2012’s Division III College Champions, the Carleton Gods of Plastic, traveled to Milwaukee this past weekend to compete in the National Championships once again, making it through pool play before falling to Harding in the pre-Quarters.
Entering the tournament as the sixth seed, GoP squared off against Georgia College in the first round of pool play. After taking an early 3-0 lead, the two teams battled before GoP ultimately pulled out a 15-12 victory.
The next game against the tenth-seeded Middlebury Pranksters, however, proved to be more of a challenge. The match attracted a lot of attention, as both teams were known for their fun-loving attitudes (one spectator from USA Ultimate described GoP’s Ronald Reagan shorts as “the highlight of my weekend”). Early in the match, Middlebury shook GoP’s normally confident and easygoing offensive line, going up 4-1 before GoP broke back to make it 4-3. The teams set the tone early, with physical and sometimes chippy play coming from both sides; one observer issued a TMF to a Middlebury player for repeated fouls on the mark during the same point. Ultimately, after a hard-fought match, Middlebury took the match, further upsetting the bracket.
The final round of Pool Play featured a face-off of the top seeds, both of whom had been upset by Middlebury, with seeding in the pre-quarters game on the line. Both teams came out hard, with Anders Berglund ’15 scoring GoP’s first point in a terrific bid in the end zone. After trading several points and a few break, Stevens Tech closed out the half 8-6. Both teams had unforced errors and gave the other deadly opportunities to break using a short field. Unfortunately, GoP could not put together a rally in time to stop Tech from winning 13-10.
As a result, GoP was matched up against second-seeded Harding for the pre-quarter match. Though neither team expected to find themselves in the pre-quarters, both came ready to play. The two teams traded points and a break apiece to make the score 5-5. A misfire from Harding allowed Scott Graber ’13 to quickly boost one deep, and Carleton converted for the score. However, Harding held their next offensive point and a goal line foot-block led to a big huck for a break right back, bringing the score to 7-6. After a long point at 7-7, Carleton’s Rhys Lindmark ’13 came down with a great poach D on an errant high-release from Harding, and GoP was able to march down the field and score to take half 8-7.
GoP came out of half fired up and quickly surged out to a 12-9 lead, with soft cap on and the game to 14. However, Harding refused to go away and took advantage of several unforced GoP turnovers on the goal line, bringing the score to 12-11 before tying the game, 12-12, to bring its sideline charging onto the field in celebration.
With hard cap on, both teams brought out their universe lines. Harding sent a huge pull downfield, and it just sailed wide of the cone to allow GoP to start with a short field. However, their discipline broke down when an around break to the end zone flew just too far for the receiver and, in spite of a great bid, resulted in a turnover. Harding quickly picked up the disc and ripped a huck deep to a streaking cutter. The GOP defender, chasing his man and trying to track the disc, struggled to make a clean bid. In spite of this, the disc bounced off the Harding receiver’s hand. The ensuing foul call drew moans from the sideline, but the observer upheld it, and Harding retained possession on GoP’s goal line. A few seconds of cutting led to an up-line cut for the score, ending GoP’s season.
Harding advanced to Sunday’s championship bracket, where they promptly fell to the top-seeded Puget Sound.