Thursday Round One Recap: Upset City!

Thursday’s round one was packed with wild action and some big upsets and close games in every pool. Here’s what happened:

In a rematch from the Chesapeake Invite, Toronto’s GOAT upset Atlanta’s Chain Lightning 15-9 in a game that GOAT dominated from the middle of the first half on. Defensive line handler Anatoly Vasilyev had a huge game with two big Ds and a handful of assists, many to his international friends. Sweden’s Sebastian Sporrong had three goals in the first half and an important handblock in the second half to stifle a Chain break opportunity. Nasser M’Bae Vogel was also an offensive force as GOAT’s leading goal scorer.

GOAT Coach Scott Hastie credited available game footage to helping shut down Chain’s deep game. “We get to see what people are doing and we try to make teams do what they don’t want to do,” he said.

That strategy worked extremely well for GOAT as Chain consistently made mistakes — many of them unforced errors deep, along with a handful of drops. GOAT’s defensive line offense was again extremely efficient (they went 5-5 on opportunities against Ironside at Regionals) and punched in four straight breaks to take halftime 8-4. “If people make mistakes, we’re gonna punish them for it,” said Hastie.

Chain captain Russel Snow said their problems were on both sides of the disc. “It’s mostly offensive flow…we are a little bit disjointed right now but we’ll clean it up,” he said. On defense he thought they stayed in zone too long, which wasn’t causing GOAT many problems. Chain did have some nice points, including a huge flick huck from Dylan Tunnell to Asa Wilson to stay within four late in the game.

Overall three seed Seattle Sockeye, despite jumping out to an early lead, stumbled late as Sub Zero snagged the huge early upset 15-13. Sub struggled early against Sockeye’s poachy junk defense, but figured it out late in the game to rally back from two breaks down at 10-8 to get the big win.

Sub captain Sam O’Brien said nobody should be surprised about the upset. “There’s a lot more parity in the club world this year,” he said. “To look at this pool and think it’s gonna be like other Nationals I think is wrong.”

He pointed to their defense as a key to their success. “Our D line played excellent offense after the turn,” he said. “Our D line’s efficiency will really surprise some teams.”

The early morning match-up between Pool D’s 2nd and 4th seeded teams turned out to be much more competitive than most expected. PoNY, the 13th overall seed in the tournament, came out on fire against Johnny Bravo, the 5th seed, and went up 3-0 to start the game. Bravo fired back though, getting the game to 6-3 before claiming 3 straight breaks to tie the game at 6-6. “It’s really a game of runs,” said PoNY’s Chris Mazur.

The back-and-forth continued all the way to the end and, in the win-by-two format, forced the game to overtime at 15-15. Eventually, Bravo would reel off two straight points to take the game 17-15, avoiding the upset it seemed like everyone in Sarasota was watching for by the end of the round.

Pool D’s 1st and 3rd seeds started this game close, trading the first couple points at the beginning of a windy Thursday morning, but Doublewide quickly started to pull away from the overmatched Truck Stop and never looking back.

The big highlight of this one — and an interesting look at what we can expect to see if the wind keeps up this weekend — came with Doublewide on defense up 9-5. Austin came out in a zone look made up of its five Florida players, NexGen star Will Driscoll, and Doublewide veteran Kevin Richardson — seven guys tall enough to be mistaken for a college basketball team. After trapping Truck Stop close to the end zone, Brodie Smith laid out for the Callahan, taking the score to 10-5 and putting the nail in Truck’s coffin.

Boston’s Ironside had a score to settle with their first game of Open Club Championships in Sarasota. Portland’s Rhino gave Ironside their only loss this season at the Emerald City Classic. The game started relatively even with both teams trading points until Ironside took all of the momentum. Ironside would easily take the half 8-3. They wouldn’t let up for the second half either. Rhino would only get one break which would let Ironside take an easy win 15-6.

Seattle’s Fury dominated Madison’s Heist 15-4 in a matchup of the two undefeated teams during the regular season. Many — including us — thought this game might be an interesting battle (since Heist hadn’t faced any top teams this season), but Fury was just the far stronger team. They look prepared to head to the finals for the 7th straight year.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).


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