After two days of hard play, Seattle Hydra clearly led the pack and became the undefeated and undisputed returning champions. With the fight for second seed resolved, only Maine Rip Tide, Cincinnati Belle and North Carolina Kitty Hawks escaped contender elimination.
Hydra started out their day against the fourth-seeded Kitty Hawks. The game was tight for the first few points as the teams traded downwind scores, but Hydra started their signature pull-away when Kayla Pianh sent the disc deep to Betsey Siegal for the break and 3-1 advantage. Hydra relied on their deep 22-player roster to keep legs fresh and spirits high as they walked their way to a 7-2 halftime advantage. The Kitty Hawks’ handlers, led by Ellie Cubrilovic, started to figure out the gaps in Hydra’s still unbeaten zone, making a series of rapid give-and-go throws around the cup, causing some panic from Hydra’s zone and forcing a transition to person defense, but not before the Kitty Hawks walked the disc all the way into the end zone to make the score 4-8. Hydra, always quick to adapt, set a new defensive line and ended any hope of a Kitty Hawks comeback with a five-point run, ending the game with a deep put from Angelina Jeantette-Coca which was reeled in on a layout bid from Grace Patterson to seal the victory 13-4 and advance Hydra to the championship yet again.
Rip Tide took on Belle in the semifinals in a rematch of Friday’s second round in which Rip Tide upset Belle 13-9. This time, it was Belle looking to upset Tide for the chance to go up against Hydra one last time at YCC 2016, or at least match their 2015 second-place finish. Rip Tide relied on their tight zone, and Belle soon started resorting to punts and hammers before Tide’s Emily Pozzy yet again connected with Sophie Marcotte to lead 4-0. Belle, however, was not about to roll over. After the Belle offense starting finding holes in Tide’s defense, Ella Enders connected with Amy Friemoth for their first goal. Belle went on an impressive six-point run orchestrated by handler Rebecca Monnin and cutter Therese Enders, both with multiple interceptions followed by quick transitions for scores. Belle’s O line demonstrated their dominance over Rip Tide’s zone, working their cup to run away with the first half 7-5.
Belle came out strong in the second half with a near full-field huck from Meg Teller to Ella Enders, who chased the disc undefended and made the trailing-edge catch while diving for the score. Rip Tide, however, quickly returned their zone to the unbeatable force displayed in the early game, and Emily Pozzy quickly racked up six more assists with four to Kennedy McCarthy. Rip Tide went on their own six-point unanswered run to bring them to game point at 12-8. Belle’s offense fought hard to stay in contention, but was ultimately shut down by the Tide zone, yet again, before Emily Pozzy picked up the disc after a turn and sent it deep into the end zone to her sister Annie Pozzy for the win.
Rip Tide earned themselves a rematch of their very first pool play game against Hydra for the championship game which Rip Tide lost 13-1. Rip Tide learned quite a bit this past year, even this weekend, and perhaps their greatest gain was in their zone, led by veteran McCarthy, playing tight and low while piling on the pressure with each throw. Hydra is no stranger to how to break a zone and quickly took a 3-0 lead. Rip Tide answered with a streak of their own, starting with a massive D by Alexandria Rowell which was quickly converted, followed by another Seattle turnover and a picture-perfect throw and equally perfect cut by Ayla Gunther for Rip Tide. A point later, Emily Pozzy picked up a turned disc and launched a backhand toward the end zone to find McCarthy yet again, who easily skyed a crowd of Hydra defenders to put Rip Tide within one point of Seattle. Hydra, however, answered with a string of goals, leading off with a half-field flick by veteran Hazel Ostrowski to find Anna Goddu in the end zone. Rip Tide fought back on offense but had a hard time transitioning to defense after a turn quickly enough to keep pace with Hydra, which allowed Hydra’s handlers to get the disc moving and dominate the zone. After yet another beautiful assist from Goddu, Hydra entered halftime with a 7-3 lead.
In the second half, Hydra refused to let up on perhaps the only team that demonstrated the cohesion and drive necessary to attempt to put down the returning champions, pulling further and further ahead of Rip Tide. Hydra’s depth again became a major tipping point as Rip Tide switched their defensive strategy to person instead of zone, hoping to game the match ups where they counted and get a quick break to get back into the game. Rip Tide made Hydra earn the first few points with hard marks and some sick Ds, but Hydra ultimately wore them down and broke ahead to 12-3. With one final push, Hydra’s Ostrowski pump-faked her mark and stepped out for a perfect backhand to Mari Scott for the last goal, crushing any hope of a Rip Tide comeback. Hydra walked away undefeated with their third straight U-16 girls’ championship, while the initially fifth-seeded Rip Tide earned second place (a historical rarity for Maine at YCC) and walked away with their heads held high.
In the third-place game, the Kitty Hawks fought bravely but were initially unable to contain the Belle offense, falling quickly into a 9-3 disadvantage. Determined to make a game of it, the Kitty Hawks relied on handler Cubrilovic and cutter Xintong Xiang to dominate both their offense and defense, bringing the Kitty Hawks within one at 9-10. Belle, however, quickly put away one more point to clinch the third spot.
In the round robin for fifth place, Minnesota Superior put up a hard fight against the free agent team, Artemis, but ultimately the hometown team was unable to keep pace with Artemis’ new-found cohesion. The game was close at 12-9, but Artemis was clearly on top of Superior for the second time this weekend. Superior tried to come out strong against Bay Area Belly of the Beast, but even with the skills of veteran handler Doua Ci Lor, Minnesota came up short once again. Belly of the Beast had only Artemis to go through to cement fifth place, which they did with relative ease, pushing Artemis to sixth place and Superior to last at seventh.