The last game of the US Open closed the event in style.
August 10, 2022 by Laura Osterlund in Recap with 0 comments
BLAINE, MN. – For the first time since 2019, a new chAMPion has been crowned. In one of the tightest matchups that either team had seen all tournament, Philadelphia AMP turned up the volume on Madison NOISE to win 14-12. The tournament’s fantastic finish can be viewed as having a few separate segments, like acts of a play, during which the rich story unfolded.
ACT ONE: Hushed
Things started off smooth at the National Sports Center on Sunday morning. The first seven points of the game looked the exact same. Both teams would throw safe throws, with some quiet movement from their handlers as well as on their unders up until near the halfway point of the field, where they would then throw an away throw to score. That was it: no turns, no drama, no risks, just two evenly-matched teams who made it seem like they would continue to have clean holds and the first team to make a mistake would lose.
ACT TWO: The Ruckus Begins
Just when the game seemed like it was going to continue to be a subdued showdown, Gaby Krajniak turned the tides for AMP and blocked NOISE’s attempt on a deep shot, contributing to the first break for AMP, 5-3. It only took that takeaway to shift the game in AMP’s favor and change the tone of things. The following points got a bit messier with the very next point containing six possession changes, in very stark contrast to the 0 possession changes in every single point before that. In a point filled with big plays and D’s by the stars on both teams, Dylan DeClerk and Ness Cannaday for NOISE and Will Helenski and Mike Campanella for AMP all made themselves heard, making it quite clear that the game was afoot.
ACT THREE: Shifting Decibels
Momentum changed again in the ninth point, as NOISE not only got their first block, but also a Callahan from Matt Grinde to break and go back on serve, 5-5.
This completely changed the energy of the game back to favor NOISE. The Wisconsinites then continued to apply enough defensive pressure to force another turn from AMP and just like that, NOISE got another break claimed the lead for the first time, 6-5.
Their lead was short lived, however, as AMP scored a break after a few mistaken throws from NOISE and the tides changed again as the Philadelphians took half, on serve, 8-7 .
After another clean hold or two from each team, both teams started making a few more mistakes than had been seen in the rest of the game. Because NOISE made some key saves and AMP made some critical miscues, NOISE broke them to force the lead to change again, much like the windy to sunny to rainy to cloudy weather in Blaine that weekend. With a 10-9 advantage, it was evident that NOISE was still clawing their way to stay in the game and would find any way they could to cause a commotion.
“We run a pretty evenly distributed system, but of course there are going to be moments when we put the players who are having really great games in to try to generate some D’s,” said NOISE captain Katy Stanton. “I think we did that at clutch points and we’re able to get back in the game that way.”
ACT FOUR: Full Blast
At this point AMP knew they had to step up the tempo. If they wanted to secure another US Open win, they had to work for it.
“NOISE made adjustments and they’re really smart and experienced and they use all that experience to adapt. In the future, I’d like us to be more proactive ahead of that, but like, that’s not them being bad, that’s that’s them being great and pushing us to be great too,” said AMP coach Patrick Sherlock. “So them making plays I think inspired us to make some of our own all the credits in them.”
AMP did just that, and took advantage of a turn from a NOISE floater in their next defensive point and once again broke and came out ahead, 11-10. While NOISE stepped it up on defense, they were not able to convert their break chances for a score after they got broken the final time. Some of the last points looked almost identical to the first: a few short throws before sending a bomb screeching deep. As the soft cap went on, it looked like NOISE was going to make another clean hold to force double game point. But, just when it all seemed predictable, AMP’s Linda Morse knocked away an airborne disc, sending it about ten yards and catching it near her team’s red zone. AMP calmly made enough swings to work the disc to their door step until Sumi Onoe threaded the needle as Jake Butrica got free of his defender to catch the winning score. The two-point margin was as wide as it got in a matchup where little separated the competitors.
“I felt a fire in me and I know others did as well just by looking in their eyes that they wanted this game really bad,” said AMP’s Mike Campanella. “I feel like there’s a lot of passion for all of us, I just feel like we are so far from our peak and excited to get there and see what that looks like. We’re at base camp right now at Mount Everest.”