October 2, 2015 by Charlie Enders in Coverage with 0 comments
Both Truck Stop and Sub Zero surprised on day one of the National Championships, but for different reasons. While Sub unexpectedly (to all but them) took second in pool B, Truck was underwhelming against Florida United, losing and taking third in pool C. The teams met today in a prequarter matchup that featured star-powered offenses.
From the start of the game it was obvious that today was do or die. The sideline intensity was at a level that just wasn’t there yesterday.
“Energy-wise, we were in it from the moment we put on our cleats,” Truck captain Jonathan Neeley said. Cheers of “Frooooooostyyyyyy” from the Sub sideline were fought with an equally loud “Roaaaaaaaadkilllllll” from Truck’s. The intensity of the sidelines was matched only by the level of play on the field.
Sub received to start, and traded points with Truck until 2-1. Nicky Spiva tried an upwind (~5 mph) put that was easily gobbled up by the Sub D. After a few swings, Grant Lindsley hucked to Ben Jagt for the game’s first break.
The team’s offenses held on the next two points, but at 4-2 ,a poor swing from Truck was quickly converted by Sub’s Greg Cousins for Minneapolis’ second break.
Sub’s Conor Kline, a junior at UMass, has been fantastic all tournament; this game was no exception. With the score 5-3, he ripped down a floaty huck from Montague, dished and got it back for the score, sending the Sub sideline into a fervor.
But at 6-4, Subzero’s momentum came crashing down. A Harper Garvey huck to Kline went a little too far, and Truck’s Markham Shofner picked up and bombed a perfect backhand for the goal and the break. This might have been the critical moment of the game: from this point on, Sub’s O-line seemed to lose the confidence with which they played earlier. On the subsequent point Nick Stuart turfed an easy swing, and Nate Castine threw a saucy around flick to tie the game up. Castine made his presence felt again on the next point, with a huge layout block and the bookends to make it three straight Truck breaks. Truck went on to take half up a break, 8-7.
Neeley gave props to his defense, saying that they were the reason the got back into the game. An O-line player, he joked after the game, “Our D-line has been kicking our a**** at practice.” But while the defense performed valiantly at the end of the first half, it was Truck’s O that impressed in the second.
Despite looking less-than-stellar at the start, Truck’s offense looked nigh-untouchable after halftime. They began with a hold, as Alan Kolick skied Greg Cousins on a somewhat lofty huck. “Somewhat lofty” is the worst thing I can say about Truck’s hucks in the second half. Time and time again, Prial, Wodatch, and Tyler Monroe would streak deep, and time and time again Neeley and Kolick would hit them in stride. The tight man defense that got Sub multiple breaks in the first half couldn’t do anything against perfect throws.
The teams traded until 12-9, when a Sub turn was scooped up by Castine, who put a splendid backhand out to space for Delrico Johnson to run down for yet another Truck break. If Sub had any shot at a comeback, it would have to be now.
Stuart and Josh Klane connected on a give-and-go for a hold on the next point, and Sub elected to stack the subsequent D-line, with Montague and Stuart crossing over. Initially it proved fruitless, as once again Truck connected on a huck for a score, this time from Peter Prial. But after another Sub hold, the same line managed to convert a break, as a floaty Stuart backhand was somehow caught by Pat Jensen, making the score 12-14.
But it was not to be. Although Sub would get a turn on the next point, a Montague huck to Lindsley trailed out of bounds, and Truck patiently worked the disc up and put in the game winner. Final score: Truck 15, Sub 12.
“Our O-line was rolling, and then we just gave it away,” a frustrated Josh Klane said after the game. “The D its job, but we couldn’t do ours.”
It’s true. Sub’s defense had been their weak spot all season, and despite multiple breaks in the first half, Sub’s O couldn’t seal the deal. Truck just proved to be the more mentally strong team. Neeley summed it up concisely. “No team at this tournament isn’t going to land some punches, but we also know that no point and no point differential is going to determine the outcome of our tournament,” he said.
They’ll need to continue that optimism if they hope to beat top-seed Revolver in their upcoming quarterfinal. As for Sub? Klane is remaining positive. “On to the Pro Flight!”