National Championships 2023: Day Two News & Notes

Top line stories from prequarters and quarterfinals at the 2023 Club Championships

Raleigh Ring of Fire’s Ben Dameron and Andrew Lee at the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Jeff Bell –

Ultiworld’s coverage of the 2023 Club National Championships is presented by Spin Ultimate; all opinions are those of the author(s). Find out how Spin can get you, and your team, looking your best this season.

Friday brought elimination play, with one round of prequarters and a staggered set of quarterfinal rounds to ratchet up the pressure. Here’s the major stories and a few notes from each division.

Men’s Division

PoNY Eliminated Early and Truck Stop Controversially Advance

The third round of play featured high drama in quarterfinals involving the title favorites entering the tournament: New York PoNY and Washington DC Truck Stop.

Raleigh Ring of Fire upset PoNY on universe, holding for 14-13 to knock off the much-hyped preseason favorites. Ring played from the front foot much of the game, though a first half push from PoNY gave them a 8-7 halftime advantage. Ben Dameron (2G, 4A) and Eric Taylor (3G, 1A) drove the Raleigh offense with powerful cutting. Jack Williams (3G, 3A) and Ryan Osgar (2G, 3A) were pushed into bigger roles by injuries to Jimmy Mickle and Sam Little. The game was marred by injuries, as Ring of Fire’s Alex Davis also missed the game and PoNY’s Jeff Babbitt left the game late with a scary head injury that conjured memories of the the 2022 semifinal PoNY lost.

Not long prior, Truck Stop escaped by the skin of their teeth, breaking to beat DiG on universe after a controversial call prevented a DiG score. The pivotal moment came on a Peter Boerth give and go cut across the face off the goal, but as he reached to seemingly make the game winning catch, AJ Merriman ripped the disc for the crucial interception. Boerth called a strip, and later video evidence clearly supported him, but after some discussion, players sent it to the observer, who ruled no strip and gave possession to DC. They closed it out with a still harrowing possession. But Boston, after seeing video evidence, went so far as to unsuccessfully petition USA Ultimate to change the game’s result.

Tomorrow’s semifinals pit Johnny Bravo against Machine and Truck Stop against Ring of Fire.

Other Notes

  • Denver Johnny Bravo continued their scorching hot run of play, defeating Revolver 15-11 in quarterfinals, fending off a late San Francisco run. Noah Coolman and Quinn Finer each contributed five combined goals and assists in the win.
  • Joe White was dominant for Chicago Machine, with four goals and four assists leading a clean offensive quarterfinal performance over Portland Rhino Slam! that was mostly never in doubt.
  • Boston DiG have both the division leader in goals, Simon Carapella (21), and assists, Mac Hecht (22) through two days. Portland Rhino Slam!’s Raphy Hayes leads with 30 combined points.
  • Full Results

Mixed Division

Two of Top Three Knocked Out Amidst Thrillers

It was an inevitability that two of no.1 Fort Collins shame., no.2 Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust, and no.3 Philadelphia AMP would be taken down prior to semifinals, as they were all in the same section of the bracket. But back to back universe games meant they lived up to the hype. AMP broke Drag’n on DGP in prequarters, with Lindsay McKenna hitting on a huck to Linda Morse after a missed deep throw to Marty Adams. That script was flipped next round, with shame. getting a turn from AMP on universe and calmly managing a red zone possession to take them down.

Tomorrow’s semifinal round will feature shame. against BFG and Hybrid versus XIST.

Other Notes

  • Ann Arbor Hybrid defeated Boston Slow on universe in a back and forth quarterfinal. James Hill and Theo Shapinsky each recorded six combined goals and assists, with an additional five from Mark Whitton.
  • After trailing for much of the game’s midsection, New York XIST pulled the late lead away from Arizona Lawless, finishing the game up 14-12 in their quarterfinal. Josue Alorro was critical, with three assists and two blocks in the win.
  • In another big prequarter upset, reigning champion Seattle Mixtape was eliminated by regional foe Vancouver Red Flag, who never trailed. Mika Kurahashi (4G, 1A, 2D) had a strong showing for Vancouver, who scored on three of the game’s last four points to pull away.
  • Through Friday play, Arizona Lawless’ Travis Dunn leads the mixed division in both goals (14, tied for first with Sprocket’s Tannor Johnson-Go) and assists (22).
  • Full Results

Women’s Division

Challengers Dismantled as Upset Drought Continues

By USAU Ranking, prequarters and quarterfinals in the women’s division went completely to chalk. Even the matches featuring two teams both ranked in the top six — #1 Washington DC Scandal vs. #2 Phoenix and #5 Boston Brute Squad vs. #6 San Diego Flipside — were blowouts. Scandal went up 7-2 on Phoenix, closing their contest out 15-9 in quarterfinals. The same 7-2 scoreline occurred between Brute Squad and Flipside before Boston poured it on in a 15-7 victory.

Scandal and Denver Molly Brown will face off in semifinals, while Brute Squad will meet San Francisco Fury.

Other Notes

  • Molly Brown, with strong games from Lisa Pitcaithley, Claire Chastain, and Ronnie Eder, took care of New York BENT with a 15-10 win where their defense controlled play.
  • The closest quarterfinal was between Fury and Vancouver Traffic, which was 11-10 before a 4-1 Fury run to end the game made it look less contested than it was.
  • Through two days, New York BENT have both the leader in goals, Ella Jeungst (17), and assists, Yina Cartagena (17).
  • Full Results
  1. Keith Raynor
    Keith Raynor

    Keith Raynor is a Senior Editor and the Business Development Manager at Ultiworld. He co-hosts our Deep Look podcast and does play-by-play and color commentary. He coaches UConn Rise, the college's women's team. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@FullFieldHammer).

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