October 15, 2013 by in Analysis, Preview with 3 comments
Chicago faces their nemesis, Austin, in a showdown. See, the headline writes itself.
While calling the Texas-based squad Chicago’s “nemesis” is overstating it, there’s no doubt this game means something to both teams. The two clashed to start Sunday at the Pro Flight Finale. Showdown snagged an early break and took a slim lead into half. A pair of breaks in the second would stake out a 12-8 lead for Austin, but after a pair of static huck turnovers, Nemesis took back the momentum with corresponding breaks. A series of mistakes opened the door for Chicago to close out the game, 16-14, and survive a scare.
Their history traces even further back to last year’s Club Championships. In Sarasota, Showdown and Nemesis were chosen to be showcased as the live streamed game, but they failed to deliver an exciting show. Austin demolished the opposition on their way to the semifinals, winning 15-7.
- Thursday, 9 AM Central
- Field 9
- Round 1
- Pool D 1/3 Game
You can watch the game LIVE on Ultiworld by subscribing to our livestream package, starting at just $12 for 11 games.
What The Game Means
The Nemesis-Showdown rematch will serve as a weekend tone-setter for both teams. As their tournament opener, both teams need to start on the right foot. While a win more than satisfies that requirement, even an impressive losing performance would qualify for Showdown.
That’s what is at stake for Showdown; they need to believe and demonstrate they’re a threat. The two strongest games Austin has played this season were at the beginning of each day of the Pro Flight Finale, which includes their previous matchup with Nemesis. A strong start is very possible for them and would give them the momentum to carry out a big opening day. It worked last year when they beat pool D’s top seed 15-10 in the tournament’s opening round.
Nemesis is also looking to prove what they are about. As far as elite teams go, they are the new kid on the block. In the past three Club Championships, only one women’s team has made the semifinals after losing their first game (Capitals, 2011). This is a confident team, with their win over Fury in Davis demonstrating their ceiling, but this is the Club Championships. Nemesis has to play like one of the best teams in the field, because falling from the top spot in their pool could put them in a much more precarious bracket position.
|4||USAU End of Season Ranking||8|
|4||UW Power Ranking||9|
|16-2||Regular Season Record||8-11|
|9-2||Record Against Common Opponents||5-9|
Matchups to Watch
Diana Charrier defending Kelly Johnson: The youngest player on Showdown has made a name for herself as a big time defender and point-blocker extraordinaire. She had a monster footblock on Johnson in their game that was squeaky clean. Her ability to apply pressure to Johnson, make her work, and keep her from getting easy breaks and hucks after receiving the disc is critical for Showdown.
Laura Moore defending Cara Crouch: Defending Cara Crouch really requires a team approach to understand where she is at all times and when she has the disc. Because Crouch is so threatening after getting the disc, Nemesis likes to send the lengthy frame of Laura Moore to take away some throwing options. Crouch is going to get hers, so Moore really just needs to minimize the damage.
Lindsey Hack defending Katey Forth: Behind Crouch, Katey Forth is the second most critical component of the Showdown offense. She’ll start possessions in various places and attack any space she sees fit. Hack has the vision and game awareness to take some of these spaces away, but is at her best when Forth has the disc and she can use her strong mark to deny her quality downfield looks.
Christina Contreras & Enessa Janes defending Paula Seville: Paula Seville is the consistent tentpole that holds up the Nemesis offense. While she has great instincts and timing, her height is very helpful in aiding her break throws; her high release background is a big red zone threat. Contreras and Janes are both big, pretty athletic, and experienced enough to challenge those looks.
Everyone defending Lien Hoffmann: Showdown hasn’t seemed to pick a single player to put on Hoffmann, preferring a fresh legs committee approach. Marjo Poindexter, Anna Schott, and Lisa Etchison could each get the call throughout the game. Containing Hoffmann both out and under without some poaching help borders on impossible, so these defenders need to have a concrete understanding of what to take away and how to challenge her other options.
Keys to Victory
- Both of these teams initiate with top playmakers, so slowing down their pull plays is imperative to removing their offense flow. Nemesis opens with a lot of side stack and Showdown may respond with poaching, but they have to transition to tight man quickly before the Nemesis throwers find big break side yardage.
- A strong reset game will be a likely prerequisite for a W. Nemesis likes to apply a lot of pressure to the thrower when the disc hits the sideline, while Showdown sometimes comes down with a lot of dump pressure or switches to that half field.
- When Showdown was up on Nemesis, it was often winning the dirty plays: coming up with contested grabs, bobbles, and other very difficult plays. It probably won’t be easy, but it gets results; their offense was only broken once on their way to Austin’s 12-8 lead.
- Of course, a 12-8 lead is only good if you keep it. Can Showdown close out? Do they have the depth to put it together all game? Solid spot points from their depth would be huge in keeping their top end fresh for the late game push.
- Sarah Levinn had a couple of big grabs for Showdown, but was not consistently involved. If Showdown can generate some more deep looks for her, they might convert at a higher rate. If she can generate more good looks, the Austin offense may find more scores.