August 7, 2015 by Charlie Eisenhood in Livewire, Video with 4 comments
Just got in to my hotel room in Minneapolis for YCC. Can’t wait.
Youth coverage has been a challenging coverage area for us to dive into and remains a work in progress, but I think this could be a huge step forward in coverage of the Division. Here at YCC, we’ll see the brightest young players on the field together, from rising college sophomores who were stars in their freshman year to graduating high school seniors set to make their impact in the upcoming college season.
But let’s get to the good stuff. Predictions and picks.
Youth Club Championships
I’m going to stick to predicting U19 because I just don’t know enough about the U16 Divisions to make a pick with any kind of certainty.
In U19 Boys, I’m going with Boston BUDA. The talent on this time is outrageous, from UMass commit Tannor Johnson to UMass rising sophomore Jeff Dreyfus to Pitt commit Noah Robinson. U19-er Mac Hecht is headed to Brown after a gap year. I think this team will absolutely have their work cut out for them — they’ll have a tough pool play game against Chicago, and, if seeds hold, a semi against Seattle. Then they are likely to see the defending champs — and also incredibly talented — Raleigh/Durham in the final. The road is not easy, but the team is deep and perhaps should win.
In U19 Mixed, I’m going with Seattle Royale. This team took it to the #1 ranked Mixed Club team Seattle Mixtape and only lost by three, 13-10. They have a tremendous defense, featuring the speedy Max Stackpole and 5’10” Carly Campana who was a block machine for the team in 2014. Despite returning only seven players, Seattle gets to draw from such a gifted pool of players that they are always competitive. Be sure to tune in for our livestreamed game of Seattle v. Oregon on Saturday.
In U19 Girls, I’m again taking Seattle. The reality is that Seattle’s talent is just so outstanding that there may not be much of a contest. Hallie Dunham will lead the way without her battery mate Jaclyn Verzuh, who’s away competing on the All-Star Ultimate Tour. Seattle will remain a juggernaut in the U19 Girls Division until further notice.
American Ultimate Disc League
Championship weekend is finally here! Four teams head to San Jose to represent their Divisions in the semifinals looking to walk away with an AUDL title and a $25,000 player prize. Ultiworld will have live reporting from the weekend in California.
The first semifinal features the Raleigh Flyers v. Madison Radicals. It’s a classic offense v. defense game. The Radicals have a wonderful zone D, but will it be effective against the dangerous handlers on Raleigh?
I like Raleigh in this one. The Flyers have been battle-tested in their first season against excellent competition from Atlanta and Jacksonville — they won’t be shellshocked going up against an established squad like Madison. Don’t count the Radicals out, of course — they gave San Jose their best game in the playoffs last year — but I don’t know if Madison has enough athleticism to match up against the likes of Justin Allen et. al.
The second semifinal features the San Jose Spiders v. Toronto Rush. Sorry, I don’t foresee another Toronto upset over San Francisco like we did at Club Nationals last year. The Spiders win going away. The Rush are a talented team, but they just don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Spiders, especially on the expansive field of the AUDL. It doesn’t help the Rush that they play a cupcake schedule during the regular season only to get tossed into the fire on Championship Weekend.
I expect the San Jose Spiders to repeat as AUDL Champions, breaking the streak of expansion teams winning in their first year as a team. The Spiders have by far the deepest team in the league and a top end that may also be the very best. Beau Kittredge will play this weekend, but even if he isn’t 100%, the Spiders have plenty of firepower to take down the Flyers. Expect a fun, athletic game but a late surge from San Jose will win it in front of a home crowd.
Major League Ultimate
We’ve known the finals matchup for a couple of weeks now: Boston Whitecaps v. Seattle Rainmakers. Unfortunately for those looking for an exciting game, I’m not sure we’re going to get it.
I’m taking the Boston Whitecaps in an easy win reminiscent of what we saw in last year’s final when the DC Current obliterated the Vancouver Nighthawks. Boston is just better at nearly every position and clearly deeper. Seattle’s vaunted offense hasn’t faced off against a defense anything close to what Boston will throw at them. I really don’t think the Rainmakers can keep it close.
Josh Markette, Tyler Chan, and the rest of the Boston offense are going to carve up the Rainmakers’ defense as well. The Rainmakers narrowly beat a somewhat-understaffed Portland team to get into this game. I think Boston would be favored against Portland by four or five points.
Bonus Point Spreads
Raleigh Flyers (-2.5) v. Madison Radicals
San Jose Spiders (-4.5) v. Toronto Rush
Boston Whitecaps (-5) v. Seattle Rainmakers