Machine Preview - 2018 USAU Club Nationals

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Machine Preview - 2018 USAU Club Nationals

Chicago Machine heads to San Diego, CA this week for USA Ultimate Club Nationals. The tournament runs from Thursday October 18th to Sunday October 21st, and features the top 16 teams in the country from the Men's, Women's, and Mixed divisions. 

This season, Machine comes in seeded 9th overall, pitting them in a pool with Raleigh Ring of Fire (#4 seed), Vancouver Furious George (#5), and Atlanta Chain Lightning (#16). Pool play games will take place on Thursday, leading into Pre-Quarters/ Quarters on Friday, Semi-Finals on Saturday, and Finals on Sunday. (Link to USAU Score Reporter Page

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The Nationals tournament format has been adjusted as of 2016 so that the First place finisher in each pool receives a bye directly to quarterfinals. Second and Third place finishers advance to pre-quarters, and Fourth place finishers are eliminated from the championship bracket.

Notes:

  • Machine has played Ring of Fire twice this season, losing in pool play at the US Open and Pro Championships 

  • Machine has yet to play Furious George this season

  • Machine is 1-0 against Chain Lightning, winning a consolation game at Elite-Select Challenge

While a few players are working through injuries, including Alex Champe (knee) who will be out of commission, Machine will have a full roster in attendance.

Machine is not the only Chicago based team attending the tournament. The Chicago women's team, Nemesis, will also be attending, and is also seeded 9th.

Machine's first round game against Ring of Fire is slated to be live streamed via USAU. Depending on performance, Machine may be featured in additional bracket play live steams. Full schedule here: http://tct.usaultimate.org/2018/10/04/39-game-broadcast-schedule-national-championships/

To follow the results over the weekend you can check in on the Chicago rowdy boys through Facebook Twitter for regular updates.

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Machine Wins Great Lakes Regionals - Heading to Nationals in San Diego

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Machine Wins Great Lakes Regionals - Heading to Nationals in San Diego

I was reviewing some old stuff about regionals from some old friends. What comes through more than anything else is how special it is. You've got some happy-to-be-theres, full of college kids. You've got the shoulders full of chips, who scrap and fight regardless of outcome. You have contenders, who look like monoliths from far away, and who close up are full of cracks and flaws. And you have teams on the edge, for whom regionals contains all the potential and worry that you could cram into two days. So what was it like, all these flavors together? 

Well, Machine lined up against BroCats from beautiful Athens, OH. Their squad featured several old Madcow and High Five players, challenged Machine from the start, swarming deep throws and setting a difficult 4 person cup on a turn. The good guys persevered, Suzie Q’ing their way to a 13-3 victory. 

Next up was the Greater Gary Goblins X squad. This team, composed of mostly college players from Northwestern, University of Chicago, and Notre Dame (in order of descending latitude), featured a lot of young grit, heckles for their college teammates on Machine, and at least three Abby Shure Nemesis jerseys. The GGGs fought hard, but couldn't match Machine's defensive intensity, and, even though Alex Evangelides couldn't get a D point to save his life, the Rowdy Boys prevailed, 13-0. Big ups to the young men on playing for a team that prioritizes player growth and competitiveness. We look forward to seeing them at tryouts next year!

After a significant break, the squad took the field against Mango Tree from Ann Arbor for the last game of pool play and a spot in the semis. Mango Tree exhibited strong dedication to both singing the "Bingo" song about Mango Trees all the way to the end and playing an effective clam defense. The Machine O line was broken for the first time all day, and the D had trouble getting turns as Mango Tree cleaned up the trash on multiple tipped disc. The D ratcheted up the pressure and left the O on the sideline, and the Chicago squad took the game and the pool, 13-6. 

Semis. Brickyard. The third place finisher in the region three years in a row, but this time without Machine supercrush Jake Fella, who has been sidelined with a knee injury. Brickyard looked fast and broke first for a 2-3 lead. Machine broke back, and had the rock to take half 8-5, but turned it and got broken on the next point on a popped up under, eventually holding for half 8-7. The theme of the day continue, and increased pressure and team D proved too much for the Indy squad, and Machine earned a spot in the finals, 15-9. 

Saturday afternoon featured college football in hotel rooms, eating a lot of suspect pizza with new arrival Sam Kanner, a predictable outcome to the Credit Card Roulette for the dinner bill, and early bedtimes. On Sunday, a team meeting in the morning, watching the start of Nemesis against Rival in Women’s finals (which Nemesis would go on to win!), and then the warmup. 

 
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Finals. For the sixth year in a row, Machine faced bi-staters High Five in the regional final, this year after two close losses earlier in the season. This time without AJ to beast anyone. Someone else would have to do the beasting. Again, Machine was broken first, and a fired up High Five defense forced turns on each of the first four O points. The O punched it in on the next turn, and the D tied it after a huge run-down deep from Von. After a pair of holds, Machine broke twice to take half with much difficulty and many turnovers, 8-5. The second half featured more pressure as well as the D line's inability to move the disc efficiently, leading to lots of turns, but no breaks. After holds by both teams, High Five got two short fields and quickly broke twice to tie the game at 9-9. A Machine timeout led to a hold and another break as Nate put his man on skates in the endzone set, and Machine led 11-9 as the soft cap went off, game to 13. Some excitement ensued, but netted out in two holds, and Machine won its third regional championship in a row, 13-11. 

 
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Cheers, smiles, and some Mad Dog later, the squad headed back, with two new members set to get their first taste of club nationals. Machine and Nemesis celebrated with an evening of rooftop BBQ’ing, overlooking the city. The faces change, but the flavor doesn't, and we can't wait.The team will head to its annual Sports Day retreat next weekend with a lot to improve on in the lead up to nationals in San Diego. 

 
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Machine Preview - 2018 Great Lakes Regionals

 The 2018 USAU Club Series is in full swing, and Machine is looking to qualify for Nationals this weekend at the Great Lakes Regionals in Aurora, IL. Chicagoland spectators are encouraged to come out the Stuart Sports Complex to watch the Rowdy Boys live! Full tournament details (address, directions, etc…): https://glueultimate.com/event/great-lakes-regionals-2018/

The USAU Series involves a sequence of elimination tournaments starting with Sectionals, then Regionals, and concluding with Nationals. Machine was allowed to skip Sectionals and advance directly to Regionals based on qualification at the 2017 National Championship, and attendance at two or more USAU Triple Crown Tour event's (the Pro-Elite Challenge, Elite-Select Challenge, the US Open, and the Pro Championships). 

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Each region receives 1 automatic bid to Nationals, with additional bids being earned based on the number of in-region teams who fall within the top 16 of the USAU regular season ranking algorithm. The Great Lakes region has two bids to Nationals up for grabs this season as both Machine (9) and Michigan's High Five (10) finished in the top 16 of the USAU regular season rankings.

Machine enters the tournament as the overall number 2 seed, and will play three pool play games before entering into a bracket during the final round on Saturday. Pool winners will move directly to semi-finals, second place pool finishers will still have a chance to qualify by advancing through a backdoor bracket, which culminates with a "game to go" against the loser of finals. 

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Full Game Schedule: https://play.usaultimate.org/events/Great-Lakes-Mens-Regional-Championship-2018/

Machine expects to have their full roster healthy and in attendance, with the exception of AJ Nelson (wedding) and Michael Pardo (injury).

To follow along for live updates: http://twitter.com/machineultimate

Check back after the tournament for a recap, highlight video, and more!

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Chicago Machine - Pro Championships Recap

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Chicago Machine - Pro Championships Recap

Do you notice and recognize miracles?

Machine started the weekend against the hometown team, PoNY, and their big-time off season acquisitions, Ben Spielman & Joshua Stevens-Stein. PoNY galloped to an early lead, but two early second half breaks narrowed the gap, before Machine eventually took the lead with meticulous patience from the D line’s offense. The hard cap horn sent the game to universe with Machine on O, but a high stall huck came up short, and PoNY was able to convert for 12-11 victory.

In game two, Machine squared off with Raleigh’s Ring of Fire, and a series of immediate errors and 3-4 pass conversions put Machine in the deepest hole in team history at half. The D-line would get a few second half breaks back, but even that was not nearly enough to close the gap on a 6-15 laugher.

Machine’s offensive struggles would carry into the final game of the day versus Philadelphia Patrol, going down 0-3 to start. A single hold was enough to right the ship, and the offense steadied for the rest of the game (save a centering pass miscue late in the second half). The defense would again show patience on the turn, converting a high clip of opportunities and eventually stretching the lead to 15-11.

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On day 2, Machine would face Denver’s Johnny Bravo to advance to quarters. Day 2 also came with more reserves as Pawel Janas and AJ Nelson were both able to attend, and later in the day Alex Evangelides would arrive (unfortunately this was off-set with his Carleton counterpart Sam Kanner having to miss day 2). Both the O and the D were consistent early, leading to a comfortable 2 break lead for the majority of the game. In the second half, defensive pressure dipped, and brother, when the O faltered, the D was not able to step up to the occasion. Late breaks mounted for Bravo, and Machine fell 11-13 on hard cap.

Consolation saw in region rival High Five. The teams traded breaks and leads throughout the game, but High Five was stingy with the disc late in the second half, and made Machine pay for each and every turn. A 13-15 loss sets the stage for what should be a strong regional battle for the Great Lakes later in September (September 22/23 in Aurora, IL).

The final game of the weekend for Machine brought another opportunity to work on core process goals, and saw another match-up with Philadelphia’s Patrol. While Machine did not get in an early hole this time around, Patrol stayed tight, and another light performance by the D-line kept it close through the finish. Fortunately, the O put together a stronger performance, and was able to hold Patrol at bay 14-11.

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After games, Machine headed to the house of teammate Michael Pardo. All 25+ guys piled into the sprawling country home and enjoyed a night full of barbecue, drinking, and bonding. (Things obviously escalated into a full on house party). On Labor Day, the team enjoyed a hike into the forest to dip in a secluded reservoir. From there, the boys in five shades of blue ventured into NYC for some sights, pizza, additional flight delays.

Up next, the series.

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Machine Preview - 2018 Pro Championships

The boys in five shades of blue have one last test before the USAU regular season concludes next week. The Pro Championships is the final leg of the Triple Crown tour, and will bring together ten of the country’s best teams in Middletown, NY this Labor Day weekend. Last season, Machine rode a hot Sunday performance to a second place finish at the three day tournament. 

Tournament Details: https://play.usaultimate.org/events/TCT-Pro-Championships-2018/

 
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Machine’s pool features several familiar faces, with former Machine’s Goose Helton, Brett Matzuka, and Bob Liu on Ring of Fire, as well as Ben Spielman and Joshua Stevens-Stein on PoNY. Machine will also see Johnny Bravo and Patrol, two teams they have previously encountered earlier this season.

ESPN and Ultiworld will be on site to film games. Machine is not scheduled to be recorded, but could end up being filmed dependent on bracket play outcomes. 

For live updates over the weekend: http://twitter.com/machineultimate

Machine will be sending a roster of 20-23 active players. Kurt Gibson and Kyle Rutledge will be missing the tournament due to pre-existing conflicts, and Kevin Kelly will be out with a shoulder injury. Pawel Janas and Alex Evangelides will be missing Saturday and some of Sunday’s play. Sam Kanner will be missing Sunday. On the flipside, Machine Coach Andy Neilsen will be returning after a two tournament hiatus in which he was preoccupied coaching the US Boys U20 team to a World Championship gold medal!

Check back after the tournament for a recap, highlight video, and much more.

ICYMI - Highlights from our previous tournament, the 2018 Elite-Select Challenge

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Chicago Machine - 2018 Elite-Select Challenge Recap

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Chicago Machine - 2018 Elite-Select Challenge Recap

The Elite-Select Challenge in Columbus looked to be in doubt Friday night, as a message from the TD said to prepare for the worst. Flash storms had left the main field site and the backup field site under inches of standing water. Fortunately, come Saturday morning, enough fields had drained that games were able to move forward as planned, albeit with restructuring to the tournament format.

In a lame joke I can’t avoid, Machine’s first opponent, Prairie Fire, struggled to ignite their offense on the wet fields. The Rowdy Boy defense worked well in unison, creating several coverage sack turnovers. The D-line then moved it quickly on the turn, and converted on 7 of 8 break opportunities, en route to a 13-5 victory.

After a bye, Machine took on Montreal’s Mockingbird, who went wire to wire with Madison Club in their first game of the day, falling 13-14. The Montreal squad found more success on offense against Machine, but a few early breaks were enough to keep Machine an arm’s length ahead the entire game. The Machine O-line did not have a single turnover after a first point slip-up (literally Wets slipped on an undercut), and the boys in 5 shades of blue cruised to 13-10 victory of our neighbors to the north.

The final game of pool play also served as quarterfinals, with only the pool winners advancing to semi’s. Madison Club, fresh off their AUDL championship the weekend before, came out a little sloppy and gave Machine a few opportunities to convert. The Machine D-line was only able to punish on one of them, prior to a chance to take a 7-4 lead going into half. Unfortunately, a deep shot from Kurt Gibson to AJ Nelson got broken up, and Madison was able to hold, then break to tighten the contest going into half-time. Some early adversity flipped the tables as Madison went on an early second half rally. Machine had back to back D points with opportunities to break on their own endzone, but both came up fruitless, and Madison was able to hold out the rest of the way to a 13-10 victory.

Saturday night, the young guns on the team got real into some game, and seemed super jazzed up about multiple “Merlin’s”. Couldn’t tell you what that was about.

Sunday morning, frustrated with the end of Saturday’s action, the squad took a personal audit and reconnected with the core value for the 2018 campaign – TRUST. A few trust falls later, and Machine’s offense came out hitting all of the pre-tournament process goals that had been outlined. Machine’s D brought the pressure on D, and was able to make Oakland Guerrilla grind out points, and turn it on multiple occasions. Struggles to convert on the turn were the only stain on an otherwise very steady performance. Those struggles did keep the game close, with Machine outlasting Oakland 12-10.

In Fifthals, Machine faced off with Atlanta’s Chain Lightning. For the second consecutive game, Machine’s offense moved the disc well, going unbroken. Machine O made quick work of Atlanta’s zone work, and pushed the tempo throughout. On the turn, the D’s effort was there, but Chain break the mark with consistency, and found open gaps to keep the Rowdy Boys on their heels. Another poor performance on the turn kept things interesting, but on the back’s of the offense, Machine won 13-10.

A cleaner weekend than US Open, chemistry is starting to build across new pieces. Machine will have one more opportunity to build on this momentum prior to the series, and that will be in 2 weeks at the Pro Championships in New York. While a few heavy hitters will be missing from the rotation, Machine does hope to return Nate Goff, Alex Evangelides, and Kevin Kelly from injury, as well as Jack Shanahan, Michael Pardo, and Ross Barker, who were unable to attend in Ohio.

 

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Chicago Machine - 2018 Elite-Select Challenge Preview

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Chicago Machine - 2018 Elite-Select Challenge Preview

Chicago Machine will mount up and head east to the birthplace of aviation this weekend, for the 2018 USAU Elite-Select Challenge in Columbus, OH.

Tournament Details: https://play.usaultimate.org/events/TCT-Elite-Select-Challenge-2018/

Machine's pool features a Madison Club team fresh off an AUDL championship (playing under their alter-alias the Madison Radicals). The pool also includes Montreal’s Mockingbird and Kansas City’s Prairie Fire (the latter of which features former Machine legend, Trent Kuhl). The winner of the pool will advance straight to Sunday's quarters, meanwhile the second and third place finishers will advance to a Saturday afternoon pre-quarter, and the fourth place finisher will be relegated to lower bracket round robin.

 
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Full Schedulehttps://play.usaultimate.org/events/TCT-Elite-Select-Challenge-2018/schedule/Men/Club-Men/  

Ultiworld will be on site to film games as part of their online video subscription package. Machine is not scheduled to be recorded, but could end up being filmed dependent on bracket play outcomes. 

Machine will be sending a roster of 20 active players, missing 3 O-line cutters due to pre-existing conflicts (Jack Shanahan, Michael Pardo, Ross Barker), and 3 D-line cutters due to injuries sustained in battle (Alex Evangelides/ Ankle, Nate Goff/ Hamstring, Kevin Kelly/ Shoulder). The team will also be without coach Andy Neilsen, who will be representing the red white and blue as a member of USA U20 coaching staff, as they compete at World’s in Waterloo, CA.

For live updates over the weekend: http://twitter.com/machineultimate

Check back after the tournament for a recap, highlight video, and much more throughout the season.

 

ICYMI - Highlights from our previous tournament, the 2018 US Open - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoHHMS8RTtI

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