2016 National Championships - Women's Day Two Recap

Posted: September 30, 2016 10:14 PM
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Nightlock 15-6 Schwa 

Nightlock came into this game hungry. After coming back from a 0-5 deficit against Heist to almost pushing Riot to the brink in pool play – the team from San Francisco was not ready to be satisfied with what they had. On the other hand, Portland Schwa was happy to have broken seed from the basement with an upset of Ozone yesterday.

Almost every game in the pre-quarters was close; this game was the only outlier. Nightlock took control early, starting with a hold and two straight breaks, with 2016 Callahan Award winner Marisa Rafter throwing and scoring a goal. (She finished with two goals, one assist and one D).

Nightlock broke two more times to take half comfortably at 8-3. Alina Kagan racked up three assists while all eight goals were scored by different players. 

In the second half, Nightlock continued to pour it on, starting with two more breaks and continuing to add more to a final score of 15-6. 

Scandal 14-11 Heist

Scandal started the day off with a break, but it was an incredibly messy point. And it would not be the only one. There were 10 turnovers in that point alone. After that first point, the teams traded all the way until Heist held to make it 5-5. Liza Minor continued her hot streak as she threw three of the five assists. 

Heist earned their break back to make it 5-6 in their favor. Georgia Bosscher threw three turnovers this point but also got two blocks in one of the longest and most exciting points of the game. They traded breaks after this point, and Heist took half 8-7.

While Scandal looked to play their zone, Heist normally chose to play person defense. Both styles seemed to generate blocks for their respective teams. 

Heist extended their lead with another break in the second half to make it 10-8 on a great block deflection by Sarah Itoh that hung enough for a Heist player to get underneath it in the end zone. 

That was the biggest lead they would enjoy as Scandal took advantage of Heist’s constant upwind hucks (usually to a waiting Sandy Jorgensen) to hold and then rattle off four breaks in a row to lead 13-10. In three points, Heist committed 10 turnovers, and Scandal committed eight. The game took on a huck-and-hope nature. After stopping the break train to make it 11-13, Heist got a turn and had a shot to bring the game within one when Georgia Bosscher was pressured on an under cut, and Scandal was able to convert their second chance into a hold and the win 14-11.

Traffic 15-11 Rival

Here was a game that pitted one team riding an emotional high against a team trying to shake off an unnerving upset from the day before. Rival upset two teams to take the second spot out of Pool B, and the Midwest stars looked ready for more of their Midwest wind/rain. Traffic lost their second spot to Raleigh Phoenix the day before and looked to fix some of their mistakes and hold off the tournament’s potential Cinderella story.

It was interesting to watch both teams warm up as Traffic went through their normal plyo routine for almost 30 minutes before even touching a disc. On the other hand, Rival took a warm up lap and immediately went into throwing/cutting/continuation drills. 

They definitely got more reps with the disc to start, and that showed when Rival pulled, and Traffic’s Mira Donaldson dropped the very first pass. The turnover allowed for an easy Rival break. On the next point, Rival put pressure on Traffic’s handler resets and, even after swinging the disc, the next throw popped up in the wind for another turnover which Rival deposited in the break bank to go up 2-0. 

Tracey Lo looked great early on as she scored Rival’s first goal and threw the assist for their third goal. She was a great release valve as a handler and kept Rival’s offense flowing. 

After Traffic held, Rival did the same and then broke again for a 4-1 lead against the Vancouver team. After holding, Traffic got a break back going upwind during one of the many points where the wind just died down noticeably. The intermittent winds were around all throughout the first round, and it was both a blessing and a curse for players as some took advantage and others were fooled by it.

At 6-6, Traffic was able to finish the half with two straight breaks to take it 8-6. Rival got an early break and, after trading to a 10-9 lead, Traffic cleared (get it?), and the Vancouver team stepped on the gas pedal for four breaks in a row. Rival tried but could not get back in the game, and Traffic won 15-11.

Showdown 14-10 Phoenix 

Showdown and Phoenix was a game of two halves.

The first half was a close game as Phoenix started with a break and then, after trading, exchanged three more breaks to bring the first half to a close on serve at Showdown 8-7 Phoenix.

For Showdown, the first half starred Sarah Levinn (three goals, one assist) and Katey Forth (three goals, one assist). For Phoenix, it was #8 (one assist, two Ds) and Jessi Jones (three goals, one assist, one D).

What started as a close game in the first half looked to become a blowout as Showdown decided to start with three breaks in a row. Michelle Arceneaux was huge for them during this run as she scored and threw for a goal. 

Although Phoenix was able to prevent further breaks, they could not register one of their own and lost 14-10 as both teams held on offense. 

4v4 Round

Wildfire 11-7  Green Means Go

I did not spend as much time here as I wanted but did watch a few points, and some of my observations for this game were:

  1. Wildfire was playing a four-person cup to great effect.

  2. Green Means Go seemed to favor going person, and that also worked to great effect.

  3. \Wildfire was successful when they were able to utilize their handler resets well, while Green Means Go’s offense ran very well through Amel Awadelkarim, even though she didn’t register an assist or a goal. (She did get a D and only threw one turnover).

  4. For Green Means Go – Meghan Wadlinger had one goal and four Ds while Nichole Smith had three goals and two Ds.

  5. For Wildfire – Julia Johnson had three assists and one D, and Erin Crider had one goal and three Ds.

Ozone 10-9 Iris

Again, I did not spend as much time at this game as I wanted, but some of my observations for this game were:

  1. It’s really nice to have a tall handler like Ozone does in Katherine Wooten (who stands at 5’11"). There was a point near the end zone where she went up line and didn’t get the disc. The stall got high, and Ozone was able to throw a high float trust throw to her for the goal. Can’t teach height.

  2. Marissa Hicks had a great catch on a floaty Wooten throw into the end zone where she skyed a pile of Iris defenders.

  3. Mira Walker was big for Ozone with one goal, four assists and two Ds. 

  4. Audrey St-Aunard had one goal, two assists and one D, and Sophie Dagenais scored three goals for Iris.


Fury 15-7 Showdown

After trading holds to start the game, Fury rattled off six straight breaks and then one more before the half ended at 8-2. Sydney Overman was involved in both Showdown holds as she tallied one goal and one assist. 

It’s very possible that Showdown was just happy to be where they were as they had upset Wildfire to take the number two seed in their pool and then defeated Phoenix for the right to play Fury this morning. 

At this point in the tournament, it is my opinion that Fury and Brute Squad are operating a half-clip above the other number one seeds, Riot and Molly Brown. 

Nine different players tallied goals for Fury, while 11 others threw an assist. The depth on this roster is astounding, and we will get to see it next tomorrow when they revisit their storied rivalry with Seattle Riot.

Riot 15–9 Traffic

Some observations from Riot’s win over Traffic:

  1. Traffic continued to struggle with windier-than-normal conditions with unforced errors.

  2. Catherine Hui is a multi-faceted threat. Her most well-known asset is her speed and goal-catching ability but she’s equally adept at throwing well-placed hucks. Riot had a point where they let her get the easy swing as a handler, and she boomed a huck into perfect space for the goal. You definitely have to pick your poison with her.

  3. Traffic tried a zone early on in the game that Riot was able to work through with poise and patience for a 3-2 hold. Playing good zone offense and defense in the Northwest is difficult, as we are rarely faced with blustery conditions.

  4. The "conservation of greatness" is real. Riot’s Charlie Mercer had a highlight-reel layout to save possession and then immediately boosted a blade huck that was turned.

  5. Alyssa Weatherford was the player of the game with five assists. Each one was artfully placed and highly skilled. 

  6. Laura Mason is really good at this game. She had two goals and two Ds and is constantly able to find the right reset or present herself as the safety valve when needed. She cuts hard, plays tenacious defense and always looks to keep the tempo up.

  7. There was a scary moment for Jaclyn Verzuh as she made a tough catch with a defender right on her. She got up quickly and they went down and needed help off the field. Luckily, she was able to get back in the game later.

  8. At 7-6, Riot put out a strong line to play D and get a break, and that paid off for them as they were able to utilize players who normally played offense to help move them up-field for the score.

  9. Overall, both teams had flashes of brilliance and periods where they seemed to look confused and unsure of themselves. The weather can definitely play a role in that.

Molly Brown 15-10 Scandal

This would be the most hyped quarterfinal as both teams entered the tournament as possible favorites to play in tomorrow’s semifinals. In the beginning, it looked like Scandal might be able to break seed as they were up 4-2 early, with Sandy Jorgensen scoring the first point after a Molly Brown turnover. 

However, the tide would slowly turn as Opi Payne scored to get Molly Brown’s second break in a row to make it 5-4 Molly. It seemed like Scandal would get opportunities on most points but could not keep possession and punch their Ds in for breaks. Molly took half 8-5.

The second half started with the teams trading points, but at 10-7, Molly Brown rattled off two break points in a row to put the game out of reach. 

Unfortunately for Scandal, they succumbed to the Denver squad 15-10. Molly Brown will take on Brute Squad in the semifinals tomorrow.

Scandal is probably disappointed with not reaching the semifinals, but the players they picked up this year will have another season under their belts next year. Watch out for players like Jesse Shofner, Amy Zhou and Sarah Lord to continue to thrive in the D.C. club environment. 

Brute Squad 15-8 Nightlock

Brute Squad did something during this game that I have not seen other teams do too much of. Instead of using their O and D lines in the traditional way (you know, have the O play O and the D play D) they had upwind and downwind lines. 

Boston would start on offense pulling upwind and thus put their upwind line on, which is their O line. It made immediate sense as soon as Nightlock turned the disc over – the veteran Brute line adroitly moved the disc upwind for a break to start the game. 

It is my feeling that having players with Midwest/Great Lakes experience can do wonders for your upwind game, and Boston has them on that O line. Players like Becky Malinowski and Lien Hoffman. 

After Boston got the upwind break, they put on their downwind line – which is their D line – and they were able to play tight on Nightlock’s resets and front cutters in order to generate a turnover and another break. If the mentality of their upwind line was to work it patiently, the downwind line looked to HUCK IMMEDIATELY AND OFTEN.

After a few holds, Nightlock had a chance to get an upwind point of their own and had numerous chances for an upwind break, but they could not seal the deal. Boston ended up holding to make it 4-2 Boston. 

Boston then showed another wrinkle by introducing a four-person cup, but Nightlock was able to hold and bring it 4-3. On the ensuing D point, they stopped hucking right away and tried to work the disc slowly for the 5-3 break. It’s possible that Brute Squad’s coach noticed Nightlock had basically started putting a person as deep deep as others played person, so they were looking to utilize that poached cutter to work their unders.

After trading to 7-5, Boston brought out their offensive, upwind line who did their job by getting a break to take half.

It seemed bleak for Nightlock, but they were able to break upwind out of half, and excitement flooded the sideline as players rushed the field. Unfortunately, that feeling was short-lived as Boston’s line was able to push forward upwind and score their own equalizer.

It was a tough game for the Californians as Brute’s defensive pressure and offensive ability taxed Nightlock on each and every point. They scored only two more points the rest of the half as Brute Squad did what they did to every team so far. They slowly suffocate the fight out of their opponent with brutal defensive pressure and a huck-happy mentality that taxed opponents’ ability to work 70 yards each time.

It will be interesting to see how this strategy will work tomorrow against an equally gritty Molly Brown squad!

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