2008 World Ultimate and Guts Championships Junior's Team - Daily Log - August 4th

Posted: August 4, 2008 10:56 AM

For those that haven't been keeping up with the online score reports for the Juniors divisions, Day two was a fairly close repeat of Day one.  Junior boys showed how dominant they are with a stifling defense and all around solid command of the disc as they rolled to two relatively easy victories 17-2 (over Germany) and 17-4 (over Australia).

The Junior Girls faced a similar dilemma to Day one with an impressive win vs. Japan (17-15) and a heartbreaking loss to the very strong Australians (15-11). Both teams are paced by two players (one thrower and one receiver) but they play very different defensive styles.  Japan played almost exclusively person and looks to stop any and all break mark throws.  Perhaps to this end, their offense was to look at all times for big loopy break throws to girls from the back of the stack.  When the US would let off a break it almost always led to a score.  Japan is VERY disciplined and it was only after some very deliberate adjustments that the US girls were able to get some traction.  Kimber Coles and Claudia Tajima found their rhythm downfield as cutters as the US worked to at 14-10 advantage and held on to the last break for the two point win after Japan made a late charge. #17 Yumi Amada and #1 Reina Yokota played nearly every point and ran hard to the end but came up short when Amber Sinicrope hauled in the final downwind goal. 

Two hours later, the US girls found themselves in a similar battle with the Australians where every upwind score seemed to be huge but this time the Australians came up with the first upwind break on the strength of a smothering four-person cup.  This forced a US timeout to regroup and after a few miscues the US had gone from 4-2 to 6-4.  Though a four-point run might have been enough to send that four-person cup packing, Australia stuck to their guns and gradually started to force the turns as US handlers found themselves trapped on the sidelines with few options.  Meanwhile 15 year old Cat Phillips of the Aussie team was winning the battle in the air and looking to put it - usually to her favorite target, the sure-handed Crystal Cheung.  The US had possession nearly every point but the cup seemed to wear out the tired US handlers and with each Aussie score the crowd got louder and more engaged as the Aussies take half 7-8 on the strength of a great grab over the top by Crystal Cheung. 
As the second half began, the Aussies cup seemed emboldened by this lead and their quick strike offense seemed to be hitting its stride.  Pass, pass, huck - and even without a completion they could trust that the US handlers weren't likely to break the disc as well in the long run.  Five points later and the US is looking at 3 upwind breaks for the win, which proves to be too much of an disadvantage. 

The simple fact is this: Girls' Ultimate is no longer a one or even two team race on the world level.  The Colombians, Australians and Japanese are playing disciplined, structured offense and totally committed team defense. The US can no longer rely on pure talent to win the game.  Its going to take some heart.  I can't wait till we see a whole day of it.  Watch out world…there's some pretty frustrated teenage girls here in Vancouver and they're ready to start swinging back.