2006 World Juniors Ultimate Championships - Daily Log - August 14th

Posted: August 14, 2006 03:17 AM

Tick, tick, Boom!  The US Junior Teams started the World Junior Ultimate Championship off with a bang on Monday.  We'll take this one chronologically.

The US Boys opened competition against Great Britain.  Great Britain has had a juniors team in international competition since shortly after the Junior World Championships began in 1983.  Recently youth Ultimate has been thriving in the country.  The GB squad started out on defense and came out with a standard zone defense.  The US O made quick work of it and punched it in for a 1-0 lead.  On the second point the US showed forehand and Ollie Honderd came up with a poach D.  The US worked the disc downfield before Ben Feldman threw out the back to Honderd (oh yes, WFDF has 18 meter endzones - about 5 yards shorter than UPA sized fields).  After two more turns by the US squad, GB found the endzone for their first point to make it 1-1.  On the third point the US settled their nerves some and worked it in.  They then showed their effective 1-3-3 defense for the next three points and opened up a 4-2 lead.  From there it was the US the rest of the way with mostly 1-3-3, a little bit of forehand and backhand and one point of FM.  The US sqaud took the game 17-2 with some great handler work from Jeremy Norden and Eli Friedman, some solid man d from Casey Ikeda, and great work on the point in the 1-3-3 by Robin Stewart-Demartino, Taylor Lahey, and Andrew Hollingworth, whose shoulder was feeling much better.

The US Junior Girls opened up against Australia at 10:30am.  Australia is a relative newcomer on the international scene at the youth level;  2004 was the first time that Australia sent a team to the World Junior Ultimate Championships, but they have a rapidly developing program.  The US started on O and quickly scored their first point and then came out with some straight-up defense and opened up the lead to 5-0 after Autumn Tocchi came down with a huge lay-out catch following an Emilie McKain D.  The US then came out with a couple of points of 1-3-3 scoring them both, the second on a nifty lefty (off-hand) backhand from Claire Suver to Amber Sinicrope to make the score 6-0.  The US continued to dominate using mostly force forehand and backhand with a couple of points of 4-man cup zone after half to widen the lead to 15-0.  At 12-0 Georgia Bosscher began to assert her dominance with a big block and, on the ensuing possession, a nice lay-out catch and the assist to make it 13-0.  Australia finally found the scoreboard on a nice no-turnover point against the US' force forehand defense to make it 15-1.  The US closed out the game 17-1 on a pass from Claire to Patty King. 

Since 1983 Finland has been in the finals of the World Junior Ultimate Championships 4 times and have won it all once.  In 2004, the US Boys faced Finland in the semifinals and after a tough first half pulled away to win 17-11.  Finland typically plays with a variation of a horizontal stack that creates many cutting options for the downfield cutters.  The US started their 2pm game against Finland where they left off against Great Britain and came out strong with a 5-1 lead behind two huge Alex Kapinos layout blocks.  It did not stop there as the US continued to roll to a 17-1 victory behind the strength of their 1-3-3 and their efficiency after the turnover.  First half highlights included a well placed huck from Ikeda to Darden Pitts to make it 7-1 and a lay-out catch for a score by Hollingworth on the next point.  In the second half Honderd had a sweet lay-out catch for a score to make it 11-1 and Adam Miller pulled out a swell stall 9 huck at 14-1 to Christian Foster who then found Ben in the endzone to make it 15-1.  On the day Miller played very strongly.  He's the kind of player who doesn't make many highlight type plays but will do the right thing consistently - hit the open guy, cut to the right place, and play shutdown defense.  The US Boys looked great after day one.  Overheard on the sideline: "I didn't know that players who don't have licenses could drive an offense so well."

The 4pm showcase was the game that everybody was waiting to see.  The US Girls were slated to play Canada in the first of two pool play games between the teams that met in the 2004 World Junior Ultimate Championship Finals.  The two teams split at the 2004 event, with Canada winning the important one in a rout, 17-8.  The rivalry between the two countries is friendly but intense with Canada stoking the fires during the opening ceremonies by reminding the field that they were the returning champions.  The US girls appeared a bit nervous before the game with captain Claire Suver openly expressing that she was excited but a little bit scared - certainly not the place that you want to be before a game.  The wind had picked up in the afternoon and the US Girls started the game on D going straight-up man with Canada in a horizontal stack.  The Canadian girls worked the disc down smoothly and while Patty King got a hand on the last pass the Canadian's pulled it down for a score.  The Canadian's came out in a four person cup zone and the US offense played nervous.  The US O had five turnovers on their first O point including a sweet block by Canada's Anne Mercier (#5).  Canada ended up putting in the score to make it 2-0 Canada and it didn't look good.  The US Coaches called a timeout to settle the team down.  Canada came down with their four person cup again and while the US had some difficulty, after three US turnovers a throw from Georgia Bosscher to Claire Suver put the US on the board.  The US then came down in a four person cup of their own and it proved to be very effective.  On Canada's second possession of the point Shannon O'Malley from the wing came through with a big run through catch block on Canada's goalline and then called a time-out.  This display of both aggresiveness and poise was what the team needed and O'Malley found Bosscher after the time-out to tie the game at 2's.  The US again came with their four person cup and Canada began to look nervous and hucked for field position as soon as they had an open look and O'Malley came down with the D.  The US worked it up the field but turned it over.   The US proceeded to generate two more turns before O'Malley found Autumn Tocchi on a huge huck to take their first lead 3-2.  The US confidence continued to increase as Canada dropped the pull at 4-2 and Dory Ziperstein hit Maise Richards for the 5-2 lead.   The next point would prove to be the decisive point of the game.  The US Girls came down again with the four person zone and for the first time Canada worked it through the zone effectively.  At about 25 yards out the US team awkwardly transitioned to a man-forehand defense.  Canada proceeded to shred that towards the endzone before Bosscher came up with a HUGE layout block on the goal line on a break side throw.   The US Girls then proceeded to work the disc down the field efficiently before Drew Johnson saw Emelie McKain in the endzone.  Johnson lofted a backhand to the  4'11" McKain and it looked like a sure turnover.  McKain forced her defender to make an early play on the disc by charging the disc and then turned as the disc went overhead to make a big lay-out catch for the 6-2 lead.  The US Girls continued to play strong with Bosscher going up strong over a Canadian defender to take the half 9-4.  Richards pulled out a nice layout catch of her own in the point to go up 10-4.  At 12-4 the wind began to die down and the US girls pulled out a straight-up mark.  Canada would score that point as the cap went on, but it would be their last as the US Girls finished the game going away on a throw from Tocchi to O'Malley to win the game 14-5.  However, as in 2004, the pool play games are just a warm-up for elimination and past results are no guarantee of future performance.  But, while the Canadian's may be the defending champions, the US is now the clear favorite. 

The evening activities included a great chicken dinner followed by an ice cream social where the US teams taught the Finnish teams a popular game known as "Big Booty" and the US coaches played a little mini against the Columbian coaches. 

Up for tomorrow, the US Girls face Finland at 9am and Australia again at 1:00pm while the US Boys will play tournament newcomer Colombia, who upset Sweden today 14-12, at 9am and Canada, the only remaining undeafeted team, in a rematch of the 2004 final at 1pm.  For full tournament results check out score-o-matic.