MagnUM become the second Michigan team to make a national semifinal in two months.
December 19, 2021 by Eddie Scott in News, Recap with 0 comments
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The quarterfinals matchup between #3 Washington and #11 Michigan was messy from the outset, but MagnUM made just a few fewer mistakes en route to a 15-12 victory to become the second team from the Wolverine State to earn a spot in the national semifinals in two months.
Washington’s Martin Le got a pressure block on the very first point only for the Sundodgers to give the disc back two throws later. Michigan came down with a Stall 9 punt on the next possession. After a timeout, Schwallie found Baker for the first score of the game. It was a hold, but it was far from clean, an omen for the game to come.
Michigan came out fiery in this game on the defensive side, which their leadership wanted to emphasize heading into the matchup with Washington. “We knew that they had not really been punched and had a close game this whole season. If we came out hot, we could catch them by surprise and grab some breaks.” This gameplan worked to perfection, as Michigan’s tight defense flustered Washington into throwing away an easy upline, resulting in a Michigan break to go up 2-0.
Michigan chose to come out in zone on the third point — Adam Stautberg got a block from the cup on a crash and was off to the races, catching a huck that led to another Michigan break. After a clean hold, Washington was able to get a block off a poorly calculated Michigan deep shot, but threw away another easy upline allowing Michigan to hold and maintain their early cushion.
On offense, Washington threw directly into a poach for the second time this game, only for Michigan to give it back on a messy deep shot. After Washington returned the favor, Michigan turfed an around and Washington scored the luckiest of holds to make the score 4-2. Manny Eckert knocked down a Michigan deep shot, then was able to scoober for the first Washington break of the game.
The rest of the first half was all holds, although many were extremely sloppy, including point blocks, more Washington throws into poaches, fouls, and a lot of players slipping around the field.
Taking half 8-6, Michigan leadership said their goal was “To keep our energy up. This was the first time we were able to come out hot from the start with our energy and carry it through the first half.”
The second half began slightly cleaner, with three straight clean holds before Michigan dropped an easy under while up 9-8. Washington punted to the end zone, giving possession back to MagnUM. After a Cameron Baker point block, Washington overcooked yet another upline and Michigan finally scored a four-possession hold to go up 10-8.
The very next offensive point for Michigan, a handler caught the pull and had a miscommunication on the centering pass, sending it straight to the grass and allowing Washington to score a three-throw break from Tony Vanneri to Justin Ting to tie the game at 10s.
Needing one more break for the lead, Washington came out with a tight, physical person defense, challenging every throw. Eventually, Michigan’s Jimmy Baker floated a touchy flick towards the endzone, which sailed mere inches over the fingertips of a bidding Derek Mourad, gracefully landing in the hands of Jake Kovalic.
Several clean holds later, with the score 13-12, Zach Loyd — a former Michigan B-teamer turned lockdown defender — got a huge layout block on a Washington under. Max Vogel hit Theo Shapinsky upline for the Michigan break to stretch their lead to 14-12 and push the Sundodgers season to the brink. Washington moved the disc up the length of the field with ease, hitting unders and resets at will, only to drop a goal and gift the disc to Michigan. Michigan then returned the favor, throwing the disc to absolutely nobody, only for Washington to drop another goal, with a defender pressuring. Michigan would not be so generous this time around, marching the disc down the field and hitting Jeffrey Gao in the endzone for the win.
Despite an extremely messy game, several players put up wonderful performances for each team. On Washington’s side, Jake Steen came down with 4 clutch goals while Manny Eckert had 4 assists and 2 goals of his own, along with the block that led to their first break. Derek Mourad did a great job as the general for the Sundodgers offense, ending with 3 assists and helping to move their offense down the field consistently.
On the Michigan side, Raymond Lu was brilliant. The best player on the field any and all points he played, Lu ended with 5 goals, 2 assists, and a block in a performance where he quite literally did it all. Aaron Bartlett was instrumental to Michigan’s offensive success, serving as the focal point of their offense in moving the disc down the field and ending with 2 assists. Jared Schwallie finished with a goal and 2 assists as well, willing to cut deep and push downfield as well as working in the handler layer. The star of Michigan’s defense was Zachary Loyd, whose layout block and lockdown defense turned the tide of the game.
Next up, Michigan has a date with Georgia in the semifinals.