D-III College Championships 2022: Berzerkers edge past Electric City for semi-final return (men’s quarter-final roundup)
The top seed St. Olaf was on cruise control for much of his quarterfinal.
May 22, 2022 by Chris Cassel in Summary with comments
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Continuing their march through the tournament in Milwaukee, the No. 1 St. Olaf Bezerkers took care of business in the quarterfinals with a 15-4 demolition of Scranton Electric City to once again advance to a national semifinal. .
The Scranton team, visibly tired from their upset victory over Claremont in the pre-quarter, could not follow up against the talented and well-rested St. Olaf. Scranton star player Matt Pindilli struggled to pitch into the wind. Meanwhile, the St. Olaf stars mostly sailed and the Berzerkers got a chance to show off their roster depth. Noah Johnson led the way in the goalscoring department with four goals, while Luke Bleers hit team highs in assists and blocks with three apiece. But 17 players contributed at least one goal or assist during a clinic on solid team play. It was a good warm-up for the team’s depth ahead of an impending semi-final against Berry College this afternoon.
St. Olaf captains Gordon Larson, Ben Fjtland-Souza, Josh Kugel and Luke Bleers spoke about the quarter-final, as well as their approach to the weekend in general. “We wanted to face a team that was better than us. So we mixed up some teams from Carleton—CUT, two days before coming here. It was the intensity we needed.
Still, in a loose match like the quarter-final, the captains wanted to keep their heads in the right place. “We try to stay humble. Especially yesterday, our last game against Oberlin, really touched us. Something we realized with Oberlin was that they had more fun than us… They really wanted it and worked hard. This change came in the middle of this game. We started playing louder and just enjoying being there. This is something we want to continue. And then we showed courage,” the captains said.
Humility is something a lot of teams have struggled with this tournament; look no further than yesterday’s game between Middlebury and Claremont. Olaf will face a very good team from Berry in the semi-finals later today. In the meantime, their preparation will be minimal. They plan to continue business as usual and spend the in-between hours supporting their women’s team, St. Olaf Vortex.
Scranton Electric City Ultimate struggled to move this game forward. Pindilli still viewed the game as a positive, however. “It’s definitely an honor to have come this far,” Pindilli said. “All the guys on the team put their hearts into getting here. To make it a 15 seed that’s never won a game at regionals, being able to play the number 1 seed, getting spanked , but it’s a good lesson for our first trip to nationals.
Pindilli put in an outstanding individual performance this weekend in Milwaukee, which he attributes in large part to the confidence of his teammates. “They trusted me. I made throws that few of them do, but they trust me to do them,” Pindilli said. That freedom to take shots resulted in a tournament-leading 31 assists. But Pindilli also praised teammate Mike Kane, who he quit basketball to play Ultimate; Kane was the ECSU player on the receiving end of many Pindilli shots, scoring a team-high 13 goals.
Going forward, Scranton will play in the consolation bracket and reorganize for next season. Pindilli ended on this positive note: “We’ll take the summer off, we’ll play mixes in the fall and spring. We’ll come back here and score more fours on Olaf.
Players to watch in the semis for St. Olaf will be Will Brandt, Ben Fjetland-Souza and junior Trever Laugren. Berry is coming off a close pair of pre-quarter and quarter-final wins, so Olaf will definitely have the upper hand when it comes to legs, although they’ll have to be ready to match Berry in the intensity category. Expect a very exciting semi-final tonight.
TAGGED: USAU College D-III Men’s, Presented by Spin Ultimate, Quarterfinals
EVENTS: 2022 D-III University Championships
TEAMS: Scranton, St. Olaf