlier on Saturdays than we do the rest of the week because of Ultimate, so the week is like sleeping in to us. However you want to look at this coming weekend, there is going to be plenty of AMAZING Ultimate to be played, and a great party at JJ’s after! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone here, and to kicking back with some of you at the party.
Tuesday nights game between KAPOW! and Skylife was a huge game for KAPOW! to work through and plan, definetly one that we wanted to perform at our hardest for. Prior to the game, some of us were trying to estimate what our power rank would be. A win could give us the boost to possibly make it to the 5th seed, and a loss would more than likely keep us at 6th seed. Skylife has always been a great team. The last, and only time prior, that our teams had faced off was in the extremely windy tournament at San Pedro in 2016. From what I can remember, we had started down, came back strong, but still lost. Those were also the games where discs thrown ended up 2 fields away, and the tournament champs won due to starting with the disc and no one being able to score into the wind – way to go Marshall!
We had won the toss tonight. Meg was warming up, so I delegated the decision to Bobby. He did what I would have decided: Defer to receive the second half pull. Skylife showed up short handed, missing some players who canceled at the last minute. Don’t let them fool you though. They had 1 woman and 2 men on the sideline all night, and they knew how to keep active, even when they got tired.
They came out to score the first… two points quickly. We don’t know what’s wrong with us. Maybe we’re not a first half team. That first half ended fairly fast, Skylife leading 8-3. That’s fine. On the same exact field in harsh windy conditions a few weeks back we ate some bamboo with some Panda’s with the same exact score at the half, and then had them play fetch while we came from behind.
Unfortunately. we did not luck out in the same way as a few weeks ago. While our second half against Skylife was WAY more competitive than our first, we still came up short of a win. It was still a great second half, out-scoring them 8 to 7. Meg, Bri, and Bobby stood tall and pulled some great defense. Josh and myself scored pairs of goals. One of my goals was assisted by Bobby, threading an extremely close needle after 2 consecutive contested stall counts. Brigitte or Andrew would have scored if either of those were not called. Billy caught the disc for a score several feet in the end zone, but didn’t realize he was in and threw the assist to Bri.
Through the chaos of points, we had a 3 point run, gaining ground from 7-12 to 10-12. We fell to Skylife when their game winning goal was too high and out of place for Andrew or myself to guard against. Overall, Skylife’s players were fast, well tamed, and presented a great challenge to end the season with. We had some very close turnovers, great throws and puts that were just out of reach of our receivers hands. Skylife managed to keep their athleticism up the entire game, even when worn down. Great game Skylife, we look forward to the next time!
On a team note, this has been a great season for KAPOW!, one of our best years yet. Rankings wise, it’s hard to tell due to there being separate divisions. Point differential wise, we dropped from last year from +31 to +11. But game wise, this has been the first year ever that KAPOW! has ever scored more than 10 points in every game. Our improved success this year is thanks not only to the 3 wonderful women Sasha, Bri, and Laura that we added this year and the skill set that each brought with them, but also to our players being dedicated over the past year in learning and improving their game. After the tournament on Saturday, we look forward to what this next year will bring in terms of player development, but we look even more so towards our continued community building, especially with Meg’s encouragement. We had lost a couple of games, and Billy apologized to her saying “I’m sorry we keep losing games,” to which Meg replied “I love our team so much that I couldn’t care less.”
Look out Andy, Lance is coming for you with the stats! I’ve played on Rooks for I think 5 years now, and I have no idea what our point differential has been in any given season, let alone this current one. But it’s great to see KAPOW! grow and improve year over year.
It looks like KAPOW! (3-4) will finish the regular season in 6th place. I believe that means they missed the first round bye by just one place, but as Lance said, it sounds like even the first round game will feel late to them.
I can recall a handful sub requests for Skylife this season, but the low numbers didn’t seem to hold them back. They’ll end the season 6-0-1 in second place.