Two Finals, Two Gold Medals for the USA

Posted: June 24, 2016 03:30 PM
London, U.K. (June 24, 2016) – So far, the U.S. has competed in two championship finals at the World Ultimate and Guts Championships in London and has earned two gold medals. Both the men’s and women’s masters teams defeated Canada this afternoon to claim world titles.  
They both also had to play their semifinal rounds today. The women’s masters team took on Japan this morning, a rematch of their Tuesday afternoon pool play game. They were ahead comfortably throughout the game and held off a late comeback attempt from Japan to get the win 15-12. The men’s masters semi was also a rematch, theirs was of a testy, hotly contested game against Denmark from pool play from Tuesday. Nearly every possession was riddled with calls in that game, and it took a real effort from Boneyard to hold off the Danes. Today was a totally different story. Boneyard was up 4-1, took half at 8-4 and rode out their cushion to a 15-8 win. The wins from both teams set them up for finals against Canada. 
The women’s masters team was up first. They started out shakily, and it took a big defensive effort to mount their comeback from being down two breaks at 2-4. Amongst a litany of stars on this roster, Crystal Davis was the standout. As she has gotten more and more familiar with her teammates and the system over the course of the week, she got better and better. She got some great Ds – handblocks, skies, you name it – found her way into the end zone on occasion, and often dominated the middle of the field. Darragh Clancy also had a great day. Along with Davis, Clancy, Alicia White and Sally Lambert, there were great plays aplenty. On the final point, the US got two turns. The second was a nasty layout D from Carolyn Matthews that prevented the Canada goal. After working the full 70, Jody Dozono found Gwen Ambler, who always seemed to take over when it needed doing, for the goal. The U.S. women’s masters team, a conglomeration of mostly Fury veterans along with a few all-star friends, claimed America’s first world championship in the women’s masters division. 
The men’s masters team followed the women’s win, and the pressure was on. Boneyard is the least "all-star" team at WUGC for the U.S. They have been a player in the men’s masters division for years, but despite multiple second-place finishes and a world title at the World Ultimate Club Championships in 2014, they couldn’t break through to win a national title until 2015. That win got the North Carolina guys here this week and competing against a tough team from Canada. Of all the U.S. teams, they clearly know each other the best, but they still managed to get better as the week progressed. Their O line got stingier and stingier, giving up fewer break chances with every game, and their defense upped their intensity day by day. By the time they reached the finals this afternoon, they were dialed in and ready to take on the Canadians. They started strong, jumping out to a 4-1 lead, which made all the difference in the game. Jared Inselmann and Ben Dieter, with some help from players like Dave Snoke and Eric Woolridge, were the work horses throughout the game, making players on both sides of the disc and coming down with things that easily would have hit the turf if lesser players were on the receiving end. Boneyard took half 8-5 and never looked back. As it should be, they closed out the championship on a throw from Inselmann to Dieter to claim their second world title in three years. 
The rest of the U.S. delegation only had semifinal games today, with the remaining finals set for a different field site starting tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. local. 
The women’s team started things off for the U.S. delegation this morning in their semifinal against Canada. Despite both being all-star teams, these players are incredibly familiar with one another. Many of Canada’s national team representatives compete for Traffic during the club season, a team the U.S. players see regularly during the summer. So there were few surprises to be had for either team about abilities, tendencies or preferences. And still the U.S. women managed to pull away. They got a break to start the game and two more a couple points later to go up 4-1. The defensive pressure was aiding in some of the Canadian turnovers, more so than players actually getting hands on discs. Unforced turns were also present, on both sides – drops and a few missed throws not usually seen from these athletes. In what seemed to become a trend, the women took half at 8-5 and cruised to the win. There were plenty of great plays in the game, but the game winner might have been the best. About 10 yards out of the end zone, Opi Payne lasered a throw toward Georgia Bosscher who was cutting from left to right. The throw just missed the outstretched hands of the fully horizontal Bosscher, but Lauren Sadler, following the play and cutting from right to left, laid out right behind Bosscher and got her hands under the disc just before it hit the ground. It was a play worthy of the game and the stage it was on. The U.S. women will face Colombia in the finals tomorrow afternoon, a match up of a game played for seeding earlier this week. The U.S. won that game 15-6. 
The mixed team took the field next against France. The French ultimate program is up and coming, and their mixed team played the game of their lives against the home team from Great Britain, the reigning European mixed champions, in yesterday’s quarterfinals to advance. Against the stacked mixed team from the United States, their luck wasn’t as good. The first point was a marathon. Neither team wanted to start out the way they did with bad turnovers and miscues. After the first few turns, the U.S. got the disc and called a timeout to settle things down. A few throws later, the U.S. got the break to end the 11-minute point. After another slightly frazzled point, that included another U.S. timeout, the mixed team had gone up 2-0, and they were off. They ended up scoring the first seven points of the game and not too long later, closed it out 15-4. At breakfast this morning, Khalif El-Salaam told some of this teammates he would give them 30 push-ups if they didn’t go down 0-2 today, which they did in each of their last two games. They didn’t go down 0-2, but I’m not sure the first two points were exactly what El-Salaam was really looking for either. Hopefully they’ll find the best of both worlds in the finals tomorrow against Australia – going up 2-0 on two clean, solid points. 
The men’s team closed out the day at WUGC in front of a packed house in their semifinal against Canada. The match up has been highly anticipated all week, with the meeting pretty much assumed, just without knowing in which round it would happen. Like in the women’s semifinal, these players are all familiar with one another, so there aren’t many unknowns. But the U.S. was still dominant. Again, Ds were typically gotten through pressure defense or the U.S. junk look that ensures tons of throws. The U.S. men did force their share of turnovers, though. A handblock and a sky from Kurt Gibson. A tipped disc that turned into a Callahan for John Stubbs. Breaking on the first point was another theme for the U.S. contingent today. The men got the first point break, and the Callahan was the first of three more that took them to half at 8-4. The U.S. never looked back, cruising to a 15-8 win. Canada played a good game. They had a few unforced turnovers, but so did the U.S. Their defense was strong through most of the game, and their intensity didn’t waver. If you had walked over to the field mid-game, you probably would have assumed it was a one or two point game, instead of the blowout it turned into. Honestly, that’s just how good the U.S. is, particularly with how they played today. The coaches have kept their three main lines steady all week, just switching out one player here and there, and they seem to be peaking at the right time. No one who has watched them this week can question their chemistry or ability to play their role. The men’s final is also a rematch. The U.S. will face Japan in the last final tomorrow afternoon. Their first meeting this week was the closest game the U.S. men have seen by a large margin with a final score of 15-12 after a late run from Japan. 

One more day to go here in London. Three more games, and three more medals. Hopefully they will all be gold.

USA Friday Results
Men def. Canada 15-8
Mixed def. France 15-4
Women def. 15-10
Men’s Masters def. Denmark 15-8
Men’s Masters def. Canada 15-10
Women’s Masters def. Japan 15-12
Women’s Masters def. Canada 15-10

Finals Schedule – Saturday, June 25
All times BST
Mixed Final v. Australia – 11:00 a.m.
Women’s Final v. Colombia – 1:30 p.m.
Men’s Final v. Japan – 4:00 p.m.

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