By: Katie Judd
It was another gusty day in Sarasota, Fla.! The final four teams battled for spots in the championship title game and coveted bids to the 2018 World Ultimate Club Championships on Saturday night, and Philadelphia AMP (2) and Seattle Mixtape (1) came out on top. The two will face off in the final on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. (Tune in on ESPN 3!)
The first semifinal saw an athletic, spirited game from both AMP and BFG. AMP’s precise, clean offense and suffocating defense propelled them to a win over BFG, but the Seattle team didn’t go down quietly.
Starting out on offense, BFG efficiently sliced through a poachy AMP defense for the score. AMP quickly answered back, with an offensive hold followed by two quick breaks from the defensive line generated by blocks from Ryan Flamberg and Steve Rosso. BFG showed patient offense against AMP’s changing defensive looks, but AMP’s offense continued to dominate, fueled by Anna Thompson and Carolyn Normile, while the AMP defense converted several BFG miscues for scores. Philadelphia took half 8-4, energized by vocal support from the crowd.
BFG came out strong in the second half, with a new defensive strategy to try to stifle AMP’s energetic offense. After a huge defensive block from Tommy Li, BFG was able to push through a quick conversion to make it 8-5. BFG quickly scored another break, and a few points later, a layout D by Chrystal Koo in AMP’s end zone fueled the team to 8-10. BFG continued to play calm, controlled offensive points, finding the end zone in a series of turn-heavy points. But AMP maintained their early lead and prevailed with help from a strong, four-woman-led offensive onslaught to win 15-11. Nico Lake showed off his vertical with a huge grab and an assist to Michael Ing for the winning point.
Thirty minutes after the AMP/BFG game wrapped up, Seattle Mixtape (1) and Boston Slow White (4) took the field. Not to be outdone by the previous semifinalists, both teams rose to the occasion and showed they meant business from the first pull. Mixtape started on offense, and the teams went point for point for nine consecutive points before Mixtape was able to rattle off two quick breaks thanks to a block from Evan Klein and an unforced error from Slow White. Slow White replied with a deep shot to a sprinting Tannor Johnson, followed by a hold by Mixtape to take half 8-5.
Tannor Johnson and Tommy Ferguson were big engines for Slow White, with Johnson reeling in several seemingly impossible-to-get deep shots. But it wasn’t enough for Slow White, whose offensive line looked strong in the second half, but whose defensive line struggled to convert turnovers – most notably a huge block from Caitlin Fitzgerald – into breaks. Meanwhile, Mixtape’s offense was calm and steady, with Jesse Bolton at the helm. The wind had died down by the second half, but Slow White tried a zone look; Mixtape calmly worked it up the field 30 yards before breaking through the cup and easily scoring. It was a hard-fought game right up to the end, but Slow White was unable to come up with the breaks they needed, and Mixtape secured their place in the finals on a huck from Jesse Bolton to Paige Kercher.
And with that – the tournament’s one and two seeds are set to meet in the finals, and Mixtape keeps alive their shot at claiming the Triple Crown.