2015 U.S. Open Championships - Women's Division Day Three Recap

Posted: July 5, 2015 12:03 AM


2015USOpenLogo 500x500  

The fourth-annual U.S. Open Championships is underway in West Chester, Ohio.

Thirty-six teams across the men's, mixed and women's divisions are competing to take home the first leg of the 2015 Triple Crown Tour.

Related Links:


Saturday proved that all of the teams in the women’s division at the U.S. Open, even those at the top, are still working out the kinks in their game. From placement games to semifinals, teams continued to work on chemistry and strategic approaches. Ultimately, the semifinal results yielded a familiar final two; Fury and Riot will get a rematch of their pool play game in the finals of the U.S. Open. Here’s a look at the placement game results as well as a recap of the two exciting semifinal clashes.


    2015TCT Scandal   2015TCT Scandal  
(2B, 5-0)
  Brute Squad
(1A, 5-0)
    Fury Wins 15-13  


Fury and Brute Squad were locked in an exciting contest as the stands on the stadium field began to slowly fill up with spectators.  Starting on defense, Fury got off to a good start.  The teams traded layout defensive blocks, one from Anna Nazarov on Brute’s first possession and the next by Lien Hoffman as Fury was knocking on the door.  Ultimately, Becky Malinowski got huge to save a floaty Brute swing pass and Kami Groom found Paula Seville in the endzone.  Fury was not pressured on their first O point, then went on to break Brute to go up 2-1. 

The rest of the first half saw the two teams trading, with Fury holding on to the break they earned early on.  Fury was looking smooth on offense, and never seemed to find themselves in a sticky spot.  Even when handlers were guarded tight, they simply ran strike cuts to clear space.  Cutters on the opposite side of the field were extremely disciplined and offered easy resets all the way across the field.  For Brute’s part, they seemed to pass up opportunities to swing the disc across the field and keep the disc moving, especially when the defense had the disc in their hands.

The second half was extremely exciting, as Brute Squad had several opportunities to close the gap.  Fury would start out of half on offense, and quickly racked two points in a row to go up 10-7.  At this point, Brute Squad was playing with a sense of urgency.  To stop the Fury run, Amber Sinicrope hit a laying-out Emily Baecher to bring Brute within two.  Brute had a chance to follow this score up with a break on the very next point; however, a Brute drop in the endzone gave Fury the disc back, and they would score to go up 11-9.  Brute then played extremely patient offense against a Fury zone, bringing themselves within two once again.  On the next point, the Brute defense found themselves with the disc right outside their own endzone.  A high stall-count scoober from Emily Baecher found Flannery McArdle in the endzone to bring the deficit to one.  From there, Fury was cool under pressure and did not give up any more breaks, finishing out the game 15-13 and earning the first spot in the U.S. Open finals.   

  2015TCT Scandal   2015TCT Scandal  
(1B, 5-0)
(2B, 4-1)
  Riot Wins 15-14  


As Fury and Brute Squad were finishing up, the second semifinal between Northwest powerhouses Riot and Traffic was just beginning to heat up. Riot took half up a break at 8-7 and later earned another break to go up 11-8. It seemed as though it would be business as usual for Riot. However, Traffic played the latter part of the game like they had nothing to lose and nearly shocked the fans, who filled the stands as the first semifinal wrapped up, with a comeback. 

Down 9-11, Traffic’s Terri Whitehead got a huge layout defensive block on Jaclyn Verzuh. From there, Traffic worked the disc across the field and pulled within one. Riot was struggling on offense, and Traffic was energized. Then down 10-11, Traffic forced a turnover and sent a huck deep toward their end zone where Yayuk Joffres had a spectacular layout grab, dishing it to a wide-open teammate in the end zone to tie it up at 11-11. Traffic went on to score their fourth consecutive point. Now up 12-11, they put Riot in a position where they would need a break to win the game.

The point at 12-11, with Traffic up one, was an up-and-down affair. At this point, Riot cutters seemed to be out of sync. Both teams were turning the disc over, but after a huge layout block on a Traffic in-cut, Bailey Zahniser got the bookends score to tie it up again for Riot. After a relatively easy Traffic score, Riot again tied it up on a Verzuh huck to Hana Kawai. 

At 13-13, Riot got the break they needed. After a Traffic turnover, a huck sent up to Charlie Mercer tricked both its intended receiver and two Traffic defenders, and Lauren Sadler was able to clean up the trash and put Riot up by one, 14-13. After another smooth Traffic offensive point and score, the game was sent to double-game point. 

Riot started with the disc in their hands and the game on the line. Again, Riot cutters seemed hesitant, and the Seattle women struggled to move the disc. Handlers Gwen Ambler and Alyssa Weatherford were forced to ping pong the disc between themselves. Ambler snagged a bladey throw from Weatherford and avoided giving Traffic a short field to work with before Riot sent up a huck that fell incomplete. Traffic had a chance to score and earn a place in the finals, but Verzuh got a layout block of her own, giving her team a much shorter field to work with. They took advantage of the opportunity, and Weatherford found Kelly Johnson who broke her mark to find Kawai in the end zone and send Riot to the finals. 

Placement Games

Many of the placement games were hotly contested affairs that were tight until the very end. 

The "other Bay Area team" made a statement in the fifth-place game. Tied at 9s with Scandal, Nightlock went on a four-point run to go up 13-9. Scandal answered with two goals of their own, but Nightlock held on to win 14-12 and earn fifth place. The stats from the game seem to confirm what the eye test would say about the performances of these two teams throughout the tournament. While Scandal relied heavily on stars Sarah Itoh, Jenny Fey and Sandy Jorgenson, Nightlock utilized much of their roster, helping them to upset the D.C. women. 

The Heist women ended their U.S. Open on a high note in the seventh-place game against Atlanta Ozone. The end of this game was somewhat similar to Scandal-Nightlock, with the two teams even toward the end at 11-11. Heist went on a three-point run, putting themselves in a position to win the game. After Ozone scored to come within two, Heist scored the final point and earned a 15-12 win and seventh place at the U.S. Open. 

In the ninth-place game, Schwa and Showdown faced off. After 3-3, the Showdown women went on a run that would propel them to a victory over their Oregon opponents, taking half 8-5 and never really looking back. The Texas women earned a ninth-place finish with a final score of 12-9.

The women of Raleigh Phoenix battled Fusion in the 11th-place game. The two lowest seeds coming into the tournament had yet to win a game, and both were hungry to leave Cincinnati on a positive note.  Fusion came out on top, earning a 14-11 victory. Luckily for Phoenix, they still have plenty of time to work on building the chemistry that seemed to be lacking in their offense.  

Looking Ahead

It’s not unusual for Fury and Riot to meet in the finals of a prestigious tournament. We’ll also get to witness chapter three in the 2015 iteration of the storied rivalry. On Friday, a red-hot Riot squad made Fury look tentative and unsure of themselves in the early going, a rare occurrence.  Fury erased any memory of that first-half hiccup with their second-half effort against Riot and again in their performance today in the semifinals. With the U.S. Open title on the line, expect a closer contest than their pool play encounter.  

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.