National Championships 2022: Trusting the Thrust (Mixed Quarterfinal)

Overall no.1 seed Minneapolis Drag'n Thrust cruise past Fort Collins shame. in the Nationals mixed quarterfinal

Danielle Byers caught the winning goal in Drag’n Thrust’s 15-10 victory over shame. Photo: Sam Hotaling –

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In a repeat performance of a regular season victory, Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust defeated Fort Collins shame. 15-10 to advance to the semifinal. Despite a tough fight from shame., Drag’n could not be stopped.

Right away, Drag’n Thrust broke to get the first point on the board.  After a few holds from either team that weren’t necessarily clean, Drag’n were able to find a second break due to an error by shame. The teams returned to trading holds despite plenty of break opportunities, with multiple overthrows (especially by shame.) and Ds by both teams. Drag’n’s Marty Adams and Emma Peaslee applied consistent pressure to earn takeaways while Kasey Alexander did the same for shame.

Adams had a stellar game, including notching three blocks in a single point. Drag’n had received and begun their handler set,1 but Marty Adams bobbled the disc and dropped it near shame.’s end zone. shame. worked quickly and threw to score but Drag’n’s Emma Peaslee got just enough of a hand on the disc that the player she was defending missed the bidding catch by mere inches. Drag’n then moved the disc down field and Charlie Schuweiler made a saving layout grab on a swing that bordered on heroic. But just when two reliable players (Denecour and Byers) attempted to score, they missed the connection and allowed shame. another chance to tie things back up. shame. took some mid-range looks and required a somersaulting catch from Kasey Alexander to save a swing, but then Adams came from behind his player for a massive layout D.

But Drag’n still couldn’t capitalize, turning the disc again and allowing shame. got yet another break chance. shame. sent it deep but forgot this was Adams’s point. He said “no”, getting in the way of the disc and contributing to another turn. When shame.’s Kasey Anderson answered with a D of his own, it seemed like it would end the marathon of a point. But Adams had other plans, coming from behind to get the D and this time remaining his own two feet so he could run down the deep shot from Denecour.

Arguably one of the more defining points of the game,2 Drag’n used the momentum shift to kickstart their monster run and raise their game to another level.

When I say this point was a game changer, I mean it. shame. had several chances to get a break back but Drag’n decided they wouldn’t give the point up that easily. It turned the battle into into a beatdown.

After a series of holds, Drag’n broke twice to take half. They then came out of half with a hold and two breaks to increase their lead again. shame., recognizing they needed to step up their game, cleaned up their holds and increased the defensive pressure. But despite the changes, shame. got their only break of the second half on the game’s penultimate point. They had another chance on the next, but couldn’t convert and allowed Drag’n to take the game.

Fort Collins had multiple chance to score throughout the game but continually overshot their players on deep hucks and made other small mistakes that were not necessarily due to Ds. And when shame. turned it over the Drag’n Thrust D-line offense did not let the Coloradans get it back.

One other note: shame. pulled out of bounds seemingly more often than not, frequently allowing Drag’n to begin possessions at the brick mark. Meanwhile Drag’n, thanks to the abilities of Sam Berglund, repeatedly trapped shame. in the back of the end zone, making shame. work much harder to get their throws off and work down field. While a small detail, it actually makes a world of a difference; 20 yards to be exact.

Drag’n Thrust had a rocky start to Nationals this season, getting third in their pool after going 1-2 with losses to XIST and Dirty Bird. By the end day one, it’s fair to say they were a bit demoralized and disheartened. They made countless unforced errors and could not capitalize off of turns, but took those losses and learned from them.

“We made sure that we were preparing our throws and drilling that we need to make throws and catches and easy resets, hit those all day,” said captain Danielle Byers. “We know we can make the big plays but we don’t have to all the time. The biggest adjustment was that we’ve got seven people, hit open hands, and don’t throw into poaches. It seems simple but that’s how we did it.”

Throughout their season, the Minnesotans have made a habit of getting into a bit of a hole in the first half of the game and digging themselves back out.3 During both the prequarter and this quarter though, they did not start out slowly like they have in the past.

“We just put our foot on the gas and decided that we were not gonna let up from start to finish until those 15 points were scored,” said Byers. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

Looking ahead, Drag’n will face their regional rivals tomorrow in the semifinal, Madison NOISE, who earned a berth after upsetting BFG on universe. Drag’n have played and beat NOISE already three times this season. If they can come out strong and not let up, then they will have a favorable chance to make it to the final.4

  1. Drag’n used handler movement throughout the game in a dominator offense with a plethora of strike cuts and give and goes. 

  2. Despite it being a hold. 

  3. Their ridiculous comeback to win 12-11 on universe against Ann Arbor Hybrid in the Pro Championships final after being down 11-6 is a prime example. 

  4. That said, Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust also beat shame. last year at Nationals, in a universe point prequarter game, only to then fall to Mixtape in the quarterfinal. 

  1. Laura Osterlund
    Laura Osterlund

    Laura picked up a disc her senior year of high school and hasn't put it down since. She played on the mixed/open team at Bethel University where she graduated with a journalism degree. Based out of the Twin Cities, MN, you can find her engaging in all levels of Ultimate: working with Minnesota Strike, playing mixed club, and grinding at local ultimate and goalty leagues. Her ultimate accomplishment - besides helping start a women's league (coming spring 2024) - is winning Z league with Big Blue.




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