WUCC 2018: Quarterfinals Recap (Men’s)

And then there were four.

Colony’s Jimmy Mickle celebrates the team’s upset win over Ring of Fire. Photo: Paul Rutherford — UltiPhotos.com

The competition intensified on Thursday with the arrival of the quarterfinals round. Here’s a look at what happened.

Colony (AUS) 15-14 Ring of Fire (USA)

Colony completed their comeback upset win with a pressure-filled double game point hold to down the team that many thought was the only club capable of challenging Revolver.

The two teams had relatively easy holds to start the game as they measured each other up. Ring, who planned for the Colony squad to play primarily through Jimmy Mickle on offense,1 made the focus on pressuring him and keeping defenders tight to him. “We knew that they were going to run a lot through Jimmy [Mickle] and [Chris] Kocher and, even though they touched the disc, I bet if you asked them if this was the game they had to work the hardest, they would agree,” said Ring offensive coach David Allison after the match.

On the other side, the primary objective of the Colony D-line was executing a unified defensive gameplan. “We stressed buying in immediately, something we hadn’t done against GOAT, and executing whatever we asked of them in any given point,” said captain Tom Tullet. During the first part of the game, they tried a few looks and found success with a force middle.

The Ring D-line also looked to keep Colony on their toes with a variety of junk sets which yielded early results as Ring jumped ahead 5-3. But those would be the last breaks of the game for the Americans. Responding quickly, the Australian side broke back to bring the game to 5-5, and each team would trade holds to half, 8-7 Ring.

Allison admitted that his defenses started to struggle generating turns as “they started to get comfortable with our sets. And credit to them for that.” At 10-9, Ring misfired and without Mickle, Kocher, or Tullet on the field, Colony found Gavin Moore on a swing for the break to knot the game up at 10.

Four points later, Jonathan Nethercutt sailed a pass over a completely unguarded Matt Gouchoe-Hanas. Six passes later, Tullet hopped into the endzone with a toe tap to give Colony their first lead since 3-2. Each team held out to double game point. Ring came down in matchup defense, pressuring every pass so much so Colony was forced to take a timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, Mickle went virtually every other, and a pass to John McNaughton inches from the sideline sent the Australian club onto the semifinals.

GOAT (CAN) 15-12 Nomadic Tribe (JPN)

The Japanese side brought the same game plan into their quarterfinal game as they had in their round-of-16 game against CUSB. Their defense almost entirely ran their unique containment zone, and their offense looked to fire precision flicks with lots of edge to their receivers.

But on both of those points, the men from Toronto were far more prepared than the Italians had been. Instead of overloading the front of the zone with poppers and handlers, the Canadians spread the field wide, allowing their handlers space to dink and dunk through the zone until finding an out of position defender and attacking the open cutter.

Adjusting to the unique Japanese style of hucking, the Canadians had flatter marks, making successfully releasing the flick with the correct angle difficult. Their defenders also presented a more difficult athletic matchup, as they were able to make up the ground and earn blocks on any floatier hucks. Nonetheless, Nomadic Tribe kept the game close, and Ken Nemoto and Taku Honna shepherded the offense behind the disc. As the game inched closer to the end, there were chances for the Japanese. Takayuki Yamaguchi made an incredible high flying block as the wing in the zone but Nomadic Tribe swung the disc right into a poach. GOAT overshot a deep look but then the Japanese did the same. Even with a break to make it 14-12, it was too little too late. A point later, Anatoly Vasilyev found Cole Keffer for the goal and the game, 15-12.

Doublewide (USA) 15-9 Bad Skid (GER)

Doublewide’s offense came out of the gate looking messy and disorganized, but their defensive pressure mounted throughout the game, which paid off big in the second half.

With an opening break, the defensive tone was set: the Texans would primarily rely on their aggressive and athletic matchup defense, forcing Bad Skid to be precise with their throws and attack through their swings. But Doublewide was sloppy on offense, dropping discs, missing open unders, and throwing into routine poaches. Bad Skid pounced on this initial sloppiness and broke twice in a row to regain a 4-3 advantage, but they would never break again. Doublewide’s offense rediscovered its composure and became more and more confident as the game wore on, simply beating the Germans athletically and sending hucks to open receivers. Nico Müller, who has been exceptional all tournament, again shone today but was asked to carry a massive load for his side. Worn down by the unrelenting pressure, Bad Skid’s offense couldn’t get off the field and finally faltered in the second half, conceding a 7-2 run and the game.

Revolver (USA) 15-8 TCHAC (FRA)

In the most lopsided quarterfinal, San Francisco Revolver returned to form against their French competitors. Revolver’s suffocating matchup defense forced tough throws for TCHAC, who would look to throw hucks into the teeth of the Revolver defense. The Americans jumped out to a 4-1 lead that they would carry into halftime, up 8-5. Out of half, Revolver had their worst offensive point of the game. On three separate occasions, Ashlin Joye threw a turnover, first on a miscommunication with Grant Lindsley, then into a block on a reset, and finally lofting an under over Simon Higgins, one of Revolver’s taller cutters. But on each turnover, the French were left without open options and threw it deep without any luck. Once Marcelo Sanchez found Eli Friedman in the endzone, the rout was on and Revolver would go onto score six of the next nine for the win.

Semifinals Matchups:

  • Revolver v. GOAT
  • Colony v. Doublewide

  1. They were right, too; he had seven assists and a goal 

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