2013 Pro Flight Finale - Women's Division Preview
Posted: August 30, 2013 05:02 PM
The Triple Crown Tour Pro Flight Finale is the year’s last major regular-season tournament, and as planned, it promises to be the most competitive. All eight of the nation’s Pro Flight teams will square off in California. While, as per usual, San Francisco Fury and Seattle Riot have dominated the women's division on the West Coast, Nemesis, Scandal and Ozone have been making names for themselves east of the Mississippi.
With the women’s ultimate world buzzing about parity and roster moves, there is plenty to watch for this weekend.
Fury currently sits atop the USA Ultimate rankings and heads into the Pro Flight Finale with a 14-1 record on the season. So far, Riot is the only team to hand them a loss. But, to date, Phoenix and Scandal have been their only east coast competition. Typically, a dearth of games against east coast teams at this point in the season has not been much of a concern, but this is where the division’s newfound parity comes into play. Scandal’s rise to prominence has been well documented, Nemesis is currently undefeated, and Ozone has found themselves in the finals of each tournament in which they’ve competed this year. All will be looking to test their metal against the game’s best. For Fury and Riot, the weekend will provide a good look at their up-and-coming competition.
Fury's Julia Sherwood comments, "As the end of the season approaches, it is still a bit unclear where teams stack up with each other, and this tournament will give a glimpse of where teams stand going into October. This weekend will be an excellent opportunity for Fury to determine where our strengths and weaknesses lie against a variety of playing styles."
Pool Play Game to Watch: Riot v Scandal
At the U.S. Open Championships in July, Riot handed Scandal a loss to the tune of 15-8 in pool play. But Scandal came back in the semifinals and upset Seattle 13-7. Riot still has the better record on the season, but it will be a battle to get out of Pool B on top.
Scandal's Alicia White with the catch against Fury at the 2013 U.S. Open Ultimate Championships
PHOTO CREDIT: UltiPhotos
Building on their semifinals finish at the Club Championships last year, Scandal has everyone paying attention to the impressive season they’ve put together. The beneficiaries of one of the aforementioned roster moves, Scandal recently added former Capital Anne Mercier and her arsenal of throws to their squad. Mercier will be making her debut with her new team this weekend. And as luck would have it, she’ll get to start by facing her old team in Saturday’s first round.
While Nemesis is the only team coming into the weekend undefeated, they have yet to face any Pro Flight teams, and their record includes quite a few slim victories. However, momentum could be on their side; along with their midseason roster addition in Lindsey Hack, the team last took the field together as the hometown squad at Heavyweights, where they walked away with a convincing 13-7 finals win over Madison Heist. Being pitted against elite West Coast teams for the first time all year will prove an interesting test for their currently pristine record.
Ozone has given the ultimate world every reason to believe they are contenders this year. They have only three losses on the year, all in tournament finals against high-quality teams. Two of the losses came against Scandal in the finals of Winston Cup Challenge and Chesapeake Invite. Their only other loss was against Nemesis in a tight championship game at Terminus. To counteract their losses, the ladies from Atlanta can also claim wins over Scandal, Bent and Brute Squad. Their rematch against Nemesis in pool play should be a good measuring stick of how much each team has improved in the past month. If round one was any indication, both teams are sure to provide some excitement in round two. And just like Nemesis, this weekend will be Ozone’s first encounter with Fury and Riot.
Of the remaining teams, Showdown, Molly Brown and Capitals, only Showdown has matched up with Fury, Riot or Scandal, and each of those games was played at the early-season U.S. Open. Despite going 0-3, Showdown's veteran squad gave Fury a serious run for their money in Raleigh. After missing Colorado Cup, Cara Crouch’s return to the line-up will undoubtedly pay dividends for Showdown. The team’s London contingent, Bex Forth, will also be back for the Texans. With both playmakers still fresh off of their time with the U.S. and U.K. World Games teams, respectively, this weekend’s Showdown roster certainly carries a little more firepower than they did at their last outing. Molly Brown upset their regional rivals in pool play at Colorado Cup, but it was by no means a blowout, and Showdown may end up with an opportunity to even the score in California. Molly Brown is full of young, athletic talent, but they’ll be missing Megan Cousins (of U-23 fame) to injury this weekend.
The Capitals had their only U.S. showing thus far at Terminus and, like many other teams, were missing some key players. They played well against the lower-seeded teams but struggled against the top tier. Still a relative unknown, it will be fun to see how they match up against the field with a full roster this weekend.
As many of these teams will be meeting for the first time this season, there is still a lot to be learned. But with many of the country’s best teams on display, the tournament could offer a good preview of how October could play out.
The regular season all boils down to this.
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