Parcha vs Traffic and PoNY vs Chain: Day 1 Nationals Analysis

Learn how the top teams play!

New York PoNY in a huddle at the 2021 Club Championships. Photo: William 'Brody' Brotman --
New York PoNY in a huddle at the 2021 Club Championships. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman —

Sion “Brummie” Scone of Flik ultimate gives his analysis from filmed games at USAU Club Nationals.

USAU Club Nationals is the most elite ultimate tournament of the year. Let’s look at how some of the top teams played on day one. Today we’ll look at Pittsburgh Parcha vs Vancouver Traffic and Atlanta Chain Lightning vs New York PoNY.

Parcha vs Traffic

Let’s start with some pull plays:

Parcha field a short pull and get themselves into a horizontal stack, moving the disc to the near side of the field to keep one handler on each side of the disc:

The two center cutters run a peppermill play, with one cutter going away, and the thrower breaking the mark to hit the under. Note the handler on the far side overlapping to provide an option for a dishy throw, even if it wasn’t thrown on this occasion.

The other cutter in the peppermill pair has already taken a few steps to the break side of the field as the disc moved under, this helps to set up her deep cut. She turns and cuts diagonally towards the end zone, and the thrower puts the disc to space for the goal. Note how there is another cutter coming under at the same time. Having multiple throwing options at various areas of the field presents more opportunities for the offense, and a challenge for the defense:

Here’s a nice bit of movement from Traffic:

Traffic field the pull and gain a few yards while moving the disc to the near side of the field. Meanwhile, their cutters form a vertical stack. The back two cut to either side of the field, and the third cutter cuts deep after a slight delay. This is a classic “Moses” play:

We can’t see what’s happening with the deep cut, but Traffic’s offense stalls so we can assume that this cutter couldn’t get open. Traffic then begin their reset pattern using a triangle reset to move the disc back to the center of the field. Meanwhile, the player who caught the pull moves downfield to join the stack. Then, as the disc moves laterally she peels off to provide a continuation swing to the far sideline:

Note that Traffic have now transitioned into a horizontal stack.

As the disc is caught, the marker recovers to prevent further movement around the mark. This opens up a throwing lane on the inside channel. A cutter times her deep cut to begin just as the disc is being caught, and her cut is directly towards the back of the field. This ensures that the thrower has space on either side to throw to. A well-executed leading pass towards the break side is caught just outside the end zone. Traffic would convert for a score a few passes later:

You can read more about creating space with a horizontal stack with this guide by Jimmy Mickle & Dylan Freechild

PoNY vs Chain Lightning

Here’s another horizontal stack, this time Chain’s O-line:

The cutters start by clearing players out to generate a huge space in the middle of the field, isolating a cutter who initiates his movement from the near side of the field, cutting laterally to collect on the far side:

The next cutter then turns under for a short gain. Meanwhile, the Chain players cycle around in a clockwise direction, keeping throwing lanes open while pushing downfield:

PoNY defenders start to poach in towards the active cutting lanes, so Chain change the angle of attack. This is a great example of how to turn a reset into an attacking move. Chain swing the disc. Then, because of the change in disc position, PoNY’s defenders find themselves out of position and unable to prevent quick continuation throws to the break side for the score.

Our final analysis is of a dominator set that PoNY used to get back on the board after being broken upwind. Here it is in full:

PoNY start by fielding the pull and setting up a deep vertical stack. Throughout this point, they would rely on an upfield reset – aka 3H – when in the middle of the field, using a more traditional approach when near the sideline. After fielding the pull, the catch clears wide to stay clear of the dominator set. Notice how the handler at the front of the stack in the 3H position waits and looks over at the pull catcher to confirm he’s clear before initiating his cut to the opposite side of the pitch:

The handler who received the centering pass cuts upline but doesn’t get open, so the next handler at the front of the stack fills in. PoNY then work the disc towards the open sideline with a series of give-go moves before there’s a stoppage:

Resuming play, we again see PoNY alter their setup to have all their players in front of the disc. One of the handlers in the dominator set can’t get open in front of the disc so PoNY swing, then run a give-and-go against the mark to center the disc:

While the disc is static, we can see how one of the handlers involved in the dominator moves into the stack. This might be due to fatigue, or because a certain point of the field has been reached. A new player then joins the dominator set, getting the disc on an around forehand:

To finish things off, PoNY run another upline cut. The handler with the disc fakes and breaks the mark with a nice leading throw to space, putting his teammate just shy of the end zone, with the front of the stack collecting the short-range dish to score.

  1. Sion "Brummie" Scone

    Sion "Brummie" Scone coached GB Open from 2010-2012, and also coached the GB World Games team in 2013, and the u24 Men in 2018. He has been running skills clinics in the UK and around the world since 2005. He played GB Open 2007-12, and GB World Games 2009. He lives in Birmingham, UK. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@sionscone).



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