October 1, 2022 by Ned Garvey in Recap with 0 comments
The end of Pool Play
Day three started with the last round of pool play, in which six teams still had the opportunity to make it into the semi-finals. GRUT (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and Left Overs (Brno, Czechia) were guaranteed spots in the semis.
In Group A, a heavily-favored Reading Ultimate (Reading, England) had to beat Mosquitos (Klosterneuburg, Austria) to earn their spot. They ran out 15-6 winners in a dominant performance.
In Group B, Disconnection (Freiburg, Germany) faced group leaders Left Overs. A win would secure the Germans the top spot in the group, while a loss would tie their fate to an inconsistent Deep Space (London, England), who would then need to beat Catchup (Graz, Austria). Disconnection showed consistency and poise on offense against Left Overs in the first half, but the Left Overs defense eventually took control of the game, and the Czechs were too much for the Germans to handle. Fortunately for them, Deep Space took a commanding 8-2 lead in the first half against Catchup, which the Austrians simply weren’t able to overcome. They managed to bring the game back to 14-12, but the Londoners then finished the job, ending Catchup’s semi-final dreams.
Semi-final 1: GRUT vs. Disconnection
The first semi-final saw GRUT overcome Disconnection 15-10, though there is some dispute over whether that was the actual final score, as the commentators of the game believed the score to be 13-9 at the time the game finished. It should be said that both teams accepted the score without any dispute. In any case, both teams felt that the game was much closer than the score suggested. While GRUT led throughout, the Germans kept the score within 2-3 points for most of the game, and had it not been for their failures to convert break opportunities, they might have been able to win. The game was full of marathon points that saw both teams march the disc down the field and then fail to put the final pass into the endzone repeatedly. Both teams will feel disappointed with their inability to convert red zone chances, but the game was full of big defensive plays from both teams.
After the game, GRUT captain Ben Oort was full of praise for the way Disconnection played, saying he thought it was the most difficult game they’d had so far in the tournament. There’s no doubt that Disconnection were able to disrupt the GRUT offense, and Oort admitted that they needed to clean up their offense for the final. Still, they go into the final day confident and ready.
Disconnection praised the game as a whole, feeling it was the best performance they’d put together in Carole. However, they lamented their inability to convert the opportunities their defense made. Perhaps, they’ll leave with a sour taste in their mouths, believing that GRUT were there for the taking.
Semi-final 2:Left Overs vs. Reading
Left Overs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, holding and then breaking, to start the game. Their offense looked collected, composed, and dynamic, their defense forcing turns. In the third point, a Left Overs player caught the disc by the sideline, kept his feet inbound despite contact from the defender, and launched a forehand into the endzone for a goal. As the throw was going up, a second Reading defender called him out of bounds. The teams consulted the replay and confirmed that he was in, but, for some reason, the goal did not stand. Left Overs turned the disc over soon after and Reading found their confidence, rolling from 0-2 down to 5-2 up in emphatic fashion. The momentum had swung, and Left Overs simply weren’t able to recover. They did manage to claw themselves back into the game in the middle, but Reading finished it 15-11, setting up a rematch of their first group game. Weather permitting, they should get to play a full game this time.
After the game, Reading captain Bex Palmer revealed that her team had watched Left Overs play earlier to identify their key players, and figure out how to stop them. Their strategy definitely seemed to work, as the Czechs were forced to work for every meter of field space, and the defensive pressure forced them into mistakes. On the rematch against GRUT, Palmer said they are looking forward to the opportunity, but noted that they need to play cleaner offense than they managed on Saturday, so as not to give the GRUT defense the opportunity to punish them.
On the other side, Left Overs captain František Szczepanik admitted that it was a huge blow to lose in a semi-final, but he felt that Reading were simply the better team. That said, he feels the team should be quite proud of themselves. Win or lose, it’s the highest placement they’ve ever achieved in Europe.
Reading vs. Grut: Part 2
After GRUT secured a 9-6 victory in a shortened Thursday game, the teams meet again in the final. Expect a high-octane game with a lot of big plays and deep throws. The team whose deep game is better-calibrated is likely to be the team that takes gold. Neither team was particularly happy with the way their offense performed on Saturday, Oort was especially peeved with his team’s offense. GRUT most likely have the edge, but Reading have shown in the past that they can hang with the Dutch, and they will be hungry to take home the victory.