Blaine, Minn. (Aug. 4, 2019) – After two days of great games and amazing plays, the U-17 divisions at the Youth Club Championships have determined their semifinalists. Find out what happened as pool play was closed out and teams started advancing through the championship bracket.
Day two of competition in the U-17 boys’ division brought joy and tears as teams grinded to the finish line in pool play and moved one step closer to winning a championship trophy. While it was business as usual for the top three seeds in the division, it was a battle royal between seven teams for the five remaining spots in quarterfinals.
Oregon Eruption! and Seattle Horizon utilized strategic defensive schemes on their opponents to create Ds and turns that led to quick-fire hucks for goals, securing the top seeds in their respective pools. Eruption! relied on intense person defense to defeat Flying Piglet and Aftershock in pool play. Ben Thoennes and Mica Glass continued to reward their Eruption! teammates’ defense with 11 and eight assists apiece on the day. On the other side, Horizon continually trapped the opposing handlers with three lanky defenders at all times, making it near impossible for both Neap Tide and Superior to score. NC Hammer also continued to dominate their pool, scoring many of their goals on hucks to earn victories over Chicago Storm and Capitol Heights. Anil Driehuys and Eli Fried led the day for NC Hammer with 10 assists and eight goals, respectively.
Outside of the top three teams, day two brought rough waves to the remaining teams in the U-17 boys’ division. Pool D saw Utah Swarm secure a victory over Austin Double Trouble before they faced the pestering zone defense of ATLas. However, Utah Swarm found success by moving the disc side to side between their handlers, spreading the three ATLas defenders thin until the middle was open for unstoppable give and goes. This strategy proved too much for ATLas, as they were defeated 11-8, meaning the top four teams in quarterfinals would not mirror the original seeding.
If Pool D rocked the boat, Pools A and C capsized it, as BUDA and DEVYL jumped into the second spots in their respective pools. BUDA caught Aftershock off guard and took a commanding 8-2 halftime lead – scoring five goals in a row at one point – and finished with a 15-9 victory.
DEVYL seemed to take a page out of BUDA’s book as they took an early 4-1 lead and later found themselves up by four goals in the second half. However, the fight in Capitol Heights persevered as they clawed their way back to send the game to double-game point at 11-11. In the end, DEVYL’s top assist and goal leaders came up big when it mattered, as William McGlynn found Christopher Iglesias for the game-winning goal. McGlynn finished with 10 assists on the day for DEVYL as they moved on to quarterfinals with an additional victory over Dallas Swing, while Caelan McSweeney racked up 12 assists and Nanda Min-Fink scored 10 goals for Capitol Heights. Rounding out the quarterfinals qualifiers was Minnesota Superior as they rounded out their pool play results with a 15-7 victory over OAK Sparks.
After all the excitement of pool play, the quarterfinals were much more par for the course. While Superior was victorious in pool play using their size, they found themselves on the defensive against a much faster and equally big Eruption! team. Eruption! proved too much for Superior to handle, as they exploded their way to the semifinals with a 15-4 victory. Horizon also continued their dominance by defeating BUDA 15-3. Meanwhile, ATLas’s three-person cup was put to the test again versus NC Hammer. While Utah Swarm moved the defense with swings across the field, NC Hammer settled for relying on their height to try and throw over the smaller ATLas defenders. The trap seemed to work early on, as Bryson Bien continued to D any disc that flew within 10 feet of him, but in the end, NC Hammer was able to score with deep hucks and prevail with a 15-7 victory. The remaining quarterfinals game saw Utah Swarm continue their give-and-go magic that got them the top seed in Pool D, earning a decisive 15-7 victory over DEVYL.
Make sure to catch Eruption! versus Swarm and Hammer versus Horizon in tomorrow’s semifinals as all four teams compete for spots in the finals and a chance to win the U-17 boys’ division championship trophy.
The anticipation was at a fever pitch for the biggest matchup of the day in Pool A between top-seeded Seattle Blossom and D.C. Force, as until this point, these two teams nearly shutout both of their opponents. The stage was set for an epic showdown, and it did not disappoint in the least. Chagall Gelfand continued her dominance for Blossom, but this time it was her defense that really stepped up. During one point, Gelfand recorded an astonishing five Ds, with the majority of them being caught at or near her own end zone! On the very same point, D.C. Force’s Michiko Magnant recorded three Ds herself, and ended up scoring the goal to end the point. Everyone watching agreed that the final score, a 15-5 victory for Blossom, wasn’t reflective of the intense, back-and-forth battle they witnessed these top powerhouses compete in.
Pool A also featured another intense battle between BUDA and Madison MUFAbots. While both teams struggled to score facing off against the dominant Blossom and D.C. Force yesterday, day two was redemption for these athletes. With the game tied at 7-7, Mira Schneeweis-LaRene connected with Hannah Nygard to put the MUFAbots up 8-7. As hard cap went off, Hazel Geiger got an all-important D for MUFAbots, leading to Schneeweis-LaRene finding Nygard again for the winning goal and the victory for MUFAbots. Nygard finished with four goals and two assists for the MUFAbots, while Alexandra Wardle scored three goals for BUDA in the losing effort.
In Pool B, the rATLers continued their dominance, scoring 10 points in a row and winning a defining victory over the Kitty Hawks. Quincy Booth filled up the stat sheet, scoring two goals, dishing out three assists and earning six D’s. Meanwhile, Belly of the Beast was led by massive hucks from Mathilda Myerhoff and Rachel Chang to win their final pool play game over Minnesota Superior.
In their quarterfinals matchups, the offensive powerhouses of Blossom, D.C. Force, Belly of the Beast and rATLers were overwhelming for their opponents. Blossom continued to dominate with a 15-1 victory over the Kitty Hawks, highlighted by an evenly spread offensive attack that saw multiple players share the wealth in goals and assists. Belly of the Beast was led by Rachel Chang again, as her seven assists helped secure a 14-2 victory over MUFAbots. In the bottom half of the bracket, Grace Wang led the charge for D.C. Force as they fought off a valiant effort from Superior with a 14-6 victory. Paige Gruenhagen, the hero in yesterday’s double-game-point matchup, scored three goals for Superior. The last semifinal spot went to the rATLers as they cruised to a 15-1 victory over BUDA.
The last day of YCC promises to be one for the ages as Blossom will take on Belly of the Beast and D.C. Force will face off against the rATLers. Make sure to check out the exciting action as these teams compete for a chance at U-17 girls’ championship gold!