2014 Nationals - Mixed Division Day 2 Recap

Posted: October 18, 2014 02:21 AM

Brittany Winner recaps day two action from the mixed division at the 2014 National Championships in Frisco, Texas.


2014 Nationals Mixed Division:


As spectators and players passed by tournament central to take a look at the brackets before the first round of games, there were two things that jumped out about the mixed division: (1) in the top quarter of the bracket, a team seeded 12 or lower would be playing in the semifinals, and (2) either the winner of Pool D, Wild Card, or the overall one seed, Polar Bears, would be eliminated from the championship bracket in the first round. 

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Photo Credit: Christina Schmidt, UltiPhotos


As one of the games to watch from Thursday’s recap, the Wild Card/Polar Bears match up did not disappoint.  The two teams met last year in Frisco, but under different terms.  In that game, a trip to the finals was on the line, and the Polar Bears came out on top. 

This year would end up being another great match between the two teams.  Wild Card utilized their women, going 3-4 on O-lines as points were traded early in the first half.  With a break for each team, the score was 7-7 with Wild Card receiving on serve. The Polar Bears took advantage of a Wild Card turnover, however, converting the break to take half.  PBR received to start the second half, and went up 9-7, but Wild Card got the break back quickly before running off four in a row to go up 14-11 with the help of some spectacular defense by Vincenzo Vitiello. Wild Card held on to win 15-13. Wild Card captain Ian Engler credited the second-half comeback to the team’s ability to "bring it every point by focusing on our one-point-at-a-time mentality."

Nearby, another 2013 Nationals rematch was underway.  A year after AMP notched a come-from-behind pre-quarter victory against Slow White on the very same field, the Boston squad was able to even the score.  Captain Alex Trahey said after the game that while a shot at redemption was not their primary goal going into the game, it was something their team had not forgotten since last year.  Slow White utilized a clam defense against AMP’s cutters, generating a three-point run to take half.  They added on three more to start the second half, creating an 11-7 lead that they would ride out for the win.

In the top part of the bracket, Seattle Mixed and Santa Maria kept their Nationals debuts alive, winning their respective pre-quarter match ups.  Seattle knocked off regional rival The Administrators while Santa Maria duked it out in a back-and-forth game with Cosa Nostra. Both Santa and Cosa capitalized on throws from their talented women, catching defenders off-guard with deep looks.

In the bottom half of the bracket, D’oh! Abides went up 2-0 against CLX with an O-line score and a break, but CLX recovered quickly and strung together several breaks before going on to win 15-7.  Mischief also used a large run in the middle of the game to defeat regional foe American BBQ 15-8.  The other two pre-quarter match ups would not be as one-sided.

In the Blackbird v. Bucket game, Blackbird never trailed, but after going up early and leading as much as 10-7 in the second half, Bucket wasn’t willing to throw in the towel.  They tied the game at 14-14, but it was a story of too little, too late as Blackbird’s O-line held to win 15-14.  In the Drag’n Thrust v. 7 Figures match up, Drag’n started out quickly, but 7 Figures refused to give up, tying the game multiple times.  At 10-9, Drag’n’s defense took over. Emily Regan got a layout D, but Drag’n couldn’t convert.  Soon after, a 7 Figures throw popped up out of reach of the intended target, and Drag’n’s Mike Peterson was there to clean it up and immediately called a timeout. A quick and smooth series of throws from Peterson to Hron to Meckstroth gave Drag’n the break they were looking for.  There were multiple turns on the ensuing point, but eventually Drag’n’s David Shirley found Brian "Strings" Schoenrock in the end zone to go up 12-9.  With soft cap on, the teams traded points before Drag’n sealed the win 14-11.


With the Polar Bears eliminated, the top half of the bracket would be sending a team with an initial seed of seven or lower overall to the finals.  The bottom half of the bracket was following a more traditional pattern, with three of its remaining teams coming from the top five seeds overall.

In another closely contested game, Blackbird took half and led 9-7 against Drag’n Thrust, but Drag’n used another defensive run, this one capped off by an Austin Lien huck to Jay Drescher, to go up 12-9.  Blackbird then scored three of their own and eventually tied it up at 13-13, but Drag’n was able to hold on for the win.

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Photo credit: Tino Tran Photography

Santa Maria and Seattle Mixed faced off in another of the day’s many back-and-forth games. Seattle threw a zone early on, and a Santa misfire from Nick Hamilton to Kristen Smiach in the end zone gave Seattle a chance to break, but Cassie Swafford forced a high-stall throwaway and Hamilton was able to hit Smiach for the score on the second attempt to tie the game. Santa followed up with a D by Steven Myers and a quick score from Chris Ratcliff to Stevie Miller to go up 4-3. The game continued to be tight throughout. Santa received the pull on double-game point and worked the disc up-field, but their end zone shot came up just a little short. Seattle quickly jammed the disc 70 yards up the sideline to win the game 15-14. 

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Photo credit: Tino Tran Photography

In the Wild Card v. Slow White match up, Wild Card continued to capitalize on the strength of their women, again going 3-4 on several of their offensive points. Neither team was able to convert a break on defense in the first half, and the game stayed on serve until Adrian Banerji found Katherine Sullivan in the end zone to put Wild Card up 11-9. Another break made it 13-10, and the two teams traded points to make the final 14-11.

The Chad Larson Experience played Mischief for the last spot in the semifinals, and the teams traded points early.  Down 6-5, CLX turned up the defensive intensity, including a run-through D and the bookend score for Rebecca Miller to make it 9-6 in favor of CLX. Another break made it a five-point scoring run, and Mischief was unable to get back into the game, eventually losing 15-11.

Pro Flight Bracket Play

In contrast to the rest of the mixed division leading up to this point, there were no real surprises in these match ups. The higher-seeded team won each game, and the Polar Bears, AMP and Bucket were all able to notch wins without too much of a challenge from their opponents. The exception was the Cosa Nostra v. 7 Figures game, where the teams battled until the end.  Cosa led for a short time in the second half, but 7 Figures put together a run at the right time to clinch the game 14-12.

After their double-game-point loss, Santa Maria didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to take on Blackbird.  Blackbird went up early and never looked back, taking the game 15-7.  Mischief also went up early, in their game against Slow White, and was able to hold off a second-half run to win 14-12. 

In the seventh-place bracket, the Polar Bears led AMP 7-5, but AMP countered with a three-point run, highlighted by a D by Gabe Colton and a score by Bill Schrecker, to take half.  With the momentum in their favor, AMP went on to win easily, 14-8.

Coming off their close game against Cosa Nostra, 7 Figures played another tight game against Bucket.  The teams traded points throughout, and 7 Figures eventually fought to tie the game up at 14 all, but it wasn’t enough, as Bucket’s O-line finished the game 15-14. 

Saturday Preview

The 2014 World Champions Drag’n Thrust will take the field against 2010 World Champions CLX in what is sure to be an exciting semifinal match up.  The game will be streamed lived on ESPN3 beginning at 12:00 CT.

Wild Card is back in the semifinals for the second consecutive year and will face newcomers Seattle Mixed at 1:00 CT.  Check out NexGen’s tape-delay broadcast of the game!

Blackbird and Mischief will face off Saturday morning to determine the fifth- and sixth-place final standings, while Santa Maria will play AMP, and Bucket will challenge Slow White for the final spots in next year’s Pro Flight.

The first games of the mixed division will start at 9:00am CT, with Polar Bears v. 7 Figures, The Administrators v. American BBQ and D’oh! Abides v. Cosa Nostra playing for 11th-, 13th- and 15th-place, respectively.

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