San Diego, California’s POWERLINE are your YCC U-20 mixed division champion in 2018. Going undefeated all weekend, POWERLINE rode efficient, aggressive offense and stingy, heads-up help defense all the way to the finals where they defeated Seattle Bankroll 15-14 in a thrilling rematch from pool play.
POWERLINE found themselves in the finals after besting Philadelphia Forge 15-11 in the semifinals. Both teams looked hot in the first half, with Philadelphia going down just one break. Both teams found success gaining early unders from strong female cutters before opening up the deep space with shots to their men. In the second half, POWERLINE tightened the screws to put together a three-break run, yielding them a 13-9 lead which, despite a one-break response from Forge, locked in their spot in the finals.
Bankroll fought off hometown Minnesota Superior, who’d gone undefeated in pool play and staged a huge, late comeback string of breaks to force double-game point. Seattle was punishing Minnesota’s mistakes and generating a lot of pressure in the backfield, yielding them an 8-3 lead at half. Breaking three times in four points out of half, Bankroll was as celebratory as ever, and perhaps looking forward to the final already. Three holds in a row later brought the game to 12-6, before Minnesota nabbed its first break of the game. Seattle responded with a clean hold of their own, making it 13-7. Minnesota held, bringing the score to 13-8. They started on D, determined to keep themselves in the game. A misfire on a huck to Carly Campana gave Minnesota the disc and, later, the break. On the next point, another deeps-hot miscue gave the disc back to Minnesota. Superior shot one deep and connected on a highlight-reel, trailing-edge grab by Cole Zielske. Seattle, a bit shaken up, threw the disc away on their next offensive point only to get a chance at the disc again with a big foot block reeled in with a layout catch. Minnesota broke again, pulled and capitalized with another break on a short-field turnover, making the score 13-12. Bankroll took a deep breath and got a vital offensive hold, bringing the score to 14-12. Minnesota’s adrenaline-fueled comeback was squandered with a short-field turnover in their zone offense, and after a couple quick swings and strikes, Otis Williams connected with Le’Trell Paris in the end zone, punching POWERLINE’s ticket to the final and breathing an enormous sigh of relief.
POWERLINE and Bankroll met in a final that felt like an incredibly even match up between two defense-first teams who would test each other each point of the game. Bankroll started with an early break which was answered by POWERLINE with a break of their own several points later. POWERLINE beat Bankroll 14-11 in pool play in a game that ostensibly didn’t affect either team’s positioning, but made the finals match up a game between what felt like familiar foes working to expose the weaknesses they had uncovered about each other earlier. The defensive pressure from both teams, especially in the backfield, led to very few clean holds but, often, each team’s D line would be unable to punch in more than two breaks apiece, with POWERLINE breaking for half and getting the game back on serve 8-7. Bankroll threw away the disc and pressured a turnover from POWERLINE’s D line only to throw a Callahan after picking up the disc. The Callahan brought the score to 9-7 POWERLINE. Two holds later, POWERLINE capitalized again on a short-field turnover and pulled away to an 11-8 lead. Both teams relied on the offenses that had worked for them all tournament, POWERLINE gaining separation and momentum downfield before shooting to their male height match ups, and Bankroll utilizing swings, strikes and quick movement between all seven players on the field to keep their defenders at bay. Down 14-12, Bankroll broke twice – the second time on a layout D from Anika Quon to bring the game to double-game point. Starting on offense, POWERLINE again relied on their height, shooting a same-third huck to a leaping cutter in the end zone to win 15-14 and be crowned the 2018 YCC Mixed Division Champion.