AUDL Championship Weekend 2018: Roughnecks End New York’s Cinderella Story

Dallas wins the shootout.

Dallas’ Jay Froude shakes hands with New York’s Marques Brownlee.

MADISON, Wisc. — The New York Empire’s playoff hot streak came to an end on Saturday as the Dallas Roughnecks defeated them in the semifinals of the AUDL Championship Weekend 32-30 in an exciting offensive battle.

The style clash was evident right from the start, as the Roughnecks preferred to attack the break side and swing the disc sideline to sideline, using the full width of the field to create new passing lanes. New York, in contrast, mostly attacked vertically, firing deep shots to Ben Jagt and Jeff Babbitt, who rarely lost battles in one-on-one coverage. Jagt caught the first three New York scores — all turnover-free O-line holds — to set the tone.

Dallas’ defense struck first, though, with three breaks in quick succession. New York’s Jibran Mieser dropped a disc at midfield, and Dalton Smith hit Matt Armour for the game’s first break. Three points later, Jagt overthrew Matt Auletta deep before Chris LaRocque dialed up one of his eight assists to Smith. A turfed centering pass from Ben Katz yielded an easy Roughnecks break on the next point to make the score 7-4.

New York was on the brink. But their O-line got a hold before back-to-back Brandon Malecek turnovers set up a pair of breaks to tie the game at seven.

The second and third quarters were very clean, and breaks were at a premium. 21 of the 29 points in those two quarters were turnover-free holds as each offense found a rhythm. Jay Froude started to push the pace for Dallas as a part of his five goal, four assist performance (with no turnovers). Dallas’ three breaks to New York’s two gave the Roughnecks a 25-23 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The final period nearly began with a momentum-swinging play for New York, as Beau Kittredge — who took the Froude matchup for most of the game — got up to block a huck. But his swat kept the disc in the air, and Froude stayed with the play to reel in the score to extend the lead back to three. A Marques Brownlee turf set up a break on the next point. When the Larberg brothers (Dillon to Chris) connected three points later after a Katz turnover, the lead was 29-24.

Jagt started to heat up again in the fourth after a quiet third, but it was too little, too late. His three assists and a goal in the final quarter brought his total to a whopping nine assists and six goals with just a pair of throwaways.

19 year old Connor Olson had his best game of the season for the Dallas offense, finishing with five goals, including some enormous layouts.

New York did got a couple of late breaks to at least make things interesting. Mike Drost got a signature run-through block to narrow the Dallas lead to three before an intentional one foot pull got Dallas to rush into a throw, setting up Josh Alorro to find Conor Kline to narrow the score to 31-29.

A second mini pull didn’t yield the same success, and that sealed the game for Dallas.

Dallas’ offensive efficiency was the story of the game, both on their offensive and defensive lines. Dallas’ O-line converted 79% of their points, compared to New York’s 67%.

The Roughnecks will contend for their second title in three years this afternoon as they face the Madison Radicals in the AUDL Championship game at 12 PM Central.

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