Recap: 2011 College Open Regionals (Atlantic Coast)

Posted: May 3, 2011 04:06 PM

Open Division

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Atlantic Coast
Regionals Recap
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"By focusing on the small things, we made something big happen.”
- Virginia captain Tom Licitra

Wilmington, NC-- Virginia Night Train claimed its second Atlantic Coast Region title in three years on Sunday with a 15-7 final victory over host team North Carolina-Wilmington. The win sends Virginia to the College Championships for the second time in the program’s history. 

While it took 15 points to win the game, Virginia players preferred not to think about such big numbers.

“Last year, we got ahead of ourselves when we faced Wilmington at Regionals,” said Virginia captain Tom Licitra. “This year, we concentrated on winning games to three. By focusing on the small things, we made something big happen.”

On top of its strong mental game, Night Train packed a powerful on-field punch. After Wilmington’s offense held to begin the game, a drop in the upwind endzone squandered their chance to earn the first break. From there, Virginia converted on long hucks and short break throws while also capitalizing on Wilmington mistakes to run the score up to 3-1 and 6-2.

While Licitra, co-captain Andrew Wilkes, Jesse Macadangdang, and Matt King shouldered broad loads on both offense and defense, players from all over the Virginia roster stepped up when given the opportunity. At 6-2, Virginia pulled upwind, and with eleven total changes of possession, the point was long and sloppy. Though lined up against Wilmington’s starting offense, third-year players Roy Matthews, Neil Place, Ian Toner, and Andy Schroth showed remarkable poise and determination. After ten minutes of play, senior Alex Dagley found Place in the endzone, delivering a crucial blow to Wilmington. 

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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Toner

Though Wilmington went on a run of its own to bring the score to 7-5, Virginia took half, 8-5. After the game, Wilmington coach Tully Beatty said that his team’s fatigue was evident at halftime. “We were up 8-3 on Virginia Tech in the semis and we wound up just squeeking it out, 12-10.” Virginia, on the other hand, had a fairly easy second half against Delaware. “When guys are that tired, what can you do?”

After the half, Virginia’s Aaron Mullins made a diving second effort grab to bring the score to 9-5, and as Wilkes racked up flying blocks, King found a throwing groove, and Justin Wallace made a crucial grab over a pile of players, Night Train strung together a 4-0 run. Wilmington’s Tommy Lamar stopped the bleeding with an upwind blade, but Wilmington was unable to break downwind and the score went to 13-6.

On the next point, Dagley, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury on Saturday, capped off an excellent Sunday performance with a spectacular aerial block on a Dave Macurak hammer and a layout save on an in cut. From there, Night Train went to its bread and butter, with King hitting Macadangdang, who found an open Wilkes in the endzone.

After Wilmington held, a short pull gave Virginia the disc at half field. King and Licitra made quick work of the defense, taking only three throws to find an open Wilkes in the endzone.

When asked about Night Train’s success, Licitra commented, “We have a lot of guys that make up for other people’s mistakes. It instills a lot of confidence in each other, and nobody feels like they have to do too much.”

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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Toner

Notes from the tournament:

  • Virginia Hydra qualified for the College Championships out of the Womens Division. This is the first time in school history that both of Virginia’s teams have qualified for the Championships.
  • En route to their victory, Virginia beat five of the tournament’s seven other quarterfinalists.
  • By reaching the semifinal, Virginia Tech capped off its most successful season to date.
  • Similarly, Georgetown has only qualified for Sunday at regionals once before. This time, they won a nail biter, 15-14, in crossover over South Carolina, and also put up nine on eventual champions Virginia.
  • Wind was present throughout the weekend, but did not influence the makeup of the tournament.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Toner


Final Standings:

1 - Virginia
2 - North Carolina-Wilmington
3T - Delaware
3T - Virginia Tech
5T - Georgetown
5T - James Madison
5T - Towson
5T - William & Mary
9T - East Carolina
9T - Maryland
9T - North Carolina State
9T - South Carolina
13T - George Washington
13T - Liberty
13T - Maryland-Baltimore County
13T - Virginia Commonwealth


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