MLU Week One Roundup: Parity!

Rainmakers' Donny Clark grabs a greatest for a score against the Vancouver Nighthawks.
Photo by Scobel Wiggins — UltiPhotos.com

Major League Ultimate hosted their first slate of games this weekend. Despite some livestream hiccups, it was a successful first weekend for the young league. Attendance numbers have not been announced around the league, but Seattle had a reported 1500 on handfor the Rainmakers game against rival Vancouver Nighthawks.

Although this week’s games went according to Ultiworld’s preseason predictions, not a single winning team covered the spread, possibly a sign of parity around the league.

Vancouver Nighthawks @ Seattle Rainmakers

In one of the great rivalries in ultimate, Vancouver traveled down the road to Seattle for their first of four meetings this season.

A game that looked like it would be a blowout actually became interesting late after a Vancouver run, but Seattle closed out the 14-12 win at home.

The Rainmakers never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early lead with Tyler Kinley pulling it down in the endzone for the first break of the game to make it 3-1. Seattle would extend their lead to three, but it looked like Vancouver would limit the damage by stalling out Seth Wiggins and punching in a score with six seconds left in the first half.

But Seattle found just enough time to nab another score before the buzzer to take a 9-6 lead into the break.

In the 3rd quarter, Seattle just piled on the points, running off a string of five straight to take a commanding 14-6 lead that proved insurmountably. But it’s not that Vancouver didn’t try to claw back. They rattled off six straight themselves but got beat by the clock as time expired with the score 14-12.

Portland Stags @ San Francisco Dogfish

Led by Evan Boucher, Mac Taylor, and Beau Kittredge, the San Francisco Dogfish won their home opener 14-11 over the visiting Portland Stags. A break score by Taylor in the second point of the game proved to be too much for the Stags, who were missing some of their younger talent to college competition this weekend in the Northwest.

After the Dogfish extended their lead in the second half with back-to-back breaks, there just wasn’t enough time for the Portland defense to get anything going. They managed just one break against the potent Dogfish offense, a huge hammer from Ben McGinn to Timmy Perston.

New York Rumble @ Boston Whitecaps

With five scores and strong leadership, Boston Whitecaps player-coach Jeff Graham led the team to a gutsy 19-16 victory over the New York Rumble on the first day of back-to-normal life in Boston. After the city lurched to a halt as police searched for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing attack, sports were a way to heal.

The Whitecaps brought home a victory for the approximately 400 people in attendance. The game was a good one, and possibly a sign that the Eastern Division is going to be a tight race to the playoffs.

Boston jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead and held a three point lead at halftime, as both teams’ offenses started to click and trade points. But New York came out strong in the second half, using a big sky from Rob Baker to tie the game up at 13-13. But Boston steadied themselves and scored three straight to retake command of the game.

The sides traded out points to the finish, and New York is already looking forward to having Boston down in New Jersey for their home game on May 4th.

Philadelphia Spinners @ DC Current

The best rivalry in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia/DC battle rages on in the MLU. This week, the Spinners, the 2012 AUDL Champions, went south to take on the DC Current on opening day. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Spinners mounted a late comeback to take down the Current 18-16.

The Current opened up the game with an early break to Markham Shofner to put DC up 2-1. Two points later, the Current would tack on another break to extend the lead to two, which they would hold all most of the way through the first half. But the Spinners tacked on a score with just six seconds left in the half to make it 9-8. DC wouldn’t convert on their offensive possession and the teams went to the locker room with DC hanging to a thin lead.

Spinner captain Trey Katzenbach scored his third goal of the game on the first point out of half to tie it up at 9s. After an offensive score, the Current’s Delrico Johnson made a huge block and Matt Gordon found David Cranston for the DC break, making it 11-9.

The Spinners hung around until they finally took their first lead since 1-0 as Katzenbach found Sean Murray to make it 15-14. They scored a third straight to extend their advantage, with just minutes left in the game. They closed it out 18-16 to take a solid road win.

Next Week’s Matchups:

Philadelphia Spinners @ New York Rumble
Boston Whitecaps @ DC Current
Vancouver Nighthawks @ Portland Stags
San Francisco Dogfish @ Vancouver Nighthawks
Portland Stags @ Seattle Rainmakers

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