U.S.A. Earns Four Medals at the 2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships

Posted: July 19, 2015 07:43 PM

London, U.K. (July 19, 2015) – All three teams from the U.S.A. earned medals at the 2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships yesterday in London. 

The U.S. mixed team started off the day by facing Australia in the division’s gold-medal game. The championship title was never in doubt after the mixed team jumped out to an early and never looked back. 

The U.S continued the defensive strategy that had earned them wins throughout the week, playing underneath the in-cutters while rotating the last man deep. America took an early lead, taking advantage of the team’s depth and led 9-2 at halftime. 

The Australian women continually poached off of the female American handers which allowed the U.S. to gain yards wide with those handlers, who are able to easily slice through the junky defensive looks. The lightest continuous wind of the week also made it easier for the U.S. to break the Australian zone looks with over-the-top throws that often-times hadn’t been available earlier in the tournament. Hammer and scoobers were the throws of choice for the skilled U.S. handlers throughout the game, which opened up the space the Australians were hoping to close off throughout. The U.S. continued to pull away, little by little, throughout and eventually closed out an incredibly impressive 17-4 victory in the gold-medal game. 

The U.S women were up next in one of the most highly anticipated championship finals of the day against perennial challenger Japan. In the end, Japan played one of the cleanest games of any team at the 2015 U-23 World Championships. The United States came out a little flatter and looking a little more timid than they had earlier in the week, both on offense and defense. They took fewer chances, and perhaps because Japan was so successful in maintaining possession, were less likely to attempt throws that might give them the disc. 

After a throw got away from the U.S. and ended up in the grass, Japan broke on the first point of the game, setting the tone early. America got that break back quickly and were on serve again, up 2-1, But an uncharacteristic drop gave them another break chance which they converted. 

Whenever possible, Japan elected to play a zone defense against the U.S. that was very heavy on handler coverage. A three-person cup with the traditional short-deep position playing really close to the cup and the wings poaching in hard, particularly on the off-side handler, was really effective in taking away many of the deep shots that had been really successful for the U.S. Those looks had worked to highlight the U.S.’s athletic advantages downfield, with both height and speed – things Japan would struggle to match up against. The U.S. handlers were conservative against the zone, electing to work resets and swings over taking shots over or through the cup. 

The first half was tough for the U.S. They entered half time down 9-7. More of the same came in the second half, and the U.S. chances looked bleak late in the game, down 7-11 and as late as 12-16. Through a sheer force of will and ramped up defensive intensity that forced a couple turnover, the U.S. women managed to score three straight to put the score at 15-16 in a game to 17. It was the most intense and exciting game of the week. On game point for Japan, the U.S. defense came downfield with the same zone that had helped them inch their way back into the game. But Japan was relentless. As they had all game, Japan was patient, working their way up the field a yard or two at a time. It took more throws than the fans in the stands could count, but they managed to finish off that final score to defeat the U.S. 17-15. 

It was a game worthy of being a championship final, one where the winner truly deserved the gold medal. It was exactly what everyone in the stands was hoping for. 

The men’s game, while considerably shorter in terms of time taken, was not much less exciting. It was a spectator-friendly game with countless hucks both ways with big plays to match. The game opened with the U.S. starting on offense and a quick turn from each team as they worked out their gold-medal-game jitters. The U.S. held to score the first point with help from Jack Williams, who attacked the disc while showing his jumping ability before, a throw later, ending up with the goal. 

As expected, the teams were evenly matched, with impressive throws and athleticism coming from both sides. The crowd knew one break could decide the game. The U.S. ended up with a tic in the break column first at 5-3 after a Canadian throw drifted out of bounds. They got a couple more before halftime to enter the break up 9-5. 

As the game drew closer to the end, play started to get chippy, with overly aggressive bids and marks coming from both teams. A spirit timeout was called with the U.S. up 13-10 to allow the teams to meet and talk about what was happening on the field. 

Out of the spirit timeout, play was much cleaner and less aggressive. Canada held for 13-11, but the U.S. maintained their lead. Throughout the game, the U.S. utilized much of the same defensive strategies that had gotten them to the gold-medal game, but they had to make adjustments for Canada’s speed and ability to hit their deep looks. Marks were flatter, and a few of the Canadian cutters were pushed underneath. It was a rare time when the downfield defense backed their men. The U.S. coaches had scouted well, and the defensive match ups were set with purpose, more so than during any other game of the week. 

The hold for 13-11 was the last of the game. The U.S closed out the game with a four-point run. 

Fittingly, the final point was a break. After being within inches on several Ds over the course of the game, one team captain, Trent Dillon, got an incredible defensive block on a Canadian throw into the end zone. On the other end, the U.S. open team’s other captain, Kevin Brown, hauled in the game-winning goal. 


In the end, the U.S.A. left London with four medals: two gold, one silver and one spirit. In addition to winning the silver medal, the women’s team won their division’s spirit award. 

It was an incredibly successful week for the U.S., with each team in the delegation making America proud, both from their play and with their spirit. 

In two trips to the World Under-23 Ultimate Championships, the U.S. has accumulated five gold medals, one silver medal and two spirit awards, along with a 59-1 record. 2017, here we come! 




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