Quick Hits: 2015 Club Championships Prequarters Recap (Mixed)

Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust 14-13 San Francisco Blackbird

Sometimes the main attribute that signifies a great team is that they somehow figure out a way to win, even when they’re not at the top of their game. With their astonishing 14-13 comeback universe point win over San Francisco Blackbird—after being down 8-5 at half—Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust once again proved their program is one of the best in the world.

Captain Austin Lien said that his team came out flat, as they have in every game this weekend. An early 3-0 hole gave them something very palpable to fight for. Though when they were still down 8-5 at half, it looked like this might be the year that the giant tumbles.

Blackbird’s straight up marks and saggy junk looks were making it difficult for Drag’n Thrust to utilize the deep game they so excel at. But in the second half, they did what they’ve done so often in the past: ride their defensive intensity to a late-game comeback.

With tight lines featuring the smothering defense of Jay Drescher and Brian Schoenrock, Minneapolis began to turn the tide of pressure back onto San Francisco. Whereas Blackbird seemed to be doing little to take Drag’n Thrust out of their game late in the match, the defending champions were making one of the most talented teams in the division scrimp and scrape for every bit of yardage.

The effect this in turn had was to slowly lure Blackbird into leaning perhaps too much on their star players like Mac Taylor, Justin Norden, and Lauren Casey. Much like Minneapolis, San Francisco began calling very tight lines toward the end of the match, and it may have helped cost them the game.

There was a decent amount of tunneling on certain receivers or match-ups and it led to a less dynamic offense than they easily could have had.

Nick Slovan had a couple of huge layout huck grabs over Drescher in the second half and VY Chow tallied an impressive four goals and two assists. But Drag’n Thrust just played better and more consistent as a whole, taking advantage of what was given to them instead of trying to force things into being.

Sarah Anciaux in particular had a monster game for Minneapolis, reeling in four goals and two assists. Drescher added three Ds, two assists, and the winning bookends universe point score.

It was the second year in a row that Drag’n Thrust eliminated Blackbird in bracket play by one point. In 2014, Minneapolis knocked out a similarly talented San Francisco squad—by the exact same score.

While Blackbird contends with a debilitating case of déjà vu, Drag’n Thrust advances on to quarters to spar with long-time local rival Ames Chad Larson Experience.

Though Minneapolis crushed them 15-8 at North Central Regionals in a game that meant little, there’s good reason to think that the result will be much closer this time—and not necessarily with the same victor. Particularly when one considers how well CLX has been playing this weekend.

Morgan Paulson (Polar Bears #27).
Morgan Paulson (Polar Bears #27). Photo: Alex Fraser — UltiPhotos.com.

San Francisco Polar Bears 12-11 Atlanta Bucket

In a game that featured no leads greater than two, the ever-resilient San Francisco Polar Bears edged out Atlanta Bucket 12-11 to advance to quarters.

As good as PBR played, they got more than enough help from Bucket defeating themselves. Atlanta had drops on the first three points out of halftime. Their O-line crumbled in the second half and took a handful of bad looks downfield.

San Francisco may not have been unstoppable, but with enough chances the disciplined veteran team managed to convert on some of those opportunities to climb back into the contest after being down 8-6 at half to take a 10-9 lead.

Both teams would trade out from that point on culminating in a universe point victory by way of a blade from Eric Greenwood to Daniel Naruo.

First-year player Sawyer Thompson played a great second half, with intense defensive pressure and tireless cutting on the turn. Marisa Mead and Morgan Paulson also had excellent games for PBR, repeatedly getting open deep and keeping the disc moving.

San Francisco consistently broke the mark, completed uplines, and maintained good disc movement. Atlanta was stagnant and hucked it away on a lot of second half possessions.

Though they had a somewhat unsteady Thursday, PBR once again proved they are a gritty team that loves to keep fighting in close games. Look forward to an exciting match-up with the red hot Chicago The UPA in quarters.

Other scores:

Seattle Mixtape 12-9 Philadelphia AMP
Washington D.C. Ambiguous Grey 15-9 Seattle BirdFruit
Chicago UPA 15-10 Madison NOISE
Ames Chad Larson Experience 15-8 Boulder Love Tractor
Boston Wild Card 14-8 New York Metro North
Boston Slow White 15-8 New York 7 Express

  1. Alec Surmani
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    Alec Surmani and some close friends began playing ultimate in high school and started Hercules Jabberwocky. He played college ultimate with UCLA Smaug and has played with various Open and Mixed club teams in the (former) Northwest and Southwest divisions. He started and now leads the team Bay Area Donuts.

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