U.S.A. Advances to the Finals in All Divisions at the 2015 U-23 World Championships

Posted: July 17, 2015 06:24 PM

London, U.K. (July 17, 2015) – It was a day of exciting semifinal action in London today. All three U.S. teams won their semifinals match ups and will advance to the gold-medal games tomorrow.

The mixed team was the first to take the field today in their semifinal against Germany. In their first meeting of the week, during pool play, the U.S. won 17-8. With a better understanding of the team and all the momentum of the semifinals behind them today, the U.S. put together a complete game and cruised to a 17-4 win. The gusty winds almost certainly worked in favor of the U.S., as well.

They didn’t give up any breaks during the game, and as is the team’s M.O., they spread the disc around. Mike Ogren lead the game in stats with four total, two goals and two assists. Like most other teams at the event, Germany is pretty top heavy. If you can shut down their few main players, it forces others to try and step into roles to which they aren’t accustomed. Adding the wind into the equation, the depth of the U.S. squad stood out even more than usual against the top-heavy German squad, especially if and when the U.S. elected to run a zone defense. With two men on the outsides as the marks, often Nathan White and Mike Ogren, and ladies in the middle, opposing handlers face a big mark that is difficult to throw around, and with a swirly wind, it’s hard to risk throwing over the top.

The U.S. man defense still focuses largely on taking away under cuts and staying tight on the handlers, making resets difficult. The sidelines play a big part in the defense, communicating where cuts are coming from to the handler defenders and making sure the last man back knows he is the last man. The speed of the American men make it possible for them to help out on deep looks, while everyone else shades underneath to prevent the in-cuts.

For their part, Germany tested the defensive waters with a junky zone that kept one man and one woman back on the handlers. But the strategy often created mismatches for the U.S., thanks to their throw-and-go handler movement.

In the end, the size, speed and experience of the U.S. team was too much. Any offensive miscues were forgotten when the defense got the disc back. It’s still all about trust for this team.


Speaking of trust, the now-familiar "T-R-U-S-T! I trust in you, you trust in me!" cheer of the U.S. mixed team made some appearances later in the day as well, courtesy of the Great Britain open team who has apparently adopted the credo (and the cheer). It rang out during their semifinal match up against the U.S. this afternoon. A "U-S-A!" chant popular on each of the American sidelines this week also rang up from their sideline during the quarterfinal round yesterday afternoon.

It may have been the most exciting game of the tournament for the U.S. so far.  The U.S. started on offense, held for 1-0 and followed that up with a break to go up 2-0. They had developed a solid buffer at 5-1. It was a strong start that gave the American sideline confidence. But Great Britain was ready to fight. The U.S. had to work harder to get open on each cut than nearly any other time this week. Their throws had to be a bit more precise. And the defense had to play a little tougher. 

A throw here and there sailed out of bounds, a few were thrown behind cutters and on several occasions, Great Britain defenders broke early on reset throws or swing passes and managed to get hands on them. At 5-1, Great Britain held on their offensive point before ticking off two straight breaks to bring them within one at 5-4.

Late in the second half, the U.S. offensive line looked to have settled in. Quick, short passes led to big up-field gains from cutters clearing deep and coming back in kept the disc moving and the defense struggling to keep up. The defensive lines earned themselves some chances, but Great Britain kept battling back. The U.S. entered halftime still up one break and got one right out of the intermission to go up 10-7. The teams traded breaks late in the second half, but that was all she wrote. The cap went on at 14-12, making it a game to 15. The offense held – captain Trent Dillon found Jack Williams in the end zone to make the final score 15-12.


Despite being a near runaway game, the U.S. women’s semifinal against Australia was also exciting to watch. Anyone who has watch the U.S. women compete know huge plays, crazy feats of athleticism and super-smart ultimate are commonplace. Few people soar through the air like Erynn Schroeder or Jesse Shofner. Next to no one can fake out the mark like Alika Johnston or Julia Snyder and throw the throws they do. And if a stat was kept on it, we would probably see that Beth Kaylor and Shira Stern haul in more goals horizontally than they do on their feet.

There’s also Jaclyn Verzuh. And Megan Cousins. The list goes on and on. This team is a veritable who’s who of incredible players. It’s close to impossible to list all their amazing abilities or to single out everyone in the way they deserve.

Everything they can do was on display again against Australia in the semifinals. Australia broke first to go up 2-1, but their lead didn’t last long. The U.S. got the break back just a couple points later to put the game back on serve at 3-2, and at 4-3, they were off to the races. The U.S. women scored six in a row to take half at 9-3, largely thanks to their intense and heads-up defense. Running zone while Australia tried to work up-wind got several Ds, but it’s possible the U.S. got as many turnovers from their awareness as they did their standard defensive set. More than once, Kaylor or Marisa Rafter or Alex Ode or others poached off into the lane, anticipating the throw, and beat the Australians to the spot.

The second half was largely more of the same. An errant throw appeared from time to time as players worked to figure out the still-gusty wind. But the defense nearly always got it back. The U.S. gave up two breaks total, one in the first half and one in the second, and ran away with the game to a final score of 17-7.


Finals Day

All three U.S. teams have chances to earn gold medals tomorrow. The mixed team will start off the festivities at 11:00 a.m. BST (6:00 a.m. EDT) against Australia who won their semifinal in exciting, double-game point fashion. When they met in power pools earlier this week, the U.S. defeated Australia 17-10.

The women have the second final of the day and will face a rematch with Japan beginning at 1:30 p.m. BST (8:30 a.m. EDT). The teams met on day two of competition in London, and the U.S. held on for a 17-13 win after Japan mounted a second-half comeback bid. The women’s final will also be a rematch of the 2013 Under-23 World Championships gold-medal game.

The open team will close out the 2015 edition of the U-23 World Championships in the gold-medal game against Canada. The Canadian open team is the only remaining undefeated team in any division at the tournament that isn’t from the U.S. The open division final is also a rematch from the gold-medal round at the 2013 U-23 Championships. The final game from London will kick off at 4:00 p.m. BST (11:00 a.m. EDT).

All three finals will be live streamed for free by Skyd Magazine on their YouTube channel: youtube.com/skydmagazine.

Tune in and support your U.S. National Teams!

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