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Beijing Ultimate Summer League 2009 recap

Champions: Catcher in the Sky, captained by Mike Shyu and Kelly Yang. Back row, left to right: Qi, Ken Su, Nick Liu, Hsing-hui Hsu, Marc Zeiger-Guerra, Lincoln, Shen; front row, left to right: Edward Wang, Matt (王敏), Veronica Lee, Kelly, Mike.

Reprinted with permission from the Beijing Ultimate blog.

Somehow, Mike Shyu, Kelly Yang and Ken Su did it again. Just as at China Nationals, when the threesome led Beijing Bang, the 7-seed, on an unforgettable run through the tourney's 2 and 3 seeds, on Sunday they again ruined everyone's brackets by taking an underdog with no business getting out of the first round on a wild ride to finals.

Only difference is, this time they won.

Deploying a sharp zone anchored by a tireless cup, Catcher in the Sky, in blue, upset the league's top team, Alchemy, in the semis before going toe-to-toe with the league's second best team, Hello Sexy (black), in a spirited and immensely entertaining finals. Sexy took two early leads but never pulled away, and with the game tied at 4, Catcher's zone finally bared its teeth to induce several drops and throwaways. Catcher took half 7-4 to the shock of all the spectators.

"I thought Black would roll through them," Alchemy co-captain Kevin Reitz said. He should have known better. With Shyu and Yang leading a team that included strong women (Veronica, Helen) and top-flight men (Shen, Lincoln), Catcher's performance -- though a surprise -- didn't defy belief. Asked how he beat Alchemy, Shyu smiled and shrugged, "We played our game."

It was more of the same after intermission, Catcher playing a mixture of man and zone and getting stronger with every forced turn. Hello Sexy strung together several impressive drives, but in the unforced turns caught up to them eventually, especially as Catcher often used long hucks to turn the game's momentum on a dime.

Soft cap was called at 10-8. Catcher scored to make it 11-8 before Sexy scored, then won a hard-earned upwind break to make it 11-10. Catcher put on its universe line and marched the disc down the field with ease. Appropriately, co-captain Mike Shyu caught the game's final point, a beauty of a floater that offered itself in the waning light of a late-summer Beijing evening.

Pictures and videos for those within China can be accessed here:

Xiaonei (requires registration): party:
Xiaonei: BUSL 2009 finals:

~Semifinals between Alchemy and Catcher in the Sky:
~Finals, pt. 1:
~Finals, pt. 2:
~Finals, pt. 3:
~Finals, pt. 4:
~Finals, pt. 5:
~Finals, pt. 6:
~Finals, pt. 7:
~Finals, pt. 8:

...And those outside / who have access to a great VPN:

Facebook: BUSL 2009 party!:
Facebook: BUSL 2009 finals:

~First semifinals, game point:
~Finals, part 1 of 8 - sweet zone point:
~Part 2 - Hello Sexy marches it down:
~Part 3 - Ken Su and Joe chat it up:
~Part 4 - long point, sweet vid (recommended):
~Part 5 - first point after half:
~Part 6 - Jim huck to Andy for score:
~Part 7 - crowd getting antsy:
~Part 8 - finals point!:

And a collection of all videos from BUSL 2009:

~Draft: /
~Week 4 Universe Point, Catcher in the Sky vs. Alchemy (Ray's near-Callahan): /
~Week 6 Universe Point, Hello Sexy vs. Catcher in the Sky: /
~Week 3, Catcher in the Sky vs. Hello Sexy: