By: Katie Judd
The wind has picked up here in Sarasota and has been a factor for all teams aiming to advance together.
The action-packed day started at 9 a.m. with a pre-quarterfinals round that saw four exciting games. Wild Card (6) was able to rattle off a few breaks against Blackbird (7) right away to take half 8-5. They continued their dominant hold in the second half and took the game with ease, 15-9. Despite the wind, Wild Card looked much more confident today than yesterday and maintained composure on offense and focused intensity on D.
Drag’n Thrust also dominated their match up v. Toro. Drag’n took half 8-3, and while Toro put on an intense second-half show and was able to get a few breaks in a row, they just weren’t able to climb out of the hole they’d dug themselves in the first half. Drag’n took the game 14-11.
Public Enemy continued their upward momentum with patient offense and stifling defense to upset Steamboat and gain a berth in the quarterfinals. Public Enemy easily took the first half, playing a modified person defense with handler defenders sagging in the lane. They capitalized on drops and throwaways from Cincinnati and converted almost every chance they got. Cincinnati made a push in the second half, scoring three points in a row to bring the score to 10-14 before the game was capped, and Public Enemy finished it off 15-10.
The BFG – Mischief game was the closest pre-quarter. Both teams started off with an upwind break a piece and then traded breaks until BFG was able to break for half, 8-7. Both teams utilized big deep shots on the downwind points but had impressively patient offense going upwind. Mischief’s Evan Braydon had a huge upwind hammer shot in the first half. However, Mischief was not able to convert or take the lead in the second half. BFG pulled out a close win in the time cap, 12-10.
Emotions were high as the final eight teams faced off in hotly contested quarterfinal matches earlier today. In the first round, Slow White showed flashes of the team that won the championship last year, soundly defeating the higher-seeded Drag’n Thrust 15-8. From the beginning of the game, Drag’n Thrust seemed to really struggle in the wind, and Slow White was able to capitalize on every error, using the full 40-yard width of the field to patiently move the disc. Slow White quickly went up 5-1, and Drag’n Thrust never recovered.
One field over, the other Boston contender, Wild Card (6), battled Mixtape (1). Wild Card came out guns blazing and was able to get a couple of quick breaks (upwind and downwind) before trading points to take half at just 8-7. In the second half, Mixtape answered back and more. But while Wild Card’s offense was more methodical and clean, Mixtape’s athleticism and unpredictability came out on top. Mixtape scored an upwind break on double-game point to advance to the quarterfinals. Khalif El-Salaam had two defensive blocks to get the disc back for Mixtape, and receiver Henry Phan scored the winning goal for Seattle.
In the second round of quarters, shame. played a close game against BFG, while AMP matched up against Public Enemy. BFG staged a patient offense, but shame. answered back and stayed on BFG’s heels throughout the first half. BFG pulled away in the second half and was up 11-8 when the soft cap went on. shame. made an impressive push for a comeback but wasn’t able to do it in time – a strategic timeout from BFG and an injury/foul on the field meant that hard cap went on, and BFG took the game 12-11.
On the other side of the field complex, AMP matched up against Public Enemy, the upstart team from Dallas looking for yet another upset. Fresh off of a win against Steamboat in pre-quarters, Public Enemy started strong, holding on an upwind O point and converting a drop by AMP to take the lead 2-0. Both teams brought intensity and athleticism, working the width of the field and hitting the break side at will. Handlers Chris Mazur and Kevin Christian formed the engine behind Public Enemy’s offense, finding open cutters both under and deep.
True to form, AMP won the game on the strength of their defense. Stephen Ng turned the tide late in the first half with a spectacular shoulder-height layout D. After trading possessions, a huck from AMP’s Justin Carter found Austin Bonelli in the end zone. AMP scored another quick break and held to take half 8-7.
A tired Public Enemy struggled to keep up with tight AMP defensive looks in the second half, while turns from both teams (assisted by some gusty wind) led to a number of long, grinding points. AMP’s offense remained strong, with consistent and open looks from Anna Thompson and Michael Ing, ending in a 15-10 win for AMP to secure a berth in the semifinals.
On to Semifinals
Make sure to stay tuned tomorrow for what should be an exciting set of semifinals: AMP will be looking to oust BFG at 5:30 p.m. ET (tune in on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App), and Slow White faces off against Mixtape at 8:00 p.m. (also streaming via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App).