2022 Youth Club Championships: Day One Recap

An exciting first day at YCCs!

smOAK’s Elijah Geduldig goes for the grab in the team’s win over Oregon Trainwreck. Photo: Rudy DeSort — UltiPhotos.com

This article was written by Esther Gendler.

MINNEAPOLIS — The best youth players in the country — save for the ones competing at the World Junior Ultimate Championships in Poland this week — took to the fields at the National Sports Center for the first day of action at the 2022 Youth Club Championships. After the tournament was canceled in 2020 and sparsely attended in 2021, YCCs feels all the way back to full strength with more than 90 teams competing at this year’s event.

Saturday brought rain and thunderstorms, delaying the day’s rounds by two hours, but the weather mostly held up the rest of the day with occasional rain and some moderate wind late in the day.

The competition looks better than ever this year, and the best teams took care of business as they look ahead to bracket play beginning on Sunday.

U20 Girls

After the first day of pool play In the U-20 Girls Division, Oregon Downpour has emerged as a clear favorite to take down this year’s Youth Club Championship after shutting out Madison MUFAbots 15-0 to start the day, Downpour wasted no time in setting the level of play for the rest of the tournament. They continued to stun the competition against Philly Phang 15-2, despite the rain and wind that gave other teams problems. Elsa Weybright was a standout for Downpour, posting five goals and five assists. Also looking to win another championship with the team is Syris Linkfield, a huge playmaker with 7 assists already through one day of competition. This Downpour team is a force to be reckoned with and could very well bring home another trophy this year.

Utah Swarm was a Pool B powerhouse, with big-margin victories against the North Carolina Warhawks and Cincinnati’s Bullseye and CA Current. In Pool D, Seven Hills had similar success, only giving up seven points across both of their games. Pinpointing standout players from both teams is challenging, but the well-roundedness of both rosters makes these two teams very much in the running for the championship game.

CATlanta took care of business in Pool C, with a decisive win over Minnesota Superior in the Pool finals. A game that appeared to be neck and neck in the first half became a showcase for CATlanta’s talented roster to shine. #11 Quincy Booth showed up to run the show for the Cats with 13 assists. These statistics were not the only impressive facet of Booth’s game — her leadership, on-field confidence, and skill were readily apparent. Balancing out Booth in CATlanta’s stand-out players was Sagan Yarborough. With six goals and huge bids, Yarborough was a key contributor in CATlanta’s wins.

U-20 Boys

Eight pools round out the U-20 Boys division, making it hard to say for certain who the frontrunners in the division are following pool play, particularly with some usual powerhouses looking a bit less imposing this year. Each pool had their standouts, leading up to what should be an exciting showdown in the Championship Bracket.

Some day one standouts:

  • Nashville Villains

The Nashville Villains gave the teams in pool H a difficult time, going 3-0 on the day and winning their games decisively.

  • Colorado Cutthroat

Colorado Cutthroat were the team to beat in pool E, only giving up seven points over their two games.

  • Utah Swarm

Swarm’s Nathan De Morgan dominated Saturday’s games, generating 10 assists and only one turnover despite windy conditions. While Swarm didn’t win their pool by the large margins that the Villains and Cutthroat did, they still proved to be a solid team that will be competitive in the championship bracket.

  • Oakland smOAK

Luca Adams and Dylan Nice were superb on day one for the best U20 team out of the Bay Area. smOAK took down the #1 seed and defending champion Oregon Trainwreck 11-10 and got a convincing win over DC’s Foggy Bottom Boys. This proved to be a very tough pool and smOAK coming out of it unscathed is a sign of their potential in a bracket run.

U20 Mixed

Five teams remain undefeated in the U-20 mixed division. Although teams have the same records, there are still standouts in the division that will be hard to stop as the tournament progresses. The most dominant performer was Seattle Seven Hills, who gave up a total of only four points in their two Saturday pool play games. No team in pool B came close to even competing with them. The point differentials in all of Seven Hills’ games, coupled with how smoothly their offense runs and how well they convert on defense, shows a higher level of play than the other top teams in the division. Kentucky’s Pi+, Utah Swarm, Dallas Skyline, and Oregon Landslide all have reason to be confident as they move into Sunday’s matchups, but any team to face Seven Hills will have their work cut out for them on the road to the championships.

U-17 Girls

Seven Hills, RATLers, and Pythons are the teams to beat in the U-17 Girls division.

Seven Hills had a dominant performance over Minnesota Superior and Belly of the Beast!, as well as a more narrow win over the Philadelphia Pythons. Even with the loss to Seven Hills, the Pythons cannot be counted out as one of thee top teams in the division. Going 2-1 on the day, they gave Seven Hills their toughest game of the day, proving that they can keep up with the top of the division. Rounding out the top of the U-17 girls division is the Atlanta RATLers, who went 2-0 in their games on Saturday. The RATLers took their wins against Minnesota Superior and Utah Swarm with ease, giving them a good path to the championship game.

U-17 Boys

With the structure of pool play in the U-17 Boys division, some pools have multiple leaders. In pool A, Boston BUDA and Bay Area Aftershock both went 2-0 with sizable wins over their competition. In pool B, Minnesota Superior and New Jersey DEVYL also share the top of the pool with large-margin victories over both of their opponents. With four teams all sharing dominant performances in this division, the crossovers both within these pools and as they cross over into the bracket are sure to be competitive and high-intensity games.

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