August 6, 2017 by Eryn Ogren in News, Recap with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s reporting on the Women’s division of the 2017 US Open is presented by VC Ultimate as part of their year-long support of our women’s coverage. All opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at VC Ultimate!
Indomitable mental toughness and fearless offense earned Medellín Revolution a 15-10 victory over Seattle Riot and a spot in the US Open final match against Denver’s Molly Brown. Revolution’s statement wins over the USA’s top two ranked women’s teams, #1 Boston Brute Squad and #2 Riot, respectively, show that Colombian women’s ultimate is ready for primetime on the international stage at WUCC next summer and in years to come.
The game began with two holds from each team, but Riot took control early with the first break to make it 3-1 in their favor. However, their lead fizzled quickly as Revolution marched up the field with poise against the Riot zone for a hold. Yina Paola Cartagena, the leader in the assist category for the women’s division, hustled through a block and boosted it deep for a Revolution break. Riot struggled to find their focus, and it caused several unforced errors that Revolution was ready to convert into points. Both teams applied admirable defensive pressure, but Revolution’s strategic acuity ultimately secured their first finals appearance at the US Open.
Riot’s strength was in their downfield cutters, who churned through each cut to give an open option for the handlers. Bailey Zahniser, Sarah Davis, and Dominique Fontenette all had great games; Fontenette, especially, was very effective in the end zone, where she delivered three goals, including a huge layout score for a Riot hold. Despite Revolution’s force middle defense, Riot took chances on the break side hoping to open up all forty yards of space on the field. While the cuts were there, the attempts often resulted in a turfed throw or block by blisteringly fast Revolution defenders.
Revolution, featuring many players from Colombia’s silver medalist WUGC team, showed up to the semifinal with intensity, composure, and fundamental skills for their match against Riot. Colombian women are often known for their athleticism more so than their throwing prowess, but this Revolution team delivered above expectations on both fronts. Aside from Cartagena’s dexterity, Valeria Cardenas and Elizabeth Mosquera put on a throwing clinic, displaying an array of angles and shapes on their deep shots to players in isolation from the side stack.
On defense, Revolution was in the pockets of the Riot cutters, forcing them to work in the middle third of the field. Jennifer Ricaurte, Ana Rojas, and Mosquera were stalwarts downfield, totaling eight blocks between the three of them. Mosquera lead the pack with four of her own.
The first half of the game was a close battle. There were errant turnovers from both sidees, but the offensive line typically recovered the disc and held.
They traded points until 6-6, but the wheels fell off for Riot shortly after. Revolution played persistent offense to take the lead, 7-6, and followed up with a break to take half after an unforced error from Riot on a handler swing.
Revolution came out of half on offense with the wind at their backs; Cartagena grabbed every other for an easy march down the field and the goal to make it 9-6. Riot wasn’t going to give the game away: Callie Mah bombed a pristine huck to a streaking Fontenette for the goal. On the next point, Riot had the opportunity for break after an out of bounds throw from Laura Ospina, but a poor throw from Riot gave the disc back to Revolution.
After several turns, Cartagena made a monster bid to save the possession of a tipped disc to make the score 10-7 in Revolution’s favor.
One of the best matchups of the game was Mosquera vs. Sarah “Surge” Griffith. Mosquera won several battles in the air and was quick to boost it deep to any streaking Revolution cutter. The disparity between the two teams was exposed: under tight pressure from the Revolution defense, Riot stopped looking to the deep space and struggled to complete their well-intentioned swing and break passes. There were many offensive holds from both teams, but it was clear that Revolution was in control of the game and had every intention of keeping their foot on the gas pedal.
The highlight of the game was the final throw to seal the victory from Valeria Cardenas. After a turfed throw from Calise Cardenas to Jaclyn Verzuh, V. Cardenas picks up the disc and, with all of her might, launched a perfect inside out flick huck to Ximena Montaña for the goal. Her ability to place the disc anywhere on the field was showcased several times during the game, but this throw took the cake.
Revolution coach Mauricio Moore prepared his team to “expect the unexpectable.” Coming out of halftime, Moore expected that Riot would adjust in the second half and they would have to be ready for anything that the Seattle women could throw their way. However, when asked about their mental edge, Moore had a very specific response to what Revolution was doing to control the ambiance of the game.
“We have a method and it is the same one we used in the World Games,” he said. “It is really focused on the internal process. We are fighting against ourselves. We are chasing our ego.”
This approach shone through in the smiles on the Colombian women’s faces; whether it was a completion or a turnover, they never looked shaken.
Tune in to what we can expect will be a fantastic matchup between Denver Molly Brown and Medellín Revolution this afternoon at 3:30 Central on Watch ESPN and the ESPN App.