Johnny Bravo qualified for the 2011 USA Ultimate Club Championships this past weekend, defeating Tucson Monsoon (15-1), the Santa Barbara Condors (15-5) and San Diego Streetgang (15-9). Bravo battled through inclement weather and injuries to claim the team’s 8th straight regional championship. Because of playing field cancellations, the tournament changed format to go right into bracket elimination play.
Game 1: Monsoon – Tucson, AZ
Bravo’s first game was against Tucson’s Monsoon. The temperatures were in the upper 30s with light rain throughout. Bravo came out with suffocating defense and two big layout D’s from Tucson native Jeff Grobe and Gabe Stump kept Bravo’s intensity high as Bravo rolled to a 8-0 halftime lead. Monsoon seemed unable to complete swing passes as players routinely dropped or turfed 20 yard throws, allowing Bravo to quickly capitalize on Monsoon’s own mistakes. Bravo kept up the stifling defense, allowing just one point to make the score 14-1. Bravo’s offensive unit took the field and worked it down to the goal line where Steven Rouisse’s pass down the sideline to lead to a perfect backhand greatest by Joe Durst to Craig Forshee for the 15-1 win.
Game 2: Condors – Santa Barbara, CA
With Bravo’s first game finishing so early, Bravo had the opportunity to watch the Santa Barbara Condors take on Phoenix Sprawl. The winner would be our opponent in semifinals. Sprawl built up a small two or three point lead and then gave it up at the end as they were simply unable to work the disc past the Condors’ junky zone. The weather had actually warmed up to about 50 degrees with the sun shining through by game time. Condors showed their transition zone and broke for the first point to go up 1-0. Bravo then worked to pick the zone apart before connecting on big cuts to Jesse Roehm and Clark Bishop to tie the game up. Bravo then earned its own break as the defense was able to limit the Condors’ deep game. Bravo built up a quick lead before the Condors struck back and then broke Bravo’s offense again to pull within 2. Bravo would score again and break to take half 8-4. The second half was all Bravo as Bravo’s defensive line rolled with great defensive stops all around. Bravo pulled away to a 15-5 victory over the Condors.
Game 3: Streetgang – San Diego, CA
The weather on Sunday was much improved. Temperatures climbed to 55 degrees and no rain or wind. Bravo started on offense and the teams traded 1-1 before Josh Ackley got Bravo’s first D of the game with an acrobatic catch block. Intensity on the field was high as both teams were issued TMFs for sideline encroachment and aggressive marking. Bravo extended their lead after Streetgang’s huck sailed too far. Bravo would get more defensive stops from layout blocks by Jeff Grobe and Justin Salvia as Bravo worked hard to prevent Streetgang’s breakmark looks to force throws to the strong side. This strategy seemed to work as Bravo took another large halftime lead. Bravo broke Streetgang after half but Streetgang earned a break of their own after forcing several miscues in Bravo’s own territory. Clark Bishop played well for Bravo’s offense with several skies in Streetgang’s endzone. Perhaps after watching too much UltiVillage, Clark attempted his best Bart Watson imitation with a crazy scoober into a pack of Streetgang defenders. Jeff Grobe skied the pack to bring the disc down for a goal which put Bravo within reach of winning the game. At 14-7, Bravo made a defensive error which allowed Streetgang to put up an easy goal. Bravo’s offensive line would get broken before grinding out the last point to finish with at 15-8 win and Bravo’s 13th trip to the club championships.