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

Another undefeated day for the USA.

The US teams continued their undefeated march through pool play on Tuesday, posting an impressive 6-0 day in aggregate. Here’s a look at each of the teams and their play today.

Mixed Division

Team USA's Simon Higgins
Simon Higgins. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

The excitement of the day was in the second round as the USA Mixed team faced off against the host country, Great Britain. The tension was high from the first pull of the game due to the roaring fans from both countries.

Right away, Great Britain started their offensive attack by firing a huck downfield from star handler Joe Wynder. Both teams were firing on all cylinders until Qxhna Titcomb dropped the centering pass from a pull and allowed a break for Great Britain to go up 4-6. The US struggled to control the Great Britain team’s deep cuts and found themselves down at halftime, 8-9.

The second half was an entirely different story. With critical halftime adjustments from head coach Martin Aguilera and assistant coaches Alex Snyder and Nancy Sun, the US put on a hard directional force to fluster the downfield Great Britain cutters. The US went on an nine point run and completely shut out the fierce Great Britain team in the second half, finishing the game with a 17-9 win.

“We were able to manage [the force] and it gave us the two steps we needed to close on those [deep] plays,” said Aguilera. “We learned their system a little more so we could stay one yard closer on the start of those out cuts. We were able to implement it on the fly, which is great because we never practiced it!”

Simon Higgins was dialed into the game both offensively and defensively. Whether it be running down a backhand into space from Jon Nethercutt or snapping an inside break to Sarah Edwards, Higgins was always ready to make a play. Other standouts include Eli Motycka, Sam Greenwood, and Leah Farris.

The USA should not sleep on Great Britain, as they are preparing to see the Americans again later in the tournament.

“We take everything point by point,” said Wynder. “We are really close as a team and everyone contributes. Some of our better players were sitting during that game and cannot wait to take a shot at them later in the tournament.”

Their second game of the day was a bit more lackluster than the first as the US faced off against Germany. Each US player contributed to the success of their game and finished the later round with a comfortable 17-8 win.

The Mixed team will face off against Ireland in the first round tomorrow morning and then enter power pools beginning in the third round of play.

Women’s Division

Team USA's Carolyn Normile.
Carolyn Normile. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

The women of the USA are proving to be the best team in this tournament. Their fundamental prowess and physical defense is proving to be too much to handle for their opponents. The women coasted in both of their games against Colombia and Great Britain with scores of 17-5 and 17-9, respectively.

“We hang our hat on our person defense,” said assistant coach Carolyn Matthews. “One of our goals is to have the best marks in the world.”

USA tried a zone in the first few points of the Colombia game, but the elite throws from handler Maria Adelaida Valencia Cuenca caused the women to switch to person defense. Cuenca blasted a full-field huck early in the game for a Colombia hold that had the USA sidelines cheering!

Jesse Shofner had an all-star performance in the first round and earned the MVP award from Colombia. She really began to hit her typical stride after missing out most of training camp due to an injured hamstring that she tweaked during the US Open. Between her high-speed handler movement, cheeky IO breaks, and powerful backhand hucks, Colombia found Shofner to be unstoppable.

However, each player on this team is commanding respect on this world stage. “We are 24 strong and everyone is going to contribute positively to this team,” proudly stated assistant coach Lauren Boyle.

The women continue playing in their round-robin style tournament with matchups against Germany and Australia tomorrow. The USA is currently atop of the group, trumping Canada by one point, who also holds a 4-0 record.

Open Division

Team USA's Dalton Smith.
Dalton Smith. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

The nerves of being on a world showcase stage have shaken off and the USA men have begun to hit their stride with dominant performances over Denmark and the Netherlands in today’s contests. The total point spread for the USA equalled 34-6.

The weather was much more mild than yesterday, as was the tone of the American’s style of play. Each throw was given to a wide-open receiver underneath who was fully capable of hitting an upline or an around swing to a waiting handler.

The size and height of the USA men is proving to be intimidating to other teams. The final scores were USA 17-5 Denmark and USA 17-1 Netherlands.

The US enters power pools beginning tomorrow morning. The team will face off against Australia and Ireland tomorrow.

  1. Eryn Ogren

    Eryn Ogren is a content and event strategy consultant. Previously, she was the Business Development Manager for Ultiworld. You can reach her on Twitter (@iveyeryn).

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