With a 14-10 victory over Seattle Sockeye in the finals, San Francisco Revolver captured their third National Championship title in four years. Revolver also became the first team to win the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour.
October 21, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Featured, News, Recap with 14 comments
FRISCO — Same as it ever was.
After a wild regular season with the most parity among the top teams in years, the National Championship final featured the two most dominant programs of the past decade.
With a 14-10 victory over Seattle Sockeye in the finals, San Francisco Revolver captured their third National Championship title in four years.
The win vaults Revolver into exclusive territory. Only four other teams — Seattle Sockeye, Boston DOG, Vancouver Furious George, and New York New York — have won at least three Club Championships titles in the Men’s Division. Revolver also became the first team to win the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour, by winning the US Open, the regular season, and the Club Championships.
Revolver’s biggest stars got heavy playing time and simply outplayed Seattle in the windy conditions. “The main guys, Ashlin [Joye] and Beau [Kittredge], were fantastic,” said Sockeye captain Danny Karlinsky. “They were phenomenal.”
Joye paced the offense with great decision making and pinpoint throws. He sliced through Sockeye’s various zones with ease, not racking up traditional statistics but greasing the offense every step of the way.
Perhaps more impressive was the play from Kittredge, San Francisco’s biggest name. Recording an assist or goal on 10 of Revolver’s 14 scores, Kittredge was as dominant as ever regardless of his defensive matchup.
“It feels great,” said Kittredge, who also won the individual spirit award in the Men’s Division, after the victory. “It was definitely a team effort all the way through the tournament. We had players making plays all the way through the tournament that carried us. We just had certain players that were better at playing in the wind.”
The wind was a major factor from the start of the game, and the game resembled the turnover-heavy semifinal between Johnny Bravo and Revolver far more than the clean game between Sockeye and Ironside.
“The wind impacted us a little bit more offensively than we expected,” said Karlinsky. “I think we decided to run a different kind of offense, though we didn’t need to. A part of that was maybe a little bit of jitters in the finals. We were subconsciously making a decision to do something different.”
The Sockeye offense, which looked so sharp against Ironside just a day before in still conditions, never found a rhythm until late in the second half, when the team already faced a big deficit. Players from Revolver acknowledged that the wind played into their strengths and minimized Sockeye’s.
“If there was no wind, I think that would have been a completely different game,” said Kittredge. “[Sockeye is] extremely good at throwing little dishy stuff over the tops of marks. With the wind, it’s a little bit harder to do that. If there was no wind, I don’t know if we would have won.”
Sockeye’s offense turned it over on four of their first five points, giving up two breaks that Revolver would never give back.
After taking a 5-2 lead, Revolver gave up their only break of the game after Sam Harkness got a layout block on a swing pass in a Sockeye four-man cup zone. Reid Koss put up a shot to Tyler Kinley, who had subbed on during the point for an injured Harkness, and Kinley laid out in the endzone for the highlight reel grab to make the score 5-4.
Sockeye only managed one break out of seven opportunities on the Revolver offense.
After trading scores, Revolver would extend their lead back to three at halftime after Chris Kosednar made a poor throw giving San Francisco a short field. Kittredge throw a short inside out flick into the endzone for Russell Wynne to claim an 8-5 halftime lead.
Both offenses played well in the second half and mostly traded out. Sockeye settled some of the early nerves and started to work a quicker pace, finding holes underneath in the Revolver defense. But another Revolver break after a Kosednar drop in the endzone extended the San Francisco team’s lead to four and effectively ended the game.
Kittredge continued to contribute down the stretch as new players like Evan Boucher and Andrew Hagen contributed quality minutes.
“The thing that Beau really brings to the team is selflessness,” said Revolver coach Mike Payne. “He has big stats in a big game like this but he’s the first guy to let the young guys on the field before him.”
Kittredge played the majority of the points in the final and was, as always, a dangerous deep target for Joye and the other Revolver handlers. He was just as dangerous with the disc in his hands, finishing with five goals and five assists.
“The thing about him is that he is playing on this team because he knows that he won’t be asked to do everything,” said Payne. “He plays within himself…We just tell him, ‘Beau, fall into the role that you think is best for the team.'”
Revolver’s win this season is particularly impressive because the team lost some of its most important players in the offseason, names like Robbie Cahill, Mark Sherwood, and Bart Watson.
“Losing Robbie, Sherwood, and Bart was a big deal,” said Payne. “But basically we have eight new guys on this team. And a lot of them were really young. And we got to mold them any way we wanted…We don’t have anyone that can replace them. But we have five guys put together that can match that.”
The strength of the Revolver program is evident in their success this season. Regardless of the on-field talent, they have been able to consistently shine at the Club Championships. Kittredge thinks Revolver gets the edge over other teams with just as much talent because of the team identity.
“I think that the culture of not only being a team that comes together on the field, off the field, is willing to put everything into the season, is going to be the team that wins,” he said. “If we have a team that might be bringing in players from all over, it going to be hard to build that chemistry trusting everyone on the team to do the right thing at the right time.
“We’re very centrally located. We all hang out together, we all do things together, so when we’re playing on the field, it’s just like life to us.”