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U23 Worlds 2015: Team USA Monday Recap, Presented By VC Ultimate

It was a 5-0 day for Team USA!

The USA teams went undefeated on Monday in London at the 2015 U23 World Championships, but there was no shortage of great plays and exciting games. Here’s a look at the action from Team USA.

Women

Team USA's Meeri Chang
Team USA’s Meeri Chang. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

The rain and wind began early this morning in St. Albans but that didn’t stop the USA Women from coming out strong to start the tournament. They finished the day comfortably 2-0.

Their first pull of the day began against a slower New Zealand team who were well aware they were taking on the defending U23 champions.

Standouts from the game were Nicola Bruce and Meeri Chang. Both handlers used their quick movement and inside breaks to allow for easy walks down the high side of the field and into the endzone. They won easily, 17-1.

“This is a very capable team,” said Bethany Kaylor. “We swing it and attack the highside,” a focus for this women’s team.

Their second game of the day was a marquee match for the US team as they faced their 2013 rivals and second place finisher, Japan.

The first half of the game was dominant for the US women, especially from the team’s Seattle Riot players Jaclyn Verzuh and Shira Stern. Verzuh was behind several assists after utilizing her size to drive big downfield unders. Her assists were more than likely caught by Shira Stern, who laid out over 10 times in the first half of the game alone.

However, offense was not the USA’s only strong suit. Several players — including Carolyn Normile, Nora Landri, and Verzuh — had layout blocks to stifle Japan’s short field attempts.

Japan regrouped in the second half, however, and upped their intensity. Through star handlers Anri Shima and Ayu Tanaka, Japan was able to earn three breaks to put the US on their heels. Japan was aggressive on defense and would bid for any disc they thought they had a chance at, putting more pressure on the US women.

In the end, the lead was too large to overcome and USA’s Erynn Schroeder was able to block a deep shot and layout for a second effort confirmation to open the doors for a break and the 17-13 win.

Tomorrow the USA Women face off against Colombia and Great Britain.

Open

Team USA's Tim McAllister.
Team USA’s Tim McAllister. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

Coming off a strong win in the opening showcase game, the US Men’s team cleated up against Colombia for their only game of Day 2.

Offense came very easy for the the Open team, which utilized big swings and quick handler movement to put the disc across the endzone line. 2015 Ultiworld College Player of the Year Chris LaRocque and his Florida United teammate Bobby Ley found themselves paired with Dalton Smith in the backfield while Xavier Maxstadt, Max Thorne, Jack Williams, and Chris Kocher cycled through a horizontal flow downfield.

“There were a lot of sloppy turnovers in the last Great Britain game. We are all comfortable with each other as players and know we can play clean ultimate, so that was a focus in warm ups,” said USA captain Trent Dillon. “If we face a more polished and potent offense, there are some [defensive] holes that we will work on for the next game.”

While there may be opportunities for improvement, many of the men are bringing the intensity with strong layout blocks from Smith, Abe Coffin, and Travis Carpenter.

After finishing out the game 17-3, the team headed off to tour London and mentally prepare for tomorrow’s matches against Denmark and the Netherlands.

Mixed

USA's Sam Greenwood. Photo: Jolie Lang -- UltiPhotos.com
USA’s Sam Greenwood. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

Mixed: the team that has more fun.

Living up to their mantra, the USA coed team warmed up to see the friendly faces of Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei is known for their spirit of the game and today’s match against the USA was no different as all seven players approached the opening pull with smiles.

The USA was able to pull away from that game early to take half 9-1; the momentum did not stop there. Jon Nethercutt is showing his prowess in the mixed division coming from a national championship in the College Men’s division by operating as the middle handler for USA’s offense. Utilizing inside out breaks and bladey hucks, Nethercutt was responsible for lots of the yardage for the offense.

However, the best part of the game may have been in the spirit circle. USA’s Qxhna Titcomb led both teams through the circle in fluent Mandarin!

The team’s second game of the day came against India, a team playing at their first U23 World Championships.

India has a unique story. They received their visa to travel only two hours before their intended flight, so they had to race to pack their bags and head to the airport. Many of the players are traveling out of their country for the very first time and had to receive special permission from their parents to even compete at this year’s tournament as women are generally not encourage to play sports in India.

Spirit of the Game winner Meenaakshi “Meena” Kalappa said, “I am really happy that I am able to journey for the tournament and I want to thank everyone who supported our fundraiser to get here.”

Last minute visas did not stop the Indian team from preparing for a dominant US mixed team. Early in the game, 20 mph winds picked up and rain was blowing across the field allowing for a straight upwind-downwind situation for the players competing. India showed the US their four cup zone defense that stifled the USA on more than one occasion and created turns in the US endzone.

“Knowing they were going to play a lot of zone against us, it was good to know we have one too. So practicing that against a team who practiced [zone] against themselves was a good opportunity,” said assistant Coach Nancy Sun.

India challenged the US athletically, but the Americans were able to close out a 17-9 victory with strong defensive play from Nils Clausen and Leah Farris, who earned the MVP awards from the Indian team.

“Every minute, five minute chunks, or hour that this team spends together is part of the journey,” said Nancy Sun, “Having to come in this early in the tournament and put on a little bit of pressure is really good for us!”

Tomorrow the USA Mixed team faces Great Britain and Germany.

***

Stay tuned on Twitter to @Ultiworldlive for updates!

  1. Eryn Ogren
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    Eryn Ogren is the Business Development Manager for Ultiworld. You can reach her by email (eryn@ultiworld.com) or Twitter (@iveyeryn).

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