The big games start tomorrow.
June 23, 2016 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 0 comments
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ST. ALBANS — Although the undefeated streak continues, the big story on Thursday for the United States’ teams is that each of them advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championships.
Only three of the USA teams — Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s — actually played games today. Heavy rain fell overnight and caused the cancellation of many games, including the final pool play round in the Women’s Masters Division and the prequarters and quarterfinals in the Men’s Masters Division. With limited field space, the tournament directors managed to find just enough time — and daylight — to squeeze in all twelve quarterfinals in Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s.
The Men’s team was lethal again on Thursday as they took on Colombia in quarters. Colombia had scrapped their way into the bracket with some hard-fought wins over Belgium and Switzerland, but were unprepared for the defensive tenacity of the Americans. Using a force middle defense, the USA stifled the Colombians’ normally cutter-driven attack and flew out of the gates to a 5-0 lead. Size mismatches were a constant problem for Colombia on defense, as they simply could not do anything to stop bigs like Matt Rehder.
Colombia never got anything going, losing 15-2, but it was a strong tournament for them after entering seeded 11th.
The Women’s team remained on cruise control today as well, defeating Switzerland 15-4 in the semifinals. After two opening holds, the US ran off three straight, then four more before halftime to go into the break up 8-2. Claire Desmond, who’s been a standout for the USA, finished the game with three goals and an assist.
The Mixed team finally faced some true adversity after going down an early break to the Philippines. In the end, it was not a true test — the US won 15-9 — but the Philippines were a capable opponent that did manage to punish mistakes frequently enough to make the USA pay attention.
Philippines’ Antonio Francisco played some excellent defense as the offense was smooth enough to get seven holds in the game. But the team couldn’t stop the American O-line, which got Simon Higgins open in isolation easily and consistently and hit continuations with little pressure.
Sandy Jorgensen made a spectacular layout D to help set up the break to make it 12-6 and really put it away. She finished with two goals and a host of blocks.
Oddly enough, the Men’s Masters team reached the semis without playing a game today. Because all of the Men’s Masters games were canceled due to weather, the prequarters and quarterfinals were eliminated and the teams with byes into quarters were sent straight into the bracket. While that is certainly unorthodox, it would be hard for teams to complain about fairness concerns, since they had already played both in pools and power pools to reach this point.
The Women’s Masters team also moves on to the semifinals without any other games today, but that was already set up by the format (the canceled pool play games would not have affected the outcome of the pools).
- The Men’s team plays in the semifinals against Canada (12:30 PM Eastern).
- The Women’s team plays in the semifinals against Canada (4:30 AM Eastern).
- The Mixed team plays in the semifinals against France (6:30 AM Eastern).
- The Men’s Masters team plays in the semifinals against Denmark (6:30 AM Eastern) and, if they win, the final (10:30 AM Eastern).
- The Women’s Masters team plays in the semifinals against Japan (4:30 AM Eastern) and, if they win, the final (8:30 AM Eastern).