Riot Wins Their Second U.S. Open Championship in Blaine, Minn.

Posted: July 7, 2014 11:27 AM

The day was hot and muggy, and the game started out with storm clouds on the horizon. On the field, the wind started weaker than it had been the past few days, though it was still enough to affect throws, helping Riot to move out to an early 3-0 lead. However, the wind then picked up and became incredibly gusty, causing many turnovers on what otherwise would have been easy throws.

Riot started the third point with a zone defense, allowing Brute Squad to swing the disc back and forth, though effectively stopping throws through the middle. Still, Boston was able to gain yards on throws to the sideline, in particular to Becky Malinowski. Tufts teammates Qxhna Titcomb and Claudia Tajima, along with Emily Baecher, were very consistent behind the disc, maintaining possession and tiring out the Riot cup. As Boston neared the end zone, Seattle switched to a man defense, finally forcing a turnover from Tajima to Baecher. A few more turnovers were enough to make Riot take a timeout. After a few swings, Alyssa Weatherford flicked the disc into the end zone, with Sarah Griffith laying out for the score. Though Griffith hit the ground hard and took an injury, she caught the disc and the observers awarded her the score, allowing Riot to go up 3-0.

Moving downwind, Brute Squad moved the disc quickly downfield. An up-the-line cut from Paula Seville got Boston on the board in a point that took under a minute with no turnovers. 

Riot had a few risky throws as the wind picked up. Though Hana Kawai had an excellent grab, an overthrow from Gwen Ambler gave Brute Squad a shot for a break. A layout D from Shannon O’Malley gave the disc back to Riot, but Seattle couldn’t hold on, and Brute Squad worked it up the field. Boston broke for the first time with a throw from Baecher to Kami Groom, making the score 2-3. 

Brute Squad starting using a zone defense to challenge Riot in the backfield. After a turnover on a dump, Boston got a golden opportunity to score quickly, but a hammer from Tajima was another turnover. Riot worked up the field with University of Washington teammates Shira Stern and Sarah Davis working efficiently. However, they couldn’t score, and Brute Squad took a timeout with the disc on the Riot end-zone line. Boston set up a vertical stack in the end zone, but Riot came out with a trap cup zone defense. Still, they were unable to stop Boston from scoring with a high release over the cup to tie the game.

Moving downwind, Riot scored quickly on a deep shot from Dominique Fontenette to Kawai. Riot came back out with their zone, and Gwen Ambler was able to pick off a deep shot from Baecher. Yet again unable to convert after the turnover, Riot gave the disc back to Brute. A fantastic grab from Shira Klane over Riot’s 5’11" Jillian Goodreau tied the score again.

After a throwaway, Riot’s man defense made it hard for Brute Squad to score the next point. Though Riot’s Kawai and Calise Cardenas were able to work with O’Malley to move the disc almost to the goal line with quick up-line cuts, Seattle was again unable to score. Sara Jacobi’s dump defense effectively shut down Riot handler Rohre Titcomb, forcing a turnover. Titcomb got the D back on Brute Squad’s offensive strike, challenging Jacobi in the air. Unfortunately for Riot, the disc returned to the thrower after a foul call. A huck attempt from Qxhna Titcomb into the wind fell short, and Riot was off to the races. Weatherford’s inside break into the end zone was bumped around by the wind but still brought in for the score. After the long point, and already an hour into the game, Riot led 5-4.

Perhaps feeling the time pressure, Brute Squad responded with a quick point to tie the score again. The next point involved several calls, but Riot remained focused, and a floaty throw from Ambler into the end zone was brought down by Katy Craley, her second point of the day. Griffith came back out on the field to catch the next point, after the Riot zone forced another Brute Squad turn. Riot didn’t look back, as Fontenette racked up her second assist to Shira Stern laying out for the eighth point, taking the game to halftime 8-5. 

Right out of halftime, Seattle came out with their zone once more. But Brute Squad used excellent throws to move through the tall Riot cup. A big jump into the front corner of the end zone for Kami Groom allowed Boston to score quickly, showing Riot they weren’t done playing. The soft cap horn blew just as the point began and made it a game to 10. With hard cap looming, Brute Squad scored a crucial upwind point to bring the game within one point.

A huge hand block by Lien Hoffman gave Brute Squad a chance to tie early in the point, but they could not convert. Riot’s Kelly Johnson worked the disc up the field with the help of her low step out throws, and the Riot cutters seemed more energized than ever. In the cleanest point of the game, Riot scored the up-winder with an inside break to Johnson to lead by two.

On the upwind point, Qxhna Titcomb picked up the disc to throw her signature backhand huck. Knowing her specialty, Sarah Davis threw her body in front of the could-be score, blocking the throw 10 yards out of the end zone and giving Riot an opportunity to end the game. After another few turnovers, Charlie Mercer found Shira Stern in the end zone, and Riot snagged the victory 10-7.

After earning significant wins over last year’s National Championship finalists San Francisco Fury and Washington D.C. Scandal, both Riot and Brute Squad look to have very promising seasons. 

Congratulations to Seattle Riot, champions of the 2014 U.S. Open, and Boston Brute Squad for a fantastic game! 




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