2016 Youth Club Championships - Day 3 Girls' Recap

Posted: August 14, 2016 11:43 PM
Seattle Nimbus Earns Their 12th Straight Title, Remain Undefeated at YCC
By: Willem Gokemeijer
(full results)
Once again, very nice weather was on tap in Blaine, which set up for great ultimate. The top four seeds all made it to the championship round; there was a pretty clear gap between the top four and the rest this weekend. None of them had allowed more than six scores in a game until they faced each other. Seattle was the clear favorite, having been to each of the 11 previous YCCs and winning every one, giving them an unbelievable 71-0 record. 
Seattle Nimbus’ semifinal was against BUDA (Boston). BUDA lost for the first time of the weekend on Saturday 11-10 to Belle (Cincinnati) and came in determined to win this one. They got a slight lead by bidding on nearly every throw, limiting their turnovers, and getting fantastic handler movement, sometimes going back and forth between two players for half the field before slowing down. Nimbus didn’t sit back though. They stuck with BUDA, trading points with very few breaks. At half, it was 7-6 BUDA. Seattle had already allowed twice as many scores as in any of their other games, and the crowd was getting into it. BUDA did not let up; they scored two more to put Seattle in a two-score deficit. Then Ally Constantino took over for Seattle. She scored twice and assisted once to tie the game at 9-9. BUDA scored one more time, but Seattle had gotten back into their groove, and they got four straight goals to win 13-10 and escape disaster. Constantino finished with an incredible five goals and three assists. Claire Trop (five assists) and Ruby Cassidy (three assists) were also instrumental. One of these three was involved in almost all of Seattle's scores. BUDA was led by a fantastic performance from Kendra Griesman – she was all over the field, scoring six times and assisting twice, the threat that BUDA needed to open up the game. They were also led by Renata Pepi (1 G, 3A) who had a great connection with Griesman.  
The other semifinal was between Belle and the Warhawks (North Carolina). The Warhawks were defeated by Seattle Nimbus in their last round of pool play by 11 points, so the Warhawks were trying to bounce back. They looked like they might get a repeat of their last game, going down 5-2 early before mounting a furious comeback to tie it at six apiece. Then both defenses sharpened up. There was a long back and forth and two timeouts before Belle broke the gridlock. After halftime, it remained neck and neck. It seemed like each point lasted at least five minutes, which made every point very valuable. At 8-7 (Belle) there was another very long point (in which two timeouts were used, for the second time). Belle was able to win that one too, and that was all they needed, sneaking by with a narrow 10-8 win. Abby Swenson (2G, 2A) and Hayley Samson (4G, 1A) were on fire for Belle, on defense and offense. Maddie Samson was also key. Her defense was impressive, and she controlled the offense for Belle. On the Warhawks’ side, Cameron Hastings did not have many stats, but every time you looked, she had the disc, setting up almost every one of the Warhawks’ points.
The championship final was between Belle and Nimbus. Nimbus got off to an early 5-2 lead, including a great catch by Bailey Shigley that she followed up with a great throw for the score. Belle was threatening, but the Nimbus defense was very good near the end zone, preventing numerous scores. There were many injuries for Nimbus, but none appeared too severe or slowed them down. They kept their lead and played their quick but patient style to get to 11-6. It was here that Belle woke up a bit and fought back, forcing a very long point and then earning three straight scores. It was all too late for Belle, though, because you can’t hold Seattle scoreless for long. Seattle won 13-9 to take their 12th straight title in the girls’ U-19 division and continue their unbeaten streak. Ally Constantino and Claire Trop were once again dominant. Cordray McCann was also a newer standout this game for Seattle with three scores. Belle was led by the usual suspects, Samsons and Swenson, but Cara Seiber was also very good with two scores and three assists. 
The third-place game was won by BUDA, but it was incredibly close. Boston had one streak of four straight to go up 5-3, and they had a 10-7 lead late, but the Warhawks showed incredible strength, coming back to tie it at 10-10. It was then that BUDA finally got back in control and scored twice to win 12-10. Josephine Coppinger (BUDA) and Sydney Rehder (Warhawks) both had four assists for their teams.
The fifth-place spot went to Texas Tango (Dallas), winning close games against Moxie (Pittsburgh) and DEVYL (New Jersey), the former of which was tied 8-8 before Tango was able to sneak in two points right before the hard-cap horn to win 10-8. They were led by Caroline O’Connell and Skye Fernandez, who both had very good tournaments. DEVYL was sixth. Moxie was seventh, with a win over Minnesota (who finished eighth). Cutthroat (Colorado) won the consolation group to take ninth place. 
That concludes the 2016 girls’ U-19 division, but the Youth Club Championships will be back in Blaine next year.

Seattle Hydra Rolls to Their Third Straight U-16 Girls' Championship
By: Shawn Grund
(full results)
After two days of hard play, Seattle Hydra clearly led the pack and became the undefeated and undisputed returning champions. With the fight for second seed resolved, only Maine Rip Tide, Cincinnati Belle and North Carolina Kitty Hawks escaped contender elimination.
Hydra started out their day against the fourth-seeded Kitty Hawks. The game was tight for the first few points as the teams traded downwind scores, but Hydra started their signature pull-away when Kayla Pianh sent the disc deep to Betsey Siegal for the break and 3-1 advantage. Hydra relied on their deep 22-player roster to keep legs fresh and spirits high as they walked their way to a 7-2 halftime advantage. The Kitty Hawks’ handlers, led by Ellie Cubrilovic, started to figure out the gaps in Hydra’s still unbeaten zone, making a series of rapid give-and-go throws around the cup, causing some panic from Hydra’s zone and forcing a transition to person defense, but not before the Kitty Hawks walked the disc all the way into the end zone to make the score 4-8. Hydra, always quick to adapt, set a new defensive line and ended any hope of a Kitty Hawks comeback with a five-point run, ending the game with a deep put from Angelina Jeantette-Coca which was reeled in on a layout bid from Grace Patterson to seal the victory 13-4 and advance Hydra to the championship yet again.
Rip Tide took on Belle in the semifinals in a rematch of Friday’s second round in which Rip Tide upset Belle 13-9. This time, it was Belle looking to upset Tide for the chance to go up against Hydra one last time at YCC 2016, or at least match their 2015 second-place finish. Rip Tide relied on their tight zone, and Belle soon started resorting to punts and hammers before Tide’s Emily Pozzy yet again connected with Sophie Marcotte to lead 4-0. Belle, however, was not about to roll over. After the Belle offense starting finding holes in Tide’s defense, Ella Enders connected with Amy Friemoth for their first goal. Belle went on an impressive six-point run orchestrated by handler Rebecca Monnin and cutter Therese Enders, both with multiple interceptions followed by quick transitions for scores. Belle’s O line demonstrated their dominance over Rip Tide’s zone, working their cup to run away with the first half 7-5.
Belle came out strong in the second half with a near full-field huck from Meg Teller to Ella Enders, who chased the disc undefended and made the trailing-edge catch while diving for the score. Rip Tide, however, quickly returned their zone to the unbeatable force displayed in the early game, and Emily Pozzy quickly racked up six more assists with four to Kennedy McCarthy. Rip Tide went on their own six-point unanswered run to bring them to game point at 12-8. Belle’s offense fought hard to stay in contention, but was ultimately shut down by the Tide zone, yet again, before Emily Pozzy picked up the disc after a turn and sent it deep into the end zone to her sister Annie Pozzy for the win.
Rip Tide earned themselves a rematch of their very first pool play game against Hydra for the championship game which Rip Tide lost 13-1. Rip Tide learned quite a bit this past year, even this weekend, and perhaps their greatest gain was in their zone, led by veteran McCarthy, playing tight and low while piling on the pressure with each throw. Hydra is no stranger to how to break a zone and quickly took a 3-0 lead. Rip Tide answered with a streak of their own, starting with a massive D by Alexandria Rowell which was quickly converted, followed by another Seattle turnover and a picture-perfect throw and equally perfect cut by Ayla Gunther for Rip Tide. A point later, Emily Pozzy picked up a turned disc and launched a backhand toward the end zone to find McCarthy yet again, who easily skyed a crowd of Hydra defenders to put Rip Tide within one point of Seattle. Hydra, however, answered with a string of goals, leading off with a half-field flick by veteran Hazel Ostrowski to find Anna Goddu in the end zone. Rip Tide fought back on offense but had a hard time transitioning to defense after a turn quickly enough to keep pace with Hydra, which allowed Hydra’s handlers to get the disc moving and dominate the zone. After yet another beautiful assist from Goddu, Hydra entered halftime with a 7-3 lead.
In the second half, Hydra refused to let up on perhaps the only team that demonstrated the cohesion and drive necessary to attempt to put down the returning champions, pulling further and further ahead of Rip Tide. Hydra’s depth again became a major tipping point as Rip Tide switched their defensive strategy to person instead of zone, hoping to game the match ups where they counted and get a quick break to get back into the game. Rip Tide made Hydra earn the first few points with hard marks and some sick Ds, but Hydra ultimately wore them down and broke ahead to 12-3. With one final push, Hydra’s Ostrowski pump-faked her mark and stepped out for a perfect backhand to Mari Scott for the last goal, crushing any hope of a Rip Tide comeback. Hydra walked away undefeated with their third straight U-16 girls’ championship, while the initially fifth-seeded Rip Tide earned second place (a historical rarity for Maine at YCC) and walked away with their heads held high.
In the third-place game, the Kitty Hawks fought bravely but were initially unable to contain the Belle offense, falling quickly into a 9-3 disadvantage. Determined to make a game of it, the Kitty Hawks relied on handler Cubrilovic and cutter Xintong Xiang to dominate both their offense and defense, bringing the Kitty Hawks within one at 9-10. Belle, however, quickly put away one more point to clinch the third spot. 
In the round robin for fifth place, Minnesota Superior put up a hard fight against the free agent team, Artemis, but ultimately the hometown team was unable to keep pace with Artemis’ new-found cohesion. The game was close at 12-9, but Artemis was clearly on top of Superior for the second time this weekend. Superior tried to come out strong against Bay Area Belly of the Beast, but even with the skills of veteran handler Doua Ci Lor, Minnesota came up short once again. Belly of the Beast had only Artemis to go through to cement fifth place, which they did with relative ease, pushing Artemis to sixth place and Superior to last at seventh.

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