The quarterfinalists are nearly decided!
July 18, 2019 by Peter Jesse in News, Recap with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s coverage of the World U24 Championships is presented by VC Lookfly; all opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at VC Lookfly!
HEIDELBERG — Two games are finished up in power pools and the USA remains the only unbeaten Mixed Division team in Heidelberg. Latvia keeps winning, and in group F, everything seems possible after Australia beat Japan.
Power Pool E
In a very exciting game, USA beat rivals Canada 15-14 on double game point. Both teams had trouble scoring with their O-line on a consistent basis.
USA got the better start. Their defense forced Canada to take a lot of passes and Canada was a little bit impatient attacking the endzone, which resulted in three turnovers in the opening phase. The Canadians found their groove and were able to find Meagan Gillis in the deep space.
Suddenly, the USA could not connect to the endzone anymore, leading to a spectacular attempt at a greatest and three straight breaks for Canada.
Matt Gouchoe-Hanas got more touches in this phase, and team USA was able to steady the ship. They got one break back in style with a big Brett Gramann scoober into Michael Ing’s hands. Canada took half on serve.
USA captain Anna Thompson, who was distributing the disc a lot from the handler spot, threw an assist for another break for the US team to start the second half. Some sloppy mistakes by the USA gave Canada again the chance to take control of the game. Nigel Lendsay got the better of Joseph White a few times in this phase.
But Canada’s offense was surprised by some poaches and turned the disc over seemingly without any pressure. At 14-13 USA, the Americans had the chance to close out the game but Gillis would not have it — she stole back the disc for Canada with a skying block in the endzone and caught a pass from Lendsay with a huge layout for the bookends.
USA brought the big guns out for double game point but their first attempt to hit the endzone was without success. Canada didn’t connect with their first pass out of the endzone and Julia Kwasnick was able to score the game winner.
Both teams did not have the cleanest of games and seemed to hold their cards close to the vest for a potential second meeting in the later stages. USA coach Mike MacKenzie summarized the contest: “It was a hard fought game with similar styles of play.”
Elsewhere, Latvia had an excellent day. First, they beat the Czech Republic 15-10 then the small 14-person roster beat Canada, who had just taken USA to the brink, 15-6.
Canada’s coach Alex Davis was very disappointed in his team’s turnover riddled performance. “There really are not any weak teams in this tournament,” he said. “If you give the disc away, they will score on you.”
The Czech coach Lucie Vávrová attributed Latvia’s win to lots of personal mistakes by her team and a bad conversion rate by the D-line. She was also surprised by how effective Latvia used their females.
Latvia’s success at this tournament is seemingly difficult to explain, given their short-handed roster and the injury limitations on Arvids Orlovskis, the team’s leader. They are experts at preserving energy and seem to find a way to goad teams that are better on paper them into making lots of mistakes. But the impact of the team’s chemistry cannot be overlooked. While many teams run very deep lines, Latvia’s small rotation gives them more of an opportunity to find comfort playing together. We’ll see if they can keep it up in the bracket.
After the Netherlands made power pools yesterday by the skin of their teeth, they had a lot of fun against a German team that will not make the quarterfinals. In a streaky game, the Dutch team started with a 5-0 run before they gave up four points in a row. The Netherlands were very huck happy and, in phases where they could not connect, Germany got their chances to come back into the game. At 14-7, the Netherlands seemingly could not close out the game but in the end their top scorers took care of business: Walt Jansen hit Floor Keulartz for the 15-10 win.
Coach Leo Sonneveldt said, “The team is very aware that they are very lucky to be in power pools but now the tournament entered a new phase.”
Regarding yesterday’s confusion after the game she told me, “After we saw that we were third in the group on the webpage, we called the competition office to be sure. Naturally we were very happy but we are feeling with team France, who are living in the same accommodation. We have nothing but respect for how the French handled the situation and also want to thank the Latvian team who pushed France to universe point, knowing that they had already qualified by scoring enough points to get out ahead in the three way tie.”
Czech Republic and the Netherlands met in the afternoon in what was basically a prequarter. The game was very close up until 10-10 when the Netherlands started to stop the Czech women from getting unders and forced them out. When they got the disc back thanks to their aggressive defense the Netherlands took advantage of their height advantage on hucks and won the game in the end 15-10.
In Thursday’s last power pool round, the Netherlands meet Canada with a chance to take the third place in pool E. Latvia meets Germany and the USA play the Czech Republic. The USA will advance as the top seed Latvia, Canada and the Netherlands are still struggling for weaker opponents in the quarter finals.
Power Po0l F
On the Ultiworld live stream, Singapore and Japan showcased Asian mixed ultimate in a close game where the Japanese had the better end winning 14-12.
Australia had an excellent day: they first beat Colombia in convincing fashion 15-8 before they scored a huge upset by beating Japan 15-7.
Singapore also lost their second game. Sweden beat them 11-8. Singapore was not fatigued after the two big games against Australia, and Japan and were not able to keep to their patient brand of ultimate. Singapore was not able to stop the combination of Jonatan Angergård and Alexander Hermansson, and they were shook after Raphael Soh, one of their standouts, exited the game with a head injury. “Against Japan, we did not capitalize on our chances and they punished us and in the second game we got a little carried away maybe because of fatigue,” said coach Benjamin Ho.
Earlier in the day, the Swedish team was beaten by Poland 15-13. Poland was in control for the majority of the game Sweden coach attributed the win to Poland creating a lot of space for their dominant tall men. In the afternoon, Poland got one more win against Columbia.
I caught up with Poland coach Jakub Grzybek, who praised his team. “We are a team of complete players with little weaknesses who are all on the same level,” he said. “The players know each other very well from past juniors tournaments and after an excellent start to the tournament their goal is to get into the semifinal.”
The second big upset of the day was Australia beating Japan 15-7. After gaining confidence in a convincing win against Colombia, the Australians took half 8-5 and closed out the game 15-7.
After a tournament with up and down performances, Australia has the chance to get into quarterfinals. All they have to do is beat Sweden in the last group game. Singapore needs a win against Colombia to secure a spot in quarters and Japan plays Poland in a game for first place in group F.