Buzzer Beater: The Central Premise [UFA Week 8, 2024]

New York and DC Escape one goal games with wins…and blowouts elsewhere

Minnesota Wind Chill's Brandon Matis goes up for a catch in their Ultimate Frisbee Association 2024 regular season win over Colorado. Photo: Trent Erickson
Minnesota Wind Chill’s Brandon Matis goes up for a catch in their UFA 2024 regular season win over Colorado. Photo: Trent Erickson

Central Success

Half of the Central division earned critical wins this weekend. Madison and Minnesota both knocked off favored Colorado and Pittsburgh upset Chicago to gain what could be a critical tiebreaker as those teams are now tied in the standings.

The Central is often overlooked as an entire division. Aside from Madison’s 2018 Championship, teams from the midwest have not fared well historically at Championship Weekend. I’m not ready to say that this year is the year, but this week was a good indicator that we should not ignore the five competitive teams in an under-covered division.

The strongest teams around the league are simply not as strong as they were last season. New York and DC struggled this weekend to beat division bottom-feeders Philadelphia and Montreal respectively. Salt Lake lost to a Colorado team that likely will not make the playoffs. If there was ever a year in the modern UFA for a Central team to make a statement and earn a Championship Weekend win, it seems like this might be the year. With all of the upsets over the last few weeks (read last week’s column for more thoughts on that parity), this year’s title genuinely feels up for grabs, and there is no reason a team from the East, South, or West division needs to grab it. When any team (except maybe Detroit) feels like they have a chance to win every single week, consider this your friendly reminder to keep track of the games in the Central, too. One of them could be playing for the UFA championship come August.

News and Notes

  • Austin Taylor’s eight assists doubled the Hustle’s total turnover number (four) as Atlanta tied a league record for fewest turnovers in a 14-point drubbing over Houston
  • The Havoc had a rough weekend, losing to Carolina by nine as well. Allan Laviolette’s five assists and four goals continued to make his case for end of season awards.
  • The Madison Radicals upset the visiting Colorado Summit 24-21. Pieran Robert’s seven goals paced the Rads who scooted up to second place in the Central.
  • Alex Atkins’ 888 total yards, five assists, and three goals were not enough for Colorado to beat Minnesota as the Summit essentially fell out of playoff contention. Minnesota’s O-line defense was stellar as Colorado went just 2/12 on their break chances.
  • In a windy game that had 59 combined turnovers, Pittsburgh defeated Chicago 17-12. The Union had a three goal lead, but then gave up 10 of the next 12 scores to fall behind. Wilson Matthews’ seven goals was a bright spot for Chicago.
  • Philadelphia put up a good fight in their 21-20 loss to New York. The Empire’s three-goal run to close the third quarter gave them a lead they would not relinquish.
  • Indianapolis beat Detroit by twelve goals. Lucas Coniaris’s three goal and three assist day paced the Alley Cat’s offense.
  • The DC Breeze went 2-0 on their Canadian road trip. An eight goal win over Toronto preceeded a squeeker of a comeback against Montreal. The Royal led 20-17, but DC scored the next four points to go back to the states in first place in the East.
  • Seattle beat Portland by a football score, 24-13.
  • Dallas kept pace with Austin in the second half, but an early surge by the Sol propelled Austin to a 23-20 win.
  • San Diego took down LA 24-15. KJ Koo had six assists, 736 total yards, and zero turnovers to knock off his former team.

Mailbag

Have a question about the UFA? Send it in to [email protected] with UFA Mailbag in the subject line. You can also message me on Twitter at @StallSeven, or subscribers can DM me in the Ultiworld Discord.

The mailbox is empty! If you have questions about the UFA please reach out by the methods above.

UFA Power Rankings:
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  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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