July 15, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 13 comments
On Saturday in Philadelphia, the Boston Whitecaps defeated the San Francisco Dogfish 20-15 to close out their undefeated 2013 campaign by winning the first Major League Ultimate title.
The Whitecaps used a dominant defensive performance to stifle a shorthanded Dogfish team, opening up a four point halftime lead and extending it to five by the final whistle. The Whitecaps continued to play well in the second half after losing both of their captains — Jeff Graham and Will Neff — to injuries.
Graham’s injury, a concussion suffered with 3:02 to go in the third quarter after a collision with a teammate while attempting to block a throw, was a scary moment on an otherwise jubilant day. His body convulsed briefly after he hit the turf hard and there was a long on-field delay as he was carried out on a stretcher. Graham later tweeted that he was OK and even stopped by a post-game party. Neff suffered a painful, but less serious broken wrist.
Graham, the Finals MVP, wasn’t the best player on the field in this game. That honor goes to the Whitecaps’ Josh “Cricket” Markette, who finished the game with four goals and six assists, guiding the Whitecaps offense all game.
The two teams started the game with a back-and-forth performance that suggested we might be in for a very close battle. The Whitecaps opened the game with a break on a huge huck from Teddy Browar-Jarus to Seth Reinhardt streaking deep.
The Dogfish answered back with their own break four points later after a Brandon “Muffin” Malecek turnover.
Reinhardt would get another big goal at the end of the first to put Boston up a break, 7-6.
The scoring flurry in the first quarter came to a grinding halt in the second, as the teams could only manage five goals. Boston’s defense put immense pressure on a Dogfish offense that was missing Beau Kittredge and Mac Taylor downfield.
Kittredge, Taylor, Russell Wynne, and Ashlin Joye were all in Boulder for the final Team USA practice in advance of the World Games in two weeks.
After scoring their offensive possession to start the quarter, the Whitecaps would tack on another break to take a three point lead after both teams turned the disc over multiple teams. Eventually, Boston called a timeout, subbed in the offense, and Markette hauled in one of his four scores.
The Whitecaps would close out the half with another break to head into the break with an 11-7 lead.
The Dogfish weren’t going away, however. They opened the second half with a 3-0 run, started off by a score from Evan Boucher, who dominated on offense for San Francisco.
After getting a break on the ensuing possession, the Dogfish would cut the lead to one after stalling out Malecek and finding Alexander Brammer in the endzone.
Boston, unfazed, would score easily on offense, as Peter Prial hit Alex Cooper for the score. Then, Robin Meyers got a spectacular catch block on the goal line and the D line worked it down to find Jack Hatchett for a quick break to get the lead back to three at 13-10.
The Dogfish again cut the lead to one after the Graham injury stoppage. Boucher got separation deep and reeled in the easy huck score.
The game stayed close until San Francisco’s Eric Greenwood, who had just caught a huck right at the goal line, couldn’t handle a throw in the endzone. Simmons made a great deep cut after a yardage penalty against the Dogfish and John Hirschberger found him to get the Whitecaps lead back to three at the end of the third quarter.
The Dogfish couldn’t get any momentum going in the slower-moving fourth quarter and Boston closed out their perfect season with an MLU title.
The Dogfish did manage to put pressure on the Whitecaps offense, earning six breaks in the game, the most Boston has given up all season. But San Francisco’s offense was not as effective as usual, likely due to their missing superstars. Boston’s defense had nine breaks in the game.
The Whitecaps dominated the regular season in the Eastern Conference and easily put down the DC Current in the Conference Finals two weeks ago before finishing out the year 12-0 with their win over the Dogfish.
The MLU reported that over 2000 fans were in attendance for the game, making it the biggest crowd in MLU history.