Friday, August 26, 2011
WCBU2011: Masters, MixMastas, GrandMasters Semis and Beyond....
The Masters division here has two things going for it: parity and some serious height. It seems that the taller guys keep playing longer as teams across the board tend to outsize their Open counterparts. Or maybe a little extra girth makes them look taller.
Pool play has finally ended this morning and settled final positions for the playoffs. Perhaps expected, perhaps not, the Canadians managed to defeat the top-seeded Austrians this morning at 9am even though the game meant little to either team. Austria, crafty, tall, perhaps not as good looking as the U.S. Masters team, knew that win or lose they would likely face France in the semis.
France defeated Austria 11-10 and will be fired-up to do so again and make it to the finals. The French team is young, hungry and they run quite well so it will be interesting to see if they can do it again.
With the Austrian loss the U.S. regained the top spot and face off against Spain whom they defeated 13-6 yesterday—although it was clear in some ways that Spain was not putting out their best effort in the game, perhaps holding reserves for the likely semifinal re-match.
Of note is that if the U.S. and Austria win their semis we can expect a raucous crowd for the re-match in the finals. Wednesday's Austrian upset win over USA was punctuated by an energized and active sideline of fans waving flags, cheering loudly before and during plays and at one point rushing the field with four giant Austrian flags during a timeout. It was an impressive display that seemed to rattle the Americans and if they meet again we can expect more of the same—which is great for the game and great for the fans.
Both teams have been warily eyeing each other since that electrifying Austrian win and the scouting ledgers have increased. If this game happens, it will be a good one.
Following their countrymen, the Austrian GM team rattled of the last two of the game on defense with Johannes Petz connecting with Stefan Pichler to upset the favored Americans on Thursday and tie them for the top spot in the pool. However, USA had defeated Austria earlier by more points meaning they retained their top spot.
Still the Austrian win is a big one for their confidence even if it does motivate the Americans now to seek revenge and come out fired-up. After what should be an easy semi for the Americans against either Great Britain or France and a more difficult one for the Austrians against Germany, we'll find out tonight who's planned better for the expected rubber match to be broadcast live.
Great Britain upset Germany in semifinals this morning, 11-9, perhaps a shock to the German system and will now face an undefeated USA team in the finals this evening.
USA earlier outlasted Austria in their semifinal 13-6 led by their height, Jeremy Clark, Kimberly Beach and Sarah VanWagenen. In GB they will see a familiar Paganello foe, a team with several ex-Poughkeepsie and Iceni players and some serious goal-scoring from captain Si Weeks.