What an exciting game to go!
September 3, 2019 by Ráchel Tošnerová in News, Recap with 0 comments
TRNAVA, SLOVAKIA – For three days, Slovakian Trnava hosted the traditional mix of Central and Eastern European men’s teams. While FUJ and FWD>> came into the tournament with a clear expectation to advance, there was more of a mystery to the other two spots to the EUCF.
Friday and Saturday
FUJ and FWD>> – finally a friendship?
Two games on Friday, three on Saturday. That was the set up for pool plays in the men’s division. While FUJ (Prague, Czech Republic) made their way to the top of the pool without any major problems, FWD>> (Vienna, Austria) got a bit shaky at times trying to earn their spot in Sunday semis. On Friday Mojra (Warsaw, Poland) took them to double game point, and their victory over Cosmo (Maribor, Slovenia) was a close one, as well, 15-13. You can watch the “pool final” between FWD>> and FUJ on Fanseat.
These two teams have a history of heated emotions during their matchups. This has sometimes reflected in the teams’ spirit on the field. However, it seems like the MODUS tournament were the teams met earlier this August worked wonders for their mutual relationship. “So… the guys came back from Munich [where MODUS took place] and said that apparently we’re friends with FUJ now,” commented the captain of FWD>> in the spirit circle after the game who himself did not go to MODUS. The mutual spirit scores of 14 and 13 are unprecedented between these teams and only confirm the start of this budding bromance.
Prague Devils (Prague, Czech Republic) and Mojra made it to cross-over games from the pool stage, leaving Terrible Monkeys and Cosmo without a chance to advance. Surprisingly, Cosmo played some very close games with the top contenders while losing big to the weaker teams. Cosmo men will definitely be a team to watch in the future as they will look to replicate Cosmo women’s success this year.
In the other pool, thebigEZ (Vienna, Austria) cruised effortlessly to take top seed, beating Catchup Graz in the pool final easily 15-7. Both Polish teams, The Bridge (Wroclaw, Poland) and Uprising (Poznan, Poland) got third and fourth, respectively, hoping to work their way through the lower bracket on Sunday.
Warsaw dream comes true – Mojra goes to Caorle!
Due to heavy rain and lightning during Saturday night and Sunday morning, all games except for games to go were canceled. All Sunday matches were moved to back up astroturf at the Lokomotiva Stadium and shortened to 70 minutes. ThebigEZ proved that their pool victory wasn’t accidental when they pushed FWD>> in the semifinal, losing only by two points. FUJ took on Catchup (Graz, Austria) in the other semi, easily securing their participation at EUCF 15-11.
Catchup made it known they were not planning on making the trip to Caorle anyway. The game for 5th became the last gateway to the European finals for the winners of lower bracket crossovers. Prague Devils kept their chances alive by beating Uprising 9-6 while on the other field Mojra took on their fellow countrymen The Bridge in a streamed game. Even though the results from Polish nationals1 earlier this year would suggest otherwise, Mojra won 13-10.
The last game of the tournament was everything on the line between Mojra and Prague Devils. It can and should be rewatched here. A drop in their own endzone by Prague Devils in the third point of the game allowed Mojra to break early. However, two points later an excellent lay-out defense by Prague’s Kenichiro Azuma brought the teams back on serve. At 7-7 a timeout was called but Prague Devils kept their composure and took the half 8-7 without a single turnover. A poached D by Milan Vodehnal in the first point of the second half resulting in a break seemed like all Prague Devils needed to get under Mojra’s skin but instead, the Polish swung right back with a Callahan in the next point by Mojra’s Piotr Latoszewski. The next time the Polish D forced a turnover they took a timeout to make sure they capitalized and evened out the score to 10-10. Two more errors by the Czechs and Mojra found themselves in the lead 12-10. The game was, however, by no means over as Prague Devils came close one more time with a break to 12-12. The next point was truly nerve-wracking with two turnovers forced by Prague Devils and a timeout from each side. Finally, Mojra found a poached off receiver in the zone and used the mental advantage to bring the game home after blocking the opponent’s deep shot 14-12.
Mojra’s Andrzej Holnicki summarized the team’s experience in Trnava: “We lost three pool games on universe2 and knew that we had to change something to get through the playoffs. We switched up our lines for Sunday and our D line finally started converting. The team has tried to qualify for EUCF for the past five years and it’s amazing to finally see the dream come true. I’m particularly happy for Kamil Osiecki who has rejoined the team after coming back from a long-term injury. What a way to kick things off!”
The final ranking
1/2. FUJ (Prague, Czech Republic) – Qualified for EUCF
1/2. FORWARD (Vienna, Austria) – Qualified for EUCF
3. thebigEZ (Vienna, Austria) – Qualified for EUCF
4. Mojra (Warsaw, Poland) – Qualified for EUCF
5. Prague Devils (Prague, Czech Republic)
6. Catchup (Graz, Austria)
7/8. The Bridge (Wroclaw, Poland)
7/8. Uprising (Poznan, Poland)
9-12. Yellow Block (Prague, Czech Republic), Cosmo (Maribor, Slovenia), Terrible Monkeys (Prague, Czech Republic), Gigolo (Kyiv, Ukraine)
The Bridge finished 1st, Uprising 2nd and Mojra 3rd – but Mojra did not bring their full roster to the tournament. ↩
To FWD>>, Prague Devils and Cosmo. ↩