By: Kevin McCormick
Fans who traveled to San Diego for the National Championships are certainly getting their money’s worth in the mixed division. Saturday saw two semifinals where no team had a lead greater than two and both of which went to double-game point. The question on everyone’s minds, for both games, was whether an upstart team consisting of elite individuals could take down a program rich in history and pedigree. In the end, the established programs, Philadelphia AMP and Seattle Mixtape, came out on top, setting up a rematch of the 2017 national final.
In the first semifinal, Snake Country (5), the only remaining undefeated team this weekend, faced off against the reigning division champs, Mixtape (3). After relatively clean holds from both teams, the wind picked up, leading to a long point with multiple turns from each team that ended with Mixtape earning the first break of the game to go up 3-2. They followed that immediately with a quick break on a clean huck to Reed Hendrickson, 4-2. The second quarter of the game saw fewer turnovers, with Snake Country getting back on serve to take half 8-7. Peter Prial, Lexi Zalk and Piers MacNaughton were standout players for Snake Country.
Throwing zone out of halftime, Snake Country earned another break to extend their lead to two. A marathon point in which Snake squandered three break opportunities ended with Claire Revere out-reading several players from both teams for the Mixtape hold. Snake Country worked it down the full field only to sail a pass too high, and Mixtape capitalized on the break opportunity to tie the game 9-9. Mixtape threw a zone of their own to earn a block from Ari Lozano and broke again to reclaim the lead. Snake Country refused to let up, earning a hold and cashing in on a miscue from Mixtape to earn the break back as Annie Fisher saved a pass misread by Prial. The teams traded clean holds, with Brian Stout reeling in what felt like his 10th goal of the game to tie the score and set up double-game point. A monster pull from Mixtape pinned Snake Country on a sideline, and after some patient reset work from Snake, their first pass, intended for a cutter, was gobbled up by Lozano. Two passes later and Brad Hauser found Dom Cavalero for the break, the win and Mixtape’s second consecutive trip to the National Championship final.
Anyone hoping for a less heart-stopping contest in the second semifinal was about to be disappointed. AMP (1) and Space Heater (6) split contests earlier in the season, with Space getting the best of AMP back in June and AMP winning the Mid-Atlantic Regional final last month. It was Space Heater who started hot, preventing a break opportunity for AMP on an opening hold and capitalizing on one of their own to go up 2-0. AMP cleaned up their offense and gradually earned two breaks of their own, on highlight catches from Luke Ryan and Max Charles. Space Heater broke back quickly on a Georgia Bosscher goal to regain the lead at 7-6. After an AMP hold, Alan Kolick fired a sharp flick across the field to Kelly Hyland who made a full-extension grab to take half for Space Heater, on serve, 8-7.
Calvin Trisolini took over for AMP out of half, throwing or catching their first three holds. Nicky Spiva grabbed a poach block to set up the first break of the second half, putting AMP up 10-9. Space Heater held and answered right back as Kolick found Hyland again for a break. Deja vu struck as AMP held and then broke after Carolyn Normile cleaned up a Space Heater huck, before Space Heater returned the hold and break pattern. A goal-saving block in the back of the end zone from Allison Maddux gave Space Heater the chance to punch in a goal and reclaim the lead 14-13, game to 15. Space Heater’s D line had an opportunity to win after an AMP turnover, but a layout block from Linda Morse set up a quick score for AMP to tie the game at 14-14 and force double-game point. Space Heater worked the disc to up to the opposite brick mark, threatening to punch their ticket to the final, but an unforced turn kept AMP’s hopes alive. A huck turnover left Space 70 yards from victory, but a run-by block gave AMP a short field, and Nicky Spiva found Sean Mott for the break, game winner and spot in the finals.
Pro Flight Bracket
shame. avenged their pre-quarters loss to Mischief 15-11 while BFG made short work of XIST 15-5. Both winners have now qualified for the 2019 Pro Flight.