Men’s Ultimate Misses Yale PlayoffsBy Edmund Chou
MIT’s Men’s Ultimate team failed to reach the championship round of the Yale Cup Sunday, winning the consolation match 15-13 over Salisbury State College.
The team entered the tournament seeded fourth of five teams and needing a third place finish to qualify for the winner’s bracket on Sunday. MIT would face two 2001 national qualifying teams: Tufts and Harvard, then Dartmouth, another strong team in the New England Region. Finally, the last pool play game would be against Salisbury State, a formidable opponent as well.
MIT started the first game a little weak, giving Tufts the opportunity to get several layout D-blocks allowing them to take the half at 4-7. MIT regained focus in the second half but could not regain focus as Tufts took the game at 9-13.
The next pool play game would again be a difficult game against Harvard. Points were traded up until MIT was at a marginal lead of 4-3. Harvard went on a four point run to take the half, then scored a few more unanswered points to take a huge lead at 4-11. MIT finally answered back with two points before losing to Harvard with a final score of 6-13.
MIT drops third in a row
Despite intense play and trading points with Dartmouth for the entire first half, MIT would be scoreless in the second half. After Dartmouth edged out a half-time win at 6-7, MIT’s offense was plagued with throws blown away by the wind and several dropped passes. Dartmouth ran away and took the game 7-13.
Determined to win a pool play game, MIT faced a small but formidable Salisbury State team. Salisbury State had a long day with games against Harvard, Dartmouth, and Tufts. With the lack of subs on the Salisbury team, they were clearly tired by the end of the day. However, their record was a bit more impressive as they had edged out a win over Harvard with a score of 13-12. MIT and Salisbury traded a point before MIT got a few break points, taking a quick lead at 5-1. MIT then closed out the half at 7-3. MIT never lost focus and continued the streak to win the game at 13-6.
No tournament play for MIT
The remainder of the pool had some interesting results. Harvard beat out first seed Tufts with a score of 15-14 in overtime. Dartmouth also had an upset over Harvard by beating them 13-7. The final rankings would come down to a point differential allowing Tufts, Dartmouth and Harvard to advance, while MIT and Salisbury would enter the consolation round. As a testament to the strength of this pool, Tufts, Dartmouth and Harvard each lost to the eventual Yale Cup winners, Brown, in the finals, semi-finals and quarter-finals, respectively.
As for MIT and Salisbury, both teams would show their strength in consolation play. MIT began Sunday against an inexperienced Yale-B team and easily defeated them 13-2. In the semi-final game against Williams, MIT threw several variations on zone and clam defenses, forcing Williams to make several turnovers and allowing MIT to capitalize on their mistakes. MIT was up two break points at half with a score of 7-4 and would never look back. With the continued success of the defensive team, MIT closed out the game at 13-7 advancing to the finals.
In the finals, MIT would once again face Salisbury who had defeated Middlebury and Lousiana State University to reach the finals. Having played only two games on Sunday, they were much better rested and they clearly showed their full potential taking the half against MIT with a devastating 2-8.
Not losing hope, MIT stepped up the intensity and came out much stronger in the second half. Sunday clearly showed that MIT’s poor second half performance on Saturday was only a fluke. MIT came out in the second half trading points until the score was 5-11 when MIT played strong defense and amazing offense to score six unanswered points bringing the team back in the game at a tied score of 11-11. Salisbury finally put up two points but it would not be enough as MIT scored the next four in a row to close out the game and the tournament with an amazing 15-13 win.