After getting rained out on Sunday of the Brickyard Brawl in its last tournament, Alpha Ultimate is traveling to Wilmington for the Fall Easterns on the campus of UNC-Wilmington this weekend.
Alpha is confident going into the tournament after outscoring its opponents 51-19 on Saturday of Brickyard Brawl, but it’s ready for a bigger challenge on Sunday at the beach. In the 16-team tournament, the other three 1 seeds are Auburn, Ohio State and UNC-Chapel Hill.
“If it all shakes out how it’s supposed to, we will see Ohio State in the semis,” said junior captain Trevor Lynch. “They were at our level last year. We ended up beating them in our one game in the spring… We always love playing Darkside, that’s UNC, so hopefully, if we make it that far, that’ll be a fun matchup too.”
In its own pool, NC State will face Maryland, James Madison and Carnegie Mellon. If the Pack finishes as the best team in the pool, it will advance straight to the championship bracket on Sunday; if not, Alpha will play a crossover match with the loser going to the 9th-place bracket with the bottom half of teams from pool play.
“Maryland will be fun. We played them five times last year, so it’ll be a fun game,” said senior captain Michael Lee. “Really spirited team, really great team to play against. A lot of fun but also super smart and intelligent.”
UNC-Chapel Hill is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament as it was in NC State’s host tournament and the NC State-UNC matchup is fairly realistic at some point on Sunday. These teams met a handful of times last year with UNC winning the majority of them, but it was always a close match.
UNC, the national championship runner-up, won’t be an easy task, but NC State must get to that point first. Ohio State, Auburn and some 2 seeds like UNC-Wilmington and Maryland all have the opportunity for a deep run on Sunday to challenge the North Carolina powerhouses.
“Ohio State’s great. We played a really good game with them last year in the spring,” Lee said. “They did really well at nationals last year. They’re really smart also; they play a really good zone and a really good junk [defense]. The way that we play offense, they’re really good at playing defense against that type of offense.”
So far this season, Alpha has rotated everyone in on both sides of the disk, but Lee said the team is changing it up this weekend to a system it will use especially when things heat up in the Spring season.
“We’re splitting up into offense and defense this week for the first time,” Lee said. “We did that [at practice] on Tuesday, so this weekend will be our preliminary O-lines and D-lines, so that’s big.”
The Pack will start the weekend on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. against James Madison and then will have back-to-back games against Maryland and Carnegie Mellon starting at 12:30 p.m. Keep up with live updates by following the team on Twitter @NCSUalpha.