The final day of YCC opened up with beautifully blue skies and a slight breeze, a wonderful day for ultimate which ended up being filled with wonderful games, U-19 mixed on day three began with the semifinal games between PHUEL Forge ad D.C. Swing Vote and Seattle Mix-a-Lot against Bay Area Happy Cows. Even before the games started, they had the loudest sideline I had seen all weekend, everybody was ready to go, ready to play for the coveted championship win.
Forge vs. D.C. was a rematch of Swing Vote's only loss of the first two days, and the first two points made it seem like it was going to be another close and intense game, just like Friday. The energy on both sidelines was through the roof for the whole game; every point ended in the scoring team rushing the field whooping and hollering. After D.C. got their first break early on, it was difficult to stop their offensive driven machine. Forge threw everything they had at Swing Vote who had possibly the crispest offense in the mixed division, working it up the break side easily then swinging it back and repeating without fail. Forge tried a zone look that D.C. made short work of, and Forge also gave it their all on man defense, with huge bids and high intensity, but D.C. always seemed able to work around it. When they couldn't, Philly just didn't seem to be able to capitalize. Philly had a phenomenal air game all weekend, schooling teams with massive height and athleticism, which worked well until D.C., who had already seen it and knew what to expect, threw height at height and shut them down in the air. Philly started to pick it up after half, but it just seemed too little too late as D.C. took the semifinals 13-6.
The other semifinals game was much more of a nail bitter. Seattle, attempting to continue their trend of schooling people with their four women-three men lines, with Junior Worlds players Kate Daugherty and Carly Campana really driving their team, opened up this semifinal with that line up, but the Happy Cows were more than happy to run such a line, with stand-out all-star women of their own, with the Carothers-Liske sisters – Chloe the 18-year-old Junior Worlds player – and her sister Lauren – the 15-year-old Happy Cows veteran – among others. Both teams had deep chemistry, which is essential at YCC, especially in the mixed division, as well as tight offense and athletic players who made for a wonderful showdown of two powerhouses. The game was nearly mistake free for a long while with lengthy points caused by huge Ds from both teams that pushed points on but also kept the intensity up. The Cows got their first break early on but were unable to get another until after half, with the game back and forth, breakless, until then. After half, the Cows picked it up and went on a three-point run to win the game 13-9.
The last game of the day, and obviously the most important, followed the two semifinals, the championship game was a repeat of last year’s mixed final between D.C. Swing Vote and the Bay Area Happy Cows. The finals are a wonderful place, with all the other teams from your area as well as the division crowd around the field to support their teams or the teams that beat them or the teams that didn't. Either way, the energy was infectious. And once the game started, it was easy to see why. Both teams were leaving it all on the field, and with all the talent involved, with World Junior Ultimate Championships players Jake Radack, Joe Freud, Ted Sither and alternate Caroline Tornquist and just on the D.C. side of things. Adding to the already mentioned WJUC players on the Cows side, there was also Jeremy Dolezal-Ng and Colby Chuck who both played for the USA WJUC team, and that is not mentioning the other amazing talent on both sides. It was set up to be a real banger of a game.
Despite all of the raw energy on the sidelines, both offenses stayed patient with the disc, and moved it calmly up and down the field. Nearly all of the turns came from monster Ds made by the other team. D.C.’s handler movement was the real decision maker, with Jake Radack running the back field seeming to be everywhere at once, they consistently dumped and swung the disc all around the field, breaking the mark and working it up the break side, buttery and smooth. It was a big difference from the Cows’ fast-paced, give-go based offense run by Jeremy Dolezal-Ng and Colby Chuck. The game stayed relatively tight, with D.C. taking half after a three-point run and keeping that lead until the very end when the Cows broke to tie it up at 12-12, right before the horn sounded for hard cap. The last point was tense, and every player gave it their all until Ella Juengst got a massive run-through D and went on to score the winning goal for D.C. Swing Vote on universe.
Congratulations Swing Vote on the 13 – 12 win, their second straight championship and second straight universe-point finals win over the Happy Cows!