The Eurostars came back to maintain their lead in the Americus Pro Cup as they head into their final game.
August 28, 2018 by Guest Author in Recap with 0 comments
This recap was contributed by Charlie Blair.
TORONTO, ON — The Eurostars touched down in Canada on Saturday night to play the penultimate game of the Americus Pro Cup against Toronto 6ixers. Thanks to a strong performance from Brute Squad in Boston earlier in the week, a victory for the 6ixers would put Team America ahead for the first time in the series. However, in a game of constant flux and breakaways from both sides, it was the Europeans who came out on top in the crucial moments. Despite falling behind in both halves, the Eurostars surged back to win the game 15-12.
6ixers looked to give the Eurostars a run for their money from the very first point. A high energy and hungry defensive line forced a turn on a simple reset just outside the Eurostars’ end zone. Immediately, they aggressively countered, looping a rising roll curve to the break side which was brilliantly taken down by the rapid spring of Jenny McLeod. Nevertheless, the advantage didn’t last long and the points started to get much longer.
As was anticipated going into the game, both sides were playing very aggressively, but there was a lack of precision that accompanied that style. For the Eurostars, this often resulted in double cutting, as miscues between players led them to attack the same space simultaneously and bring in more defenders with them. For the 6ixers, they were often losing possession when rushing their throws. Always looking expansively, whether it be hitting the deep or leading up the line, they were often putting the disc just out of reach of the receiver. Toronto’s Molly Lewis read an occurrence of simultaneous Eurostar cutting, storming through two the offense clog to earn the final turn of a mammoth point that brought the score to 2-2.
However, this was to be the first of three points in the first half that had at least six turnovers. As a result, both teams called time outs during these points in a bid to refocus. When inconsistency didn’t plague the charge of either team, the ultimate was sweet. After a monstrous sidearm huck from Dina Dumanskaya on her own end zone line, Nici Prien quickly laid the disc off to Bex Forth, who rolled the disc right back into her path. Four passes and ten seconds later, the Eurostars had scored in the opposite corner to where they picked up the disc.
Likewise, Lauren Kimura was doing a great job of running the show at the back for the 6ixers O-line, patiently resetting the disc as the up field players clumped together. Dispersing, Molly Lewis hit the break side as Cindy Truong powered away from the pack, expertly snatching a disc about to exit her range in full stride, leveling the score again to make it 6-6.
The Eurostars closed out the first half 8-6 with another break, but not without unforced errors from both sides. Unfortunately for the 6ixers, their mistakes were in their own quarter of the field, and so made it much easier for the Europeans to capitalize. In response, 6ixers started the second half with even more energy than the first, scoring four points on the trot and breaking three times to bring the score to 10-8. Big plays from the likes of Truong, who leaped up to smack down another Dumanskaya ripper to the end zone, and Christine Jurychuk’s layout grab to score, got the the 6ixers and home crowd fully-amped.
Facing down a serious surge from the Canadian side, the Eurostars took what would be a game changing timeout. The whole team rallied around captain Bex Forth, and they decided to reclaim the match. All sixteen heads in was what the touring side needed to turn this game around. And that timeout got everyone bought in to playing their game again.
Eurostars worked the tight spaces to hold on offense, making the adjustments where 6ixers were unable to. Having been rattled by the defense that prevented their set plays earlier, the Canadians turned the disc on rushed a first pass mistake. In turn, they were punished by a speedy all star counter attack. Again Bex Forth found Nici Prien before most of the field realized who was in possession, bringing the score back to 12-12.
From there, the Eurostars ramped it up and began to win all the battles. 6ixers long shots were met by white and blue jerseys. Bodies started to fly as Maya Milick and Fran Scarampi made point-saving layout grabs. Prien, hot on the heels of Jordan Meron, did enough to distract the 6ixers captain, who deflected the disc, but was unable to reel in the equalizer for her team. Instead the Eurostars won their fourth break in the final throes and eventually completed the comeback.
It was a great show of resilience from the all stars after not being able to find their form quick enough in Boston. Unlike last year, captain Bex Forth noted that this tour has been a roller coaster campaign with “high highs and low lows.” However, the drive every single player has brought to this team has powered them through the hardest battles and produced enough class to keep them ahead throughout the whole series.
“Everybody wants it”, said Forth. “When we are clicking, it’s really impressive. And none of our scores have been ugly.”
It is no wonder they are not always clinical, considering this team had never played together just over two weeks ago. Moreover, some of the rookies had never played World Clubs or even competitive women’s ultimate before this tour. By anyone’s standard, this is a special team that has produced fantastic results: winning four out of six games and taking down the current World Club champions in the process. That’s exactly the inspiration they set out to be for women and girls worldwide.
D.C. Scandal have it all to do in the last game of the tour with Team Europe now leading Team America 9-6 in Americus Pro Cup points. Watch the game live at 7PM CET. The cup is on the line.