Three More Wins Moves U.S. Teams into Semifinals at the World Ultimate and Guts Championships

Posted: June 23, 2016 04:54 PM
London, U.K. (June 23, 2016) – While people from all over the British Isles headed to the polls today to cast their Brexit votes, we started the day hunkered down at our accommodations, waiting on news about updated schedules after more rain pummeled London last night. Play was put on hold until 11:30 a.m., when the first women’s quarterfinals started on two water-logged fields – the only two playable fields in the massive complex.

The tournament organizing committee has the difficult job of trying to balance games that needed to be played today with what was actually possible, given the late start and lack of fields. As a result, all men’s and women’s masters games were cancelled for the day, along with all consolation bracket games. With minimal time between games and some shortened halftimes, quarterfinal match ups in the men’s, mixed and women’s divisions were the only games eventually played on day five. The U.S. mixed team finished up the day, just beating the sunset in their 15-9 win over the Philippines.

On that note, we’ll work backwards through today’s games. The mixed squad had a bit of a rough time logistically. With times needed to be moved around throughout the day, rain coming and going and shuttle bus schedules being interrupted, they had a lot to work through just to get their game underway. They finally made it to the fields, after their original, revised game time was pushed back, in time to start warming up in the heavy rain before the lightning arrived. It was lucky it was warm in the snack bar where everyone took shelter since they were all soaked already.

Anyway – after several delays, the mixed team finally took the field to play the Philippines. The teams’ contrasting styles were apparent from the get-go. The Philippines look like a slightly more explosive Japan with quick disc movement, using the whole width of the field, gaining yards in small chunks until they see the shot they want to take downfield. Our tall defenders matched up on their short, quick handlers makes it seem like we would have had trouble with the small-ball-style under cuts, but most of the Ds from Team USA were on in cuts. And most of them came from Sandy Jorgenson, or it sure seemed like it anyway. The U.S. put together a full-team effort, with contributions coming from up and down the roster. And like all great mixed teams, they came from both genders. I counted when the score was 12-6, and of the 12 goals, 10 of them were mixed gender assists/goals. And that doesn’t include all the play in the middle of the field.

After going down 0-2, thanks to a hold and a break from the Philippines, the U.S. rallied together. In their first real test, they came together and made each other play harder and play better.

Their win pits the U.S. mixed squad against France in the semifinals tomorrow, which barring any field reassignments, should be live streamed tomorrow. Everyone, U.S. fans or not, should be sure to tune into the stream to watch some great mixed ultimate.

For a brief period this afternoon, the tournament organizers were able to call two additional fields good for play, so the men’s team, who we weren’t sure would be able to get in their game at all today, was playing by 3:40 p.m. They took on Colombia in their quarterfinal, a team that includes several players familiar to the U.S. squad thanks to relatively frequent trips from American teams to tournaments and clinics in Colombia. What many expected to be at least a bit of a challenge for the U.S., turned into their best game so far. Colombia didn’t get on the board until 5-1 and only managed to score one more point, after the defense literally fell down thanks to the mud, before the U.S. wrapped it up 15-2.

The U.S. defense was forcing turns, whether just through solid pressure D or by actually getting hands on the disc, and the offense was nearly flawless. The team only had one turnover in the entire game, which came on a D point that was converted anyway after the defense forced a second turn in the point.  

Team U.S.A. will face our familiar foes from Canada tomorrow in the semifinals. Like the mixed team’s semi, the game should be live streamed, assuming no schedule changes.

What feels like forever ago now, the U.S. women’s team faced Switzerland in their quarterfinal match up. They definitely got the best end of the weather deal today. The game was pushed back just an hour from its original start time, and they managed to almost entirely avoid rain. Just a few sprinkles appeared near the end of the round, seemingly a small miracle given the rest of the conditions over the last 24 hours.

Switzerland has some talented players, and as a team, they show some good potential. But as it has been all week, the relentless American attack was eventually too much. Again, great plays were abundant, but mostly, the U.S. women make offense look easy. And they make defense look tireless. As we talked about on day one, there are a lot of female (and male) ultimate players around the world who look up to and aspire to play like these women. As it continually made clear on the field, they have earned and deserve the praise.

The men’s and women’s masters teams did both have their Thursday games cancelled, so they move straight into the semifinals, the women without their final pool play game against Canada and the men without their originally scheduled quarterfinal against the winner of the Philippines v. Germany pre-quarterfinal. Both the men’s and women’s masters teams will finish up their Worlds tournaments tomorrow afternoon. Gold- and bronze-medal games for the women’s masters division are at 1:30 p.m. local time. Men’s masters gold and bronze games will be played at 3:30 local.

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