European Ultimate Championships 2019: Day One Recap (Mixed)

Things get mixed up on day one in Györ.

Russia vs Germany Mixed. Photo by Quentin Dupré

The main event of Sunday’s mixed action came in the very first round when EBUC mixed champion Russia showed up on grass for the first time in 2019 against another one of the stronger teams in the competition. In an exciting contest Germany came back from three down two times before losing in the end 12:15. At the end of the day there were no upsets, but there were some close calls in the opening rounds. The games were dominated by the somewhat tricky wind that made heat in Györ bearable.

Pool XA

All four teams played only one game on Sunday, both games took place in the stadium on fanseat.
The first matchup on the stream was Russia vs Germany. Russia had the better start into the game as they were able to pressure Germany’s handlers from the get go and score with ease. Russia’s D-line, led by Toly Vasiliev and Anna Pustovaya, was outstanding after the turn. Russia pulled away when Germany changed their attitude on offense. Instead of electing to throw difficult passes to space from handler to handler they handed Sebastian Spiegel the disc to shoot downfield. Germany’s Joana Erdmann covered the deep space in the German zone defense which lead to problems for the Russians. Erdmann later shocked the world by skying Dina Dumanskaia on defense in the endzone.

Russia took half 8-6 but Germany gained momentum with a Callahan by Justin Wallace to make it 10-9 but after equalizing the German could not keep it up. Some execution errors lead to Russia taking the game with the straight points 15-12. Russia’s women were not able to dominate like they tend to do on sand and after the game German coach Hartmann still states with confidence: “Today we played against the best team at the tournament, ourselves.“

Considering this was Russia’s first game together on grass this was an impressive performance.

The other game in Pool XA started with Ireland dominating with their zone defense but Denmark turned it around quickly and never looked back as they won 15-8.

Pool XB

Austria and Lithuania seemed to be on the road to big upsets but in the end both favorites Great Britain and Sweden won their first game.

Austria started against Sweden with more fire then they showed in the opening contest on Saturday against Hungary and managed to take the half 8-7. In strong winds both teams had trouble to reset the disc and relied on risky long shots.

With the end of the game coming closer Austria pulled away to 12-9 but just could not put the game away. Felix Mehsner dropped an easy disc in Sweden’s endzone after a perfect huck down the sideline by Sandra Kniely. This was the best chance to end the game but Sweden survived by the skin of their teeth and won 13-12. The Swedish team was relying on long throws by their player coach Jonathan Sjögren. After the game when asked if he is satisfied with their game he told me: “A win is always satisfying. Especially when the score was 9-12 to them and we managed to win 13-12.”

Lithuania surprised out of the gate and took half against defending European champion Great Britain. After the half, GB took advantage of their depth and won 15-10. In Lithuania’s second game, host nation Hungary was up early and took a 7-4 lead but in the end only scored one point in the second half, just like in their opener against Austria.

Pool XC

Italy had a perfect start to the tournament with wins against Slovenia and Norway. Italy and Slovenia both struggled to score into the wind but Italy, lead by Francesco Bernardi, had the skill to best their neighbors 15-10.

Belgium won their first game against Norway 13-12. This one point could be crucial for the final standings. Belgium is still in the running for power pools after day one. Italy was able to convert turns immediately what lead to a 10 point gap between them and Norway. Slovenia could not challenge tournament favorites, France in their second game of the day. France dominated and won 15-5.

Pool XD

Switzerland started with two wins on Sunday they seem to be on the road to power pools out of a group that is significantly weaker than the other pools. Poland’s quality is nowhere near the class of their World Games team but it was enough to beat their neighbors to the east, Belarus.

The Czech Republic had a battle against Switzerland lead by legends Honza Nowak on the Czech side and Ron Kubalanza for the Swiss. Kubalanza provides precise throwing and is the most active coach on the sideline. When not on the field he is always helping his teammates with instructions. Nowak runs the offense for the Czech team he gets almost every second pass but is missing top end targets to throw it to.

Finland can still challenge for a first place spot in the pool after a 15-11 win against Belarus. This will come down the match against Switzerland tomorrow.

Games to watch tomorrow

In Pool XB, Austria will fight for the chance to go to power pools against GB. Later on GB will meet Sweden a rematch of their match in Denmark earlier this season where Sweden came out on top.

The race for third place in Pool XC will be decided in when Slovenia meets Norway and Belgium.

In Pool XD Finland will meet Switzerland in the morning and then the Czech Republic in the evening.

  1. Peter Jesse
    Peter Jesse

    Peter Jesse is a passionate Ultimate Player, his highlights as a player are EUC 2011, WUCC2014 #leccoed, EUC 2015. He can also be seen doing German language coverage mainly on the Austrian scene with the Autimate blog. Follow him @autimate.

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