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MagnUM headed back to the Naperville Polo fields to take part in the Great Lakes Regional tournament on April 28th-29th (sorry for the delay of this post). We did not take the trip to Boulder in 2011, something that has only happened three times in modern Michigan Men’s Ultimate history, so the tension and the expectations were high. Adding another element the Michigan commencement as it always does conflicted with the Saturday games, which took away a couple of seniors, but also brought a big cheering section of loving parents.
Saturday’s weather forecast was windy, cold, and rainy. Luckily it turned out to only be the first two.
The first game of the weekend was a test. It was the coldest it would be all weekend and the wind was strong. UChicago tested our luck and our patience with a few big upwind throws that almost turned in to scores. However, in the end upwind downwind did not matter too much. MagnUM wins 15-1.
We had played Northwestern at the Chicago Invite and beaten them handily. However, we had word that a few of their big guns were back on the field so we brought it with all we had. We don’t get broken and consistently get turns in our zone. 15-5 win.
In a turn of events that we’re not sure of Eastern Illinois beat Illinois in their quarterfinals game so instead of playing the three-seeded-top-20 Illinois we played an Eastern Illinois team that we reall knew nothing about. We soon figured out how they beat Illinois. Their tall cutter Mike Schwenk, a bearded handler who threw a no-look flick upwind through our cup, and a small fast dual threat who popped through our cup gave us trouble for the first bit of the game. They break us once when a cutter doesn’t run through, but we hold upwind and break back. From there it’s all MagnUM. We take it 15-4 with a very strong second half.
Now all we have to worry about is the finals. We head in to downtown Naperville to eat some great pizza with a table of parents right next to us (both the players’ meal and the parents’ meals were secretly paid for by some happy parents of graduates). Ice baths took place, and thanks to the second years our vibe stayed positive and loose with some hilarious paper plate awards.
This game is what it is all about. We had lost to them twice previously, once badly at Chicago Invite. Both times we went down early. Our team would not let it happen. We start on offense and hold, get a d on the first defensive point, but don;t capitalize. Then we hold again. Then we break. We would only let them score once more during the first half with our whole team contributing on both sides. Half is 8-2.
THE TEAM THE TEAM THE TEAM
It seemed that every defensive point we had them on the ropes. Although our offense falters a few times, we never get broken twice in a row and our defense keeps working hard. Albeit on a floaty pass, we take the region back with a 15-8 victory. MagnUM is going to Boulder!!
This really was a team effort. Everyone contributed and many took hits to the ego to get it done. With our parents cheering us on, we celebrate and enjoy the victory as a team. Our women’s counterparts also finish first and Michigan State beats Illinois in the backdoor game in a thrilling turn of events. Michigan came to play at regionals, that’s for sure.
We head in to May ready to practice, throw, and continue to condition our legs. The teams will be good in Boulder and we’ve got more work to do.