EUCF 2022: Final Recap (Mixed)

GRUT grabs another trophy in a tight, exciting final!

GRUT keeps possession under pressure late in the EUCF final. Photo by Maruša Lešnik.

GRUT win second in a row

GRUT (Amsterdam) claimed their second EUCF title in a row by taking down Reading Ultimate (Reading) in a game that showcased exactly how both teams got to the final. The game was a rematch of each team’s first game of the tournament. In that game, GRUT got off to a lightning start, going 4-0 up before Reading steadied the ship and started making their way back into the game. Unfortunately for them, the game had a lightning ending as well at 9-6, called early because of inclement weather.

Thursday turned out to be a solid preview for the final. The pattern of the game was not altogether different than what we saw in the first matchup. GRUT got off to a strong start again. Reading started on offense, and held cleanly with a deep throw to Andy Lewis, who had to box his defender out for the grab. Lewis, who was awarded the MMP match MVP award,  had a standout game with three goals and five assists, alongside a block. He was a constant threat deep and chipped in with his throws when necessary.

GRUT followed up the first point with a clean hold. Ben Oort toed the line on a Lawko van der Weiden pass. 1-1. On the next point, Daniel Eppstein switched off his player intelligently to poach the line and grab a layout block for the first turnover of the game. The Dutch marched the disc back down the field and Eppstein found himself outside the endzone to throw the assist for 2-1. Perhaps some Reading nerves showed on the next point as they turfed the disc close to their own endzone, allowing Lola Dam, the eventual FMP MVP, to layout for her first goal of the game, and GRUT’s second break. 3-1. Eppstein again poached intelligently to grab a block in the deep space, but GRUT couldn’t punch in a third break in a row, and Reading seemed to settle down. 3-2.

A couple points later, Reading found themselves down 6-3, but they managed to pull the game back to 7-7. Then, Tom Blasman found Ben Oort free in the deep space to take half 8-7.

After the break, GRUT held to re-establish a two-point lead. Ben Oort again found Lola Dam in the front of the endzone. 9-7. The teams traded until 12-11, though it must be said that the Reading offense required some big plays to stay in the game. Connor Hogan and Bex Palmer, in particular, had to come up with big grabs to prevent turnovers. Meanwhile, the GRUT offense seemed to be executing well with Oort, Keulartz, and co. finding the endzone without too much ado.

With the score at 12-11, Reading pulled deep into GRUT’s endzone. Blasman caught the disc with most of his team well downfield. Oort, the only GRUT player close to Blasman then slashed across to the sideline and cut upfield, leaving Blasman completely alone. With the stall count rising, he launched a hammer to no-one. Reading punched in the goal for 12-12. GRUT then held and broke with a big Joris Steneker hammer across the field to put them within touching distance of gold. Bex Palmer found Andy Lewis in the endzone to start what would need to be a three-goal run. 14-13. On the next point, Oort hucked to an open Keulartz, but the throw was just out of reach of the diving receiver. Reading scored. Universe point.

GRUT received the disc, but their offense struggled to gain ground or generate open looks on under cuts. After a few nervy swings, Tom Blasman made a deep cut that Ben Oort obliged. Blasman was free when the throw went up, but Andy Lewis was able to catch up and exert just enough pressure to force the Dutchman to go up for the disc early and miss. Reading would have their opportunity. Unfortunately for them, on just the second throw, Lewis threw around to a seemingly decelerating Bex Palmer, giving Dam all she needed to make a game-saving layout block. Blasman picked up on the doorstep of the endzone and reset to Oort. Oort had eyes for Keulartz only, and he was rewarded when she freed herself in the inside channel in the endzone and caught the game-winning goal. Game to GRUT.

After the game, Ben Oort was full of praise for his teammates, especially for Dam, who comes up with that kind of game-saving play so often that it can almost be expected of her. However, Oort admitted that they still have room for improvement on the offensive side of the disc, noting that they didn’t play as well as they would have liked.

On the other side, Bex Palmer praised her side’s ability to make adjustments between games, and even during the final. She mentioned Reading switching to a force middle as key to disrupting the Dutch’s offense. She also wasn’t shy in praising Sam Wilson, Ruth Cawdron, Mark Bignal, and Emma Klima for their performances.

Final Results:

1: GRUT (Amsterdaym)

2: Reading Ultimate (Reading)

3: Left Overs (Brno)

4: Disconnection (Freiburg)

5: Deep Space (London)

6: PUC (Paris)

7: SMOG (Manchester)

8: Mosquitos (Klosterneuburg)

9t: Prague Devils (Prague)

9t: Catchup (Graz)

11: Leamington Lemmings (Leamington)

12: Gold (Ghent)

  1. Ned Garvey
    Ned Garvey

    Ned Garvey is a member of the European staff. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2015, he’s been living and playing in Russia and Latvia. He currently lives in Riga, Latvia, and plays for Salaspils Wild Things.

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