Horsecows’ rivalry with OU explodes at sectionals
Last week in Columbus, Ohio, Oberlin’s men’s ultimate frisbee team, the Flying Horsecows, finished a 7-1 weekend in second place at the East Plains Sectional Tournament. With their strong placing, Oberlin advanced to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament in three weeks.
The two-day tournament featured 19 teams from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, all vying for one of seven bids to the regional tournament. Oberlin began the first day seeded in third overall and second in their pool. Ohio State-B quickly fell 13-2 (first day games were played to 13, second day games to 15. If no team is able to score the winning total within 90 minutes, the team leading at that time wins).
Kent State hung tough for three points and the score was tied at 3-3, before Oberlin picked up their game and cruised to a 13-4 win. A one round bye was followed by two quick victories over Dayton (13-3) and Ohio Northern (13-3). The Ohio Northern win was made easier as they were missing several of their starting players.
On Sunday, the teams were reseeded into bracket play to determine who advanced to regionals. Oberlin held their third seed, and was slated to play Ohio Wesleyan first. The ‘Cows’ crisp execution of the day before was lacking, and an accurate deep game from OWU kept the game close. Largely though, Oberlin couldn’t get out of their own way for long enough to run away with the game. However, in the end the ‘Cows were able to hang on for an unnecessarily tight 14-12 victory.
The second game of the day found Oberlin in the semi-finals against Ohio University, one of Oberlin’s two main rivals in the section (the other being Ohio State). The much-anticipated game drew a large crowd and did not disappoint.
It was a classic battle between size and speed. OU was decidedly taller than the ‘Cows, but Oberlin was faster man for man. Oberlin’s pesky defense was able to hurry OU’s big men into early turnovers, and took an early 6-4 lead. But OU soon began to exploit their height advantage and surged back to claim a 10-7 advantage. Oberlin altered their defense to counter OU’s height, and were able to trade points for the remainder of the game. However, the ‘Cows were unable to overcome the deficit and fell 15-12.
Disappointed about missing the championship game Oberlin played flat in the first half against Ohio Northern (now with their full compliment of players), and ONU took advantage taking an 8-3 lead at half. Oberlin began to play better in the second half, but continued to let an inferior ONU team dictate the action.
With the score 12-7 and Oberlin facing immanent and ignominious defeat, the ‘Cows began to rally. With increased intensity on defense Oberlin began to force more and more turnovers, and the offense resumed its deep strike attacks with increasing effectiveness. The ‘Cows brought the game back within reach at 13-12, but faced defeat at 14-12. Oberlin responded, and again brought the score within one at 14-13.
On the next point Oberlin forced a turnover and began driving, but unbeknownst to the players on the field Oberlin had just two minutes to score before the time limit expired and Oberlin lost the game. The ‘Cows were methodically working the disc up field, balancing patience with the need to quickly score. With the clock ticking under 20 seconds Oberlin finally punched the disc in, tying the game and forcing a one point overtime. Oberlin’s defense held, and the ‘Cows’ now unstoppable offense quickly scored to cap a dramatic 15-14 come back win.
In their final game of the day, Oberlin had a chance at redemption as they faced the loser of the championship game, OU. In this second meeting Oberlin’s superior speed, and particularly their superior conditioning proved dominant. Oberlin’s offense scored nearly every time they touched the disc. Meanwhile the defense, though tiring, refused to give OU any uncontested possessions, and caused enough turnovers to allow Oberlin to secure a convincing 15-7 victory.
The ‘Cows improved to 21-11 so far this spring, and should receive a
strong seeding at the upcoming Great Lakes Regional Tournament.