Regional rivalries drove the narratives on day two.
September 6, 2021 by Isabel Cruz and Chris Cassella in Recap with 0 comments
BOULDER — Sunday at Pro Championships continued to bring tight matchups and exciting upsets in mixed play. On a day that started off with some key rivalry games, every team brought intensity and athleticism, further defining volatility as the only constant in this division. Despite some tough moments, frontrunners Fort Collins shame. and Seattle Mixtape built momentum throughout the day to clinch their spots in the finals.
Regional Rivalries Start Day on a High Note
Even though shame. and Mixtape have put up dominant records in recent matches with their respective hometown rivals Denver Love Tractor and Seattle BFG, these familiar opponents tend to inspire strong competition and intensity in each other, making for tightly matched games. Elsewhere in the round, Arizona Lawless and Dallas Public Enemy were both dark horse teams on day one, and were bound to churn out exciting plays upon meeting.
Love Tractor started off neck-and-neck with their fellow Coloradoans, but shame. ran away with the score to win by a large margin of 15-8. BFG was able to stay closer with Mixtape throughout the game, but their rivals prevailed 15-13. As for the Sun Belt matchup between Lawless and Public Enemy, the two teams’ distinct but similarly disruptive styles of play challenged each other, bringing the game to universe point. Making use of their players’ athleticism, Lawless finally reeled in the win to upset Public Enemy 11-10.
The final round of pool play was anyone’s game: while shame., Mixtape, and Public Enemy were favored on paper, the previous games had proven that nothing is guaranteed within this division. Lawless had an opportunity to capitalize on the unparalleled momentum of a universe-point upset to clinch another upset against familiar opponent shame.; meanwhile, Public Enemy’s first day had been stellar, beating shame. who had won against their next opponent Mixtape. But in the end, it was only Lawless who meaningfully challenged the higher seed: although they finally fell to shame. 13-11, they did take half, and put up some incredible defensive plays to keep play competitive throughout. Mixtape and BFG clinched comfortable wins 13-8 over Public Enemy and 14-8 over Love Tractor, respectively.
shame. Clinches Spot in Monday’s Final Despite Rough Start in Semis
In a weird turn of events with seeding and bracket structure, semifinalists were set to play almost instant rematches to vie for a spot in the finals: shame. vs. Lawless, then Mixtape vs. BFG.
Many ultimate players fear the jinxed momentum that comes from getting broken on the first point of a game. But after falling behind a break to start with impressive bookends by Lawless’s Jamie Eriksson, shame. seemed almost more energized by the opportunity to unleash their inner comeback kid. They quickly held and earned back their break, bringing the game to 2-1. Dominant blocks and scores by Megan Maxfield on Lawless kept them right in the game to stay even until 3-3. But standout performances by shame.’s defensive line — particularly Ryan Pesch with some killer break throws — sealed the half for them with a solid 8-4 lead.
shame. dominated the second half, scoring 7 of the 11 remaining points. Their signature tactic of running the game through women-matching players secured score after score, and consistent offense by their defensive line punished Lawless for their turnovers. But Lawless did not completely let their foot off the gas. Although the team had visibly lost steam as the day went on, Lawless’s top athletes, including Eriksson, Melissa Dunn, and Carl Morgenstern, continued to apply pressure and generate exciting plays. But shame. punched in a decisive second victory 15-7 with a huck to trusty receiver Aubree Dietrich, who netted the score despite a layout attempt by Eriksson.
Although both of Sunday’s back-to-back matchups between shame. and Lawless were heated and even chippy at times, the rivals were friendly on the sidelines after what shame. joked felt like an uber-long “29-19” game. Lawless may not have shined as brightly as they could have in their surprise semis appearance, but coach Mark Borger was optimistic about how they will carry lessons from the weekend forward to continue elevating their play for the series. He also made a point of shouting out how much he appreciated that shame. and almost all of their opponents across the mixed division prioritized 3-4 lines, giving the division’s dominant women-matching athletes the lead role in high-level competition.
Mixtape Handily Advance to Final in “Seattle Cup” Take Two
Mixtape and BFG faced off in a “Seattle cup” on the showcase field in the early afternoon. What was billed as a close game ended up being a runaway victory for Mixtape, who defeated BFG 15-10. Everything just seemed to go Mixtape’s way this game: when a huck floated too long, the receiver could make a second-chance grab; when an ill-advised blade caught the wind, a defensive player was ready to capitalize. Most notably, it seemed that whenever BFG had a chance to score, they turned the disc on an errant huck or a dropped pass.
BFG looked defeated after the first few Mixtape breaks. While they were able to regain some momentum in the second half, they were never able to overcome that first-half deficit. This is not to say that BFG lacks standout players: Mario O’Brien was an engine for their offense, punishing Mixtape’s defense with smooth inside breaks. Charlie Mercer was another offensive contributor for BFG who managed to find the open receiver in both the under or deep space. On Mixtape, key names included Lexi Garrity and Manny Eckert, who should have big performances on Monday against Fort Collins.
Looking forward to the final, Mixtape will have a hard matchup against shame., who have a wide swath of players who can put up some points against Mixtape. The hometown team got a wake-up call during their first half against Lawless, and should come into the final with renewed focus. On Mixtape’s side, they will need to force turns against shame. to have a chance at winning the final. When playing BFG, they were able to capitalize on mental mistakes. shame., on the other hand, is a team with seasoned veterans who have played in high-stakes games, including reps at other TCT events this summer — and while BFG had veteran talent as well, shame. has done well to close out tough games all tournament.
In the consolation bracket, Lawless will play BFG Monday for third place. Public Enemy and Love Tractor were slated to play Monday as well, but moved their game to Sunday afternoon; Love Tractor defeated Public Enemy 14-8, placing them fifth and sixth respectively.
Livestreams on Monday
2:30 PM (Mountain): Mixed Final (ESPN3)