May 16, 2018 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Opinion with 0 comments
Throughout this AUDL season, Ultiworld will be publishing a weekly Throwaround, a chance for you to catch up on the amazing, funny, and interesting moments that you might have missed from the weekend’s games.
Crazy upsets are starting to feel commonplace in the AUDL after another week.
Minnesota 34-17 Detroit
Chicago 21-16 Pittsburgh
Atlanta 27-26 Tampa Bay
DC 25-24 Raleigh
San Francisco 33-31 San Jose
Dallas 27-23 Austin
Madison 37-8 Detroit
Toronto 21-18 Montreal
Los Angeles 30-26 Seattle
Indianapolis 27-24 Pittsburgh
Philadelphia v. New York (postponed)
DC Tops Raleigh In Cross-Divisional Stunner
D.C. earned just its second win of the season, but it’s one that sent shockwaves around the league on Saturday: the Breeze topped the Raleigh Flyers 25-24 in a lightning-interrupted thriller. Raleigh took its third loss of the year in a game they were expected to win easily.
The Breeze jumped out to an early 4-1 lead and held that margin for most of the first half. DC stretched it out to 12-7 for what appeared to be the halftime deficit for Raleigh, until Jonathan Nethercutt launched a behind-the-back flick buzzer beater (!!!) that made the rounds on social media. Still, D.C. still seemed solidly in control with a healthy four-goal lead heading into the break.
It is hard to say who had a better performance — Nethercutt, who notched 11 assists on the afternoon, or Matthew “Rowan” McDonnell, who came just one score short of tying the franchise single-game record for goals. Still his 10 goals set the 2018 single game record and led the way for the D.C. offense, including the Callahan he reeled in off a floating swing early in the third quarter. It was truly a battle of two offensive stars going blow for blow.
A four-goal halftime lead is hardly safe from Raleigh; it reeled off a five-goal comeback in the second half of the meeting between these two teams last year. The Flyers slowly clawed their way back into it throughout the third and tied the game on the first possession of the fourth quarter. Raleigh then broke for its first lead of the game at 19-18. The two sides traded points well into the fourth quarter, until a drop from the Flyers gave the Breeze a chance to take back the lead, which they were happy to do. D.C. simply ran out the clock on the final possession to end what might go down as one of the best games of the season.
Dylan Freechild Sparks Twitter Debate
As everyone was going crazy over Nethercutt’s behind-the-back buzzer beater, Dylan Freechild, a signatory to the AUDL boycott, had a different take:
That single tweet created a cascade of conversation about the AUDL v. USA Ultimate, observers v. referees, and the entire idea of professional ultimate that has persisted all the way into this week. (Click on the above tweet or dive into this thread or this thread).
Super Rowan for MVP?
It is still early in this AUDL season, but Rowan McDonnell is playing at an MVP level. In his four games this year2, McDonnell has tallied 25 goals and 15 assists to go with eight blocks. He is averaging an incredible 10 points per game. McDonnell also sits at third in the league for goals. He’s been clutch, too: in the fourth quarter of the win over Raleigh this weekend, McDonnell scored four of his ten goals and added an assist in the final quarter of action.
He might not be the front runner, considering the offensive production Mark Burton has churned out for Seattle, but if he continues to produce at the level he has so far this season, he should absolutely be in the MVP conversation.
Robyn Wiseman Makes History
While the scoreline might make cause some eyebrows to rise, the Madison/Detroit game had a much more interesting storyline.
Robyn Wiseman suited up for her first AUDL game, becoming the first female player to compete for the Radicals. She even caught a “honey pass” goal from her husband, Dave Wiseman, the first such connection in league history.
SF Takes Lead in Bay Area Series
Chapter three of the 2018 Bay Area Battle unfolded on Friday night. The teams split a pair of one goal games earlier in the season and did not find much separation in this game either, with the Flamethrowers eking out a 26-23 victory.
This was one of the sloppier games of the season for both teams. Despite barely a breeze, there were more throwaways and drops than one would expect from a professional game. During the second point, which lasted nearly five minutes, four consecutive throws resulted in turnovers as part of 12 total turnovers during the point. Normally reliable handlers like Eli Kerns and Steven Chang led their teams in throwaways with four and five, respectively. Little mistakes played a big role in the outcome of the game. Sonny Zaccaro dropped a pull, and Jackson Stearns caught an in-cut with no defender nearby but was standing on the sideline. Little mistakes can have a big impact in tight games, and San Jose has to be kicking itself for not better capitalizing on San Francisco’s mistakes.
The Spiders did better early, racing to a 6-3 lead before a 4-0 Flamethrowers run catalyzed by Jacob Greenberg’s layout D and layout goal. San Francisco began relying on their stars, isolating Eli Kerns, Antoine Davis, Greg Cohen, and Marcelo Sanchez on offense to minimize mistakes. While this strategy allowed them to come back and win the game, it took its toll. Cohen cramped up in the 4th quarter after two superman-style bids.
San Francisco is glad to have the win, which keeps them out of last place by half a game in the loss column (that mark belongs to the 2-5 Spiders), but is probably just as happy to have close to its full team back. After a few weeks of key player absences, the Flamethrowers were able to get in key reps as a team, planning to use that experience to notch a few more wins. These two teams will play once more on June 16 to finish their season series.
A Disastrous Road Trip For Detroit
The 0-6 Detroit Mechanix stumbled through Minnesota and Madison this past weekend, really showing how far the 2018 iteration of the Mechanix is away from the top of the division. The Mechanix were beaten by a combined score of 71-25, including a 37-8 annihilation at the hands of the Radicals. The Mechanix were destined for difficulty when they only brought 15 players on the road trip, leaving little depth on an already short roster.
Toronto Still King in Canada (and the East)
In a Mother’s Day Matchup north of the border, Montreal hosted the East-leading Rush. Toronto cruised for most of the game with a comfortable four-goal lead. In the end, the Royal could not match the Rush’s firepower, falling 21-18. Toronto remains one of just two undefeated teams (Madison is the other).
Unfortunately, this game was not streamed, but Ben Burelle put on another show with six goals to pace the Toronto offense, including whatever the heck this is:
Isaiah Masek-Kelly added four assists for the Rush. Montreal relied heavily on Yoland Cabot and his five assists to get the offense moving. Andre Arsenault showed up on defense with three blocks.
Toronto heads home for its first home game of the year against D.C. this Saturday in what will be another huge test for the Breeze. Needless to say, it is still Toronto’s division until proven otherwise.
LA in 1st
Los Angeles travelled up to Seattle for their first game of the season against the Cascades. They showed no lingering weariness, jumping out to a four-goal lead in the first quarter, and extending that lead to eight at halftime. Seattle outscored LA by five in the 3rd quarter but couldn’t come all the way back, falling 30-26.
On the field, Mark Burton again led the way for the Cascades with 12 assists on 68 completions. He, Brad Houser (six goals), and Alex Duffel (three blocks) were consistent performers for the Seattle O-line. Aldous Root joined the mix making his season debut. The Western Washington product slotted right in the offense, throwing two assists and adding a block.
As a team, LA continues to execute better than any team in the west, and this week was able to do so while incorporating a few new faces. Stephanie Pritchard and Veronica Eder made their AUDL debuts for the Aviators, with Pritchard contributing her first goal as well. None of the women on Seattle’s roster were active for the game, but now more than half of the teams in the west (Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) have fielded women for at least one game, a definite step in the right direction for the gender equity movement.
After the game, both teams joined a spirit circle. Usually, teams will just line up for high fives after a game, but the added step to make a spirit circle (and to produce such a serious post-game recap) was a nice way to reinforce the culture that many fans have come to expect from ultimate teams in a league that hasn’t shied away from making significant changes to the way the game is played.
The win puts the Aviators in first place in the West division, surpassing an idle San Diego Growlers squad on point differential. In a division that has otherwise seen a lot of parity this season, the Aviators stand out as a dominant team. LA is the only west team with a positive point differential at +24, and the team has not lost within the division.
We still have months to play, but it looks like Los Angeles is starting to separate itself from the pack.
The Atlanta Hustle narrowly edged past the Tampa Bay Cannons, 27-26, to keep their strong start rolling. The Cannons can’t quite seem to hold out against the Hustle, losing for the third time this season against with a margin of fewer than two points. But you know what we’re here for: Cannons’ coach Andre Roca came to the field dressed as a tribute to the recently resigned Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger.
Alleycats Roll On
The Indianapolis Alleycats rolled on beating the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 27-24 to bring their record to 6-1. This game was one of the first indoor AUDL games since the original championship game played in the now-demolished Pontiac Silverdome.
The Alleycats schedule gets much harder in the second half of the season: six of their next seven games come against Madison, Minnesota, and Chicago. They are in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot but will need to fend off either Minnesota or Chicago (both sit at 2-2).
Roughnecks Stay Perfect In Texas Two Step As Torch Debut
The Dallas Roughnecks continued their reign over the Austin Sol this weekend with a 27-23 win on the road in the Texas capital. The Roughnecks have never lost to the Sol.
Prior to the Sol v. Roughnecks game, the Austin women’s semi-pro team, the Austin Torch, hosted their much anticipated inaugural professional women’s ultimate game in Texas versus the world’s #1 women’s club team, Colombia Revolution. The game was an absolute box office success, leading to the Sol’s “largest crowd since [their] home opener in 2016” with over 1,235 attendees.”3 Columbia’s Revolution won the game, 14-5 and if you missed it, you can still watch the game on Ultiworld’s YouTube channel.
Home team in bold ↩
he didn’t suit up for the tie with Philly ↩
The tickets were sold jointly: if you bought a ticket for the Austin v. Revo game, you also had access to the Sol v. Roughnecks game and vice versa. ↩