USA Moves to 18-0 after Four Days of Competition at the 2015 Under-23 World Championships

Posted: July 15, 2015 05:05 PM

London, U.K. (July 15, 2015) – The mixed and open teams are both now in power pools and, as a result, have started to face stiffer competition than saw in the earlier rounds of the 2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships in London.

The day started off really smoothly for the U.S. mixed team as they finished up pool play. They recorded their first blank sheet of the tournament, claiming a 17-0 win over Ireland thanks to smooth offense and their now-familiar intense defense that plays tight on the handlers, making resets difficult and constantly communicates to the men on the field who is last back, so they can play a sort of deep-deep role. The rotating last-back man makes deep looks and bailout hucks difficult to complete.

In their second game of the day, their first in the newly re-seed power pools, the mixed team faced a much tougher challenge from Australia. The game was close to 7-6 before the U.S. went on a three-point run to give them a little cushion at 10-6. They stayed the course and closed out the game with a bookends break score for Eli Motycka to win 17-10. They’ll face Japan and Canada tomorrow to close out their power pool before moving on to bracket play.

Having finished up their initial pool play yesterday afternoon, the U.S. open team started day four of competition against Australia in power pools. The Aussies came out with energy and looked like they might give the U.S. a battle. The game was also more physical than what the U.S. had seen so far this week – more bodying on defense, more borderline bids on in-cuts that led to some contact. But the Americans readjusted quickly and, bit by bit, started to pull away.

The "wear-them-down" style has been a common theme for all three U.S. teams so far this week. Opponents may have been able to hang around for the first eight or nine points, but eventually, the depth and experience of the U.S. athletes has helped them chip away and create a lead.

In their second game of the day, the open team faced off against the crew from Eire. Despite quick and overall impressive handler movement, Ireland couldn’t quite adjust to the speed and athleticism of the U.S. defenders downfield. They got on the board at 7-1, but the American offense was too efficient. It was a fun and spirited game with a final score of 17-4.

The women’s team drew the late rounds today and faced Germany in their day’s first game at 1:30 p.m. BST. The "wear-them-down" style appeared here as well. Germany hung around for the first nine points, getting a break to make the score 5-4 in favor of the U.S. But the American went on a four-point run to take half at 9-4 and continued that run after the intermission up to 11-4. They closed out the game 17-6 on the back of great defense and their incredibly smooth offensive sets.

The day’s second game for the women was against Australia, one of the tougher match ups when it comes to size and speed. The score was tight pretty much throughout; the U.S. took half 9-6 and tallied three straight to close out the game with a comfortable-looking final score of 17-11. The game saw more hucks between the two teams than any other so far, and the higher-risk strategy came with some unforced turnovers on both sides. The usually incredibly smooth American offense struggled a bit this afternoon with spacing and timing downfield and with looking to the resets early and definitively. But the team’s tenacity on defense kept earning them chances. With the immense collection of talent on the field, second chances will be taken advantage of.

Tomorrow morning brings an exciting challenge for the women’s team in the form of Canada. Canada defeated Japan earlier this week to move into the second spot in the women’s pool and are the only other undefeated team remaining in the division. Tomorrow’s match up will determine final standings in the pool, heading into bracket play. The women’s team will finish the day against Sweden who is currently sitting in the seventh spot in the pool with a 2-4 record.

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Get to Know Your U.S. National Team!

Trent Dillon is a captain of the U.S. Open National Team and currently leads the team in total stats with nine goals and six assists. (Trent’s fellow captain, Kevin Brown, is second on the team in total stats with nine goals and two assists.)

Let’s talk about the Ireland game first. Ireland has had a pretty good weekend so far – they shut out the Philippines – but you guys haven’t even looked challenged yet. What is it about the way you guys play that you think makes you so dominant?

Well, for me and I think for our team, it comes back to trust and hard work. We know that we have a lot of very, very good players, and if we trust them and trust that we don’t have to do the really hard, difficult throws, then things are going to work. And then on defense, it just comes down to utilizing our advantages, running the system and working hard. So those two things are big for us, and the coaches always tell us to just go out there and try to make our teammates look good. So we focus on that, working hard, trust, making people look good, and things just work out.

Are there any particular advantages that you can think of off the top of your head? Are they different in every game or, as a team, are there things you think that stand out?

They’re subtlety different. For example, in the Ireland game, their handler motion was actually really good. You wouldn’t know it by the score, but they did a really good job of moving the disc back and forth, and they were pretty systematic about it. I think we outmatched them defensively though. But in every game, I feel like – so far – there has been a level of experience that our players have had that we’ve leveraged. A lot of guys have played at Club Nationals, College Nationals – you know all [my] super talented teammates. I’d say it comes down in one way or another to experience.

This is your first time at U-23. So what made you try out this time and not before?

Before, well I was a sophomore in college, and U-23 was around, but I was really focused on Pitt, and I really wasn’t sure whether people were going to play or if they were going to take it seriously, and I didn’t even really consider it. I didn’t even consider asking my teammates at Pitt who else was trying out. Actually Aaron Watson and Michael Brenner, two of my teammates tried out, and then once I saw the first year, and it seemed a lot of fun. I knew some guys on the team and talked to them, and they said it was a lot of fun, and I thought – alright, well, I’ll give this a chance; it would be great to play with Marcus and Tyler and Max again.

Has it been fun or what you expected so far? What’s it been like?

Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun getting to play with new players, and it’s a lot of fun getting to play with such talented and invested players. Any opportunity like this, I like to try to take advantage, and I’m really happy that the coaches selected me on the team. It means a lot, and I’m just trying to make the most of the experience in general.

You mentioned how talented everybody is. What’s it like to captain a team like this versus captaining a team like Pitt or Temper?

It’s actually a little easier than you might imagine. People are very flexible. People are willing to make concessions and sacrifices whereas in the long college season where you’re asking people to work really hard or a long club season where you’re asking people to invest a lot of money and time, that’s a little more difficult, but within two weeks, people just want to go out and do what it takes to win within these two weeks. It gets a little trickier when you’re dealing with people that you know and you live with and are friends with. So this isn’t difficult. I’m actually really enjoying it. The guys on the team make it so easy, and my responsibilities are very small because the coaches are very responsible, so I can’t complain at all.

What do you think your role is as the captain? Is it more energy, trying to get people pumped up? Is it on-field leadership? What do you think? What do you see?

It varies. Personally, I like to kind of have a strategic mind of how the game is working, but I think I would do that irrespective of whether I was a captain or not. More of the captains’ responsibilities are if the coaches need to communicate something to the team, even if it’s logistical or about where to be when, they’ll usually look to Kevin or I, and Kevin and I will carry it out from there. Also, we’ve had a lot of players coming up to us saying, "Hey, I really like working with this player," or "I really see myself fitting well in this role," or "Hey, we shouldn’t do this for one now," and we’re always more than happy to relay that to the coaches. So it’s a pretty simple bridge between the coaches and the players, which is pretty typical of being a captain I guess.

You guys are probably the quietest of the three teams, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. What have you guys done to build chemistry, and what’s the mindset like for your team?

That’s interesting. Well, so in terms of getting to know each other, we spend a lot of time together outside of playing. I think everyone gels really well, and it’s kind of interesting getting to figure out people’s personalities in such a short and concentrated amount of time. We play a lot of silly, dumb riddle games like Big, Blue Moon and Big, Red Ball, How Many Offense, and then we play a lot of Mafia. But it’s normal team-building, chemistry stuff. In terms of the loudness and energy, I feel like we have it. I just feel like the mixed team and the women’s team bring it so much, it’s really hard to compete with that. But we’re trying to learn and trying to bring it back to us. I think we’re comfortable where we’re at. We feel like we’ve identified – we’ve created a kind of low-key identity and an intense and focused identity when we need it, and I think that’s going to pay off throughout the rest of the tournament.

Do you have a favorite team you’ve played so far or a favorite game?

That’s hard. Well, let me say first off that I’ve been kind of blown away by the level of spirit and sportsmanship and comradery of all of these teams. At college tournaments sometimes you’ll play teams and the score might get out of hand and the team just kind of checks out. They don’t take it seriously, they’re not as invested. These teams are just so – they’re loving every single moment they get. It could be game point, and they’re down 17-4, and they’re still laying out for every pass; they want it so bad. It’s such a breath of fresh air to get to experience that. But I’d have to say I really enjoyed playing Australia just because they kind of epitomized that, but I haven’t had any negative experiences. And these teams are, in terms of how much I like playing them, I like playing them more than a lot of the teams I play in the States. It would be great if they were just a little bit more experienced, and they could take it to us because then I think that would be an awesome game, so hopefully we’ll get that later in the tournament. I’m really looking forward to that.

Are you guys going to win?

That’s the goal. I think that’s the goal, but one game at a time. We have Austria, who I think played very well against Great Britain in power pools, so we need to watch out for that. And then we also have quarters and semis and finals, so we’re taking it one game at a time, and first is Austria.

Is there any team you haven’t played yet that you really are looking forward to?

I love Japan. I watch a ton of Buzz Bullets games. I watch a bunch of Japanese Nationals games. I just love the way they play, and it would be awesome to get to play against them, for me. But also Canada is a great team and a worthy opponent, so I’m looking forward to playing them, as well.

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