AUDL Throwaround: Empire Win Classic Over Flyers, Indy and Pittsburgh Take Midwest Leads

Some late season magic with great games.

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.

As we pass the midpoint of the AUDL season, there’s plenty of intrigue as playoff races start to heat up.

Playoff spots in the East and the Midwest remain up for grabs, and there are some huge games coming up that will likely decide home field advantage in the South and West.

We missed a week of throwing it around for the College Championships, so we’re back with a two-week catchup!

The Scores

Philadelphia 18-21 DC
Chicago 24-11 Detroit
Madison 20-21 Pittsburgh
San Diego 30-25 Seattle
Toronto 22-23 Montreal
Los Angeles 31-27 San Jose
Minnesota 23-24 Indianapolis
New York 25-24 Raleigh
Tampa Bay 22-29 Dallas
Tampa Bay 14-23 Austin
Toronto 22-17 Ottawa

Standings Through Week 12

New York Stays Perfect in the Game of the Year Against Raleigh

It was billed as the game of the year, and it 100 percent lived up to the hype. The New York Empire traveled down to Raleigh to face the Flyers. After almost 60 minutes of gameplay, the Empire emerged with a 25-24 win in double overtime.

The storyline hanging over the game was the return of former Flyer Jack Williams. Right off the bat, New York looked to its new playmaker on a deep huck. The former UNC Wilmington standout just missed reeling a layout grab for the score, but that type of play set the tone for what was to come.

This game also featured a clash of two great coaching staffs. Raleigh’s Mike Denardis and New York’s Bryan Jones continued to throw creative defensive looks at each other, creating a chess match being played out on the field.

New York got off to a hot start, capitalizing on a couple of Raleigh errant throws and building a 7-5 lead at the end of first quarter. MVP-candidate Ben Jagt had his fingerprints all over the offensive flow. He finished the game with nine assists and six goals. However, Jagt’s production came at a cost. He threw a game-high five turnovers in the contest and allowed Raleigh to climb right back into the game. Bobby Ley and Eric Taylor paced the offense, combining for 144 completions and 10 assists in the game. It was a Ley to Taylor connection that brought Raleigh within one for the final score of the half. The Flyers held out of the break to tie it up.

Both sides traded to 15-15 before Allen Laviolette came up with a big layout block in the end zone. A Raleigh timeout put the offense on the field. Henry Fisher capped off the break to give the Flyers their first lead since it was 2-1. The run didn’t stop there for the Raleigh defense. Despite losing Justin Allen to a knee injury on the point, Tristen Green lofted a cross-field backhand to Chuck Cantone for another break.

Jones recognized the importance of halting the run, crossing over Jeff Babbitt to the offense. The move paid off as Babbitt found Jagt with a blading flick to earn the hold. However, the Flyers milked the clock down before Eric Taylor hit a wide open Terrence Mitchell for the next goal. David Richardson made it count by knocking down the Empire huck to end the quarter and preserve the 18-16 lead.

Then came more fireworks. Jacob Fairfax ripped a backhand to Fisher, who caught it over a bidding Beau Kittredge. The chaos continued as Richardson swatted a disc that went over the head of Jagt, only for it to pop back up for Jagt to snag. Still, with Raleigh playing faultless offense, New York needed to come up with something special to earn a game-tying break.

Turns out Kittredge had exactly that. With time winding down, Kittredge came up with a massive defensive layout on a hammer to give the Empire a chance to tie with 13 seconds left. He might not have actually touched the disc, but his play certainly influenced Fisher as he tried to catch it. Coming out of the immediate timeout, who else but Williams kept his feet in bounds to tie the game for the Empire and force overtime.

Overtime was a huge departure from the flow of the rest of the game. The first point lasted three minutes and finally resulted in a break for New York as Williams hit a streaking Connor Kline. Kline turned in another stellar performance with five goals, an assist, and a block. The slow pace continued as Raleigh maintained possession to run the clock down under a minute. Ley saved the game with a full-extension layout grab and found Fairfax for the game-tying goal with 30 seconds remaining. Jagt’s final shot landed in the grass forcing sudden death.

The second overtime started with the Empire receiving. Patient swinging set up a Jagt huck to Kline, which tailed away from him incomplete, giving the Flyers a chance to close it out. Raleigh called a timeout to rotate in offensive personnel. After he reeled in a pass down the sideline, Ley then looked to end the game to Fairfax. Babbitt tracked down Fairfax and put any hopes of him winning the game to bed with a huge layout block. Now it was New York’s turn to call a timeout.

Harper Garvey nearly threw a callahan on the first throw out of the break, but eventually, the disc ended up in Williams’ hands. He hucked it for Kittredge, and as he has so many times in his career, Kittredge outran the defense and tracked down the throw for the game-winning goal.

With the win, New York clinched its first ever East Division title. It was just the latest in a series of gritty performances for the Empire this year. For the Flyers, they maintain their lead in the South. Raleigh once again showed why it is one of the model franchises in the league and certainly made a case for being a favorite to reach the AUDL championship game.

-Chris McGlynn

Indy Upsets Minnesota In Critical Midwest Match

In a weekend full of exciting matchups and games across the league, the Midwest managed to put up a game that was able to compete with the best of them. This season, the Midwest division has been wild and the matchup between the Indianapolis Alleycats and Minnesota Wind Chill was no different. The Alleycats looked to strengthen their grip on the division, entering the game with a 5-3 record, while the Wind Chill looked to throw the division into even more chaos, entering the game at 5-4.

In what was a tight game throughout, neither team gained a lead of more than two points, and the Alleycats lead throughout the majority of the contest. Early on, both teams struggled to get going; the Alleycats offense faltered, knocking off some rust from their three week hiatus from action, while the Wind Chill seemed to struggle to get their legs under them after a long day of travel. After a Wind Chill break to start the game, offenses got bogged down. A sloppy point to end the first quarter saw the Wind Chill nearly notched a break at the end of the first quarter, until Indianapolis’ Alex Henderson got a layout block on an upline cut by Brendan McCann that included a lot of contact. This would be the start of a game marred by questionable calls from the referees, as the first quarter came to an end with the Alleycats taking away a 5-3 lead.

After a first quarter to forget, the two offenses got rolling in the middle frames. Hucks were plentiful, but they were a part of smooth offensive and high quality play. The Alleycats finished the second quarter up 11-10, but the Minneapolis tied it at 12-12 after an enormous layout block from Bryan Vohnoutka. With the deep throw continuing to be the weapon of choice, players like Josh Klane, Quinn Snider, Travis Carpenter, and Keegan North made highlight plays. The Alleycats maintained their one point lead at the end of the third, 18-17.

With the Wind Chill receiving the disc to start the fourth quarter, the game was on serve. The Wind Chill offense picked up right where they left off, working the disc up the field and tying the game. The teams traded with quick scores, and the score rose to 20-20. It was then that the Wind Chill finally secured another break, and took their first lead of the game since 1-0.

With their lead at 21-20, the Wind Chill had seized control of the game with just over five and a half minutes remaining. After a near throwaway was saved by an Alex Henderson layout grab, the Alleycats offense was able to get back on track, and tie the game once again. The Alleycats were afforded an opportunity to notch a break and retake the lead. After a timeout followed a Colin Ringwood layout block, a deep shot to Rick Gross was swarmed by a crowd. In the mess of defenders, Gross was tripped up, and with the game on the line, James Kittelsen of the Wind Chill made an integrity call that gave Gross the disc on the goal line. The Alleycats promptly took advantage, as Gross flipped the disc to Cameron Brock into the end zone.

The division lead was on the line and 1:40 remaining on the clock in a tie game. On an extended offensive point, the Alleycats’ Travis Carpenter had his first and only turnover of the game, as he threw away an inside backhand up the line. However, Keegan North came away with a catch block in the lane, and the Alleycats regained possession, taking a timeout with just 51 seconds remaining in the game.

Out of the timeout, the Alleycats worked the disc down the field, and got into their own red zone. With time running down, and a high stall count, the Alleycats had not much opportunity to make a play. Keegan North put a hammer over the top, and Travis Carpenter came down with the goal in the end zone, taking the final 24-23 lead.

-Zakk Mabrey

Just Another Weekend in the Midwest

Ben Jagt Highlights

Are we looking at the 2019 league MVP?

Ben Jagt Highlights

Pittsburgh Upsets Madison in OT

In a tale of two teams on opposite trajectories, surging Pittsburgh upended Madison 21-20 in a home overtime win. The Thunderbirds extended their win streak to five consecutive, while the visitors have lost three straight and four of their last five. The turnaround seasons for both teams have been contributing factors the complex and shifting Midwest power structure.

The game was back and forth through the first couple of quarters. All-star MVP Max Sheppard tallied four of Pittsburgh first seven goals on the way to a 7-4 first quarter lead that got a big as 9-4 in the second quarter. But Madison rallied back, seizing the lead after a Chase Marty block set up a Jeff Maskalunas goal to make it 12-11.

In the overtime, Sheppard added two more goals, pushing his total to a game-high seven to go with three assists. That pair of scores came to open overtime with a hold on a throw from Thomas Edmonds, who recorded seven assists in the match, and to put the Thunderbirds up with :28 remaining. After Madison was unable to score the horn sounded, Pittsburgh found themselves in second place in the Midwest, an improbable and tenuous, yet powerful, position.

-Keith Raynor

Los Angeles Hitting Its Stride

The Los Angeles Aviators beat the San Jose Spiders 31-27 on the road. Both offenses were flying early, setting up a high scoring affair. Los Angeles broke first to take an early lead, but San Jose got back their break early in the second quarter. Neither team led by more than two until the Aviators went on a 3-0 run to bookend the third and fourth quarters and create separation. Los Angeles broke twice to start the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach. Calvin Brown had his break-out game for the Aviators, throwing seven assists. He looked very comfortable connecting quickly with his new teammates. Michael Kiyoi was the main beneficiary, scoring seven goals, and Sean McDougall notched six assists and five goals of his own.

San Jose fell victim to unforced throwaways and some mistakes in the wind. The Aviators successfully sagged off their marks to cut off throwing lanes and make life difficult for the Spiders offense. Eight different Aviators recorded a block. While they took the loss, San Jose still put on an impressive offensive performance. Justin Norden led the San Jose attack completing 81 passes and throwing six assists. Shane Early asserted himself downfield scoring seven goals.

Los Angeles is doing everything it can to steal first place from the San Diego Growlers, but still remain one game behind in the west standings with two games to go in the regular season.

-Alex Rubin

Montreal Shocks Toronto

Lost in the shuffle of a wild weekend of results, the Royal picked up the franchise’s first win over the Rush in a 23-22 thriller.

Montreal got off to a good start, taking an early 5-3 lead. Toronto managed to close the gap slightly with a buzzer-beating huck from Cam Harris to Akifumi Muraoka at the end of the first quarter. Those two would be the biggest bright spots for the Rush as they each tallied a plus-eight rating. Harris posted six assists and three goals while Muroaoka racked up four assists and six goals.

Unforced errors continue to plague both sides. Drops and missed throws plagued the offensive play, preventing either team from truly taking control. The second quarter got off to a slow start with four turnovers during the first two points.

While Toronto relied on its dynamic duo of Harris and Muraoka, it was nowhere near good enough to match Montreal’s top pairing. Quinten Bonnaud has dominated the division all year long, but he and Kevin Quinlan took that to a new level. Each posted an insane plus-15 in the game, the highest single-game number for the Royal of 2019. Quinlan posted 12 assists and three goals with no turnovers. Bonnaud finished with 11 goals, three assists, and a block.

The Rush upped the defensive aggression, but it has had trouble slowing down Bonnaud all season. In three games against Toronto, the AUDL’s leading goal-scorer has racked up 26 trips to the end zone. With both teams trading on offense, Bonnaud’s throwing skill came into play as he capped off the first break of the quarter, extending Montreal’s lead to 11-8. Toronto finally settled down and earned its first break of the game to claw within one before halftime.

Both offenses locked in out of intermission, trading to a 14-13 scoreline. A drop from Toronto finally presented Montreal with a break opportunity. Estaban Ceballos hammered to the end zone for Bonnaud and gave the Royal some breathing room again. It turned out to be a lead Montreal couldn’t protect, as Toronto finally punched in another break late in the quarter on a contested layout grab from Jacky Hau. Kevin Groulx got the last laugh as he reeled a last-second huck to restore the Royal lead heading into the final quarter.

Montreal kept its green light when throwing downfield to Bonnaud in the fourth. He skied Iain MacKenzie and then beat Marijo Zlatic deep for two quick holds. While Toronto’s offense was finally looking fluid, the Rush defense had no answer for Bonnaud. It was a rather uninspired effort from the defensive unit, combining for just six blocks, its fewest of the season.

The whole quarter consisted of clean holds until the final point. With Montreal simply needing to run out the clock, Quentin Roger got stuck with the disc and overthrew Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky to give Toronto a chance to tie it with just over 30 seconds remaining. The Rush got a decent look at the final horn, but it was none other than Bonnaud who came down with the disc to crush Toronto’s dreams.

It was a massive win for the Royal, who technically kept its playoff hopes alive at 3-6. The Rush dropped its second game in a row by a 23-22 scoreline. Hopes of landing a home playoff game were not gone yet, and got a boost with a win over the Outlaws on Sunday.

-Chris McGlynn

This Week’s Betting Lines

All lines this week are -115.

  • Chicago (-2) v. Madison
  • New York (-3.5) v. Montreal
  • Philadelphia v. Toronto (-3.5)
  • Pittsburgh (-1.5) v. Indianapolis
  • Detroit v. Minneapolis (-4.5)
  • Seattle v. San Diego (-4.5)
  • Atlanta v. Dallas (-1.5)
  • Raleigh (-5.5) v. Tampa Bay
  • Detroit v. Chicago (-5.5)
  • Atlanta (-1.5) v. Austin
  • Seattle v. Los Angeles (-4)
  • New York (-4.5) v. Ottawa

Toronto Bounces Back Against Ottawa

Despite Toronto’s general dominance against Ottawa, this outcome was far from a foregone conclusion. During their first meeting of the year, the Outlaws had the Rush on the ropes, only to choke away the game in the final minutes.

In the early going, Toronto was committing the same mistakes as the day before. Both teams were grinding through long points with multiple turnovers. Some of that can be attributed to the wind, but the defense on both sides looked strong. The Rush picked up a pair of breaks while the Outlaws managed one of their own in a slow-moving first quarter.

Ottawa struggled to find any sort of rhythm as the game wore on. After trailing 5-4 at the end of the quarter, the Outlaws continued to commit unforced errors. There was very little offensive flow, often leading to high-stall punts or questionable looks to receivers who were not quite open. Toronto did not capitalize right away, missing on a few break opportunities, but eventually extended the lead to 8-5. That seemed to be the wake-up call Ottawa needed as it responded with a break of its own. Both sides traded to a 11-10 halftime score.

The sluggish style of play continued into the second half. Toronto broke on the first point out of the break on a point that lasted over three minutes. Turnovers were easy to come by, as the two sides combined for 52 in the contest. Both offenses looked out of sync as breaks went back and forth, until the Rush strung together three in a row to close the quarter with a 16-12 lead.

It became a seesaw affair as Ottawa scored two to open the fourth. Then Toronto responded with two of its own. The Outlaws simply faded down the stretch as for the first time in quite a while, the Rush showed the ability to close out a game convincingly. After coming up short against the Breeze and the Royal, it was significant for them to finally finish a game strong, pulling away to win by a 22-17 final.

With Akifumi Muraoka and Cam Harris doing all the heavy lifting facing Montreal, they got some help this time around. Geoff Powell and Andy Carroll stepped up for the Rush– Powell with five goals, Carroll with five assists– to lead a much more well-rounded Rush attack. If Toronto can find a way to play that brand of ultimate more often, this team still has a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

Chris McGlynn

San Diego Remains Atop the West

The San Diego Growlers kept themselves in first place with a controlled victory over the Seattle Cascades. Taking a 3-0 run early in the first quarter, the game was never in doubt for the Growlers. While the lead fluctuated between two and six, it always felt like San Diego had the upper hand. All-star Travis Dunn led the way with seven assists and five goals. For Seattle, Jay Boychuk continued his impressive season with six goals and four assists.

After the win San Diego remains in first place, nursing a one game lead over the Aviators for home field in their playoff game. Each team has two games remaining in the regular season.

-Alex Rubin

DC Quiets Philadelphia

In a rematch from the previous weekend, the Breeze took care of a Phoenix team featuring a lot of youth to maintain its grip on the second spot in the East division. DC got off to a hot start, dominating the first quarter. Philadelphia got a little too comfortable taking deep shots, resulting in a number of hanging discs that found the ground or a defender. The Breeze jumped out to a 7-3 lead, punctuated by a huge layout grab from David Shields.

It turned out to be a relatively quiet game from Rowan McDonnell and many of the traditional stars of this Breeze offense. McDonnell had one of his worst games of the year, posting just one assist and four turnovers. Nate Prior picked up some of the slack with three assists on 58 of 59 throwing. Shields stepped up as well with two goals, two assists, and two blocks. McDonnell did have four goals in the game, but it was a good reminder to all those watching that DC is much more than a one-man operation.

The high-scoring play carried into the second quarter, with the Phoenix settling in a little on offense. It seemed to dial in a little more on the huck attempts, taking higher percentage looks. The Breeze added another break to stretch the lead to 10-5, but proceeded to give up two straight. Both sides traded to an 11-7 scoreline at half.

Philly’s offense continued to show signs of improvement, led by Ryan Weaver and Sean Mott. Weaver and Mott finished with four assists and just one turnover each. However, the defense did not seem to have too many answers for DC. Neither side came up with a break in the third quarter, as Jacques Nissen found McDonnell at the buzzer to maintain the four-goal difference.

DC seemed to be cruising, until Philadelphia hit them in the mouth to start the quarter. After executing an opening hold, Eric Nardelli hit Matthew Ballman deep for an early break to bring the Phoenix within two. The Philly defense then forced a timeout on the ensuing possession. There was a renewed fighting spirit within the squad, who knew how important a stretch this was.

Darryl Stanley finally got DC to calm down and refocus. It punched in that hold and eventually worked its way back to a four-point lead at 20-16. From there, the Breeze were able to slow the game down and coast to a comfortable 21-18 win. The Phoenix showed a lot of composure for a young team, but ultimately did not have enough to make it competitive down the stretch.

Philadelphia’s hopes at making a playoff push continue to dwindle and now hang by a thread. The Phoenix are better than their record would indicate, but have lacked the consistency needed to make a legitimate bid for the postseason. DC will turn its attention to its season finale against Toronto, knowing home field advantage for the playoffs is on the line. A win would mean DC hosts the semifinals, but a loss would likely mean a return trip to Canada under win or go home circumstances.

-Chris McGlynn

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