Revolver adds Club Championship to world title
Posted: November 1, 2010 07:03 PM
2010 USA Ultimate Club Championships
Open Division Finals
By: Jonathan Neeley, special to usaultimate.org
While you may be quick to credit Revolver’s superior performance in today’s USA Ultimate Club Open Finals game to a year’s worth of motivation provided by last year’s second-place finish, team captain Robbie Cahill would be quick to tell you that you were not seeing the entire picture.
“This goes back to when Revolver was first formed in 2006, when we dedicated ourselves to the goal of rising to the top through putting pieces in place year by year that would allow us to perform on the top level while also adhering to our core principles of discipline, humility, and intensity.”
For many players, coaches, and fans, those three principles admirably capture the Spirit of the Game that makes them love the game of Ultimate.And for today’s Revolver squad, it might be appropriate to make room for a fourth: Readiness.
From the opening pull, Revolver looked focused and prepared to win the game. On the first point, the offense flowed seamlessly down the force side, and before they could even transition into an endzone set, Bart Watson was already hitting a wide open Beau Kittredge with a flawless hammer that established a 1-0 lead. On defense, Revolver’s starting line came out as it had all weekend, working hard to win individual match-ups and apply the pressure that had smothered opposing teams throughout the tournament. While Ironside held to bring the score to 1-1, Revolver’s offensive players took the field with an air of confidence in their own ability to score and the knowledge that when given enough chances to grind the opposition down, their defensive teammates would force turnovers and earn breaks.
With the score on serve at 3-2, Revolver got its first chance to do just that. A junk defense that forced Ironside to throw away from the middle of the field and toward the sideline gave Revolver the disc, and while a turnover of their own gave the disc back to Ironside, Revolver took the disc yet again as Ironside missed on an uncharacteristic huck in transition, converting to make the score 5-2.
Ironside would answer back, and with the score at 7-6, the defense had a chance to bring the game even after a Revolver huck to the endzone was overthrown. But as Seth Crockford picked up the disc on the goal line, Revolver’s Tyler Grant poached off of Josh Markette and got a block in the lane. Two throws later, Revolver took half with the score at 8-6.
At halftime, onlookers speculated that Ironside would orchestrate a run. The team’s huddle looked positive and encouraging, and with an undefeated record coming into the Club Championships and a veteran core that played in the Finals just two seasons ago, Ironside was not one to cower in the face of adversity.
As the half started, however, Revolver looked to take advantage of an Ironside vulnerability that it had experienced just a year ago in its loss to Chain Lightning: for the first time all weekend, Ironside was in the uncomfortable position of playing from behind. As the pull went up, Revolver took the field ready to pounce, and after a Danny Clark flick missed its target, Mac Taylor ripped down a flick huck from Ashlin Joye to give Revolver the pivotal break out of half. On the next point, Revolver’s defense would force a turn by clamping down on the sidelines, and the score came to 10-6 after Revolver threw it deep to Taylor Cascino.
Throughout the game Revolver’s defense forced Ironside handlers Markette, Matt Rebholz, and Adam Simon to swing the disc continuously while downfield players Jeff Graham and Clark often either turned to cut deep just as the disc was being dumped or found themselves stagnant when throwers were in position to let it fly. While Ironside earned a break back after Colin Mahoney got the only layout block of the game while guarding Kittredge, the steady handling of Sherwood, Cahill, and Sam Kanner sent the message that an Ironside run would be too little, too late. Ironside continued to struggle to dump the disc as Revolver’s marks focused on stopping cross-field handler movement, and at 11-7, Revolver began to close the door. With the disc outside of the Revolver endzone, Ironside called a timeout. A zipper play from the sideline left Matt Rebholz hucking to open college teammate Jim Foster, but in a moment characteristic of Ironside’s day, Foster was unable to bring it in. Revolver quickly struck, and a Mac Taylor huck to the endzone made the score 12-7.
At 14-10, the two teams traded turnovers until Revolver was able to gain possession 25 yards outside of Ironside’s endzone, and after a timeout call and a swing to Eric Halverson, Tyler Grant looked up as a hammer sailed his way. Unsure of whether it would travel far enough, Grant checked his feet and continued to backpedal. Just before disc reached Grant’s outstreched arms, he leaped up and made the catch while in the air. When he hit the ground, Revolver was the 2010 USA Ultimate Club Open Champion.
In talking about the game afterward, Cahill described the win as a total team effort in which everyone recognized that they had a job to do and nobody was concerned about standing out as a star. He also shared some insight into how hard Revolver had pushed itself throughout the season. “When we lost at Texas Shootout and Emerald City Classic, we were upset. We did not travel anywhere expecting to lose.” Those tournament losses stayed with the team as they ran the “Loser’s Ladder,” a long series of hill sprints designed to push the team past its defeat. Throughout these workouts, Revolver teammates reminded themselves that even after winning the World Ultimate Club Championships this past July, they were still USA Ultimate Silver Medalists.
As Revolver players board flights back to San Francisco and look forward to the 2011 season, they can be sure of two things: there will be no Loser’s Ladder this winter, and they will need a new source of motivation in the spring.
While working to provide nightly write-ups for USA Ultimate, Jonathan Neeley is also doing freelance reporting on the Open Division. Follow him on Twitter (@87til) or at 87tilinfinity.wordpress.com