US Open 2022: Three Takeaways from Day One (Mixed) – Ultiworld | Hot Mobile Press

Margot Stert of the San Francisco Polar Bears at the 2022 US Open. Photo: Alex Fraser — UltiPhotos.com

Blaine, MN. – Grit and not so much grace was the motto on the first day of the US Open. Hot and windy conditions made for some chaotic and long points for even the best teams as everyone demonstrated their physical and mental toughness. The tournament format meant that every team made the bracket, giving teams like Minneapolis No Touching! and Ames CLX an opportunity to compete and advance to the Quarterfinals despite finishing last in their respective pools.

Shift in the wind

Since every team at the tournament faces stiff winds and primarily upwind/downwind playing environments, game-to-game success could depend on field position, defensive adjustments, or in some rare cases, a bit of luck. The teams that could find ways to maximize one or both of the first two had more success, although a little of the latter didn’t hurt either.

The rankings after day one reflect this: the only undefeated club, the San Francisco Polar Bears, was successful both ways, but especially the latter. They were able to harass other teams to keep them from getting the extremely valuable power position looks that can lead to upwind results. PBR upset Minneapolis Drag ‘n Thrust in their opening game 15-11, anchored by their defense. “We started tightening on D and generally played better on D in the second half and doing their resets and things that were just really easy for their offense in the first half,” their lead said.

They ended the day with a rivalry win, fending off a late comeback from San Francisco Mischief that led to Universe Point. Mac Taylor, the former Mischief star who joined Polar Bears this year, recorded six assists for the win while Margo Donahue put on a powerful cutting performance.

Seeds don’t last early in the season

This tournament is the first of the season for most of the teams here. They were still learning how to come in and play well with each other.

Being an early tournament also means that the predictive power of betting can be particularly weak. Since most teams didn’t have the opportunity to compete in USAU sanctioned events, seeding got a bit unconventional. Several upsets throughout the day proved that the pre-tournament order was not binding on the teams. In an unusually sloppy performance, no. 2 Drag’N Thrust lost No.7 Eisbären. AMP, No. 3, also lost to Public Enemy, No. 6, but Public Enemy lost to Lawless, No. 9, and their previous quarter game to No. 11, No Touching!, in a pool matchup.

With the quarterfinals settled, Friday’s upsets are having a notable impact on the bracket. While #1 Hybrid sits on one side of the bracket with #7, 8, and 12 seeds, while #4 Love Tractor was eliminated by Drag’n Thrust in the previous quarter, who is now close to AMP and #1 .5 Mischief and No Touch!.

Difficult debuts vs. building on the foundation

Even though it’s part of the Triple Crown Tour, most teams came here to find out what worked with their systems. Many teams used this tournament to find out which lines are going forward and which players excel in which roles. Some teams are in their first significant iterations or need to integrate so many new parts that they are very early in their development timeline.

“Our goals for this tournament are good competition and good chemistry between people. Get in and go head-to-head against a bunch of high profile competitors,” said Brian Vohnoutka for Drag’n Thrust. “For us, we’re trying to figure out a bit of line chemistry, how things work, adjusting parts and hoping to keep playtime even. It’s just a small stepping stone in a long season, so we’re just taking things one game at a time and going from there.

Both teams, NOISE and AMP, who stayed true to their top spots in their pool, did so in part because they were among the only teams to have had experience in a tournament together this season. They seemed a bit ahead of other teams, although they still dodged them. NOISE attributes much of their success on day one of the US Open to their time at the WUCC last week.

“We took the break as a six-day bye. Worlds gave us good replays and lots of opportunities to learn and implement our process of improving and learning our systems,” said NOISE Captain Katy Stanton. “Now we take it very seriously. We view each game as another rung on our process ladder. We pick things that we want to focus on and get better at, we’ll try to run our systems. We want to make sure we play as a unit.”

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