2014 Nationals - Men's Division Day 3 Recap

Posted: October 19, 2014 10:09 AM

A recap of Saturday's action in the men's division at the 2014 National Championships in Frisco, Texas.


2014 Nationals Men's Division:


Saturday Semifinals

Raleigh Ring of Fire v. Boston Ironside

Going into soft cap with an 11-6 lead over Raleigh Ring of Fire, Boston Ironside’s berth into Sunday’s final seemed a forgone conclusion. Boston seized a bevy of first-half breaks, capitalizing on Ring’s failed gambles and errant throws. Raleigh was persistent in challenging the deep game, and Boston was more than up to the task of defending it. Ironside had their fair share of turnovers as well, but Ring of Fire remained unable to consistently force the necessary breaks. 

Leading the charge for Ironside was George Stubbs, who up to that point had already thrown four assists. There was an apparent positive correlation between Stubbs’ presence on the defensive line and converting break opportunities. 

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Photo Credit: Christina Schmidt, UltiPhotos

But Boston seemed to stray from what had been successful. As Stubbs moved to playing offensive points, Ring of Fire, their season on the brink, surged back to tie the game at 11. Their defense maintained its signature grit, but the offense played more calculated while staying true to their deep game. 

Boston received at 12-12, in what would be a marathon of a double-game point, with countless stoppages from controversial fouls, picks and injuries. Ring of Fire squandered two chances to break for the win, including a turnover that gave Boston back the disc just yards outside of the end zone. Ironside would seal the victory on an end zone assist from Brandon Malecek that bobbled from George Stubb’s possession into Danny Clark’s hands. Raleigh’s rally was cut short in heartbreaking fashion. 

Denver Johnny Bravo v. Toronto GOAT

In the second semifinal of the nightcap, Johnny Bravo was the first to make a run with a break at 5-3. Despite conceding a lead 2-0 to GOAT immediately following, Denver went into halftime with an 8-6 lead and all the momentum. But a poised GOAT remained in striking distance throughout the second half. Even after Bravo broke to put the score at 13-11, a pesky GOAT fought to a 13-13 double-game point. In the end however, Bravo could not be shaken and defeated the valiant Toronto squad 14-13. GOAT never once led in the box score.

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Photo Credit: Steve Kotvis, f/go

In what was just another grand stage for Bravo’s overwhelmingly talented roster, the stars simply did what stars do. Denver thrived on a healthy diet of Jimmy Mickle-Kurt Gibson connections (Gibson, appropriately so, brought down the game-winning score). On the defensive end they leaned on the prowess of University of Colorado standout Stanley Peterson. Peterson went down late in the game with an apparent ankle injury, but not before showing Frisco why it is ill-advised to throw his way. In the end, Denver’s complete depth of talent answered the call.  

Nats14 Schmidt D3M3
Photo Credit: Christina Schmidt, UltiPhotos

Placement Brackets

Though San Francisco Revolver bounced backed from their quarterfinal defeat with a 15-13 win over Portland Rhino, their season came to an uncharacteristic early end with a fifth-place finish. The game was a rather lackluster affair as both teams were guaranteed Pro Flight status, and there would be no additional trophy to add to Revolver’s ever-burgeoning trophy case. 

Just as intriguing as Revolver’s early exit is the somewhat vicious cycle they seem to have fallen into. Similar to 2012, Revolver was unable to take the National Championship after winning a world championship. 

The two Pro Flight play-in games would more than make up for the lack of morning dramatics. 

Seattle Sockeye, this summer’s other World Ultimate Club Championship finalist, erased a 9-13 deficit to bring their contest with D.C. Truck Stop to double-game point. Truck Stop, however, managed to stymie Seattle’s momentum just in time. One poised huck to the end zone was all it took to stop the bleeding and secure D.C. the Pro Flight bid, leaving Sockeye just short of what had been a sudden comeback.

Atlanta Chain Lighting defeated Austin Doublewide 13-11 in a hotly contested bout. Austin squandered their 6-4 lead and found themselves in a tight second half. With the game tied at 11s at hard cap, Austin’s offense would not make it to the end zone again, giving up two straight breaks and the win to Chain Lightning. Atlanta retained their Pro Flight status with galvanizing flair, as Jared Inselmann brought down a huck with a layout spectators described as "disgusting." 

For all the talk of a season of inconsistency, Doublewide had an impressive showing at the National Championships, considering their roster turnover. The key going into the off-season is to secure some continuity after a decent finish.

New York PoNY placed 11th with a 13-11 win over Pittsburgh Temper. Furious George placed 13th with 15-11 win over Chicago Machine. Prairie Fire placed 15th with a 14-12 win over Sub Zero. 

Sunday Preview

Boston Ironside’s defense of the deep game will be put to the ultimate test on Sunday. With the defending champion Revolver off the path, there are high expectations for Johnny Bravo’s roster to come through on this grand experiment. No matter the result, Frisco, Texas, will witness the crowing of a first-time champion in the men’s division, bringing great anticipation to Sunday’s finale. 

Given unexpected turns this weekend has taken, none can truly predict what result might occur. We can only hope to see a climactic completion to what will go down as a signature National Championships.

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