Odyssée wins the Mixed Division at the 2013 U.S. Open
Posted: July 9, 2013 09:59 AM
As the 2013 U.S. Open championship game between San Francisco’s Mischief and Montreal’s Odyssée began, it was impossible to predict which team would come out on top. Both teams suffered surprising losses to low-seeded teams over the course of the weekend: Mischief lost to the eighth-seeded Ambiguous Grey, while Odyssée lost to the initial eight seed, Cahoots, on universe point. In their head-to-head match up, Odyssée lost to Mischief 15-13.
On offense, both teams kept deadly weapons in their holsters. Mischief’s deep game, led by Kyle Smith behind the disc and Kate Pearson and Tyler Grant often on the receiving end, had been leaving their competition gasping for air all weekend. Odyssée’s signature offensive game was equally unstoppable – the Canadian team’s quick handlers caught the disc up the line, broke the mark and scored by utilizing the entire width of the field without batting an eye. Julie Tremblay, Reynald Neymours and Yoland Cabot did much of this work.
The defining question soon became clear: which team’s defensive line would be able to shut down their opponents’ offense more effectively?
Odyssée started the game on defense and came out strong. They were able to take advantage of an early Mischief drop and score the first point, Gustavo Castano finding Anne-Marie Jubinville in the end zone. Mischief’s defense was on fire, however, and they majorly got in the way of their opponent’s flow. Mischief’s Chuck Cao got two massive defensive blocks on in and deep cuts, followed by Candice Tse slapping the disc away from an Odyssée handler. Odyssée’s handler flow was stymied by their defenders’ unbreakable no-around mark, and the Canadians’ dump cuts often had to be attempted multiple times before they got off their reset throws at a high stall count.
As the points continued, Odyssée adjusted to Mischief’s tight handler defense and began to make some successful big plays. The team started to look deep more quickly and scored a point by forcing the disc down the open side. To raise the score to 4-2, Jan Bouchard found a wide-open Jean-Philippe Riopel in the end zone; to take half, Riopel foot-blocked his opponent and scored for the bookends. Their game wasn’t as clean as usual, but Odyssée was taking what Mischief gave them and running with it.
Mischief wasn’t ready to give up. They came out of half reinvigorated, and their characteristic hucks began working more frequently. Tyler Grant was crucial in raising the score to 9-9, scoring and then assisting on two consecutive points. Mischief turned up their tight defense even more, forcing Odyssée to overthrow deep looks and commit uncharacteristic turns. Kate Pearson, who had been effectively shut out on offense by Genevieve Dufresne, stepped it up on defense and made a spectacular defensive grab in Odyssée’s end zone to save a score.
Yet Odyssée’s offense proved creative and durable, and that resiliency ultimately won them the championship. In a game capped at 12, and Odyssée received the pull on game point, up 11-10. Their nervous energy was palpable and Mischief did their utmost to stymie Odyssée’s handler flow by sticking with their hard no-around force and staying tight on the handlers. With two long hammers to the break side, Odyssée got around Mischief’s tight defense. Fittingly, captain Christian Mathieu ended up with the disc at the front of the end zone and found Philipe Camiré for the winning score at 12-10. With the score, Odyssée became the first international team to win a division at the U.S. Open.
When asked about their win, Odyssée captain Christian Mathieu was elated. "It feels very good to have won," he said. "Mischief gave us a very good game. They did some good hucks, pushed us on defense and had very tight defense, especially close to our end zone." Although they conquered the U.S. Open, Odyssée can’t afford to take much of a celebratory break; the Canadian Ultimate Championships are coming up in less than a month, and they have to prepare. "We want to qualify for Worlds this year," Mathieu said, smiling.
Photos by UltiPhotos.com (Extended highlights)
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