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Central Florida Blasts Michigan To Reach Semis

Central Florida obliterated Michigan Flywheel in their quarterfinal game, winning 15-7. Central Florida just doesn’t know how to lose.

Central Florida's Sunny Harris pulls at the 2014 College Championships
Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos

Central Florida obliterated Michigan Flywheel in their quarterfinal game, winning 15-7. Central Florida just doesn’t know how to lose. They stormed into the game against Michigan Flywheel with rested legs and acute focus. Their game hasn’t looked better this weekend, with mechanical execution in their zone and textbook offense that let them score so fast that they reached 11-1 before Flywheel could self-assess.

The discrepancy in their energy levels was clear. “We came out fired up, and it seemed like Michigan was a little more relaxed,” said UCF’s Sunny Harris after the game. “They had a really hard game against UC Santa Barbara, which definitely gave us the edge because our legs are a little bit fresher.”

Central Florida threw a big zone that engulfed the handlers and let Sunny Harris take care of the deep field. Alexa Wood, Shelby Spence, and Jodi Dearing comprised their cup, but their wings also pulled into the backfield to take away Flywheel’s swings.

For their part, Michigan’s offense played shallow for the first half, with most of their team hanging back to help Meeri Chang and Hannah Henkin retain the disc. But the copious help in the backfield meant that their offense was incredibly flat. Mariel Hammond and Shayna Brock could match up on man behind the cup, and Flywheel’s only option was to perpetually reset with small throws or swing the disc laterally with few options downfield. Given enough opportunity, the Sirens found turns every point, after which Harris and Hammond would cruise downfield for the score.

Central Florida took half 8-1 on a grab from Jesse Baldwin, and after half the onslaught continued until the Sirens were up 11-1 on a layout from freshman Larissa Curran. Flywheel continued to break against the Sirens’ wall, and they made a crucial adjustment pulling Jacqueline Jarik and Alyssa Abbey into the midfield. Meeri Chang suddenly had options over the cup, and Flywheel gained their first scores since the beginning of the game.

Flywheel’s points in the second half boosted their morale and improved their play: they were able to capitalize on a rare Central Florida turn to earn a break 3-11, and they rediscovered the Flywheel offense enough to reach 7 points in the second half.

But the Sirens were indomitable: Harris and Hammond took the deep looks, they took the breaks, and they took the unders. Hammond found Shayna Brock on an inside look to win the game 15-7.

  1. Katie Raynolds
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    Katie Raynolds took a break from Seattle ultimate to test out the Midwestern scene, but now she's back in the Northwest to investigate this "bubble" she keeps hearing about. She played for Northwestern Gungho, two seasons with Chicago Nemesis, and now plays for Seattle Underground. Katie serves as Ultiworld's Women's D1 College Editor, and is damn proud to cover women's ultimate. You can reach her by email (katie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@kraynolds90).

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