Blaine, Minn. (Aug. 5, 2017) – All the talk about how big and how crazy – good crazy – this new event was going to be came to fruition today. The event kicked off yesterday with competition in just the adult club division, but today, the 90 Youth Club Championships teams also got play underway. Energy around the field site was buzzing.
The adult club teams finished out pool play and moved into the semifinals today, and there was certainly no shortage of exciting games.
Going into the day, nearly everyone was still in contention for the semifinals, so all games mattered. In Pool A, Revolver took care of business against High Five and Sub Zero to solidify their spot in the semi. Sockeye also met Sub Zero on day two and got a win. Just to keep things a little interesting, Ring of Fire upset Sockeye, but it wasn’t enough for Ring to advance. Revolver and Sockeye took the top two spots in the pool.
Johnny Bravo was the only team in Pool B to emerge unscathed yesterday, but that changed when they met Patrol this morning. The loss put three teams – Bravo, Truck Stop and Ironside – at 3-1, with Bravo set to face Ironside in the last round of pool play. With the semis on the line, both teams gave it their all. The first half was clean, but Ironside managed to break to take the 8-7 lead into halftime. Bravo managed to generate some turns midway through the second half but struggled to convert the break chances. Bravo broke to go up 12-11, and late miscues from Ironside – often near their own end zone – gave Bravo the opportunities they needed. They ended the game with two straight breaks, one off a great D from Joe Anderson on a questionable throw and the other off an Ironside miscue. Bravo won 15-12 to secure their spot in the semifinals. Truck Stop easily bested Inside Rakete to earn the second spot out of the pool
NOISE does their best work in the morning. After two strong early games yesterday, they had a repeat this morning, nearly besting Slow White, but the one seed hung on. Slow White also had a super close game against Team Mexico. The game wouldn’t affect Slow White’s spot in the semifinals, but they didn’t sit all their starters either. Mexico was up 10-7 before Slow White mounted their comeback. Slow White won 16-14 to advance to the semifinals with a perfect record. Mixtape took the second bid out of the pool after surviving a battle against Mischief in the game that would decide who would reach the semifinals. Mixtape broke on the very first point of the game, with holds following until the point for half, when Mischief got that break back. They traded breaks in the second half, but Mixtape’s final one came later. Thanks to performances like Jesse Bolton’s one goal, five assist game, Mixtape eked out the 16-14 win to claim the second semifinal spot.
Everything went according to plan in Pool B, except the Metro North v. Drag’n Thrust “upset.” The overall 4 v. 5 game was also the game to decide the second semifinalist from Pool B. And against Metro North, Drag’n Thrust looked like a team poised to win their home tournament. Metro North held to start the game before Drag’n Thrust tallied three straight. They carried that momentum throughout the game and rolled to a 15-7 victory. AMP rounded out a perfect 5-0 record with a win over Migrant in the last round.
Semifinals in both the men’s and women’s divisions took place today, but the mixed division semifinals will both be played Sunday morning, with the division’s championship final set for 6:00 CT tomorrow evening.
The day started off with an overcast, but otherwise conditions have improved immensely from the windy start we had yesterday–no breeze at all and hardly a chill in the air. As the second installment of Friday’s nail biting play, the outcome of Saturday games aligned a little more with the predicted seeding with the exception of the Colombian powerhouse, Revolution, who continued to be a challenge for every team they’ve faced. Both pools experienced close and competitive games.
In Pool A, Molly Brown stayed on top on day two, starting with a tough game against MUD that went into hard cap tied at 14s. MUD had great communication on the field with seamless handler flow, weaving across and down the field by short throws and button hook handler cuts. Standouts like Yuko Suzuki worked tirelessly to keep their team moving with finesse. Molly Brown grinded out Ds, using their height as an advantage, and worked through the poachy defense that MUD threw on their cutters, ultimately coming out on top 16-15.
MUD continued to challenge their competitors with an offense that showcased their handlers. They were neck and neck with Brute Squad, only to lose by two this time, overall working the top teams in the pool in tight, intense games.
Colombia upset both of their games, winning against Showdown, who had a 7-4 lead at one point until Revolution tied it up at 11s before pulling ahead. The game was incredibly athletic with major plays on both sides. Notable players included Revolution’s Alejandra Maria Torres Echeverri, who handled with quickness and aggression. Traffic, who utilized the entire field, couldn’t convert while Revolution monopolized on their turns. One could hear the Colombia team from fields away – their sideline presence certainly aided their wins. Having pulled out both victories, Colombia earned their way into the semifinals, behind Molly Brown.
An interesting note about B is Iceni. As their overall 11th seed predicted, they went 0-5 this Friday and Saturday, but their record was not reflective of their games. With a small squad, they consistently challenged other teams, going up to 17-16 with Scandal on Friday and 15-11 with Riot on Saturday, which were some of the toughest games those two had faced so far.
The big game in Pool B was Fury v. Scandal, the fourth and fifth seeds, in a game that would decide the pool’s second semifinals team. Both teams started off hot, with many bids from Fury’s starting D line, but Scandal held. Fury worked their way up the field well with strike cuts, always looking downfield. Both teams adjusted their defenses to take away deep cuts, as they continued to go neck and neck. Scandal’s Sandy Jorgensen celebrated an early break with bookends, as Opi Payne headed Fury’s intensity. In hard cap, Fury won the close game 17-15 to reach the semis.
Another notable game was Heist v. UNO; the Wisconsin team adapted well with a zone defense that put pressure on the much-utilized UNO handlers. Robyn Wiseman dominated the sky with her high vertical and strong forehand hucks. UNO’s handlers still moved the disc with a fast pace, but Heist was able to pull a lead that ended in a strong win.
The semifinals rounds got underway in the men’s division, with Johnny Bravo v. Revolver on the stadium field. Most expected a close game, but Revolver jumped all over Bravo early, taking advantage of the unforced errors from the Coloradans. After expending a lot of energy in their last pool play game against Ironside, Bravo’s energy levels felt low, while Revolver kept rotating through their large and deep roster. Bravo couldn’t find answers for guys like Christian Johnson downfield or Ashlin Joye in the handler spot, often working with Joel Schlachet who, more often than not, was getting open at will. Revolver rolled to a 15-9 win and a spot in the finals.
Thanks to how quickly the Bravo v. Revolver game moved, the second men’s semi started up shortly after the first finished, so fans migrated from the stadium field to the bowl-like field that sits behind it to watch Truck Stop take on Sockeye. The first half was slow moving and pretty clean. Neither team had a lot of success forcing turns, with the exception of one multiple-turnover point. Sockeye got the first break to go up 7-6, but Truck Stop was still playing well. But the second half was a different story. A few Truck Stop throwing miscues put the disc in the hands of the stingy Sockeye defensive offense anchored by Dylan Freechild and Trent Dillon, and Sockeye pulled away to a 15-10 win.
Saturday’s results set up a familiar battle in the finals: Revolver v. Sockeye.
Anticipation was high when the Colombians arrived in the stadium to take on Seattle Riot in the first women’s semifinal. Nothing about the stage rattled Revolution in the slightest. They thrive on the crowd’s energy and definitely used it to their advantage on Saturday. Highlight plays were nearly a dime a dozen in the game, with women flying all over the place and amazing grabs from players nearly up and down each roster. Unsurprisingly, Yina Cartagena was the biggest playmaker for Colombia, and even with amazing defenders like Sarah Griffith on the field, Riot couldn’t find a way to contain Cartagena. When Riot changed up their defense to make the under cuts more difficult, Revolution just adjusted to attacking the deep space, and they did it well. Neither team played their cleanest ultimate, but Colombia’s intense defensive pressure forced plenty of errant throws from Riot. Revolution took advantage of those mistakes and earned a 15-10 win that makes them the first international team in the women’s division to reach the finals at the U.S. Open.
Molly Brown v. Fury closed out day two in Blaine with a barnburner. As they did on Friday, the new recruits for Molly Brown showed their mettle throughout the game, with Liza Minor leading the way. Claire Chastain and Paige Applegate handle the backfield duties with people like Minor, Lisa Pitcaithley and Lisi Lohre filling in the standard third handler’s space with their cuts. For Fury, Katie Ryan stole the show. She was nearly unstoppable in the cutting lanes. When the score was tied at 10-10, Ryan had accumulated four goals and one assist, accounting for half of Fury’s goals. Victoria Elmore, another of Molly Brown’s rookies, was probably the most effective defender on Ryan using her speed and athleticism to pester Ryan downfield. The teams traded breaks in the first half, and the score ended up on serve at halftime. Despite losing Kaela Jorgensen to an injury suffered early in the game, the Fury defense played well, with Carolyn Finney leading the way. But a couple late miscues – an errant throw and a miscommunication in the dump set – gave Molly Brown chances. With Chastain playing nearly every point at the end, she was on hand to quarterback the defensive offense to the breaks they needed. Molly Brown earned their first-ever spot in a championship tournament final.
Tune in tomorrow on ESPN3 for the mixed division semifinal between Slow White and Drag’n Thrust, followed by the men’s and women’s championships games. Then, turn on ESPN2 to watch the mixed division final, live at 7 p.m. ET.