Buzzer Beater: East Favorites Dominate Cross-Division Play [UFA Week 10, 2024]

New York and DC scored serious wins over top competition.

The Carolina Flyers are inches away but can’t come up with the block in a loss to the DC Breeze during the 2024 UFA regular season. Photo: Jordyn Harris – UFA

Trouncing at the Top

Week 10 featured two games that could become Championship Weekend previews. The DC Breeze blew by the Carolina Flyers in a 25-13 grounding. The New York Empire ruled over the Salt Lake Shred by a similar 25-14 score line. If that’s what Championship Weekend is going to look like, we’re in for a pretty boring ride despite these games featuring four of last week’s top six teams.

This whole season I’ve been harping on the increased parity in the league. With New York losing a few major contributors, their ceiling dropped to a reachable height, and there are two handfuls of teams within reach, at least talent-wise. Where the UFA differs from the club series is the ability for each team to not only dictate their preferred style of play, but to game plan in advance for specific opponents. DC is not actually 12 points better than Carolina, but they had a plan that was executed 12 points better than Carolina’s plan.

Like a W/NBA team on a cold night from behind the arc, Carolina hit just four of their twelve hucks. But behind every cold night is a defensive strategy forcing those shots even as they continue to fail. The Breeze forced 23 turnovers out of a clearly-phased Carolina team that is typically very stingy with the disc.

Out in New York, Salt Lake had an interesting night. Typically hitting 100% on hucks and D-line conversion is a recipe to win a game. In the first half, the Shred were able to consistently work through the mid field and create redzone scoring chances. In the second half, the Shred got stuck in their own half and suffered a series of short field turnovers.

 

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The Empire punish mistakes better than any team in the league, and Salt Lake has yet to figure out how to avoid costly mistakes against the two-time defending champions in their three matchups over the last two season. This could be the kind of loss that motivates the Shred ahead of what they hope is a deep playoff push…or it could be a sign they just aren’t ready to be the champions in a season that seems designed for them to succeed.

Both results this week could be blips on the radar of successful seasons, or they could be blueprints for destruction of championship hopes. Knowing Carolina and Salt Lake are much more talented than their Week 10 score lines indicate just builds further intrigue as the wackiest UFA season in recent memory rounds third base and gets ready to slide into the playoffs.

News and Notes

  • With just three weeks left in the regular season your first place team in the West is…the Seattle Cascades? Seattle beat Colorado on Saturday night and brought their record to 8-2. Salt Lake’s loss to New York leaves them just 7-2 and sitting in second place. These two teams meet during the last game of the season in what could determine who gets home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs.
  • Minnesota kept their advantage in the Central Division with a 17-16 win over Chicago. The Union battled back from a three goal deficit and had the disc on the last point, but the Wind Chill have yet to be blown off course.
  • The Wind Chill then defeated Detroit by 16 goals to get back to our regularly scheduled Central Division programming.
  • Hayden Austin-Knab’s seven goals propelled Atlanta to a dominant win over Houston.
  • The Hustle also took down the Austin Sol 23-19. Evan Swiatek’s four goal/four assist day was not enough to help the Sol keep their 4-1 lead. Atlanta tied the game early in the second quarter and took the lead for good at the end of the third quarter thanks to a Jakeem Polk buzzer-beating grab. A 4-0 run in the fourth quarter put the game away.
  • Carolina turned around their weekend with a win in Pittsburgh. Tobias Brooks scored three goals and threw three assists.
  • Madison led Indy for the bulk of their matchup, but Ted Schewe’s huck throwaway with a little over three minutes left in the game turned the tide and helped the AlleyCats keep their playoff hopes alive.
  • Five goals and four blocks from Max Trifilis led the Philadelphia D-line to a win in Toronto. Sean Mott’s six assists certainly helped as well.
  • The Phoenix completed the Canadian sweep (right before Canada Day too) with a five goal win in Montreal. Stand out performers included Scott Heyman (five goals) and James Pollard (three blocks).
  • Seattle stormed out to a 6-1 lead at home against Colorado. The Summit battled back, but couldn’t quite get over the mountain as the Cascades held on to clinch their spot in the postseason. Not many teams can withstand two separate four-goal runs from their opponents, but there is something special about this Seattle team.
  • Colorado then knocked off Portland by ten to keep their playoff hopes alive.
  • The only reason the Summit are still within a hopers chance for a playoff spot is because Oakland lost to San Diego and LA. San Diego’s Max Gibson and LA’s Sean McDougall led strong defensive efforts for the SoCal squads. Oakland is now sitting precariously ahead of Colorado and San Diego to hold on to a playoff position in the West.

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.

We’re skipping the reader question this week to give space for a long list of News and Notes. If you have a question, please submit it and we’ll get to it next week.

 

UFA Week 10 Power Rankings

  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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