AUDL Throwaround: West Takes Shape, Chicago, Atlanta Clinch Playoff Spots

The Power Rankings update and playoff picture is coming into focus.

Chicago clinched a playoff spot with an impressive road win in Madison.

Our coverage of the 2021 AUDL season is presented by VII Apparel Co., who provides premium performance apparel for the active world, featuring their proprietary GreenLine fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Betting favorites went 11-0 this week,1 as playoff favorites are rounding into their final form. Every team in playoff position won this week as the league gears up for its end of season push.

Current League Standings

Seattle Sunk in SoCal

The Seattle Cascades ventured down to southern California hoping to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Instead, they dropped both games to get eliminated from playoff contention. Against the San Diego Growlers, the Cascades put up quite the fight, recovering from a four-goal deficit to lose at the buzzer 21-20.

The Growlers struck first, easily holding the opening point before the Cascades answered with a hold and a long break of their own to take an early lead. Not to be outdone, San Diego held and broke, setting up a back and forth affair. A Travis Dunn buzzer beater gave the Growlers a 6-5 lead after the first quarter. Both offenses were crisp in the second quarter, with another Growlers break proving the only difference as San Diego led 13-12.

The Growlers opened up a huge lead after halftime, taking the third quarter 5-2. After an opening hold, San Diego rolled a pull out of bounds and set a double team that forced Manny Eckert to throw a hammer to nobody. Going the other way, Jordan Queckboerner made a tough catch, toeing the sideline to make a trailing edge grab for the goal. Later in the quarter, a Cascades turfed throw gave San Diego a short field. Scott Radlauer caught the breakside goal, and through three quarters, San Diego had an 18-14 lead and the offense had yielded just a single break.

Seattle wasn’t going to fold easily though. The Cascades navigated the double team to start the fourth quarter and reduce the lead to three. After a pair of holds each, Aidan Lopez-Escarez went horizontal to block a bladed upline attempt in the end zone. Working quickly up the field, Dom Jacobs laid out on a picture perfect away shot to bring the game within two. Each team held through high pressure without a turnover. With just under two minutes left, Growlers handler Paul Lally overthrew a reset and the Cascades had a chance to bring the game within one. Garrett Martin tossed an outside in flick to the break side and Nick Mahan caught it on the sideline between two defenders for the goal to bring the game to 21-20 with 1:43 left. With just under a minute left, Dunn’s flick to an open Lior Givol was a tad too angled, and with a chance to tie the game, Seattle called time out. The home fans jeered as the Cascades dinked and dunked their way up the field — they were stomping so loud on the bleachers that the camera was visibly shaking on the broadcast. With thirteen seconds left, Shane Worthington had the disc fifteen yards from the end zone, but called injury as his leg started cramping. Marc Munoz came on and took the disc as the defense got the opportunity to reset. After a give-and-go with Eckert, Munoz floated the disc to Brad Houser cutting upline in the end zone, but Steven Milardovich jumped above him for his third and most important block of the night. Dom Leggio hucked the disc downfield to eat the last 1.4 seconds off the clock, and the Growlers earned a tough victory to stay atop the West division.

Milardovich Game-Winning Block Tweet

Eckert led Seattle with 500 yards throwing and five assists on 73/76 throwing (more than double the throwing yardage and attempts of anyone on the team). He also had one goal and two blocks. Jack Brown managed two assists and three goals. Austin Barden tallied four goals in the game.

For San Diego, Dunn had one of his best games of the season, throwing 35/36 for 492 total yards, with four assists and two goals. Playing with an injured collarbone, Goose Helton tallied four goals and two assists. In the backfield, Tim Okita was a perfect 37/37 with three assists. The Growlers remain two games up in the West standings in the loss column and face the streaking Los Angeles Aviators in back-to-back weeks coming up.

Seattle drove up to Los Angeles for a hot and windy Sunday afternoon affair with the Aviators. After the first half resolved tied at 10 apiece, Los Angeles went on a tear to win the game 20-15.

As has happened frequently this season, the Aviators were broken on the first point of the game, but recovered to hold and break back when Calvin Brown outread his Seattle defender to reel in a tough huck. The Cascades strung together a run of their own, scoring three in a row to end the first quarter up 5-3.

On the first point of the second quarter, LA brought out a saggy zone, forcing Seattle to settle for floaty throws until one sailed a bit too far and Brown snagged the block from the breakside wing. The Aviators worked the disc slowly upwind for the opening break. On the next point, Seamus Robinson poached a strike cut and after a time out, the Aviators punched in the downwind break to tie the game. Not content with a tie, KJ Koo outran Seattle’s Leander Ramirez on the next point to block the huck and, after drops from both teams, caught the upwind goal to give the Aviators their first lead of the day at 6-5. Seattle held upwind and broke back as the teams settled into downwind holds. The Cascades worked through the LA zone to score with 2.5 seconds left in the half, thinking they had a safe lead, but on the ensuing pull Brown caught the disc and launched it to the end zone. A pack formed and went up early, but the wind carried it just over their outstretched arms and into those of Sam Cook; the teams went into halftime tied 10-10 on the strength of LA’s buzzer beating goal.

The Cascades looked tired in the second half and the Cal Poly SLO duo of Koo and Brown took over. LA won the third quarter 6-2 because of their better play in the wind. The Aviators completed seven of their nine hucks in the game while Seattle only managed to complete five of their fourteen long tosses. Including the first half of the fourth quarter, the Aviators went on a 9-2 run to ice the game before Seattle scored three of the last four to close it out.

The win was the Aviators first at home, and keeps them on pace for an outside look at the playoffs. Koo had his best game of the season, notching two goals, four assists, and three blocks on the D-line. Brown, also playing primarily defense, led the team in yards with 590 and blocks with five. He also had three assists and a goal. Another SLO teammate, Matt Miller2 had two blocks too, with an assist and a goal. They’ll need the entire team to step up and win back to back games against the Growlers in the coming weeks to make the playoffs.

Seattle’s Manny Eckert had another stellar game going 62/64 throwing for four assists and 494 total yards. Mark Burton, Adam Simon, Brad Houser, and Marc Munoz, normally rocks with the disc, had fourteen combined turnovers. The two losses eliminate the Cascades from playoff contention. The team has a home-and-home series with also eliminated San Jose to close out the season.

Texas Triumphs Over San Jose

The San Jose Spiders made their first trip to Texas to take on the Austin Sol and the Dallas Roughnecks. Austin made quick work of Spiders, using a 3-0 run to jump out to an early 4-2 lead. The Sol help defense swarmed San Jose’s hucks and the Sol fast break took advantage of a Spiders defense that didn’t do well in transition.

Keeping their multi-goal lead, the Sol rode a 4-0 run to end the first half up 13-7. Austin was really attentive on defense, getting run-through blocks on Spiders cutters trying to milk out more yards. On offense, the Sol were quite stingy. San Jose only had five break opportunities all game! The Sol throwers were really creative in the reset space, often throwing open a reset handler or a cutter to a space that a Spiders defender could not get to.

The teams split a pair of breaks in an even third quarter, but Austin built its lead further with a 4-1 stretch to open the fourth and put the game out of reach as the intense Texas heat took its toll on the visiting team. Austin won the game 25-15 to stay just a game behind Dallas in the West standings.

Paul Starkel led the way for Austin with a 42/44 throwing day and a whopping seven assists! Not to be outdone, Eric Brodbeck tallied six goals, two assists, and a block. Evan Swiatek added a well rounded two assist, three goals, and two block game. In a team effort, only three active players failed to record a goal, assist, or block.

With their playoff hopes out the window, the Spiders traveled to Dallas to play spoiler as the Roughnecks fought to stay in playoff position. San Jose jumped out to an early three goal lead simply by not turning over the disc and grinding out two blocks on unders. They set sideline traps on all of their pulls to disrupt the Dallas pull plays, but the Roughnecks evaded the double team each time before throwing the turnover. Not to be outdone, Dallas went on a 3-0 run of its own to tie the game, punctuated by a full field huck from Dalton Smith, announcing his return to the field after a lengthy stint away due to injury. San Jose scored the next two goals to end the opening quarter up 5-3.

San Jose jumped out to a lead in the second quarter too, scoring a break to open the period on the way to a 4-1 run that opened a 8-4 lead on a grueling three and a half minute point. Due to the heat advisory, extra time outs were called and players quickly retreated to the shade tents where cool towels were available. To conserve energy and slow down the game, San Jose played a lot of zone defense. Smith was often able to maneuver his way through it, but as the wind picked up, turnovers became more frequent. Dallas got a break back, but the Spiders scored with just eleven seconds left to take a 9-6 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Dallas put on the pressure, getting multiple run-through blocks and incurring Spiders’ drops on their way to a 3-0 run that tied the game with 7:28 left in the third quarter. The teams traded out holds and the Spiders ended the quarter up 11-10 after an impressive defensive stand and a Dallas lapse that saw the Roughnecks not able to get off a buzzer beater attempt before time ran out.

Nevertheless, Dallas took control of the game in the fourth quarter opening the final frame on a 4-1 run to take a 14-12 lead. The effects of the heat advisory and playing on the second consecutive day may have caused some Spiders lapses in concentration, as drops and hammers to nobody made the Dallas junk defense particularly effective. Of course, sometimes players just make plays and Noah Chambers punctuated the run with a layout block and an immediate sprint to the end zone to collect the bookends goal. San Jose stopped the bleeding using their lefty throwers to get easy arounds and march up the break side of the field. Down by one, the Spiders had a chance to tie the game after a Dallas huck looked like it went through the football goal posts in the back of the end zone. Smith collected the block on San Jose’s huck the other way and the Roughnecks offense walked the disc halfway up the field before Matt Jackson sent a looping backhand to the breakside end zone corner for Kaplan Maurer to run down. Dallas led 15-13 with just under three minutes left.

In a back and forth point, the Spiders worked through the Dallas double team to get a clean look at the end zone, but Sawyer Thompson’s breakside shot fell a bit short of the target. Dallas gave the Spiders the disc back and Andrew Moore led the charge up the field, but Henry Furuta came up with a clutch handblock on another Thompson throw to keep the Spiders at bay. An errant huck gave the Spiders another chance and Moore found Shane Early on a laser shot to the end zone to bring the game within one with just 51 seconds left. San Jose pulled just a few yards to the sideline in front of their end zone, but Dallas evaded the double team and looked to comfortably be running out the clock, not afraid to move backwards, until a reset pass from Gabe Hernandez to Smith hit the turf with twenty seconds on the clock. The clock doesn’t stop on turnovers in bounds, so with sixteen seconds left, the Spiders picked up the disc and called a timeout to get their offense on the field and in position to tie the game. The Spiders moved up the field, but Early could only put up a floaty toss to a pile in the end zone. The disc was tipped, and Dallas’s Ben Lewis bid to catch the block and end the game.

Moore was a standout player for the Spiders with three goals, two assists, and a block. Steven Chang led the team with three assists. Jordan Kerr managed just one assist, but was 34/36 throwing and snagged two blocks. Now officially eliminated from playoff contention, San Jose finishes its season with two games against the Seattle Cascades.

Smith’s return was huge for Dallas. He went 38/40 with two assists, but it was clear that his calming presence provided an emotional lift to the team, especially as it continues its season without so many players (Henke, Coffin, Malecek, etc.) who went down with injuries. Playing primarily on the D-line, Dillon Larberg notched five assists on just 15 completions and also added two blocks. Lewis had four goals and two blocks, including the one to seal the game. Dallas remains two games back in the loss column from San Jose and has an important game against the Sol next week that could decide which of the two teams makes the playoffs and which watches from their couch.

Chicago Clinches A Playoff Spot

The Chicago Union clinched a playoff berth with a 23-18 victory over the Madison Radicals at Breeze Stevens Field. The Union’s game got off to an auspicious start as Madison’s Victor Luo was stalled out on the Radical’s first possession. Former Radical Peter Graffy led the charge the other way to punch in the break. A few points later, Chicago punched in another one with Drew Swanson skying his own teammate for an uncontested goal to make it 4-2. The teams traded just holds in the second quarter and Chicago went into the break up 11-9; Graffy and Swanson combined to block Madison’s buzzer beating attempt.

The Madison defense came to life in the second half, scoring a break on their first opportunity to tie the game at 11-11 when Andrew Meshnick blocked a low huck and the Radicals handler set gave the D-line offense easy resets on their way to the end zone. With the game tied at 13-13, Pawel Janas led Paul Arters just a bit too far and the Radicals called a time out to sub on their offense. A Rami Paust scoober to Avery Johnson gave Madison its first — and only — lead of the game.

Just when a Madison fan might have thought the game was going to be a good one, former Radical Pat Shriwise wound up and hit former Radical Ross Barker on a 60-yard huck to spark a five-goal run for Chicago spanning parts of the third and fourth quarters. Everything seemed to click all at once for Chicago, which never looked back after taking the 18-14 lead. Graffy played the final four points of that run, scoring a goal, an assist, and a hockey assist on the last three. For the entire game he had two goals, two assists, and two blocks as the Union held out to win 23-18.

Paul Arters had his best game, tossing six assists, catching two goals, and completing all 26 of his passes. Barker corralled five goals, and Janas was 43/44 for 576 total yards, five assists, and two goals. With just a pair of games against Detroit left, Chicago has passed its toughest test until the playoffs.

Madison played a great game, but was ultimately closed out by the Union’s best performance of the season so far. Chris Wilen led the team with five goals, three assists, and a block. Paust had five assists and two goals on 46/47 throwing for 570 total yards. Despite their throwing prowess, Madison did not complete a single huck (on just three attempts) in the game. Meshnick had three blocks for the Madison defense, but the rest of the team combined only had five as Chicago only turned the disc over ten times. Madison will look to end its season on a high note; after two bye weeks, they play Minnesota in the regular season finale.

Wild Ending in Wind Chill Win

The Minnesota Wind Chill were heavy favorites against the visiting Indianapolis AlleyCats, but windy conditions and sloppy performances let made this a narrow contest that was nearly tied by a dramatic Indy buzzer beater. However, the Wind Chill snuck away with a 17-16 victory.

One might think that, with Indianapolis missing their most important offensive player, Travis Carpenter, the Wind Chill would have the advantage in the wind. But both teams failed get a lot of clean looks to build out any runs, keeping the game close. Despite the fact that the AlleyCats seemed more aggressive punting the disc away from their own end zone, they still outhucked the Wind Chill, going 7/12 deep as compared to just 4/13 for the opposition.

Minnesota gained the early advantage on the game’s seventh point, taking a 4-3 on a hammer from William Brandt to Michael Jordan for an upwind break. However, in an example of what plagued the Wind Chill throughout the game, they let Indy squeeze in a goal with just :01 on the clock to tie it to end the first. Some cleaner play occurred in the second quarter, but no breaks, with Minnesota ending the first half up 9-8.

In the second half, the Wind Chill asserted their dominance, stringing together the type of break runs that usually separate the Central’s top teams from the bottom ones. Minnesota double teamed regularly, but a particularly smart action on the part of Brett Matzuka pressured the thrower, before he returned to cover the reset and generate a turnover, sparked an upwind break to take an 11-9 advantage. Adding two more breaks in the quarter, the home team held a 16-12 lead, which looked almost insurmountable in the conditions.

But the fourth quarter did not go Minnesota’s way. The first two points both went to the visitors, both breaks, over a span that was approaching 10 minutes. On the first, the AlleyCat offense worked from the back line of their own end zone, aided by some fouls — another reoccurring problem for the Wind Chill — to get the upwind goal. On the second, after an Indianapolis punt put the Wind Chill near their own end zone, Jordan Taylor wound up a huck to pump fake, only to have the disc knocked from his hand by the foot of the Alleycats’ Xavier Payne. It was not ruled a foul, sparking Taylor to implore Payne to invoke the Integrity Rule, and the two to exchange some words after Indy quick scored to make it 16-14.

Minnesota held with just over 90 seconds remaining in the game, meaning they needed to do two things: not give up any quick goals and not give the disc away on the short field. They failed in both regards. Kyle Romard made a tough and-1 catch through contact to set up a quick Indy score. Josh Klane tried to fire a huck up the sideline, but a contested from Nick Hutton — who as tremendous for the Alleycats’ defense, including a big sky to save what looked like an open goal in the first half (pictured below) — kept it from being complete. The Alleycats quickly put up a deep shot of their own, finding Nick Phillips, who was fouled by Klane to keep Indy possession and set up the goal to bring it within one, 17-16, 21 seconds remaining.

Hutton Skying Block Tweet

The final play was chaotic. Minnesota walked the disc backward, trying to waste the game’s final seconds. But Brett Hidaka tried to casually force a backhand through a double team and gave the disc away just yards away from the end zone. With precious few seconds to work with, Indy hurriedly tried to advance the disc, but Hutton was handblocked by a jumping Bryan Vohnoutka. However, Hutton laid out to catch the deflection. Still on the ground, he looked to nearby teammate Chris Walsh, who had also bid for the save and hadn’t gotten to his feet either, but the Wind Chill crowded that option out. Hutton was forced to flip the disc speculatively to the end zone from his knees, and despite putting a real scare into the Minneapolis fans, a bidding Indy receiver had no real shot at collecting the equalizer.

Detroit Wins a Half

Though they didn’t break the streak, the Detroit Mechanix had some avid AUDL fans on upset alert after their dazzling first half display. Madison was able to recover in the second half to win the game 23-15, but for 24 minutes of game time, it looked like the Mechanix had a chance.

Detroit opened the game with an emphatic break. A Madison huck flew over Chase Marty’s head. Going the other way, Detroit moved the disc quickly to the attacking red zone, where Tevor Balfour caught a floaty swing pass under heavy pressure before throwing the assist to a streaking Austin Riegel. Then, Madison’s Dan Garlock floated an away shot just beyond the reach of his intended receiver and Caleb Stanish skied for the goal the other direction. The Mechanix had back to back breaks and a 2-0 lead. Later in the quarter, a Radicals player dropped an open swing pass and Detroit was able to move quickly through the double-teaming defense to punch in their third break of the game and take a 5-2 lead. Madison did get a break back, with KPS going every other to punch it in, and Detroit took a slim 5-4 lead out of the first quarter.

The second quarter turned into a game of runs. After opening holds from each team, the teams traded pairs of scores, following up each hold with a break. Detroit went up by two, and the Radicals tied it. Joe Cubitt worked through a tough mark and Jake Kenniv toed the sideline to catch a goal with just one second remaining in the half. Madison’s last ditch huck fell short and the scoreboard read: Detroit 9, Madison 8.

The Radicals clearly received the wake up call for the second half, scoring the first three goals to take their first lead of the game on the way to a 9-2 quarter. The Mechanix offense, which had been clicking so well in the first half, was suddenly throwing into poaches and overthrowing swings. Without a Detroit timeout to reset the team, the Radicals defense kept pouring in breaks until the game was out of reach. If the 17-11 lead Madison built up after the third quarter was not enough, the Radicals punched in two breaks to open the fourth quarter too on their way to a 23-15 final score.

Though Detroit didn’t pull out the win, the Mechanix did have some outstanding performers. Bryan Walsh led the way throwing, going 45/46 for 464 total yards and six assists. Kenniv was a monster downfield, tallying eight goals and an assist without a turnover. The Mechanix have another opportunity to break their losing streak against a shorthanded Chicago team this week.

Rami Paust turned in a great game for the Radicals, throwing 25/26 for five assists. Ted Schewe was all over the field on offense, gobbling up 531 total yards with two assists and three goals. Madison has two weeks off before their last game of the season against Minnesota.

DC Rides D-Line to Big Win Over Philly

A mismatch on paper, the DC Breeze did not disappoint in a dominant showing. The Breeze kept pace in the loaded Atlantic division with a 22-12 drubbing of the Philadelphia Phoenix.

While DC’s offense has deservedly earned plaudits all year long, it was the defense that led the way. The Breeze earned three breaks in the first quarter. Rhys Bergeron continued a stellar season as he, AJ Merriman, and Kevin Versteeg all had multiple blocks.

Not to be outdone, the J&J Roofing Company (I assume there is a trademark coming on that) looked unstoppable. Joe Richards and Joe Merrill combined for eight goals, each chipping in four to be tied for the game-high. Throw Kevin Healey into that mix as well, which was a bit of a surprise. The rookie joined Richards and Merrill with four goals in this one. For those keeping track at home, those three players matched Philadelphia for goals scored in the contest.

The Breeze continued to build their lead, extending the margin to six by halftime. Trailing 12-6, the Phoenix struggled to run their offense through their key players. Greg Martin, who was tied for the league lead in goals entering the game, was held to just one goal. Sean Mott had four assists, but also three turnovers. Same goes for Alex Thorne. He had three goals and an assist, but threw five turnovers. Give DC credit for taking Philly out of their comfort zone.

Any hope of a comeback for the Phoenix was going to start on defense, but it was a game to forget on that side of the disc. Philly only recorded four blocks as a team and went 0-4 on break chances. DC’s offense looked fluid and crisp, but it was a dismal showing from Philadelphia defensively.

As a result, the Breeze kept rolling in the second half. Zach Norrbom looked sharp, with four assists and a goal. He wasn’t the only Norrbom to impress either. DC’s four main offensive handlers, Zach and Gus Norrbom, Rowan McDonnell and Jonny Malks, went 187-for-187 throwing in the game.

Philly’s hapless defense paired with an incredibly efficient DC offense lead to a very straightforward second half. The Breeze scattered three breaks across the third and fourth quarters en route to a blowout. The lone bright spot for the Phoenix was James Pollard, who finished with two goals, two assists, and a block. He has been a very reliable defender for Philly for many years, but it was fun to see him get more involved offensively.

For the Breeze, they maintain their tiebreaker lead over the Flyers thanks to a head-to-head win. That has DC on track for a home playoff game at this point. A win there could mean the Breeze do not have to travel at all for the entire postseason.

Big Home Favorites Roll in Atlantic

With little left to play for, it was clear the Triangle Pittsburgh Thunderbirds were determined to be more competitive in the second half of their season. After a week off, the Thunderbirds picked up some North Carolina-based additions to solidify their roster and gave the Raleigh Flyers a true challenge. Despite all those new players, Pittsburgh rode its stars to a 20-17 loss against Raleigh.

While the Thunderbirds deserve some praise for turning things around following a 12-point loss in Week 7 against this same Flyers team, Raleigh looked sensational out of the gate.

Allan Laviolette got started early, finding Henry Fisher in the deep space for a pair of goals. It turned out to be a sign of things to come. Laviolette finished +9, highlighted by seven assists and four goals, while Fisher turned in a +8 performance with six goals and three assists.

Raleigh earned a late break to take a 6-4 lead into the second quarter. Pittsburgh’s offense was doing its best to stay in the game. Max Sheppard, Jimmy Towle, and Thomas Edmonds all impressed with +6 ratings across the board.

Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, their defense showed no ability to convert after the turn and get them back on serve. The two sides traded to a 9-7 score at halftime, much closer than the massive 8.5 point-spread mismatch DraftKings indicated. Pittsburgh finished just 1-for-6 on break chances in the game. The lone break it did earn came on the final point of the fourth quarter, serving as nothing more than a consolation prize.

Pittsburgh packed up and headed down to Atlanta to continue its double-header weekend. If not for the incredible heroics of Connor Newell (six goals, four assists), the Atlanta Hustle likely would have run away with the game. Instead, they settled for a comfortable 27-22 win and clinched a playoff spot in the process.

Atlanta could really do no wrong. It finished 20-for-25 on hold opportunities and punched in an outrageous 7-for-9 break chances. As a team, the Hustle committed just six turnovers. While it was an impressive team performance — the lowest turnover performance by any team this season — Austin Taylor stood out from the rest. He racked up nine assists and 956 yards of offense to solidify his status as an MVP candidate. Atlanta got big offensive performances out of Antoine Davis (four goals, four assists), Matt Smith (five goals, two assists) and Tanner Robinson (four goals, two assists).

While Pittsburgh did its best to keep the scoreline respectable, Atlanta dominated from the opening pull. The Hustle led 7-3 and 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and first half respectively. Their defense, led by Kelvin Williams and Brett Hulsmeyer, got rolling with three straight breaks early to set the tone.

Once again, the Thunderbirds defense could not find a way to get the team back into the game. Pittsburgh finished just 2-for-4 on break chances, with both coming late in the second half with the game safely out of reach. In addition to Newell’s breakout performance, Max Sheppard and CJ Colicchio looked fantastic, but it was not enough to overcome the dialed-in Hustle.

With this pair of losses, the Thunderbirds are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Not that anyone expected them to reach the postseason in the first place, this is still a tough pill to swallow. Pittsburgh appears to be hurdling for a 1-11 season, but if they can find some more pickups to fill out the roster, the Thunderbirds might have a surprise left in them.

A trip south proved to be no problem for the defending champs. The New York Empire rolled past Tampa Bay Cannons 25-18 to keep pace in the Atlantic playoff race.

Ben Jagt turned in an otherworldly performance, tallying seven goals, five assists, and two blocks to finish with a +13 rating. He will undoubtedly find himself on the shortlist of MVP candidates when the regular season wraps up.

The Empire big man had plenty of help though. Ryan Drost was a menace on defense, recording five blocks while also adding three goals and an assist. Conor Kline also turned in a quality performance with three goals and three assists.

The Cannons hung around in the first quarter, giving up a break, but only trailing 5-4. Unmil Patel proved to be a crucial playmaker with the Empire focusing heavily on the Cannons’ handler trio. He totaled three goals, two assists, and a block to continue what has been an impressive season in his second year with Tampa.

Hopes of staying close vanished quickly as New York opened the second quarter on a 3-0 run. The Empire went on to outscore the Cannons 15-8 across the second and third quarters to effectively put the game to bed. While Tampa could not find a way back, Eric Sjostrom deserves some credit for an impressive performance. He finished with five assists and two goals on 56-of-59 throwing. He trailed only Andrew Roney in total offense for the game.

New York’s win sets up a showdown with Raleigh in Week 10. The Flyers head north for a doubleheader against the Glory and the Empire. Fans can only hope they are treated to a repeat of 2019’s instant classic as Raleigh and New York jockey for positioning in the loaded Atlantic division.

An MVP Returns

Our own Alex Rubin broke the news that the San Diego Growlers are signing Jonathan Nethercutt for Week 10. Nethercutt won the 2017 AUDL MVP along with Ultiworld’s Club Player of the Year award that same season. He is also a former Callahan Award winner and will step right into a Growlers lineup missing many key players due to SoCal Condors participation in USA Ultimate’s US Open. The Growlers are no stranger to importing talent from Colorado, having previously signed Jimmy Mickle, Nick Lance, and Josh Ackley (all coincidentally also former Callahan Award winners) back in 2015.

Power Rankings

For full thoughts on every team, check out AUDL Power Rankings 2021: Week 9 Update.

Survivor Pool Update

A rather uneventful week saw all seven remaining contestants move on to Week 10. There was some variety to the picks though, with four teams represented across the seven entries submitted. With many teams set to field incomplete or weakened rosters this week due to the US Open, it could be a tough task to reach Week 11.

Stall Seven/Deep Look Picks Contest

Each pod picked the same results as DC and Austin cleaned up in ten point wins, but Madison could not come within three of Chicago.

  • Stall Seven: 2/3 on the week, 12/27 for the season
  • Deep Look: 2/3 on the week, 13/27 for the season

This week’s lines:

  • Raleigh at NY (-2)
  • Austin at Dallas (-1.5)
  • Chicago (-10.5) at Detroit

  1. although they fared much worse against the spread 

  2. Subject of this fantastic podcast where you can hear about his national team handball experience. 

  1. Chris McGlynn

    Chris has been playing ultimate for close to a decade starting in Westfield, NJ. He played throughout college with Syracuse Scooby Doom before graduating in 2018. In his free time, Chris runs The Ultimate Podcast, interviewing athletes about their experiences with ultimate. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@theultimatecast).

  2. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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