Windmill 2019: Day 2 Recap (Women’s)

Germany and Finland make the final through a competitive bracket!

Finland catch a disc over the Cosmic Girls in the Windmill Semi. Photo by John Kofi

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If you had hopped out your (waterlogged) tent this morning and seen the state of the fields, you wouldn’t have been surprised to see a lack of recap online. After a massive rainstorm overnight, the fields were completely waterlogged and there were even talks of calling off all play. However, being in the Netherlands,1 the fields drained at lightning speed and play was able to resume (albeit with a slightly adjusted schedule). Big shoutout to the TD’s for their organization and allowing play to continue, and a big shoutout to the Dutch Ministry of Traffic and Water, never has a frisbee player seen such fantastic irrigation of a pitch. This is promising, given the fact that the World Ultimate and Guts Championship will be held in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands in 2020. #notleccoed.

To combat the cancelled rounds, games were shortened to 55 minutes. This led to some incredibly tight games, especially in the quarter finals. The final stage is now set, with Germany and Finland battling it out in a potential preview of what’s to come at the European Ultimate Championship. Germany defeated the Mermaid Lumberjacks in semis, while Finland took down the Russian club, Cosmic Girls. Here’s a rundown of play of today.

Mermaid Lumberjacks prevail in the ultimate pick-up game

Okay, this title is a little misleading, but this quarter ended up being quite the nail biter. We were finally treated to the Claire Desmond/Robyn Fennig matchup we all wished for as both Mermaid Lumberjacks and Heist managed to avoid each other in the Swiss draw. The game was hotly contested from the beginning. Heist looked a lot stronger than previous games and ironed out the creases from day one. They came out with a zone which slowed down the pace of Mermaid Lumberjacks and forced some errant throws in a gusty game. When both teams played person defense, every disc was closely contested. Inge Sulimova was throwing her body on the line for the Mermaids and managed to spook her opponent on a few occasions. Michelle Yang, who currently plays for Atlanta Ozone, was a key figure on the Heist roster, playing safely in the handler space but attacking the disc aggressively in the air. It was clear that both teams desperately wanted to make semis.

“Every disc was caught under intense pressure,” said Sanne Leufkens from Mermaid Lumberjacks. “Not in a dangerous, unspirited way, but the defense was so close from both teams it could have gone either way.” Heist kept close through the game but at 8-7, Mermaid Lumberjacks started to pull away. “I think the main game changer was our general team defense. We were able to shut their main options down and force the errors we needed for the break.” Mermaid Lumberjacks took the win 12-8 to secure a spot in the semis.

One of these heroic plays was on the end zone when Fennig decided it was hammer time. Unfortunately Sarah Hammer from Mermaid Lumberjacks called time on that idea. True to her name, Hammer got an enormous point block on Fennig to leave a short field for the Mermaids and an easy score. If you want to relive the action, you can catch this quarter final on YouTube.

Ireland just fall short in bracket play

Ireland had a tough day today with a close loss against the reigning European champions, Finland and lost out in a double game point match against Italy. Ireland’s deep game looked strong from the start but towards the end a few miscues lead to a subtle break from Finland to get the important break to edge into the lead. The end of the game slowed down considerably after several lengthy calls regarding physicality, but Finland were able to play faultless offense and squeak in a up-line throw that nearly got point blocked to win 11-9.

Regarding the sudden death loss to Italy, captain Sarah Melvin was feeling positive about how her team played. Ireland had played against Italy on Friday and managed to squeak out the sudden death win on that occasion 13-12. “Our previous game against Italy had been very physical from both sides and both teams mentioned in the spirit circle afterwards that the physicality was too much. In this game the spirit captains addressed this before the game started and we told them that we were open to feedback if it was too bad. This led to a perfectly clean game and was really fun to watch.” Melvin did not end up playing against the Italians this time but will be in full force for a potential rematch at EUC.

Cosmic Girls run out of steam and just miss out on the final

The tightest semi final of the day was Cosmic Girls versus Finland and for the majority of the game the points traded back and forth. Dina Dumanskaia moved out the handler space and became the major deep threat for Cosmic Girls and at the beginning of the game there was no answer for her. Cue an incredible performance from Anni Joniken who managed to get the deep blocks on Dumanskaia and force Cosmic Girls out of their comfort zone. Joniken was an offensive powerhouse. She had several huge grabs to save the disc2 and tore the field open with her inside throws. Finland looked comfortable with the disc at all times whereas Cosmic Girls were misfiring on their deep shots and their high releases. It became evident that fatigue was starting to set in. The top tier of the Cosmic Girls roster (Akramova, the Pustovaya sisters, Dumanskaia, Kublicka, Virge) ended up playing the majority of the remaining points but the overall depth of Finland prevailed and they took the win on the upwind point 10-7. This semi final can also be found on YouTube.

Final predictions

The all important question remains, who is going to win the final? Finland have been so clinical and have some of the best throws in the game. Germany have a large roster full of depth and have comfortably taken down (nearly) everybody at the tournament so far. The Fins have already beaten Germany at this tournament 13-11, Germany’s only loss of the tournament, so expect revenge. Field 1 is notorious for its gusty winds, so if Finland can hang on with their smaller roster then they looked poised to take the win. Either way, it’s going to be tight. Catch the action online at 13:45 CET tomorrow!

  1. which is pretty much below sea level 

  2. one being an enormous layout catch, if this doesn’t make the highlight reel I will eat my metaphorical hat 

  1. Sarah Sparks
    Sarah Sparks

    Sarah Sparks is a British Ultimate player currently living in Utrecht, The Netherlands. She currently plays with UFO in the Netherlands and Mighty Hucks in the UK. Sarah is also the Captain of the Dutch Women’s team for EUC. If she is not playing Ultimate, she can either be found at her local bouldering hall or cuddling her cats Trixie and Cookie.

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