The American teams kept rolling in Poland, though the same can not be said for our neighbors to the north.
August 8, 2022 by Matt Singleton in Recap with 0 comments
WROCLAW, POLAND – The World Junior Ultimate Championships continued on Day 2 and the U20 Women’s and Open US National Teams took control of their pools in both divisions, riding disciplined offense and commanding defense to victory.
Elsewhere, the Canadian National Teams thrilled with universe point games in the Women’s and Open U20 divisions.
U20 Women’s Division
Highlight Grabs and Disciplined Defense as the US Cruise through Pool Play
The US National Team continued their dominant start to the week in the Women’s Division, opening with a 15-2 victory over Italy on Monday. They leapt out to a 6-0 lead within minutes for the second time in as many games; six different players scored as the US’s balanced attack and depth showed through. Mia Beeman-Weber was calm and collected off the turn; equally comfortable hitting quick resets and powerful deep shots, Beeman-Weber has emerged as one of the key distributors for the US D-line offense. The few times that the American O-line took the field, Lia Schwartz continued to impress as the Americans’ center handler, calmly distributing to speedy cutters downfield and getting open wherever in the reset space.
The US’s second game of the day started off a little shakier, as the American O-line seemed somewhat bothered by the Austrian D-line’s size; the two teams traded turns before the US offense found its rhythm and Rachel Chang threw to Chloe Hakimi for the opening score. From there, the US D-line took over, quickly stifling Austria’s preferred pull plays and forcing them into high-stall hucks. Erica Birdsong skied for the first break and Acacia Hahn broke the mark low and inside the next to give the US a 3-0 lead. Austria got on the board as Leni Meister connected on a deep look to bring Austria back within two. The remainder of the game carried more of the same; Austria found occasional success on deep shots, but was mostly forced out of their preferred looks by the US’s variety of defensive schemes. Beeman-Weber had another impressive game as the D-line’s distributor off the turn—throwing one assist and scoring two goals. Although the Austrians looked taller across the board than the Americans, Michiko Magnant seemed to have no trouble with the defense, consistently skying multiple defenders en route to another assertive performance, including a leaping grab over a taller defender to win the game for the US.
The US will finish pool play tomorrow with a game against undefeated New Zealand to see who tops the pool. The US should be favorites; they’ve outscored opponents by a combined margin of 45-7, while New Zealand has won in far tighter fashion, with a margin of 45-32. After that awaits the tournament’s power pool, with likely highly anticipated games against the Czech Republic and either Canada or France as the level of competition picks up for the Americans.
Around the Division
The biggest fireworks of the day came from the aforementioned Czech Republic and Canada, as the Czechs gave Canada its first loss of the tournament in a hotly contested 11-10 universe point win. Arabella Brudney did all she could for Canada, putting up an incredible four assists and one goal in the loss. Her assist total was matched on the other side by Denisa Havlová, though the Czech’s balanced attack saw 15 of their 21 players get on the scoreboard in the upset. Canada will look to rebound against 2-1 France tomorrow to decide which team will advance to the Power Pool and the Czech Republic will face off against 0-3 Poland in what looks to be an easy game to close out the pool.
U20 Open Division
US Impresses on Both Sides of the Disc as They Clinch Pool A
In their closest game of the tournament so far, Team USA rode a 7-2 second half to prevail 15-7 over France in the first match of the day. Reminiscent of yesterday’s contest with Colombia, the first half started out a hotly contested affair. The teams traded holds to 4-4, as Enzo Stanguennec gashed the American defense for three quick goals, getting open all over the field. France stacked their D-line in an effort to earn a break, giving the US offense pause as they were forced to reset and swing the disc without gaining any real yardage until North Carolina’s Josh Singleton calmly stepped past his mark and delivered a 60-yard flick huck to Tobias Brooks perfectly in stride for the hold; it would the first of three connections for the former YCC teammates out of the Triangle.
After that, the US defense took over. Once again, Erica Brown’s and Ocean Hines’ pulls forced the opposing handlers into the unenviable position of facing the USNT’s plethora of athletic defenders from the back of their own end zone. Hines and Ben Horrisberger both skied multiple offensive players for interceptions while Brown and Adam Grossberg each caught French throwers off guard with perfectly timed poaches for blocks. As frightening as the US defenders are before the turn, they pose matchup nightmares for opposing O-lines after it. The D-line handler corps of Everett Saunders, Max Dehlin, and Louis Douville Beaudoin was excellent against France—breaking the mark and hitting deep shots at will in the windy conditions to extend USA’s lead. For France, Stanguennec was excellent, catching three and throwing one goal while getting open all over the field.
The second game of the day for the Americans against Great Britain was a different affair; the US team broke five times to start the game and never looked back as they cruised to a 15-5 victory. The teams traded holds into half at 8-3; Tyler East, Great Britain’s star cutter who scored or assisted on all five of his team’s goals against the US, beat defenders deep for two goals and launched an impeccable flick huck of his own for an assist. The second half was a little sloppier as the teams contented themselves to trade hucks back and forth in the windy conditions. The play of the game came at 10-4 in the second half when Erica Brown launched another of her perfect pulls, landing this one just on the back corner of the end zone, sprinted all the way down the field, and promptly skied Great Britain’s center handler to score a Callahan; it took maybe seven seconds.
Josh Singleton (2 goals, 7 assists on the tournament so far) continued to impress on the day as the Americans’ center handler, leading the offense to an unbroken day even without Declan Miller. Oscar Graff (8 goals, 3 assists) and Tobias Brooks (4 goals, 3 assists) have been key targets for the American O-line downfield. The US will meet Austria in the final game of regular pool play tomorrow morning before assumed matchups with Canada and Italy in the tournament’s power pool.
Around the Division
In Pool B, Canada triumphed over Italy in the division’s game of the tournament so far, a thrilling 15-14 showdown where both teams clawed back from deficits. Italy started out on fire, scoring two breaks to find themselves up 3-1 in a matter of minutes. Oscar Stonehouse and Koji Suzuki made big plays to help the Canadians find their rhythm, and Wesley Wong marshaled the D-line offense into a flurry of Canadian breaks of their own, taking half 8-6 and then breaking once more out of half. The Canadians kept that lead until the final moments of the game when Stonehouse seemed to ice it in one thrilling sequence—laying out for an interception to regain possession and then streaking deep to sky multiple defenders before flipping in the goal to go up 14-11. However, the Italians weren’t done yet and launched a thrilling 3-0 run before running out of gas against a better-rested Canadian O-line on universe point. Lorenzo Simonazzi (3a) impressed for the Italians, controlling possessions after the turn and marching the D-line into the end zone for several breaks.
Colombia rebounded after a tough day on Sunday, going 2-0 with big victories over Germany and Austria to vault themselves into third place in Pool A after Monday’s action. After earning surprise wins over Great Britain and Germany yesterday, Austria faltered today, losing big to the South Americans and then playing relatively close with France in another loss. Even facing the prospect of a final pool play game against the Americans, the Austrians have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the middle pool on Wednesday, keeping alive their chances of qualifying for the championship bracket.