Slow White showed moments of the dominant team they can be.
July 4, 2016 by Tim Schoch in Coverage, News, Recap with 0 comments
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KINGSTON, RI — Besting regional rival New York Metro North 15-10, Boston Slow White claimed their spot in the Mixed Final of the 2016 U.S. Open and confirmed the preseason buzz that surrounded their roster.
The Slow White offense put on a clinic and was able to minimize their turnovers throughout the game, only allowing three breaks. That’s especially impressive given that this team, like most at the tournament, has only held a handful of practices and has had little time to build chemistry.
The game looked early like it might have swung the other way, as Metro North continued their hot streak and came out with stifling defense, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after Young Jo Fontaine flew past new Slow addition Tannor Johnson for a layout block.
Slow’s offense initially looked a touch tired, leaving hucks dangling above their receivers. Facing an upwind offensive point and a dreaded 3-0 deficit, Slow tightened up and patiently worked the disc up the field using Lexi Zalk underneath and stretching the field to Todd Herman for the much needed hold. From this point on, the Boston offense was strong and demonstrated the high level of play they are capable of.
It was clear that Metro North’s offense was not at able to execute at the same high level. New York had just two clean offensive points and the O-line spent a majority of its time trying to earn the disc back. The natural chemistry of their very experienced O line was able to secure games earlier in the weekend but the frustration of execution errors was clearly apparent in today’s matchup.
With no real sets or game plan at this point in the season, Metro North was frankly outplayed by a better team whose seamless O points found under after under as Steve Sullivan and Alex Trahey marshaled the backfield, getting open when they needed to and putting up smooth throws to Rachael Westgate and Hannah Baranes. Slow’s handlers quickly moved across the field and got off breaks with ease. Even in successive 20 second O points, Boston added excitement and flair with creative shots and exciting grabs. To take their first lead of the game, Jeff Smith launched a 40 yard high release flick huck to Herman and ignited the Slow White sidelines.
Adding to their lead, Boston turned to two of their first class recruits — Miles Montgomery-Butler and Ben Katz — to take big matchups and churn off of a turn. Shaun Doherty also had an excellent game defensively. The three of them were able to neutralize Metro’s big men, getting blocks and pressuring New York’s handlers into miscues. Doherty came down with a disc in traffic and dished to Zalk, who lofted a flick blade that, despite some wind pushing it down, landed with a waiting Slow receiver to go up 5-3.
A few holds later Boston held a 7-5 lead and stacked a D line to break for half but was in for a turnover riddled point that ran both lines ragged. Right off the bat, Davis Whitehead was able to knock away a floaty Metro North throw but Slow couldn’t capitalize. On the fast break, Eugene Yum launched a massive outside-in backhand to a completely open Andrew Bosco. With no one within 30 yards, Bosco doinked the catch to the bewilderment of both sidelines. Again Slow’s defensive offense struggled upwind and needed a massive block from Montgomery-Butler to seal the point and take half, 8-5.
The defensive offense picked up in a big way for Slow in the second half. Zalk’s strong cutting partnered with Montgomery-Butler’s steady handling allowed them to move the disc far more effectively than before and their D-line offensive unit looked as strong as any in the Division this weekend. But this strong defensive surge opened the door for some unfocused play as it became clear who the eventual winner would be. Metro North brought the game to 11-9 with three consecutive goals but Slow quickly shut the door and responded as you would expect a title contender to do.
With the game firmly in their grasp and up 14-10, they rolled out a standard D-line that would unknowingly be stuck in a seemingly interminable point that featured two timeouts, more than twelve turnovers, and nearly twenty minutes of game time. Both teams dropped easy discs and turfed wide open goals. Different Slow players looked to take control of the point but each successive possession ended with a turn and a Metro huck. Finally Katz pulled down a huck in traffic and Slow punched in the goal for the 15-10 win.
The Slow White O-line’s skill was clearly the deciding factor of the game. They smoothly worked the disc both under and deep and got their resets with consistency. Their defense looked strong at times but will surely be tested tomorrow in the finals against the dangerous trio of Khalif El-Salaam, Dominic Cavalero, and Claire Revere.
Their defensive offense will have to execute better tomorrow to convert on the numerous chances Mixtape is sure to give them. This was a point of emphasis for Slow White coach Mike Miller. “Our D-line offense was challenged moving the disc the full 70 yards upwind, which we will need to do more effectively going forward,” he said.
Miller said the key to the Mixtape matchup would be “to keep their excitement level down.”
“You can’t let them make big fun exciting plays,” he added. “We have to make the game boring.”
Tune into ESPN3’s live coverage of the game at 10:00 AM Eastern time tomorrow to watch Slow White take on Seattle Mixtape in the Mixed final.