By: Noah Robiner
The inaugural U.S. Open Club Championships are a wrap. It was a massive event, one sure to just get even bigger next year, with tons of great teams, exciting games and memorable moments. The event’s YCC division closed out the weekend with placement games, semifinals and five amazing championship games.
Monday at YCC saw the two semifinals and championship finals of the U-20 boys’ division in Blaine, Minn. DEVYL out of the New Jersey area matched up with defending champs Triangle Triforce – a rematch of last year’s championship game – while ninth-seeded Texas Two Step, who had notched a surprising upset against Seattle Splash in the quarterfinals, matched up against Boston BUDA.
The DEVYL v. Triforce match up was the closer game of the two with both teams playing clean offense in the first half, despite some great defensive pressure. Triforce took half up a break at 8-7 and held the lead for the rest of the game. North Carolina-Wilmington rising sophomore Connor Russell did all he could to bring the game back for DEVYL, but Triforce’s fearless D line applied big pressure on under cuts and jump balls and took advantage of break opportunities. Despite a small run late in the second half that brought the game to 12-13 Triforce, the defending champs held strong and punched in the holds that would take them back to the championship game for the fourth year in a row, 15-12.
Texas managed their quarterfinal upset against Seattle by playing to their strengths. They had perhaps the tallest roster in the tournament and kept throwing up trust balls to their athletic receivers who kept coming down with them. But come their match up with a smarter and more skilled Boston BUDA, Two Step’s luck ran out. BUDA employed a soft bracket that slowed down early deep shots and allowed Texas to make it past half field, where their height and big throws weren’t as dangerous, and leaned on Two Step’s weak cutting core continuation skills. BUDA’s veteran offense, led by rising Carleton College sophomore Chris Padilla who got some big minutes in their championship run at the College Championships just a couple months ago, was able to shred through some of Two Step’s zone and took smart shots early, not leaving any room for Texas to find their footing. BUDA took half at 8-4 and never looked back, notching a 15-8 win with their sights set on a rematch of the 2015 YCC finals when they beat Triforce to claim the title.
The BUDA v. Triforce final was an instant classic, double-game point thriller. Each team played nearly flawless offense, trading breaks after big blocks on both sides. They found themselves on serve coming into halftime. Both teams steadily increased their defensive pressure coming out of half, but Triforce’s big names started to make an impact on offense with lots of 50-50 shots into the end zone to their deep cutters. The momentum started to shift in Triforce’s favor with BUDA having to work much harder under Triforce’s intense defense to eke out holds and work through a surprisingly strong O-line defense from Triforce. BUDA managed to get the score back on serve, and both teams marched under intense pressure into a double-game point with Triforce receiving. Jordan Perry threw an inside break to Liam Searles-Bohs who put up a down-the-middle backhand to Peter Barry. Barry caught the disc on a second-effort snag right on the goal line. After some deliberation on the in/out call and a possible foul, the disc was tapped in on the goal line. Triforce swung twice to Searles-Bohs who threw a step-out forehand to a juking Barry for the goal and a second consecutive Triforce championship.