2016 National Championships - Women's Day One Recap

Posted: September 30, 2016 12:47 AM
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Round One

No upsets this round, but all teams had to work against a strong wind all day that got worse before it got better. All games except for one were upwind/downwind, and that impacted play all around. However, the top teams were able to figure out how to score and play strong defense both ways.

Pool A

Riot v. Iris

15-3 - The game started with Riot breaking then Iris holding, Riot breaking then Iris holding, and then Riot ran away with it. Iris would get one more score before Riot took half at 8-3, and then Riot did not allow Iris to get on the scoreboard again. Hana Kawai had two goals, one D and one assist in the game. It's nice having a Jaclyn Verzuh at 6'1" to pick up swill in the wind. She skyed a pile on the last point of the game to keep possession, and Riot never seemed very worried in this game.

Nightlock v. Heist

11-9 - What a game! Heist started the game by holding and then running five breaks in a row, but Nightlock recovered with a hold and two breaks back to make it 3-5. They traded to 4-6 before Nightlock broke the next four points to take half 8-6.

As the second half started, Heist mounted a comeback with two breaks in a row. Liza Minor, who had a bookend to get to 8-8, was able to score again after a Nightlock hold to make it 9-9.

Nightlock held easily after four or five throws and, after many turns, they were able to punch it in for the break and the win! Bree Cahn finished with two goals and two Ds.

Pool C

Molly Brown v. Phoenix

12-9 - Molly Brown started on offense, and the two teams were able to trade points to 3-2 with Molly Brown leading. Then the team from Denver was able to rattle off two straight breaks before trading points again to an 8-5 half. The two breaks were all Molly Brown needed as they fended off a strong Phoenix squad for a final score of 12-9. Lauren Baecher and Opi Payne both had three assists in the winning effort.

Phoenix played a great game against one of the top teams in the country, and they did so without veteran Jinny Eun who missed the tournament due to a work conflict. Jessi Jones, however, did more than enough to keep her team in the game as she threw eight of the team’s nine assists! The only other person who notched an assist for Phoenix was Jenny Wei who finished with one assist, two Ds and three goals.

Traffic v. Green Means Go

15-9 - GMG picked up two breaks early and led 5-3. However, Traffic broke back twice to put it on serve at half, 8-7. It was at this point that they did what other top-six teams would have done – they stepped on the gas pedal and got five breaks in a row to start the second half and lead 13-7. Traffic then traded to a win at 15-9.

Kate Scarth had two goals and two assists while Danielle Walsh had two goals and one assist for the Philadelphia team.

Fury v. Ozone

15-4 - Fury started their game with a break on a great toe-the-line catch by Manisha Daryani. Tough reset D on the handlers forced a second break. They would continue this rapid pace to a score of 8-1 at the half. Meeri Chang had some stellar break throws for Fury's handling line.

Fury cruised to an easy victory on the strength of Kaela Jorgenson’s two assists and two Ds. These two teams also got the benefit of playing on the only field with a cross-wind instead of an up-down wind.

Scandal vs Schwa

13-6 - After getting the first break to make it 2-0, the teams traded to a Scandal lead at 4-2. Then Scandal broke four times to take half 8-2. Schwa did get two breaks to start the second half and get it to 8-4, but after holding, Scandal broke back twice and then traded to finish the game.

Sarah Lord had a fantastic game and threw five goals. Most of them went to Sandy Jorgensen who tallied five goals, one assist and one D.


Round Two

We saw our first upset during this round and almost saw a stunning upset that was averted toward the end! The wind continued to stay about the same as the first round. The weather changed constantly by going from sunny to cloudy, warm to cold, and windy to even more windy.

Pool A

Riot v. Heist

15-12 - Riot went up three breaks to make the score 4-2, and at that point, it looked like the number one overall seed would see another easy game. However, Heist had just come off a tough loss against Nightlock after being up 5-0, and they were not willing to go down without a fight. They got three breaks back and traded to take half on serve at 8-7!

After trading breaks in the early part of the second half, Riot took two more to lead the game at 12-10. Even though Heist was able to overcome their jitters, they were not able to earn those breaks back against a solid Riot squad and fell 15-12.

Liza Minor had three goals and three assists, and Georgia Bosscher added on four assists and one D to advance Heist’s cause. Riot’s Alyssa Weatherford poured on five assists and helped the one seed keep their seat at the head of the table.

Nightlock v. Iris

12-6 - After surviving a tough game in round one, we saw a renewed and refocused squad as they took half 8-3. Iris’ Marikha Nguyen did get one goal and one assist in that first half, but it was not enough as Nightlock took the match 12-6. Malina Weibe led all Nightlock players with three goals.

Pool B 

Brute Squad v. Showdown

14-7 - Brute Squad tallied four breaks in the first half and got two more in the second to easily handle the Texas squad. Showdown was able to work the disc up-wind to the goal line throughout the day, but had a tougher time actually punching them in for up-wind scores. Sarah Levinn pitched in two goals and one D in the losing effort.

Rival v. Widlfire

15-13 - I had billed this game as THE game to watch during round two, and the women from the Midwest and Southern California did NOT disappoint. The teams traded to start the game, but at 6-5, Rival was able to notch the first break of the game on a throw by Brittany Wright to Sadie Jezierski. That would be Sadie’s only goal this game, but it did provide the first strike, which fired Rival to another break for half at 8-5.

In the second half, Wildfire was able to earn back their breaks, and the score was 10-10. At 11-11, Rival held and then took two more breaks to make it 14-11. However, Wildfire answered back with a break to bring the game to 13-14 on a ridiculous D by Laura Wehlitz (three Ds and 3 assists).

But Rival was able to hold on to take the game 15-13.

Vivi Mai had a great game for Wildfire with four assists and one goal. Jane Griffin also pitched in three goals, one assist and one D. On the Rival side, Sara Scott was all over the place with three goals and four assists. Sophia Knowles also contributed with three goals and one assist.

Pool D

Fury v. Schwa

15-4 - Fury was definitely feeling good after their first win over Ozone and took half on Schwa 8-0. Schwa was able to get on the board to make it 11-1, but they were never able to get a break on their pool’s one seed. The game finished quickly as Fury held to win 15-4.

Scandal v. Ozone

15-7 - At 7-3, things looked bleak for the Atlanta team, but after holding, Ozone was able to earn a break and made the second half’s margin 8-5. Unfortunately, that would be the closest they got as Scandal ramped up their play and closed out the game 15-7. Ozone had no answer for Sandy Jorgensen who finished the game with six goals, one assist and three Ds.


Round Three

Round three saw the wind pick up more than any other round. The effect it had on teams was noticeably greater this round than any other, and that was noticeable in some of the upsets that occurred.

Pool A

Riot v. Nightlock

13-10 - When Riot led the game at 6-1, I walked away to find other games to watch, but really, I should have stayed as Nightlock took what looked to be a blow-out and staged a fantastic comeback attempt as Riot took half 8-5.

In the second half, Nightlock was able to capitalize on more of Seattle’s mistakes and got as close as 11-10 before Riot held and broke to win the cap-shortened game at 13-10.

Heist v. Iris

10-6 - It’s a coaching cliche to say a team should look beyond the outcomes and to the process. It’s a cliche that actually is true, and Heist proved that in round three while facing elimination from the bracket.

After suffering two close losses, no one would blame the Madison team for feeling sorry for themselves. However, people like Liza Minor and Georgia Bosscher don’t seem the type.

After getting a couple of breaks, Heist was able to take half 8-6 and never looked back as the cap came on. These two teams traded very long points throughout the day, and Heist was able to score two more before the horn sounded.

Heist will look to play on Liza Minor’s huge Thursday and their grit as they face Scandal tomorrow morning in the pre-quarterfinals.

Pool B

Brute Squad v. Rival

15-5 - After upsetting Wildfire, you can’t blame the team from Michigan/Ohio for falling to the tournament’s number two overall seed. After taking half 8-2, Brute Squad was able to shut the door at 15-5. Lien Hoffman finished the game with two Ds and two assists, but the Boston team really spread the love during this game as 13 different players scored a goal!

Woe to the winner of the pre-quarters match-up between Schwa and Nightlock who has to face Brute Squad.

Showdown v. Wildfire

13-12 - It seemed that Wildfire’s storied season would end with two tough losses in a row when they found themselves down 8-3 at halftime.

As one of the grittiest teams at Nationals, Wildfire proceeded to score five straight points to tie the game at 8-8 with a zone look that seemed to baffle Showdown’s handlers. After trading holds to 12-12, Sarah Levinn made one of the great plays of the day with an impressive blading huck grab in the end zone, thus saving Showdown from elimination. They will face Phoenix in the pre-quarters while Wildfire will take on Green Means Go in the first round of Pro-Flight play-in games.

Pool C

Molly Brown v. Green Means Go

15-7 - In what was the windiest round of the day, Green Means Go attempted to slow down Molly Brown’s offense with zone looks. Unfortunately, the Denver team looked incredibly at ease attacking Philly’s looks and took the game by distributing their goals and assists to what seemed like every player on their roster. (No one had more than two goals or two assists on the entire team)

Shannon Tsai played well for Green Means Go as she notched one goal and two assists.

Phoenix v. Traffic

11-9 - This was a game that pitted two teams that seemed to want to do the same things. They wanted to utilize field advantages by hucking often downwind. They both wanted to utilize zone looks to generate turnovers. They both wanted to throw well in the wind and catch their passes.

Unfortunately, Traffic seem plagued by the latter all day as they continued to drop open passes, and that was what opened the door for the Raleigh team to sneak in and snatch an upset from the tournament’s sixth overall team. Jenny Wei led Phoenix with two goals, two assists and three Ds, while Catherine Hui pitched in two goals and two assists in Traffic’s effort.


Round Four

The wind that peaked in round three started to subside significantly in the second half of the last round of the day. There was still wind, and it was still challenging, but not to the point that teams could not easily score upwind.

Pool B

Showdown v. Rival

After defeating the number seed in Pool B, Rival hoped to defy expectations and took on Showdown in the last round of the day. The first half was a battle as they traded multiple breaks and holds only to finally end up on serve 8-7 in Rival’s favor.

Although the wind had died down, these two teams traded haymakers as they each held until 12-12, when Showdown broke up-wind to take their first lead of the game. The soft cap had gone off, and the game was to 14. It looked like Showdown might have the upper hand as now Rival would be forced to hold upwind.

And that they did!

Rival was able to tie it at 13s and then was able to win the game on a crazy layout catch by Sophia Knowles in the back of the end zone! The number seed in Pool B will take the second spot into pre-quarters on Friday!

The Sara Scott to Sophia Knowles connection was huge at the end of the game as the duo threw for and scored Rival’s last three points!

Sarah Levinn was stellar in this game for Showdown as she was also involved in scoring or throwing the assist in three of their last four points.

Wildfire v. Brute Squad

15-3 - Brute Squad easily dispatched the San Diego team in the last round of pool play and sent Wildfire into the four-seed crossover round tomorrow. Boston had little trouble with the second seed in Pool B who was still smarting from their two upset losses to Showdown and Rival.

However, do not count them out as this team plays some of the grittiest ultimate in the country, and they will look to find redemption and gain experience throughout the rest of their games at Nationals.

Pool C

Molly Brown v. Traffic

15-10 - Traffic entered the tournament with a great pedigree in playing close games against teams ranked higher than them. Unfortunately, Phoenix dealt them a loss in round three, and Traffic was not able to overcome both that upset and a focused Molly Brown who looked ready. The evidence was seen in the first half as Molly Brown was up 8-5 after starting on defense. Vancouver’s Terri Whitehead did all she could with two assists and one D, but that wasn’t enough to match Opi Payne’s three assists and two Ds.

In the second half alone, Lauren Baecher punched in four assists as Molly Brown extended their lead to finish the game 15-10. They will face the winner of Scandal and Heist in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Phoenix v. Green Means Go

15-10 - Phoenix was riding a great wave of emotion after upsetting the pool’s second seed, Traffic, in the previous round. They took half over Green Means Go 8-5. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Philadelphia team got as they traded points until 14-10 when Phoenix punched in a break to win the game and take the second spot in Pool C. They will face Showdown in the pre-quarters and will look for the opportunity to play Fury in quarterfinals.

Pool D

Fury v. Scandal

14-10 - This was supposed to be the most exciting game during pool play, and both coaching staffs brought their A games as they looked to utilize two very distinct downwind offenses against each other. Fury worked methodically, looking to reset patiently with their handlers while their cutters looked for large yardage-gaining cuts. On the other hand, Scandal looked to pick up the disc (usually that was Jesse Shofner) and huck it to the end zone (usually that was Sandy Joregensen). Although both tactics found success, it was Fury’s patient offense that netted them the holds they needed and the breaks they wanted after the turn.

Fury utilized this style of play to the tune of an 8-6 halftime lead and extended it to 12-7. At this point, Scandal made a great effort to get back in the game. Sandy Jorgensen caught the goal to hold and then, after earning a break back, she threw the assist to bring the game to 12-10.

However, Fury would not be denied and held and then broke to win the game and the pool. They will face the winner of the Showdown v. Phoenix pre-quarter game tomorrow.

Schwa v. Ozone

11-10 - While most teams had trouble going upwind, that was not the case for these two as they battled it out for survival into the pre-quarters. There were 11 upwind scores in the first half alone! The two teams traded breaks constantly, only to end up on serve at 8-7 with Schwa pulling to start the second half.

Schwa went up with two breaks in a row to start the second half, and it looked like the upset was sealed at 10-7. However, Ozone, with their backs against wall, did the same and took the breaks back to tie it at 10s. But Schwa won it with a giant Tibbels (two goals, one assist and three Ds) sky in the back of the end zone and earned the chance to play Nightlock in pre-quarters tomorrow! 

Big props to Ozone’s Mira Walker who lit up the stat sheet with one goals, five assists and one D. Ozone will face Iris tomorrow morning.

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