US Open Finals – Revolver v. Ironside

The US Open finals against Boston Ironside was a rematch of a great pool play game from Thursday, a tightly contested match in which Ironside broke our offense on the final point of the game to claim victory.  While we hoped the final score would be in our favor in this second bout, it seemed certain that either way the game was destined to be a crowd pleaser.  Fortunately the game (along with our semifinal against Doublewide) is available in its entirety on ESPN3, so head over to catch all the action and commentary.

First, a short aside: the huge leap in availability of high quality, live/rapid-turnaround game footage changes the nature of the tournament writeup somewhat – while fans used to rely on game summaries and photos to capture big plays and key moments for which video might only be available months later (if at all), now writeups like this one are coming out several days after most readers have already seen the game (and in fact the game footage is the primary source for this material!).  So, I’ll try and avoid rehashing what the commentators have said or doing a ton of play-by-play (except for pivotal moments) and try and provide broader impressions as well as an on-field perspective.

Back to the game – our 4pm start time was late in the day, which allowed us to sleep in and relax for most of the afternoon while we watched the other finals.  However, unlike our semifinals matchup in the evening cool, our game was right at the hottest point of the day, with temperatures pushing 90 out on the hot turf, not much cloud cover, and only a light breeze.  While the team had to deal with the east coast heat and humidity all tournament long, this was definitely the worst of it.  The turf also seemed particularly slippery and difficult, with cutters and markers sliding all over as they changed directions, and certainly contributed to several turns.

We started off on defense but both offenses seemed solid out of the gates as we quickly traded to 3-3.  Their offense was abusing our flatter marks, throwing easy breaks to open up the field behind our defenders. Our offense was patient and content to swing the disc while waiting for cutters to get open.  The first turnovers came from the Mac Taylor – Peter Prial matchup going deep – with one catch ruled out of bounds and Taylor bodying out on the second – and Sam Kanner sent hucks going the other way for two quick breaks and the 5-3 lead.  At 7-5, we put in a strong defensive line featuring Beau Kittredge to try and break for half, but Ironside connected on their first deep shot and came right back at us trying to regain the advantage.  Cassidy Rasmussen prevented the Ironside break with a great heads-up block after slipping on the turf and secured the half-break going into half 8-6.

There were several great plays made in the points coming out of half as we traded breaks to go to 13-11 – Devon Anderson toed the sideline to save an offensive point and Jordan Jeffery and Nicolai Schlag earned back possession after turns with two layout blocks.  While our offense was performing heroically to hold on to what we had earned, the defense was no longer able to come up with blocks – partly due to several pinpoint hucks from Ironside for quick goals.  This kind of late game lead can be very dangerous if the defense is unable to secure any more breaks – while victory might only be two points away, it puts a ton of pressure on the o-line to perform while the momentum of a defensive break (especially if there is any upwind-downwind nature to the game) can change the atmosphere very suddenly indeed.  While this is a situation where our offense has traditionally excelled (see e.g. semifinals of Worlds in 2012) it’s always better to get more breaks – this level of defensive intensity is something we’ll need to develop in order to pull out close games consistently. In an ending very reminiscent of our pool play game, Ironside’s late run brought things to double game point, and it took Beau Kittredge’s impressive grab between two Boston defenders secured the victory.

Congrats to Boston on two hard-fought and extremely close games (level on aggregate).  While we’re thrilled with our victory and how the team and the new players are coming together, it’s still very early in the season and there are a lot of teams out there (including a bunch not at the US Open) that will be working hard to take the next one away from us.  It’s a great start to what will hopefully be just as good of a season!

US Open Semifinal Recap – Revolver v. Doublewide

Photo by Brandon Wu –

In the final semifinal of the tournament, Revolver faced off against Doublewide for the second time in the tournament. The team arrived at the fields at 6:30, an hour and a half before game time, and early enough to witness bits and pieces of Ironside’s second DGP comeback win of the tournament. However, as soon as warmups started, all focus was internal, and Revolver used its pregame time to emphasize the fundamentals that have brought us to this point in the tournament: smart throwing decisions and marks.

Revolver began the game on defense. Unlike in the first matchup, Doublewide was unable to connect on a first-throw deep look to Tyler Degirolamo, and Revolver’s D-line offense worked the disc patiently up the field 70 yards until Sam Kanner found Tim Gilligan on the break side for the goal. Revolver’s D line would score two more consecutive breaks to give the offense a 3-0 cushion starting the game. The energy on Revolver’s sideline was palpable, while it was clear that Doublewide’s depleted US Open roster was causing challenges.

From this point, the teams traded several points back and forth. Revolver’s offense had several hiccoughs on its first few points–a throw into a smart poach and a slippery disc throwaway–but solid pressure on the turn led to a point block and a deep D that helped Revolver maintain its lead. Revolver’s defensive pressure led to several more breaks in the first half, including one following Jordan Marcy’s point block of Alex Thorne near the Doublewide goal line, and Revolver went into half with an 8-4 lead.

Revolver’s offense began the second half with a very smooth offensive point, showing great discipline in downfield spacing and timing and moving the disc laterally well. The O-line had found a groove at this point, and would not turn the disc over in the second half en route to keeping the defense on the field for most of the half. Revolver’s defensive O opened up its deep game in the second half; Mac Taylor threw a great leading huck from the sideline around an aggressive mark to a speedy Eric Greenwood in the endzone. Mac also notched a great D against Degirolamo on a long huck to the endzone. However, it was Revolver’s offense that had the chance to close out the game, which came when Jordan Jeffery found Joel Schlachet alone in the endzone for the game’s final score. Final score, 15-7.

Revolver is now preparing for a rematch with Ironside–the only team that has defeated Revolver in this tournament–in today’s finals at 4PM ET. The team is hungry for a second shot at the Boston squad and hopes to close out a successful US Open with a win. Once again, the game will be aired live on ESPN3, so tune in to show your support.

US Open Round Robin Review

Over the past three days, Revolver has faced off against seven teams, including last year’s other semifinalists and a contingent of international representatives. Revolver came into the US Open with a freshly set roster, so this tournament was our first opportunity to begin to build team chemistry and find this season’s team identity.

Revolver arrived at the fields Thursday morning for the first round of games to find soggy fields spotted with pools of standing water–a result of several days of rain. Missing several players for the tournament due to scheduling conflicts, the new roster began its first warmup in the humid and hot North Carolina air, preparing to match up against Mephisto. Mephisto was able to generate a number of goals, including a break on the Revolver offense, early in the game by swinging the disc among the handlers until a deep look opened up. Revolver made several tactical adjustments to take away Mephisto’s hucks and were able to close out the second half with relative ease. Final score, 15-6.
Next round, Revolver moved to the showcase field to play Denmark’s Ragnarok (the turf showcase field gave us a nice respite from the mud but proved no less slippery). Revolver last played Ragnarok three years ago in Prague at Worlds and so were prepared for the Danes’ unconventional deep game. Ragnarok threw a number of hucks into tight windows–particularly to potent receiver Mads Bakkegaard, who made a number of athletic plays to create goals for Ragnarok. However, Revolver’s defense began to generate turnovers and were able to work the disc the length of the field on multiple points. The defense took firm control in the second half to secure the game. Final score, 15-5.
The final game of the day was the highlight for Revolver, providing us with our first opportunity to match up with Doublewide since our season-ending loss in the finals of Nationals. Doublewide opened the game with a first-throw huck to Tyler Degirolamo, who made an athletic play to put Doublewide on the board. It was clear at this point that their new Pitt recruits would play a key role in Doublewide’s game. From this point, Revolver’s defense was able to put consistent pressure on the Doublewide O–especially the resets–to create break opportunities. Especially notable were two point blocks and a layout D by Revolver rookies Lucas Dallmann and Andrew Hagen, respectively. Revolver’s offense also looked smooth in this game, as Cassidy Rasmussen connected with Devon Anderson for multiple goals. Final score, 15-8.
Friday began with a matchup against Ironside, a team with remarkably little turnover in a season with lots of roster movement. The game began inauspiciously for Revolver, as, after conceding a score to the Ironside O, we gave up consecutive breaks on offensive miscues to go down 0-3. Once Revolver’s offense was able to put the defense back on the field, the defensive pressure mounted, and Revolver countered with a run of its own to take the lead 6-4. From this point, Revolver’s consistent offense kept Ironside pressure at bay until several Ironside breaks brought the game to 12-12. At 14-14, Revolver’s offense took the field on double game point, working the disc up the field smoothly to the goal line before an aggressive throw to the endzone slipped through the receiver’s fingertips. After several short throws, George Stubbs sent a long huck to an Ironside receiver in space to steal the game. Final score, 14-15.
After enjoying the shade for a brief break between games, Revolver returned to the same muddy field to play Ring of Fire. Revolver’s defense started strong, trapping Ring’s O against the sideline for multiple throws near without allowing any upfield gains before forcing a turnover. Feeding off of this pressure, Revolver’s D created several early breaks that would allow Revolver to take a several point lead into halftime. Immediately after, Ring came out firing, breaking the Revolver offense. After refocusing on fundamentals, Revolver’s O and D put the game out of reach for Ring with strong cutting in isolation.
In Friday’s final game, Revolver matched up with Chicago Club. With relatively little defensive pressure, Revolver’s offense played a clean game notwithstanding the absences of Ashlin Joye and Cassidy Rasmussen for much of the game. Chicago Club were able to put up a number of points with big hucks to speedy receivers, who outran their Revolver defenders. Final score, 15-7.
Saturday morning, Revolver made the early trek to the fields to play against Euforia, a Colombian team that has traveled to multiple tournaments in the United States over the past few years. From the beginning, Revolver’s defenders were keyed in on stopping Euforia’s handler movement, but the Colombians gave the Revolver defense fits at points in the first half. Despite forcing a number of turnovers, Revolver’s defensive O was frustrated by smart poaching by the Colombians. Revolver took half in a relatively tight game, 8-6. In the second half, Revolver’s sideline energy fueled a defensive run that helped to put this game away. Final score, 15-8.
Revolver has now hunkered down in its air-conditioned hotel, staying out of the heat in preparation for the semifinals. The semifinals will be a rematch of the round robin game against Doublewide at 8PM ET tonight (Saturday, 7/6). The game will be shown live on television on ESPN3, so tune in to support this year’s team as we continue to rise.