Machine's first tournament of the 2017 campaign came with growing pains, as the short-handed squad struggled to find consistency with a new offensive system.
While Machine was able to take early leads against both Ironside and Doublewide, inexperience shown through as both opponents would lock-in defensively and run away with victories in the second half. Final scores: 9-13 & 10-13. Machine began to hit their stride during the third game of the day on Saturday, versus PoNY, but an offensive miscue on universe point gave PoNY the only chance they would need to steal the game. Final score 10-11.
After dropping all three games in pool play, Machine fell into a lower bracket round-robin with Prairie Fire, Chain Lightning, and Madison Club. A lightning delay before the Prairie Fire game did little to slow Machine, and an early lead was stretched out as defensive pressure led to multiple errant throws. The biggest change was an increase in conversion percentages from the Machine D-line on the turn (a problem that plagued them throughout pool play). Final score 13-7.
Saturday evening gave Machine an opportunity to bond over food, drinks, and a river swim in downtown Denver. Sunday morning's game against Chain Lightning felt reminiscent of pool play, however, with Machine jumping to an early lead, only to see it quickly be erased. Loose decision making with the disc gave Chain ample opportunities for breaks, and despite strong defensive pressure, Chain stretched the lead to a 11-13 victory. Focused on process goals, Machine came out with more intensity in the final game of the tournament, against Madison Club. Machine patiently took advantage of zone looks and poachy D to convert at their highest percentage rate of the weekend. The early successes gave life to the team, and the defense poured on the breaks, leading to a 13-7 victory.
Despite the rocky results, there were several strong individual performances from the likes of Cullen Geppert (prior to a hamstring strain on day 2), Yiding Hou (assuming an offensive handler role), Jesse White (leading the team in D's and plus/minus), Jeff Weis (in his first elite club level tournament), and Travis Carpenter (also moving to the O-line).