Fury Claims Their Second U.S. Open Championship

Posted: July 5, 2015 09:03 PM


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The fourth-annual U.S. Open Championships are in the books. Three new champions, winners of the first leg of the 2015 Triple Crown, were decided today in West Chester, Ohio.

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Championship Finals

    2015TCT Scandal   2015TCT Scandal  
(2B, 5-0)
(1B, 5-0)
    Fury Wins 14-13  


The U.S. Open final between San Francisco Fury and Seattle Riot was highly anticipated. The two storied teams certainly delivered, living up to the hype in an incredible showcase of ultimate in front of a crowd full of fans. On double-game point, Fury was able to jump ahead 2-1 in the 2015 head-to-head against Riot and earn their second U.S. Open title (they also won the U.S. Open in 2013; Riot won in 2012 and 2014). Here’s a look at how the action unfolded.

Riot won the flip and demonstrated confidence in their defense, pulling to Fury to start the game. Riot’s defense had the disc in their hands on two separate occasions on this first point but struggled to get the disc moving as they settled into the game. A Maggie Ruden layout block gave Fury a chance to secure the hold, which they did to go up 1-0. Riot’s offense then took the field. Riot had a no-turn point after Shira Stern had a great layout grab to save possession and tied the game at 1-1. On the next point, Fury went up 2-1 on a deep shot from Sarah Carnahan to Alden Fletcher. 

Fury struck the first real blow by securing a break in the fourth point. As they did a few times throughout the tournament, Riot cutters appeared hesitant at the start of the point. A Riot throw fell short of its receiver, and Fury had the disc. Fury gave it right back, but after a Kaela Jorgenson defensive block on a shot from Alyssa Weatherford to Hana Kawai, Carnahan went up big in the end zone to secure the first break of the game. Fury was up 3-1. 

The break didn’t hold up for long, though. Riot followed it up with a clean, no-turn offensive point and was back on defense. Riot’s Angelica Boyden got a defensive block, poaching in the lane and stopping an Alex Snyder shot. Riot was on the attack and earned the break right back with a Jillian Goodreau sky over two Fury defenders to bring the game to 3-3, on serve. On the very next point, Fury’s first throw floated a little too high and Riot capitalized – they finished a run of three points, going up a break to lead 4-3. 

The next point was back and forth. Fury was making handler Anna Nazarov work, as she bid left and right on this point, and on others, to save possessions for her team. Riot earned several chances to go up 5-3 on this point but was unable to convert, and the versatile Carnahan sent a deep shot to Jorgenson. Fury punched it in to tie up the score at 4-4. 

When Riot’s offense is clicking, they are hard to stop. When Riot’s offense is not clicking, they seem to rely heavily on the handlers to bide time while the cutters get in a rhythm. At 4-4, Gwen Ambler was fun to watch as she directed traffic on offense against a Fury zone look. She is smart and always seems to take what the defense gives her. Riot worked the disc up to Jaclyn Verzuh who sent it up to Sarah Davis who had to make an athletic grab over her defender to bring Riot to 5-4. Fury’s offense then took the field, and Lisa Pitcaithley skied a Riot defender in a short, business-like offensive point for Fury. Tied at 5-5, Ambler took over again, cutting up-line on the next point and sending a laser to Shira Stern to bring Riot to 6-5. Fury answered and pulled even at 6-6.   

Fury started on defense at 6-6 and found the disc in their hands after a Riot turnover. Fury was knocking at the door. Their patient and disciplined disc movement served them well as Ness Fajardo found Hannah Kreilkamp in the end zone. Fury was now up 7-6. The next point was turnover-laden. Elisabeth Duffy got a huge layout defensive block on Boyden, but after many turns, a Riot huck to Verzuh got them out of trouble, and Kelly Johnson found Fiona McKibben in the end zone to make it 7-7. Fury took half on a beautiful backhand deep shot from Nazarov to Darragh Clancy. 

Out of half, Riot struck first on their offensive point. Again, Ambler and Weatherford worked together.  After several short dishes to each other, Weatherford sent it deep to Shira Stern, whose layout grab would bring Riot even with a score of 8-8. Riot then earned a break, going up 9-8. On the next point, a Carolyn Finney high-release backhand sailed just over Jorgenson’s head, giving Riot a short field to work with. After Riot was unable to convert, Fury, and Finney in particular, did a great job of working the disc to the break side before punching it in for 9-9. 

On the next point, Fury and Riot traded sneaky/poachy defensive blocks earned by Finney and Kawai, respectively. Ultimately, Riot was able to score when Ambler sent a beautiful forehand to space for a Julia Snyder score, Riot up 10-9. The excitement continued on the next point, when a bidding Verzuh left Sarah Carnahan open in the end zone, who grabbed the disc right before a bidding Charlie Mercer to bring Fury to 10-10. This would be the first of a series of points earned by the San Francisco women, as they followed up their hold with a break as Liz Duffy grabbed a deep shot from Finney over a bidding Rohre Titcomb. Now up by one, Fury got another defensive block as Diana Charrier knocked down a high-release break throw from Ambler intended for Weatherford. They went on to score that point and go up 12-10. 

Riot recovered as Kawai and Johnson worked well together, moving the disc quickly for Riot before Kawai found Boyden in the end zone to bring them within one, 11-12. Fury and Riot both scored their respective offensive points to bring the score to 13-12, Fury. 

As if things weren’t already interesting enough, things really started to heat up at this point. At 12-13, Riot was playing some intense team defense. Eventually, Boyden got a sweet layout block on a Fury swing. Fury got it back only to turn it on a dump pass. This time, Riot converted to bring the score to 13-13. 

The atmosphere was electric as the next point was double-game point. Fury was on offense, the disc in their hands as they attempted to stop Riot from repeating as U.S. Open champions. The Riot defense was energized, but Fury seemed patient and up to the challenge. However, Riot earned a turnover when Lauren Sadler played incredible shutdown handler defense on Fury’s Alex Snyder, forcing a miscue and Fury turnover. Riot was then off to the races, and Kelly Johnson was firing on all cylinders. Despite looking confident with the disc, Riot swung to a receiver who was straddling the sideline. Fury had another chance. They took advantage of the opportunity and worked the disc into the end zone patiently to earn the double-game point victory and the U.S. Open championship.

Both Fury and Riot put on an incredible display. Anna Nazarov for Fury, and Shira Stern for Riot were bidding all over the place, with possession-saving grabs left and right for both. Gwen Ambler was methodical, smart and patient on offense for Riot. Sarah Carnahan lived up to the hype and was an absolute machine for Fury. Riot rookie Jaclyn Verzuh made things look easy. If Sunday’s U.S. Open final was any indication, it will certainly be an exciting year in the women’s division.  

Final Standings

1 - Fury
2 - Riot
3T - Brute Squad
3T - Traffic
5 - Nightlock
6 - Scandal
7 - Heist
8 - Ozone
9 - Showdown
10 - Schwa
11 - Fusion
12 - Phoenix

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