Riptide Sign Sinclair, Vasilyev, Davis
Vancouver Riptide have taken a big step towards a successful 2016 AUDL season by re-signing two of last year’s captains, Alex Davis and Myles Sinclair, and adding veteran Anatoly Vasilyev, coming over from Toronto Rush. Together with the already-announced signing of Morgan Hibbert, these four veteran form a strong core for the Riptide D-Line.
It has drawn attention around the AUDL that Vasilyev, Toly to his friends, has relocated out west.
“I moved to Vancouver for a new job, and even though I arrived only a month ago I feel very welcome here. It’s great that I know many of my new teammates, having played with or against them at some point in the past.”
“I’m very excited about playing on the Riptide – new team, new system, new AUDL division, new challenges. The team has a lot of young talented players who make spectacular plays and I hope I can fit with their style of play.”
Toly brings just what the Riptide need; veteran leadership for those up-and-comers on the team, particularly on the D-Line (though he’s more than ready to play on the O-Line if that’s what the coaches decide).
“For the last few years I’ve been playing the defensive handler role for Rush, [club team] GOAT, and Team Canada. I like the excitement of playing defense and the reward you get with a block or a break point. It’s hard work and grinding, and that’s my style.”
“My main strength as a player is my experience and vision of the field. When I play defense I am able anticipate plays as they develop. And in the last couple of years I have developed a pretty good mark; I try to make life for a handler harder that what he is used to.”
In the off-season, Toly has been rehabbing from injuries suffered last season, but don’t worry, it’s been going well.
“My goal this season is to be in the best shape I’ve ever been, as well as to become a more diverse player who is dangerous both on offence and on defence, as a handler and as a cutter. I’ll also be working on creating chemistry with my new teammates, particularly the guys who I will be playing with on Team Canada at the World Championships this summer.”
One thing Toly is really looking forward to is working with Alex Davis, widely regarded as possessing one of the keenest analytical minds in top level Ultimate. For Davis, who during his first AUDL season last year was one of the Riptide D-Line captains and shouldered the majority of the team’s administrative work, last season’s win-loss record was a lesson in itself.
“Most of all, I learned the importance of team culture, and of managing a common vision. Last year, I think the Riptide failed to develop a good team system in the AUDL; we were young, over-eager, and somewhat unfocused. We were too hopeful that personal skills would naturally coalesce into chemistry through practice.”
“The AUDL presents challenges I’m not historically accustomed to managing because it celebrates player stats, performances and highlights. But those stats and amazing catches don’t necessarily lead to wins, and I’ve had to become much more attentive to how we view success, how we measure it, how we pursue it, how we reward it. I expect that this year we will place added emphasis on measuring the things that really matter, and developing the self-discipline to improve on them.”
Davis is sure the new recruits will be a key part of this process.
“Hibbert and Vasilyev are strong assets anywhere they go. I’m particularly happy to add some more height and experience to our D-line, and I think Vasilyev’s unflappable veteran finesse will be a stabilizing influence on what is otherwise a very young team. Their presence gives us an opportunity to do even more, but whether we succeed this season will still be a largely mental exercise and it will have to come from everyone involved.”
Davis’s off-season workout regime will be bad news for opposing O-lines
“I have been prioritizing my foundational strength this off-season. I don’t always have the luxury of being able to choose my optimal match-ups on defense, and I felt that my strength-to-weight ratio was holding me back against both small, agile players, and tall, powerful players. This year, I want to be able to go toe-to-toe with anybody, whether on offense or defense, and I think that the gains I’ve made in the gym will enable that.
Davis remains the consummate team player, as reflected in his thoughts about the season ahead.
“My goals are team goals. I’d like to teach the team to use their strengths together. I want to see continuous improvement in our team mechanics. I’d like to end the season with a winning record.”
Davis’ D-Line co-captain last year was Myles Sinclair, already a wily veteran in his mid-twenties after many years of service at the club, professional, and international levels, and the Riptide are counting on him to remain a leader on this year’s version of the team. He too has taken some good lessons from last year’s less than stellar results.
“Last year’s Riptide fell short with respect to consistency. There were multiple games that we should have finished out and won, but instead we broke down in the 4th quarter and lost. And with AUDL games being timed rather than played to a point score, if you fall behind early, something else that happened to us too often last year, and have to spend the rest of the game trying to catch up, it’s hard to find the energy and execution to overcome the deficit and win in the allotted time.”
Sinclair thinks this might be a watershed year for the Riptide in particular and Vancouver Ultimate in general.
“By the end of last year’s AUDL and club seasons, there was a buzz among Vancouver’s top male Ultimate players. Everyone knows that with hard work and the new players, the door is open for this team to succeed. I urge the fans to come out and support us during what I think will be a very important year of development for this team and group of players.”
“It feels to me that this could be the beginning of a new Golden Age for Vancouver Ultimate. We have a chance to live up to the legacy of the days when Furious George was the best team in the world.”