AUDL Week 10 Recap: No Starters? No Problem.

The AUDL's DC Breeze v. the New York Empire
Photo by Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

Lots of rosters were incomplete this week in the AUDL, which made for some exciting upsets and disappointing near-upsets. See who played at the top of their game this week, who persevered without starters, and who missed an opportunity for a big win in our AUDL Week 10 Recap.

EASTERN DIVISION

New York Empire 21 – 17 Philadelphia Phoenix

The New York Empire used a 5-0 run at the start of the second half to beat the Philadelphia Phoenix for the second straight week, extending their lead over the Phoenix for second place in the Eastern Conference.

After the Phoenix nearly came back to beat the Empire in New York last week, many expected this game to be even tighter, perhaps even with Philly as the favorite. However, New York returned to their first half form from game one and soundly beat the Phoenix this week.

Matt Esser still had a good game (3G, 1A, 4D), but his supporting cast turned the disc over far too much.

The Phoenix return to New York next week for the final game in their three-game series.

Toronto Rush 25 – 22 Rochester Dragons

A heavily depleted Toronto Rush came away with a narrow victory over the Rochester Dragons at home this weekend. Many of the Rush’s top players were away at Poultry Days, getting their first playing experience with Team Canada, which is preparing for the World Games at the end of July.

Despite missing players like Cam Harris, Mark Lloyd, and Jeff Lindquist, the Rush managed to withstand a fierce comeback attempt from the Dragons in the 4th quarter. Rochester trailed at the start of the 4th by six but went on a 7-1 run to tie the game at 22-22. But Ricky Szeto came up huge for the Rush in the final two minutes, scoring two defensive line goals to seal the victory.

The win sends Toronto to 10-0 on the season; they have clinched a playoff spot. Rochester falls to 5-7; they are two games behind Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the East.

New York Empire 19 – 16 DC Breeze

Considering that the past two Empire-Breeze matchups were 10+ point blowouts by the Empire, perhaps we should be surprised by the narrow win the Empire managed this week on the road. But the ever-present Sunday letdown was still in effect for the Empire, playing in their second game of a back-to-back. Luckily for New York, it wasn’t enough of a lag to prevent them from taking the victory and getting to 7-3 on the season.

The score was close throughout most of the game; the Breeze led by one heading into the fourth quarter. At 13-13, the Empire took a timeout. Whatever they talked about in that stoppage made a difference as the team used a 4-0 run to take their largest lead of the game and get the victory.

With the loss, the Breeze fell to 3-8 and have almost no chance of making the playoffs.

Philadelphia Phoenix 21 – 17 New Jersey Hammerheads

The Phoenix rebounded from their Saturday loss to the Empire with a 21-17 victory over the lowly New Jersey Hammerheads, who lost their 10th straight game.

David Brandolph played much better than he did against the Empire, finishing with four assists, two blocks, and just three turnovers. Esser, who played a game-high 27 points, had two goals, three assists, five blocks, and nine turnovers.

Philly trailed for much of this game, but stayed in it, eventually taking a slim lead heading into the fourth quarter after a circus catch from Jonathan Palumbo at the 3rd quarter buzzer.

After New Jersey tied it up at 16-16, the Phoenix would go on a 4-0 run to pull away and get the W. New Jersey is now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

MIDWESTERN DIVISION

Cincinnati Revolution 23 – 21 Madison Radicals

The Cincinnati Revolution got a much-needed victory over a depleted Madison Radicals team to remain a longshot for a playoff spot.

The game was intense and extremely even — neither team led by more than one point until the final score of the game put Cincinnati up by two. Ryan Gorman had an outstanding game for the Revolution, finishing with six goals, three assists, a block, and a perfect 58/58 throwing performance.

The 15-man Radicals squad did their best to keep pace, led by an eight assist, two goal game from Scott Richgels. But it was Todd Grace connecting with Kevin Baumann to put the Revolution up by two late in the fourth quarter that did in the Radicals.

More good news for the Revolution: both of the other teams ahead of them in the standings — the Alleycats and the Wind Chill — lost this week.

Windy City Wildfire 26 – 25 Minnesota Wind Chill

The UXtv game of the week lived up to its billing. This was a wild game that came down to the final moments of the 4th quarter as the Windy City Wildfire pulled out a 26-25 win over the Wind Chill despite missing most of their starters.

Gary Ledonne had a massive performance (7G, 3A, 7D) to help put points in the board in the absence of AJ Nelson, the league’s leading scorer.

Midway through the game, it looked like the Wildfire, up four and looking strong, would get a comfortable victory over the Wind Chill. But Minnesota went on a 3-0 run and eventually closed the gap to pull even at 22-22. After trading points, the Wind Chill got another break to go up 25-24, but the Wildfire scored the final two points of the game to close out the win.

The Wildfire moved to 10-1 and dealt the Wind Chill a blow to their playoff hopes. Minnesota is three games behind the Alleycats, but with three upcoming games against them, anything could happen.

Madison Radicals 24 – 22 Indianapolis Alleycats

The Alleycats will be kicking themselves after this one. Facing a very short Madison roster in the second game of a back-to-back, they failed to convert the home victory and fell back to .500 at 5-5. With the Wind Chill loss, Indianapolis had a chance to pick up valuable ground in the playoff race but couldn’t get a break in the second half and watched the Radicals steal a road win.

The Alleycats defensive line had 12 Ds but couldn’t convert, no doubt deeply frustrating to the team in a game they knew they could win.

Scott Richgels (6G, 3A, 1D) was, again, a star for the Radicals, but almost everyone of the 16 players to step on the field contributed in some way to the team’s win.

The Radicals moved to 8-3, giving them a comfortable two and a half game lead over Indy for second in the Midwestern Division.

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