With the 2007 PHUL (Pittsburgh High School Ultimate League) season under way, I am writing this to report on how I see things shaping up. My predictions are fairly similar to how the teams finished up in 2006, so there's always reason to believe I could be wrong; and I'd love nothing more than to see some of my predictions wrong as it will show that competition in PHUL is continuing to increase.
Before I start my analysis, I just wanted to let everybody know that this year looks to be the biggest improvement in Pittsburgh league history as there will be upwards of 40 teams, including a girls division that could be as competitive as they come. The skill, experience and growth of this league is something that I feel is unmatched in other parts of the country and only looks to get bigger.
So without further delay, here is how I see 2007 in PHUL.
With the 2006 title under their belts and a trip to the Paideia Cup in mid-April, the North Hills boys are this year’s favorite to win it all. Having lost no players to graduation and acquiring Nick Kaczmarek from the
With two losses in the semifinals in both 2005 and 2006,
Having been able to watch a little bit of the non-divisional scrimmage between
Every year Shady Side plays quietly in PHUL and making it into the playoffs where they just explode. They’ve made it to the quaterfinals the past three seasons and putting up a good fight in those games. They always seem to get hot at the right time, but this year look for coach Matt Weis to keep them hot the whole season.
Last year was Montour’s first season in PHUL and coach Darren Shultz was able to teach a bunch of athletic seniors how to play the game and we saw them cruise all the way to the semifinals. They graduated a solid amount of players, but that doesn’t matter because the skill, knowledge and ability to coach a team of Darren is what will make this team scary for a second season in a row.
After a disappointing 2-6 season in 2006, there is no reason not to think that Fox Chapel is working hard to erase that from their minds. Returning players Dan Berk and Ariel Altschuler will look to turn this team around and make some noise during the playoffs. Having lost very few seniors to graduation, a solid recruiting class could make Fox Chapel very dangerous.
With trips to finals in 2004 (won) and 2005 (loss to Fox Chapel) in their history,
It's important to realize that this is just a small breakdown of the large amount of teams in PHUL. I will be looking for upsets, close games and surprises throughout the entire season and hope that this year will be the most competitive season to date. I plan on writing at least a weekly article that can be found both here on PlayUltimate and on the Pittsburgh-Ultimate website. Next week’s edition will have a game of the week recap, something I plan on doing to begin to get a better grasp on some of the teams in the league, as well as news and analysis from around the league, including my input and predictions on the 2007 PHUL Girls Division.