The North Carolina area is back on top.
August 17, 2016 by Fred Wolf and Meredith Bray in News, Recap with 0 comments
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The U19 Boys Division at the 2016 Youth Club Championships features the most parity of any of the five divisions. No team in this decade has won the tournament in consecutive years and all weekend there were games that came down to a point, even a single play. Had just a few moments gone a different way, the weekend’s results could have looked very different.
At the end of the weekend, though, it was clear that North Carolina Triforce — a staple at the elite level of the youth club scene — was the class of the tournament. Triforce defeated New Jersey DEVYL 13-10 in the final to win their second YCC title in three years.
The final was a rematch from pool play, a game in which Triforce delivered a dominant 13-6 win. The tempo of the final was slower, but both offenses worked their way to easy scores for the first few points. “Our semis game was pretty exhausting and I think some of that exhaustion carried over into the first half of the finals,” said Triforce star Liam Searles-Bohs.
Russell Moy got things going for DEVYL with a huge layout D on the fifth point of the game but Triforce would get it back and continue to hold. Triforce would stack their D line a little more at 4-4 but New Jersey’s Colby Gordon was still able to come up with the score on a great catch past a bidding Searles-Bohs. Each team would get a break right before half but DEVYL went into the break up 7-6, on serve. Mac Rushing, as he had been all weekend, was the centerpiece for DEVYL and totaled six assists on the game.
In the second half, DEVYL began to run out of gas and the Triforce D-line reaped the rewards. Crossing over Searles-Bohs really opened up their offense as hucks could go up from anywhere on the field. Ethan Bloodworth came down with a huge circus catch off one of those hucks to give Triforce a break to take an 8-7 lead. A few points later, Triforce landed the crippling blow with a 70-yard bomb from Searles-Bohs that floated perfectly and hit Sean Murray in stride to take a 12-9 lead. Two holds later and Triforce had its 2nd championship in the last three years.
A Thrilling Pair Of Semifinals
The boys semifinal round was the most exciting at the tournament. With both games going down the the wire on adjacent fields, large crowds were running back and forth trying to take in as much action as they could.
The game between Seattle and Triforce initially seemed to be the less exciting of the two as Seattle jumped out to a large early lead. Seattle was a machine early in the game and took advantage of each of the Triforce mistakes. Their defense was smothering; Triforce often had no initiating cut options and had to take tough hucks early in the possession. Zach Jackson was a workhorse for Seattle and dominated the cutting space. They also got predictably good performances from WJUC players Aldous Root, Ivan Lee, and John Randolph. They took a 7-3 lead into half after a string of breaks.
Despite the half time deficit, Triforce’s energy never wavered. They maintained a fun and positive sideline atmosphere which kept them in the game the whole time. However, things got worse before they got better as Seattle got another break after a pull hit one of the Triforce players. But that would prove to be the final time Seattle had any kind of momentum.
Triforce responded with four straight points. The first break came on a huge handblock by Searles-Bohs followed by a throw to Austin Von Alten. The second was a deep help D by Dillon Lanier which was also converted to Von Alten. These two points were a microcosm of how WJUC players Lanier and Searles-Bohs proved that they were simply the best play makers at the tournament. Seattle didn’t really collapse in the second half, Triforce just won themselves the game.
As if the Ethan Bloodworth came down with a Callahan to tie the game at 11. During the next point, hard cap sounded just after a Seattle huck flew out of bounds sending the game to double game point. Triforce picked up the disc with 70 yards to go with the game on the line. After working it up past midfield, a poorly aimed backhand ended up being pulled down by an outstretched Lanier. Seattle has now been eliminated on double game point in the YCC semifinals for three straight years.
Searles-Bohs, after all that he’s accomplished, still has another year of high school remaining. The college recruitment battle this year for him will be the biggest since Jaclyn Verzuh. His counterpart, Dillon Lanier, will be attending Carleton in the fall as part of a huge recruiting class for them.
One field over, Minnesota and DEVYL faced off in a slugfest that also ended up on double game point. The game featured significantly more turnovers as both defenses came out with tremendous intensity. DEVYL’s Eric Li was an absolute beast all weekend, tallying countless layout blocks on in-cuts. Jack Lokowich for Minnesota also finished with 3 blocks in the semifinal alone and played great handler defense.
The game entered halftime with Minnesota up 7-6 after a quick strike to deep threat Cole Jurek.
Jurek, along with Sub Zero player Sam Hammer, constantly get open as cutters. Because of their cutting talent, Minnesota wasn’t afraid to attack the force side over and over again. The real story of the game was Mac Rushing, who took over the game for DEVYL. Rushing had seemingly unlimited energy and dominated the touches on offense. Nobody was able to guard him in tight spaces and the DEVYL offense was content to get the disc back to him even in disadvantageous positions. He finished the game with three goals and three assists.
DEVYL came out strong in the second half and was able to grind out two consecutive breaks. Colby Gordon came up with a huge sky — a common occurrence this weekend — to put them up 9-7. Minnesota would later break back to tie the game at 10. Hard cap sounded at 11-10 in favor of DEVYL.
DEVYL had the disc at midfield following a timeout with a chance to win the game but they were unable to convert and Minnesota struck back with a huck to Chris Clark. DEVYL received on double game point and immediately it was the Rushing show. He went every other throw for the entire field before finding the end zone on a strike cut.
Boys U16 Final: Atlanta v. Seattle
High-energy, exciting games were a staple of the U19 divisions, so it was only natural that the U16 boys final would follow suit. And follow suit it did in a no holds barred game between Atlanta Atlas and Seattle Bonzai.
Both teams started strong, proving their efficiency in the deep game with long throws that continued to find their way into teammates’ hands. The Seattle boys proved their capability not just in the long game but also the short, making good use of both the break and open sides of the field. Atlanta fought back with strong defensive play, forcing Seattle miscommunications and hasty downfield turns that they capitalized on, ensuring a consistent trading of points. Bonzai managed to fight through to half, securing the 7-6 lead over Atlanta.
The game, though, was far from over. Seattle charged out of half with a huge defensive end zone layout by Otis Williams, adding his name to Seattle’s impressive list of aerial threats that included teammates Jack Brown and Achilles Abella. But Atlas took full advantage of another Bonzai miscommunication to break for an 8-8 tie.
The battle continued: Seattle threaded through an impressive Atlas zone while Atlanta’s Aiden Downey returned fire with a huge block to help bring his team to yet another tied score at 11-11. A long injury timeout led to teams agreeing to add an extension of five minutes onto the end of the game.
The tension in the air was obvious as the players took to the field again. Both sides were buoyed by the loud cheering from Mixed and Girls Division supporters. The hard cap horn rang out over the yells of players and fans, and the nervous energy zipping across the field somehow rockedted even higher as Atlanta was able to find the end zone to take a 12-11 advantage. Five minutes remained. It was do or die time for the Seattle boys.
Tony Venneri was able to pull off the block of his life for Bonzai, leading to the Seattle score and forcing double game point for the division final. Atlanta received the disc yet an unfortunate turn near the end zone opened the door for Bonzai. Adam Jemal found Abella in the end zone for the Seattle victory and the sidelines exploded as Seattle supporters flooded the field.