2015 National Championships: Women's Day One Recap

Posted: October 2, 2015 01:36 AM

Pool A

Boston Brute Squad went 3-0 on day one of the 2015 National Championships, with dominating performances over the rest of the pool. Although the final scores were not close, the games were often exciting. In their first game of the day against Madison Heist, Brute Squad was down 0-2.  Veteran Courtney Kiesow said after the game that it was surprising, but fortunately the team took it in stride and went on a six-point run, eventually closing out the win 15-10. Both teams described the game as having been intense, and it came across to the sidelines through high energy and celebrations. In round two, Brute kept up the momentum, starting out strong and going up 6-0 against the Toronto Capitals, with a final score of 15-7. In their final game of the day, Brute faced a pumped-up Nightlock. Brute again found themselves down 0-2, except Nightlock made this one more of a struggle for the Bostonians to come back from.  Brute tied up the score at 2-2 before Nightlock went up by two again, and soon enough, the score was 5-5. The teams traded little runs, and spectators began to build up at the game. Brute took half up 8-6. Nightlock tallied one out of half to bring the score back within one, but that was the closest they got before Brute went on a seven-point run to finish the game 15-7. Nightlock played a very intense defensive game with lots of bidding, but their offensive game seemed frazzled. Many of their turns were due to overthrows, often on passes to up-line cuts. In contrast, it was very notable how calmly and patiently Brute played through all of this high energy. They played with an attitude of getting the job done.
Nightlock's first two games of the day built up their confidence for that final game against Brute. Their first game against the Capitals was a back-and-forth grit-match. It very much felt like the game to watch for round one. There were a lot of turns, and points were long. Once Nightlock cleaned up their red-zone offense in the second half, they were able to pull ahead for the remainder of the game. In a rainy round two, Nightlock faced Heist. Here, the Bay Area team asserted their dominance. Although there were turns and Ds from both teams, Nightlock fared better than their opponent on offense in the wind, converting many of their break opportunities on the first try.
Heist and the Capitals met in the final round of the day. The Capitals took the lead with a break on the third point and built up their lead to 8-5 at the half. They held out of halftime, but that would be their only goal until Heist brought the game within one, with the Capitals up 9-8. Heist then scored two in a row, tying it at 10s. The Capitals scored, Heist tied it at 11-11, and then Heist took the last two points of the game for the 13-11 comeback win to maintain their third spot in Pool A.
Pool B
Like Pool A, this pool also went to seed, with San Francisco Fury winning all three of their games today. Their first game was against New York BENT. Fury took over the game with a seven-point run in the middle and closed out the win 15-7. After a bye, Fury faced Austin Showdown in a game that started out much closer than anticipated. At the same time that Brute Squad was down 0-2 against Nightlock, Fury was also down 0-2 against Showdown. Showdown maintained their two-point lead to a score of 6-4 before Fury turned it on to tie up the game. The teams traded to 7-7, and then Fury went on a three-point run to give themselves a cushion. Fury and Showdown traded for the remainder of the game until Fury earned a break on game point to take the score to 15-11. In their final game of the day, Fury faced Atlanta Ozone, who was coming off of a very tight, exhausting game against BENT. Off the bat, Fury scored five in a row. Ozone cleaned up their game and got a few points on the board, but Fury remained very much in control of the score, eventually winning 15-8.
Round one had Ozone and Showdown playing each other in a highly competitive game. There were many calls and the play was very back and forth, but Ozone was better at converting opportunities and won 14-11. In round three (after a bye), another highly contentious game was played between Ozone and BENT. It was a close, intense game with high energy from both sides. The two teams mostly traded until Ozone went on a three-point run to go up 9-6. BENT brought it back within one to 8-9 (amidst lots of celebration). Then the two teams played a 15-minute point. Each team worked or hucked the disc the full 70 back and forth and just could not score once they got to the red zone. Finally, Ozone won the point along with the next three, to close out the game 12-8. Afterward, BENT played Showdown in a turnover-heavy game. Early on, BENT was able to capitalize on a lot of Showdown's up-wind throws popping up, resulting in Ds or just plain throwaways. After half, turnovers from each team increased. Showdown players skied some crowds, but it wasn't enough to seal the win. BENT took the game 12-10.
Pool C
Seattle Riot won all three of their games today to hold seed and take the top seed in the pool. They played regional rival Portland Schwa in their first game. The final score was 15-9, the same final score as when the two teams matched up at Northwest Regionals. Of note during this game was that many of Riot's turnovers seemed to be miscommunications and/or overthrows to their teammates. Schwa did get some nice Ds, however, Riot's performance left room for improvement as the day went on. During this game, Riot's Molly McKeon went down with a scream, leaving many spectators nervous for her knee. It turned out to be a sprained ankle, and we look forward to seeing whether she will be able to take the field again in the next few days. After a bye, Riot played Raleigh Phoenix and got a quick 15-6 win. In their final round, Riot played Washington, D.C. Scandal. As mentioned in the preview, Scandal does have a history of being surprising at Nationals. The general crowd in Frisco was certainly surprised to hear whispers of how close the score of this game was, and many gathered around the field to watch the second half. Although Scandal never led in the game, they were often within two points. Scandal broke to bring the game to 13-14, stalling Riot's win, but Scandal was unable to tie it up to force double-game point. Riot won 15-13.
Schwa seemed to expend a lot of energy in their first game against Riot and did not appear to hold back on play time for their starters. They had a second round bye to recover for their next game against Scandal, but it may not have been enough. Scandal opened the game by running out to a 5-1 lead. Schwa got back on the board with a tight-window throw to Julia Bladin for 2-5 which seemed to catalyze their ability to score, but they were never able to get within two points of Scandal. Eventually Scandal won 15-10 to hold seed. Phoenix had two close games today against Scandal and Schwa. Scandal was down 6-8 to Phoenix at half, but they cleaned up their game in the second half to win 12-7. When Phoenix met Schwa in the last round of the day, both teams played extremely messy games with lots of turnovers. Phoenix did take half, however, Schwa went on a run during the second half and held off Phoenix to win 13-11 and keep their third spot in the pool.
Pool D
Denver Molly Brown had an extremely efficient day. It began with a 15-3 win over Montreal Iris who looked very uncomfortable. Iris had many unforced errors and a very difficult time dealing with the pressure of the Molly Brown defense. In their second game, Molly Brown faced Chicago Nemesis. Molly Brown was up 11-1 before the teams traded to a final score of 15-4. With this experience, Molly Brown was plenty ready to face Vancouver Traffic in the streamed game; Molly Brown went up a break early on and was in control the whole game.
In the first round of the day, Traffic faced Nemesis. Although Nemesis was within reach at halftime (7-8), a demoralizing foot block shook their mental game, and Traffic put together an unblemished second half resulting in a final score of 15-7. Traffic then took on Iris in a rematch of the Canadian Ultimate Championship (CUC) finals earlier this year. Here at the USA Ultimate National Championships, Traffic won more handily than they did at CUC with a score of 15-10.
While Traffic and Molly Brown faced off in the showcase game, Nemesis and Iris put on their own show for a limited crowd. The two teams traded until Nemesis got a break to go up 5-3. Nemesis later notched another break for 7-4 and won the first half 8-5. Iris scored out of halftime and slowly worked their way back into the game until the score was tied at 9-9. Iris scored to take the lead, and it could have been over for Nemesis, but they rallied and tied the game at 10-10. Iris held for 11-10, and Nemesis held to tie it again, 11-11. Then the two teams played one of the longest points I have witnessed. There were multiple time outs, stoppages and turns, but it ended with Nemesis scoring a break to regain the lead. In most games, that would lead to a momentum shift, but not this one. The teams continued to trade until 13-13, double-game point with Nemesis receiving. The teams traded turns, with Nemesis miss-throwing but also two impressive Ds by Sipperley and Miller. Finally, Nemesis scored on a huck to Sipperley for the win to break seed.
Friday Games to Watch:

  • Ozone (7) v. Schwa (10) – Livestreamed for free at ultiworld.com/live
  • Scandal (6) v. BENT (11)
  • If the pre-quarterfinals go to seed, the Riot (3) vs. Traffic (5) quarterfinal will be a game to watch. Although Riot is performing better so far this weekend, the two teams have played a lot, including a close game at Northwest Regionals with Riot winning 15-13.


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