2014 U.S. Open - Women's Day 3 Recap

Posted: July 6, 2014 03:27 AM

On Saturday, the last round of pool play helped set the final four, a familiar match up resurfaced in the semifinals, and Canada was the only country outside the United States to advance past pool play. Unlike the days before, the wind was out full force right away, mostly creating upwind-downwind situations and making each upwind point crucial.

Pool Play - Round Seven

Traffic took an early lead against Showdown, going up 5-2. With Crystal Koo stepping low to throw perfectly into the wind, Traffic was able to break through Showdown’s trap marks and attack from opposite sides. Laura Mason used her height to bring down discs that floated and helped Traffic rack up up-wind points. Traffic took half 8-4, but Showdown kept fighting. The Texans tried to regroup on the sidelines, coming out after half to treat the next few points as a short game to catch back up. But while Showdown showed signs of excellent offense, the upwind game proved too tough. Traffic took the first point out of half and never looked back. Showdown closed the gap a little late in the game, but it was too late to stop the Canadians, and Traffic took the win 15-10.

Brute Squad faced off against Scandal in a showcase of upwind throwing skill. The teams traded downwind points early, when tied at 5-5, Scandal turned the disc in the downwind end zone. Brute Squad worked it up through Scandal’s O-line zone for crucial upwind break. Scandal was unable to stop the ensuing downwind drive, and Brute Squad capitalized on the opportunity to tally another break and take a two-point lead. The teams traded points again and went into half with Brute Squad leading 8-6. To begin the second half, the teams battled in a lengthy point before Brute Squad was finally able to score. Scandal responded with a quick downwind point, setting up their defense to fight for an upwind break, but even with Jessie O’Connor’s excellent upwind hucks and give-and-goes, it wouldn’t come for several more points at what became 9-10. But Brute Squad was able to retain their two-point lead with a timely upwind hold. As the soft cap went on, Qxhna Titcomb released a high-release forehand downwind for the score to give Boston a 12-9 lead in a game to 14. Brute Squad’s Kami Groom and Scandal’s Alika Johnston, two incredibly strong college players, were especially fun to watch match up on each other. Both women showed off their amazing throws, with hucks from Groom and tricky fakes from Johnston. In the end, Groom would help her team to victory with an assist to Chelsea Murphy, capping a 14-10 win.

While Fury and Riot each faced teams that had already been eliminated from moving to the championship bracket, the games were still exciting. The wind allowed teams to get creative with their defenses, and the international teams got to face two of the United States’ best teams in their last games at the 2014 U.S. Open.


Who Can Stop the Riot?

An impressive-looking Riot moved their way through to the championship finals with a convincing win over Fury. Here is a look at how the game took shape.

  • With the wind still blowing strong, Fury kicked off the game pulling upwind to familiar foes Riot. Kaela Jorgenson had returned to the lineup after her earlier back injury. With a pull from Claire Desmond, Fury was off. Fury used a force-middle mark, which earned them an early turnover. Anna Nazarov, Sabrina Fong and Alicia Dantzker worked in the Fury backfield, but a misthrow from Jorgenson to Desmond gave Riot another shot. The pattern repeated several more times before a throw from Hana Kawai to Calise Cardenas finally gave Riot the marathon first point. Shortly thereafter, Seattle Sockeye showed up to cheer on their women, chanting "I believe that we will Riot!"

  • Rohre Titcomb pulled a floater to start the second point. An uncharacteristic drop from Nazarov gave Riot a huck attempt, but Sabrina Fong got the D. An almost full-field huck from Jorgenson to Liz Duffy, followed by an easy put to Nazarov in the end zone tied the score at 1-1.

  • Alex Snyder pulled out of bounds to start the third point, with Gwen Ambler bringing the disc in play just short of midfield. The clammy San Francisco zone almost got a few Ds, but with Sarah Griffith running through the field for Riot, Seattle was able to swing and attack from various angles. Riot scored with a low inside break from Ambler to Dominique Fontenette, and the Seattle fans went wild for the 2-1 score.

  • Titcomb again pulled for Riot, who were almost able to trap Lauren Kanemaru on the sidelines. A misthrow led to a turn, and Riot was off to the races once again. The flat San Francisco marks allowed Riot to swing with ease, helping them gain precious upwind points. Kelly Johnson and Titcomb were especially strong in the backfield, using quick cuts to move up the line time and time again. On a throw from Johnson into the end zone for Titcomb, a layout forced Titcomb to leave the field with an injury. After a few confusing calls, Fury worked it easily up the open side and Kristie Bowen threw into the end zone for Manisha Daryani, tying the score at 2-2.

  • Desmond again pulled for Fury, with the wind beginning to gust more than ever. Riot moved the disc around the field with ease, and a low around break from Kawai to Griffith gave them another point.

  • On the next point, Riot came out with a zone defense, trapping Carolyn Finney in a three-woman cup. As Fury attempted to throw downfield, Dominique Fontenette was able to stop an attempt to move the disc through the middle of the defense. Kawai to Fontenette scored Riot’s first break, with Fontenette grabbing the bookends. Riot led 4-2.

  • On the next point, a drop from Ness Fajardo gave the Riot line a break chance 20 yards out of the end zone, a chance on which they quickly capitalized. As the game began to look like their pool play match up, Fury coach Matty Tsang decided to take a timeout to stop the Riot momentum. The strategy worked as Fury looked revitalized, swinging the disc side to side with an especially nice inside break from Desmond. Alex Snyder was able to flip a backhand to Bowen to put another point on the board for Fury. Yet Riot responded with a low inside throw from Bailey Zanhaiser to Griffith diving backwards against her momentum just inside the end zone, keeping the Riot lead at 6-3.

  • The next point, Fury was moving quickly. Perhaps they were moving a bit too quickly, as in her hasty cutting, Jorgenson dropped a disc that hit in the middle of her body. Riot seemed energized, playing with both speed and focus as they moved upwind. With Shira Stern picking up a macked disc and Titcomb faking so hard she got Jorgenson to dive to the ground, Riot worked the break side to take a 7-3 lead.

  • San Francisco took their second timeout of the game in the hopes of regrouping and finding some way to keep the game from getting out of hand. Fury came out fired up, working upwind. But yet another turnover gave Riot a chance to take half. Fury was playing tighter defense, repeatedly forcing Riot players to layout to snag falling discs. Perhaps it was too much for Riot to finish because they would turn it over before scoring. Riot was given another chance when Snyder turfed an up-the-line throw. With Angelica Boyden touching every other pass, Riot worked it back down the field. After another turnover from each team, Boyden picked up the disc and immediately called a timeout, Riot’s first of the half. The timeout gave them a second to breathe, and after the disc was tapped back in, Kingery placed a perfect throw over Lakshmi Narayan’s head to Cardenas for the score and the half.

  • While Fury scored the first three points out of half and seemed to show some fire while working to close the gap, it was too little too late, and Riot rode their lead to the 13-11 win and a trip to the finals.

Brute Squad Battles Back

The Traffic vs. Brute Squad game kicked off with an upwind Traffic score. The wind played a large role throughout the game, as both teams overthrew their teammates or underestimated the effects of the wind. With a huge layout D from Elizabeth Hand on a dump dish throw, Traffic got a chance to break going downwind. With a contested layout, Traffic indeed scored the break and went up 2-0. Another upwind score, this time off a huck to Catherine Hui, gave Traffic a three-point lead and caused Brute Squad to call a timeout.

The timeout discussion seemed to work, as an upwind score on an open-side toss to Qxhna Titcomb put Brute Squad on the board, 1-3. Moving downwind now, Brute Squad was able to punch in another quick point to bring the score within one. After a few attempts to move upwind, Traffic capitalized on Brute’s floaty throws and, with an up-the-line cut from Crystal Koo, Traffic stopped the Brute Squad momentum in their tracks.

The next several points all involved multiple turns. It seemed that every time a team headed downwind, their throws would drop to the ground. On the upwind points, the wind seemed to play less of a factor as both teams had strong throws, but too many miscommunications kept both teams from scoring easily. Highlights of the first half include a deep IO huck from Becky Malinowski for a Boston score, an excellent read in the end zone for Traffic’s Laura Mason, a throw through the stack from Rena Kawabata for another Traffic score, and a two-throw score for yet another Traffic point. After 43 minutes of playing time, Traffic took half 8-6.

To start the second half, Traffic’s pull sailed out the back of the downwind end zone. Brute Squad struggled with their short passes, and a few throws into traffic led to run-through Ds for the Canadians. But Traffic committed a few turnovers of their own, letting Brute Squad gain huge yards on a huck that landed them right outside the end zone. Laura Bitterman stayed focused to bring in the goal over a diving Traffic player, making the score 7-8. Kami Groom, who was so prominent in Boston’s final pool play game, assisted on a goal to Courtney Kiesow that tied the score 8-8. An upwind huck to 5’10" Chelsea Witte-Garcia gave Brute Squad their first lead of the game.

Traffic responded with a layout score of their own in the upwind end zone to keep the game tied at 9-9. The upwind hucks weren’t over, though, as Paula Seville threw deep to Malinowski for a 10-9 lead. Finally, Brute was able to score a downwind break and take the lead to two points. Traffic called a timeout to adjust their strategy as the game neared a close. The next point was really long, as both teams were tired, and misthrows began to add up. Rachel Moen prevented a Brute Squad score with a layout on the end zone line, but that couldn’t stop a diving Lien Hoffman from coming up with a Callahan on the very next Traffic throw, moving the score to 12-9 with Brute in the lead. Traffic would score one more time, but it wasn’t enough. With a final score of 14-10, Boston earned the right to face Riot tomorrow in the women’s division finals.



Images by UltiPhotos


2014 - US Open - Day 3 Highlights - Images by CBMT creative


U.S. Open Championships Event Page

Event Guide (PDF)


Women's Game Schedule

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