2006 World Juniors Ultimate Championships - Daily Log - August 16th

Posted: August 16, 2006 03:37 AM

Wednesday marked day three of the five day competition.  For the US Girls, both games were rematches and yielded similar results to the first match-up.  The US Boys faced newcomers Israel in the morning round and Sweden, one of the original Junior teams, in the afternoon round. 

After the US Girls win over Canada on Monday, the Canadian girls appeared to be shocked.  The demeanor of the team changed from serious to light-hearted and it was unclear if they were trying to loosen themselves up to take the pressure off or if they were resigned to having a good time shooting for second at the World Championships.  On Tuesday they were singing songs between games, during warm-ups and at lunch.  It was unclear what to make of it.  But as soon as the second pool play game between the US and Canada started it was clear that Canada had come to play.  The wind was lighter than it had been in their earlier match-up and the US tore through the Canadian 4-2-1 on the opening possession.  After the transition Patty King hit Sam Valesano to open the game 1-0.  At 2-0 the teams found themselves in a hell point, but the US pulled it out after a near miss on a sweet lay-out bid by Chelsea Murphy and a goal line point block by Dory Ziperstein to go up 3-0.  Canada’s Anne Mercier helped Canada to their first score with a nice put to the speedy Alexa Kovaks.  Mercier is Canada’s strongest handler and will be a force in the future.  She had several sweet throws and lay-out bids and she plays very much like Alex Snyder, this year’s Canadian bred Callahan winner.

Georgia Bosscher had a strong lay-out catch block at 3-1 to retake the momentum and the US rode that to an 8-1 lead.  Out of half Amber Sinicrope hit Bosscher with a beautifully placed 60 yard backhand for the 9-3 lead.  The US kept the pressure on with some strong marking by Autumn Tocchi and a lay-out catch by Murphy and the US quickly found themselves at game point 16-5.  Before the US could close it out Canada scored three times with tight defense and efficient offense in what is perhaps a glimpse of the Canada that will show up in the almost certain finals match-up.

Israel, along with Colombia, is another first time team at the World Championships.  Ultimate has been booming in Israel for the last two years with the creation of the Israeli Flying Disc Association (FLOW).  In addition to the 11 players from Israel that the team brought, four Israeli nationals living the in the US joined the team including Yossi Kakou from Hopkins HS in Minnesota who had a strong showing at the US’ team try-outs in March.  The team is young and almost the same squad could return to the WJUC for two more cycles (in 2008 and 2010).  Kakou, a very experienced player spent a lot of time teaching his younger teammates in English while another teammate translated Kakou’s words into Hebrew.  It was amazing to hear the game being explained in Hebrew with English words like “dump” and “swing” peppered in.  After defeating Canada, the US Boys team’s biggest rival, in Tuesday’s showcase game the team needed to refocus.  They managed to bring that focus in their 9:30am game against Israel.  The team has continued to improve and managed to score seven straight first half points without a turnover.  After half the US Boys continued to be stingy with the disc and vigorous on defense and won the game 17-0.  The win was a team effort with not many individual plays to note.  On an interesting note, Chris Kosednar, who is right-handed, has strong pulls from both is left and right side and can use them effectively.  The talent and skills of this next generation of Ultimate players will soon be taking over the college and club games here in the US.

At noon all of the teams' coaches faced off in a highly anticipated coach game that had greater intensity than one would expect.  WJUC head media guy Tony Leonardo had some really nice plays and US Girls Asst. coach Miranda Roth had a nifty point block and then bookended it with a score on US Boys Asst. Coach Jason Simpson.
At 2:00pm the US Girls faced Finland for the second time in the tournament.  The team played a solid all around game and made quick work of the Fins 17-1.

At 2:30pm the US Boys played Sweden.  Sweden is historically the strongest Juniors team in the world and has taken home the gold medal 6 of the 12 times this event has been held.  The team has not performed as well as of late falling to 6th in the 2004 event, the first time they had not medaled and losing to Columbia on the first day of play at this year’s event.  They have, however, maintained a virtual stranglehold on European Juniors Ultimate and are coached by former DoG player Stefan Carlsson.  The wear and tear on the US Boys team after three days of play is evident as they definitely looked slower in their afternoon game today.  Sweden matched the US to 2-2 before a handblock by Robin Stewart-Demartino helped the team to a 3-2 lead and a surge of energy.  Stewart-Demartino has an incredible mark and, while there are no stats being taken in this category, must lead the tournament in point blocks.  The US rode that momentum to a 9-3 lead.  At 16-5 Adam Miller dropped a pull and Sweden called a time out on the goal line.  Off the check, Stewart-Demartino got another handblock, this time on a scoober, leading US World Games Coach, Ted Munter, who had just walked up, to quip “not what I would have called off the timeout.”  The US worked the disc down the field and Kapinos pulled down a huck from George Stubbs while toeing the back line for the 17-5 win. 

Tonight’s activities include two showcase games; DoG will face Twisted Metal and Brute Squad will face a Godiva combo squad. 

Tomorrow the US Boys finish pool play against Australia and will likely face Colombia in the semifinal match-up while the US Girls will face Finland for the third time in the semifinals.