National Championships 2023: shame. Avenge Their Only Season Loss (Mixed Quarterfinal Recap)

A quarterfinal in four parts

Fort Collins shame.’s Owen Westbrook makes the high clap catch under pressure from Philadelphia AMP in the quarterfinal of the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com

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.

ACT I

Maybe it was nerves or perhaps it was just because teams had to do a warmup of sorts. Either way, the first four points of the game were dirty holds for both teams. However, things started to change when Aubree Dietrich made a block at the back of AMP’s end zone. Rory Veldmen then sent a massive huck to Sandy Brown who caught it for a layout score in what would have otherwise been too far to score shame.’s first break of the game to go up 3-1.

After another dirty AMP hold, the game saw its first clean point with a smooth hold by shame., as well as their second break of the game.

“It helped that we didn’t play pre-quarters in the morning. You could just see that AMP was a little fatigued going into that first half,” said shame.’s Owen Westbrook.” And they picked it up. They were going at full speed by the end, but it took them a little while to get their legs under them. And I think we capitalized that early on.”

Things were (mostly) smooth sailing from that point on for a while, especially for shame. After each team got an easy – if not boring – hold, shame. found another break, and held to go up 8-4 at half.

ACT II

“We’ve been saying all year that the wheels are going to come off at any moment. That doesn’t necessarily prevent the wheels from coming off but it means that you’re prepared for them coming off,” Westbrook said in an omen of what was to come.

Coming into the second half, something changed. AMP finally shaped up, deciding they were ready to actually play.

“[At half time] we were just sort of like, ‘this is what we’ve known, this is what we’ve been… if we want to be champions we need to do it by playing hard games and this was a hard to come back from deficit. It’s hard to do these things,’” said AMP coach Andrea DeSabato. “‘And so we prove that we are champions and have that by showing that we can do it in the second half. We talked about executing, we talked about running the plan on defense.”

They found their systems and Paul Owens almost immediately put up a full-field huck to Henry Ing (who caught the throw through his defender) for a two-throw hold. Using that momentum, AMP forced shame. to put up an unsuccessful high-stall high-release that allowed AMP to get their first break and decrease the margins.

For the next eight points, both teams played good enough offense to keep things clean. Of those eight there were only four turns (two points with two turns) and in both of those points, AMP overshot their players but got blocks to keep their point deficit as low as possible. In those points, shame.’s Sarah Pesch put on a clinic on how to break a zone and Spencer DeRoos raked in the assists for AMP. All things told, shame. led 12-10.

ACT III

As time started winding down, AMP knew they had to kick things into a higher gear if they had any shot at staying in the game. Falling victim to the swirls of wind, shame.’s throw popped up and AMP were able to capitalize once again, with a hit from Natalie Bova to Ing to break and take things within one point. In the point that followed, they did the same and took advantage of a turn to tie things up 12-12. Then it happened a third time and AMP saw their first lead 13-12 at soft cap. Knowing they had to possess to stay in the game, Jade McLaughlin reeled in a clean hold to force a universe point.

ACT IV

shame.’s pull landed along the flick sideline and they hit two swings to the high break side. They dumped and sent an under. Then came the mistake: on his attempt to hit Will Helenski on the upline cut, Ing’s throw popped up just a little too much, Helenski timed his jump wrong, and Nick Snuszka swatted the disc three times to ensure it was uncatchable. shame. rose to the occasion and remained calm, clinging to that sideline and moved about ten yards at a time. With one last sprint in him, Snuszka made one last cut to get open and catch the game-winning goal.

shame. get revenge for their only loss of the season back at US Open and, for the first time since 2019, advanced to the semifinal. As for their title aspirations?

“I think we can really just coast from here and take our foot off the gas. Just ride our momentum from the rest of the way,” Westbrook said, clearly without a hint of sarcasm or shame.

  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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