By: Nathan Mannes
Today was a wonderful day to play ultimate in Blaine, Minn.
In the first round, Colombia Revolution played a hard-fought game against Cincinnati Belle. Throughout the game, Colombia never took their feet off the gas. They forced some turnovers downfield, but they were more successful generating turns in the handler space. Colombia tried a zone on a few different occasions, but it could not match Kinsey Fry’s consistent throws over the zone. Revolution struggled with a number of unforced turnovers which really prevented this game from being as close as it could have been. The final score was 15-7, Belle.
Also in Pool A, Bay Area Belly of the Beast played Portland Rip Tide. Rip Tide was looking clean. Their offense was led by Emily Pozzy, who had phenomenal pulls and seemed to be one of the best throwers in the division. Their zone gave Belly of the Beast a lot of trouble, but Belly of the Beast never let up on the defensive intensity. A few blocks by April Lu certainly helped. They had trouble capitalizing off of those opportunities, though. The final score was 15-4, Rip Tide. There will be a very good game tomorrow morning between Rip Tide and Belle.
The Kitty Hawks exhibited very strong fundamentals in their game against Minnesota Superior. Throwers like Grace Conerly and Lanie O’Neill were comfortable putting up deep shots to strong receivers like Clil Phillips. Early in the game, there were a lot of unforced turnovers from both teams. But by the end, the Kitty Hawks tightened up their play and consistently got blocks on Superior. They are going to be one of the teams to watch for the rest of the tournament. Expect a very good game tomorrow between the Kitty Hawks and Seattle Eclipse to decide Pool A.
Seattle Eclipse went through the day unchallenged, with 15-1 wins over both Oregon Ash and Boston BUDA. Their offensive possessions did not last very long because thanks to their quick scores, and their one-on-one defense was very effective. BUDA and Ash had to work incredibly hard to run with Eclipse.
In the U-20 girls’ division, home team Minnesota Superior faced off against Boston BUDA. Both teams are tall and athletic. BUDA threw a number of poachy defensive looks, and Renata Pepi from BUDA and Emma Poirer from Superior were stood out amongst the field.
Cincinnati Belle began their tournament by squaring off against Texas Tango. They played a close first half that finished on serve. The second half wasn’t nearly as close. Belle scored a few early breaks and was able to trade with Texas for the rest of the game. Tango was led by the dynamic handler pair of Tanika Graham and Skye Fernandez, while Belle had a more balanced offense.
Pittsburgh Moxie faced off against the Triangle Warhawks. In the first half, Moxie struggled to run their offense, with the Warhawks taking away the deep space Moxie was trying to throw into. Led by Karen Ehrhardt and Beth Manturuk, the Warhawks’ offense was very clean. They often scored in less than 10 throws. In the second half, Moxie dialed up their intensity, and Sophia Kosowsky got herself a Callahan. Expect to see some more improvement from Moxie as the weekend goes on.
When Seattle Narwhal met the New Jersey Valkyries, the Valkyries came out pretty flat, while Narwhal played with intensity. Narwhal will be tough for any team to beat. They have a number of different defensive looks at their disposal, with some zones and poachy looks. Even if they didn’t want to use those, their person defense is very hard to deal with. Meg Manning, Ally Constantino and Ada Bowles seemed to stand out amongst many great players for Narwhal. In the second half, the Valkyries found an offensive rhythm, and their deep shots coming from Kate Stoll began to connect, but Narwhal still won easily, 15-6.
The Colorado Cutthroat v. Philadelphia Forge match up was intense from the start. Both teams’ offenses were centered around the deep game, and most of the time, Cutthroat had better positioning. Grace Brown and Stacy Gaskill got a lot of blocks for Cutthroat while Lacey Robinson and J’Lynn Matthews both were effective handling and cutting for Philadelphia Forge.
So far, everything has gone to seed, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.