Truck Stop played a great game. It wasn't enough.
July 5, 2015 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 1 comments
WEST CHESTER, OH — Truck Stop played great on Saturday afternoon. Revolver just played better.
The San Francisco team showed off why they are the #1 team in the country with a 15-12 win over Washington DC in the US Open semifinals. From their varied defensive looks to their patient, unrelenting offense, Revolver has showed off late season poise in early July.
“This is a Revolver team that looks better at this point in the season than I’ve seen in nine years of Revolver,” said coach Mike Payne, adding later, “The depth is now better than it ever has been, by far.”
That’s not a stretch. 15 players on the roster recorded either a goal, assist, or block. The offense seemed to operate comfortably with any seven players on the field. Truck Stop had no consistent answers defensively.
Revolver struck first with a Russell Wynne block that led to a soaring Eli Kerns hammer to Lucas Dallmann for a break. Kerns, who finished with two assists and two blocks, made perhaps the play of the game with an enormous layout block against Peter Prial four points later to set up Revolver’s second break of the half.
Although Truck got one back two points earlier after an Ashlin Joye huck fell short of Beau Kittredge, Revolver extended the lead to two with a third break after Pat Baylis got a layout block on a too-aggressive inside out forehand from Alan Kolick in the redzone.
DC’s offense, on the whole, looked good in the game, especially in the second half where they were only broken once. Prial was a particular bright spot, finishing with five goals and an assist while doing lots of the dirty work on the under cuts. The team also got big contributions from newcomers Nicky Spiva and Seth Wiggins.
“Up and down,” said Truck captain Jonathan Neeley of the team’s performance. “Flashes of some really great things that, if I’m the other team, are something you have to deal with, and other flashes of lots of individuals that aren’t playing as an all-cylinders-firing unit.”
It’s clear that the potential is there. And for long stretches of the game, the potential already looks realized. To begin the second half, the offense comfortably held three straight times before Markham Shofner got a block and immediately streaked deep for the bookends goal and the Truck break. That brought Truck within one at 11-12. But the defense couldn’t sniff out another block and watched Revolver’s fearsome offense hold the rest of the way. At times, the pressure was there — sagging wing handler defenders helped to slow Revolver’s vertical attack — but they rarely had a chance to make a big play. Still, the pieces are there.
“They’re gonna be a real contender,” said Payne of Truck Stop. “The guys they added–huge athleticism.” He did go on to express skepticism about the team’s depth; indeed, it was an obvious contrast to Revolver’s seemingly endless bench.
Revolver’s big names played well, as expected. Ashlin Joye, coming off of an illness, played for the first time this weekend and notched three assists and a block, operating generally as the center offensive handler. Beau Kittredge got loose deep more than once and finished with three goals and an assists. Christian Johnson continued to make a splash in his first tournament with the team, putting up two goals and two assists.
Johnson has been an instant sparkplug on the offensive line. “I’m not surprised,” said Payne. “He’s a good athlete and he has good field sense.”
But players like Andrew Hagan, Lucas Dallmann, and Kevin Cocks also had great games. There were few mistakes from Revolver. One bad huck from Joye here; one poor throw from Kittredge there.
“You know their throwers, you know their cutters,” said Neeley. “They’re gonna get theirs. From the start there were plays where we were very tight on them. Making them work…they had to throw to second options a lot this game.”
Those second options, though, got the job done. That’s the difference between Revolver and many other teams.
One turning point in the game may have been late in the first half when Kittredge had his lone turnover. Truck worked it down the field and with a chance to retake the lead and get back on serve, Sean Childers threw into an impossibly tight window at the front cone and it was easily intercepted. Revolver held after a Kittredge layout score, then went up a second break a point later. Revolver never relinquished that lead.
Revolver will face Toronto GOAT in a rematch of last year’s famous quarterfinal matchup at Nationals, where GOAT pulled off the shocking upset. Revolver defeated GOAT earlier this weekend, 15-8, in pool play.