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UF vs FSU preview

October 10th, 2014

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What about Florida State? No, said Van Auken, “they’ve never been a team that we’ve been afraid of.” – Ultiworld, February 2013

 
While not exactly the quote delivered, it has been a rallying cry for the team from up north, and part of a rejuvenation of a deeply meaningful rivalry for both schools that has often been one-sided in Ultimate. 
 
Florida State has joined Florida among the top programs in the country, notching its biggest wins in the series in 2013. Florida State knocked off Florida 13-11 in front of a large home crowd in Gainesville at the Conference Championship, but both teams headed to Southeast Regionals in position to claim one of the three bids at USAU College Nationals. In Tupelo, Florida was upset by Georgia, and Florida State was upset by LSU on Saturday, leaving both teams fighting for one spot, and forced to go through each other.
 
In rain and muck on Sunday, Florida would win the opening meeting, taking an 8-3 lead at half time and holding on for dear life to win 12-11. Florida would lay down to Central Florida in the next game and survive LSU to advance to the game to go. Florida State whipped Tennessee and a spent Georgia Tech team, to set up the same day rematch. With players wearing trash bags and a field that showed little grass, each team would scratch and claw the whole way. Florida State went up a break in the first half, but Florida gained control in the second, taking a 14-12 lead. On the doorstep several times, Florida could not convert, and Florida State would score 3 straight to secure its first trip to Nationals since 1989, and send Florida home.
 
Both teams would spend much of the 2014 season in the top 10, but Florida would regain the upper hand in the rivalry, taking 3 out of 4 meetings. Each game continues to be a back and forth battle, often ending on double game point. Florida clipped Florida State 13-12 in the Semi-Finals at Warm Up, and Florida State claimed a victory by the same score on Saturday at the Conference Championships. Sunday, Florida would capitalize on a tired Florida State squad to win 13-9, which set up a collision course for the Semi-Finals at Regionals in Tuscaloosa. Behind a stout defensive effort, Florida would secure a 15-12 win on route to its 6th Regional Title in 9 Seasons. Florida State would knock off Central Florida and Georgia to secure back-to-back trips to Nationals for the first time in program history.
 
Entering the 2015 season, both teams have great expectations, returning the core of their teams from a season ago. In addition, each teams stars played deep into the Club Season with Gainesville Vicious Cycle and Tallhassee Shrimp Boat, with many of the standouts playing as teammates on Florida United. Tonight’s Exhibition Game in Gainesville (7pm at Maguire Field) should be a taste of what is sure to be the matchup each team needs to win to accomplish their season goals.
 

FSU Players to watch:

77279_bigChris LaRocque (#18) – The selfless captain for the ‘Noles is often looked upon for his offense, but it is his defense that sets the tone for the team.
 
Andrew Roney (#3) – The stats from last year’s College Nationals tell the story of how great an offensive load Roney has to carry for the team to be as successful as they plan to be.
 
Connor Holcombe (#27) – Often tasked with the toughest defensive assignment, Holcombe pairs explosive speed with springiness and a knack for producing in the big moments.
 
Andrew LaRocque (#28) – Not to be overshadowed by his brother, this LaRocque will need to make an even bigger impact, especially for the team to make a deep run at College Nationals.
 
Bobby Patterson (#2) – If this is the Bobby that is being talked about after a game against the Gators, then it will be FSU coming out on top. The intense defense that Coach Van de Burgt requires from Patterson and his teammates will be critical for the ‘Noles game in and game out.
 

UF Players to watch:

25584_bigJames Dahl (#3) – Like the captain counterpart on FSU, it is defense impact that defines Dahl. Always tenacious, the 5th year player is eager to make a name for himself at Florida.
 
Bobby Ley (#9) – Everyone will look at the big plays and be impressed, but Ley will need to be efficient for Florida to be successful. If his defense prowess can match his offensive talents, Florida will be difficult to handle.
 
Jacob Dummeldinger (#11) – He’ll find himself covering either LaRocque or Roney for most of the game, and UF can’t afford for him to only be useful on defense. His offensive role this season must expand for Florida to advance deep at College Nationals.
 
Tanner Repasky (#15) – The Tallahassee native struggled early in his career against the ‘Noles, but is playing with an even greater level of confidence, that will need to be matched with veteran poise.
 
Billy O’Bryan (#2) – The one that everyone on both sides of the rivalry has been talking about, this youthful sophomore is set for a breakout season. He’ll need to quickly overcome the nervous excitement, and settle into his new role.
 
Florida vs Florida State
Friday, October 10th
7pm
Maguire Field 
 
Written by: Florida Ultimate
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