World Games 2017: Day Two Recap

Colombia and USA will rematch in the gold medal match.

WROCLAW — The World Games gold medal match is now set: Colombia (4-0) will take on the USA (3-1) tomorrow afternoon, regardless of the outcomes of the final round robin games tomorrow morning.

The bronze medal match is still to be decided, with Canada, Australia, and Japan still jostling for a spot in the game.

Here’s a look at the standings heading into the final day of the tournament:

Here’s a look at the games from day two at the World Games.

Colombia 13-12 Canada

On a hot morning, the best game of the tournament so far was about to unfold.  The teams had very different attitudes coming into the game with Canada amped and shouting while Colombia’s warm up included synchronized dance moves.

Canada flowed downwind easily until a simple drop by Jessica Rockliff gave Colombia an early break opportunity. Colombia was content to work the open side until a poach opportunity allowed Laura Ospina to hit Manuela Cardenas, who continued with the quick around break backhand to a laying out Elisabeth Mosquera for the break.

Canada held on the next point, using all men as Andrew Carroll snuck deep. Mark Lloyd threw the assist to Tim Tsang.

Colombia’s split stack didn’t work, as their cutters clogged and an attempted break hit the turf. Morgan Hibbert threw too far for a laying out Carroll, but it came back for a foul. The second throw was better and Canada broke to put it back on serve, 2-1.

Colombia’s O then had another case of jitters. A contested stall came on the back of some high pressure Canadian defense, but Alejandra Torres, Ospina, and M. Cardenas worked the disc effectively for Colombia, who tied it at 2-2.

Catherine Hui going deep on Mosquera proved that the Canadian women could hang with their Colombian counterparts, then Yina Cartagena dropped a deep throw under pressure to give Canada another break opportunity. Lloyd turfed an easy backhand giving Colombia the reprieve, and the teams continued to trade until a high pressure point with multiple pick and foul calls resulted in a questionable deep throw by Cartagena to Ramirez, who expertly boxed out Lloyd but couldn’t come down with the disc.

Canada marched downfield; Powell hit Moans for the break and the 5-3 lead. Audrey St-Arnaud was playing exceptional defense. Despite being called for a foul downfield, she was really making life tough for Torres.

Colombia’s “take two steps downfield and turn” wasn’t effective except in tight spaces, causing them to face numerous difficult resets. Meanwhile, Canada was stretching the field and getting big isolations; the Colombian poach sets that were effective vs USA yesterday were not clicking so far.

Colombia tied the game up after a long point, where Tsang accidentally let go of what was meant to be a huck fake, throwing directly into the face of Julio Duque. Ouch. After a brief stoppage, Canada ramped up their defense and eventually forced a turn against a very patient Colombian endzone possession via a Brendan Wong poach block; Powell immediately overthrew Wong deep, then Mauricio Martinez threw a stall nine huck to Duque, who threw the assist several passes later.

Canada ran another set play with Tsang hucking to a skying Lloyd for the easy hold.

Colombia’s pick-heavy offense was a complete mess again, and they didn’t look to throw deep at all unless at a high stall, something that Canada took advantage off with physical downfield positioning to deny the unders. After a high stall throwaway, Canada jumped on a fast break and hit Terri Whitehead for the break and half, 7-5.

After punching in an offensive hold, Canada came down with a poach set of their own, forcing middle with lane poaches up to half field, then switching to one way with opposite-gender poaches still in place. Despite some close calls, Colombia worked it in.

The Colombian defense started to look tired and Canada didn’t struggle to extend their lead to 9-6.

M. Cardenas expertly hit Ospina deep on the break side for a Colombia hold, then generated a break with an outrageous block. Colombia was back within one at 9-8.

Hui flashed her throwing skills with a low OI backhand that hit Lloyd perfectly in stride to make it 10-8. Colombia didn’t struggle with Canada’s transition: Santiago Montaño fired to Cartagena deep, 10-9.

Already, this was the highest quality game of the tournament so far, with flashes of brilliance and a lot of steady team offense against high pressure defense.

A Lloyd overthrow led to another Colombia break, then the following point saw Canada generate great separation but Carroll’s was throw too low for a wide-open Rachel Moens. Colombia took the lead for the first time since breaking to open the game, courtesy of a Cartagena huck to Martinez.

After Canada missed on another deep throw, some nice poaching led to a phenomenal layout block by Jessie Grignon-Tomas. A potentially game-changing foul call followed as Powell brought down the disc in a pack on a floaty reset but had it sent back. Colombia took a high stall huck to the speedy Ospina, quickly converting for the goal.

Now double game point, Ospina put the disc up to Duque looking for the win, but with Powell and Lloyd applying pressure, he dropped the disc. A long discussion about whether the contact caused the drop followed; eventually, the disc went back. Another high disc — this time from Martinez — saw Duque drop it again under pressure from Lloyd, but M. Cardenas got a layout poach block to get it back for Colombia.

The disc went up to Manuela Cardenas. Lloyd made a huge, clean bid, but Cardenas ripped it away a fraction of a second before he could make the block to lock up the 13-12 win and a berth in the gold medal game.

Canada stuck around to teach volunteers to throw and take photos with supporters in a great show of inclusivity.

Japan 13-8 Poland

Japan got their first win of the 2017 World Games, 13-8 over the tournament’s bottom seed, Poland.

Poland started the game looking deep early and often, even willing to throw into already covered space, confident in their ability to sky the generally smaller Japanese defenders.

In contrast, Japan were working the small ball, with Lisa Shimada, Tomoko Inamura, and Ayumi Fujioka dominating the play. The first turn came at 3-3, with Kenjiro Kawase getting up to block a Polish huck, then Saori Inoue hitting Takayuki Yamaguchi deep with a beautiful leading bladey forehand before Yuko Sato caught the goal, thrown by Inoue, for the break and the 4-3 lead.

Poland held against the Japanese zone, scoring courtesy of some excellent footwork by Sylwia Wroblewska. Teams traded huck turnovers in the next few points, until a beautiful full field flick huck from Gaku Genshima was caught by Kawase. There were yet more deep turns in the next point before Poland’s Kamil Osiecki spied Filip Stepniak deep. Stepniak pulled down the floaty disc and called a timeout. Poland quickly converted to get to within one at 6-5.

Japan’s trademark cross field flicks came out on the next point: the first was beautifully executed but the second was out of bounds, giving Poland a chance to tie the game. Kasia Podpora & Patra Dul’s tireless cutting was rewarded with a goal and the break, 6-6. Japan ran a beautiful set play off the pull, hitting Inoue deep before calling a timeout. Another nice set play saw Sato bounce a disc too high, but it got saved by a great layout backup grab from Kobayashi for the goal and halftime lead, 7-6.

Japan’s handler resets were tough to contain.  Their around breaks out of a 1-6 no dump vertical stack were consistently opening up power position, and any adjustment was met with inside breaks that achieved the same goal.

The teams continued to trade after half. There was a slightly odd moment at 8-7 when Podpora toed the line for a hold after another (deliberately?) short pull from Japan. The replay showed her in, but Japan contested. Instead, she hit Grazyna Chlebicka with a short high release backhand assist.

This would be Poland’s last goal as Japan went on a 5-0 run to close out the contest. Japan’s lane sagging led to a nice high block by Sato on an under cut, then on the following point a high pressure mark led to a turfed reset and a quick fast break goal.

USA 13-7 Australia

Australia started on defense in another must-win game for the United States, showing a good person look with lots of lane flashing that slowed but couldn’t stop USA as Jimmy Mickle fired deep to Beau Kittredge for the opening hold.

After staring down the break lane for a good seven seconds, Peter Blakeley turfed an open flick and USA broke, adding another after a too high huck was blocked by Kittredge as Alex Prentice went down on a nasty collision with teammate Seb Barr.

Down 3-0, Rob Andrews hucked to Rosie Dawson, who was open by a clear five yards for the upwind goal. Anna Nazarov anchored the USA line on the next point, but Georgia Bosscher threw into a poach to give Australia a break opportunity; unfortunately, a collision between Kittredge & Nazarov sent the latter off injured.

After Dylan Freechild beat Wise deep, Bosscher again threw a turn, this time to Andrew, but Sarah “Surge” Griffith immediately got the poach block and USA took their first time out a few passes later with the score still 3-1.

It didn’t help, as Bosscher tallied her third turnover of the point before Cat Phillips reeled in a hammer with a great layout for the Aussie break, 3-2.  Patient O against the poachy zone put USA back out on defense, then Australia kept hucking it away. Philips got a block on a Griffith in-cut but Australia turned it over immediately in another very messy point that ended with the USA breaking again to go up 5-2.

Australia turned it over on a dropped hammer. Australia’s gender mismatch zone slowed down USA, but patient offense resulted in another break.

As the wind picked up, both teams were struggling to connect deep. Mickle overthrew first Sandy Jorgensen then Desmond; Evans overthrew Prentice.

Freechild threw an upwind deep shot to Griffith, who, as the disc hung, viciously skied Dignam for another break and the 7-2 halftime lead.

The ugly offense continued after half. Blakeley was unable to toe in a hanging swing, then Chris Kocher bizarrely decided to shoot high and bladey to Carolyn Finney who wasn’t able to catch against two male Crocs.

Another hanging disc was expertly defended by Bosscher, making up for her nightmare point earlier as USA broke again, 8-2.

Yet another overthrow deep by the Crocs gave USA another chance, but despite USA shredding the zone, largely on the back of Finney and Mickle, Nick Stuart misread a hanging disc and gave the Aussies another shot. A Philips deep shot to Andrews came back as Griffith was hurt on her bid on the throw to Philips. Tom Tulett fired a crossfield backhand to Andrews, but Finney was in the right place at the right time to box out Andrews. A collision occurred, with Kittredge, Andrews, and Finney hitting the turf, and Dawson catching the goal

Both teams appeared to have calmed down a little — the next few points were much cleaner.

Lots of holds followed and more simple zone offense from USA carried them to game point, 12-6, when Phillips again went deep, making Nazarov look slow as she waited for the floating Barr huck.

There would be no jitters late in the game today. The USA walked the disc in against the Crocs transition defense for a comfortable 13-6 win.

Colombia 13-6 Poland

Colombia easily dispatched Poland 13-6 to clinch a berth in the gold medal match, regardless of the outcome of their game tomorrow against Australia.

Colombia marched out to an early lead thanks to a brace of layout blocks by Julio Duque and some quick conversions.

Poland got on the board courtesy of a nice catch by Wojtek Starzewski despite contact from Elisabeth Mosquera, although spiking the disc right next to the prone Colombian was unnecessary. Colombia quickly stretched their lead to 7-1 with Manuela Cardenas and Laura Ospina dominating their matchups as they have all weekend. With very few mistakes by Colombia, this was a very quick first half.

A rare mistake by Ospina gave Poland a chance to break, but the deep shot was too far in front of a bidding Kasia Podpora who was injured on the play; Colombia easily scored again.

Poland did start to stabilize a bit more in the second half, but Colombia didn’t allow any opportunity for a comeback, notching back-to-back breaks to win 13-6.

Canada 13-9 Australia

Australia again came up short against a North American opponent, falling 13-9 to the Canadians.

The first block came early in this game — Mikhaila Dignam with a handblock — but the Crocs fast break resulted in a rushed throw from Loclan Wise, and Canada tied the game 1-1 courtesy of Catherine Hui shooting deep to Kevin Underhill.

A huge layout block by Powell gave Canada a chance to break, and they immediately faced Australia’s gender-agnostic zone. The Crocs really enjoyed slowing the pace of the game (unless their handlers are getting the disc back immediately), and Evans spied Phillips deep and launched the hammer assist. Crocs up 2-1 on serve.

After some offensive holds, Canada took advantage of two Australian drops, breaking twice to take a 6-4 lead. On both occasions they attacked deep immediately. After four turns in the following point, Australia eventually held, then Canada worked the disc against the zone to take half 7-5, up two breaks.

The teams continued to trade out of half, with Cat Phillips playing every point with no signs of ever slowing down. When Barr threw a blade out of bounds to a poached Dignam, Australia once again used their mismatch zone, even though Canada had easily scored against it every time. They did so again to extend their lead to 11-8.

Australia, absolutely needing the win to have a shot at the gold medal game, were getting desperate. They got to stall 9 and floated one deep. Mark Lloyd skied Alex Prentice clumsily, and the Australian could easily have called a foul, but there was no call. Lloyd walked to the front of the endzone and fired a forehand the length of the field to a streaking Geoff Powell, who easily accelerated past Barr and made a tournament highlight reel layout catch for the 12-8 lead, effectively sealing the game. The teams traded out to 13-9.

USA 13-7 Japan

The United States clinched a spot in the gold medal game against Colombia thanks to their 13-7 win over Japan on Saturday evening.

After a US hold, Japan’s spread offense meant they were trying to make huge cuts but were hopelessly outmatched; a turfed pass quickly converted into a break for Georgia Bosscher. Japan attempted a huck which went out the side of the field, then Jimmy Mickle hucked to Sandy Jorgensen. Despite Ayumi Fujioka having position, Jorgensen breezed past her for the 3-0 lead. A fumbled catch set up a Claire Desmond score and what would prove to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

Japan run another set play: Taku Honna tossed it up line to Yuta Shimura who hit Andy Kunieda for Japan’s first goal.

On offense, USA was extra careful not to throw it as soon as they caught the disc, taking an extra second to look for poaches, making the game feel like chess. Notably, the same style that was so ineffective against Colombia proved to be perfect here against the Japanese.

Lien Hoffman found a gap in the endzone to take half 8-3.

It says a lot about the game that Grant Lindsley’s trick catch when the disc is given back to him following a call got the biggest crowd reaction so far.

Japan’s set plays were great at generating space and, when the throws connected, the USA couldn’t stop them, but they’re just too low percentage. USA didn’t really generate many direct blocks; Japan just kept throwing it away. However, you have to admire their confidence, such as the inch perfect deep shot over Beau Kittredge’s head to a streaking Kunieda.

The USA tacked on another break late on the final point to take the game 13-7.

  1. Sion "Brummie" Scone
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    Sion "Brummie" Scone coached GB Open from 2010-2012, and also coached the GB World Games team in 2013, and the u24 Men in 2018. He has been running skills clinics in the UK and around the world since 2005. He played GB Open 2007-12, and GB World Games 2009. He lives in Birmingham, UK. You can reach him by email (sionscone@gmail.com) or on Twitter (@sionscone).

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