By: Zoey Clark
AMP took half at 8-5 over Space Heater in the pre-quarterfinals. Coming off a tough couple of losses during pool play, AMP was clearly filled with more energy and determination to prove themselves today. Space Heater’s defense tried to keep up, but they just couldn’t reach the same level as their opponents. However, what kept them in the game was their ability to capitalize on any opportunity AMP gave up and run with it for a quick score. Even with high levels of energy, AMP was able to keep their cool, mostly utilizing the force sideline, and play a patient handler-heavy offense at the end-zone line.
The Polar Bears and Snake Country played a close first half, tying the score at sixes before Jamie Quella earned a clean run-through D followed by a quick transition that led to a break and Snake Country taking half at 8-6. Out of half, Snake Country took the momentum they had earned and played a consistent game to keep the Polar Bears at bay, earning them the 14-12 win and sending them to a quarterfinals matchup against shame.
In a neck-and-neck game, Cocktails started their pre-quarterfinal strong, leading Superlame 3-1. As was the case with nearly every game today, the matchup did not go completely uncontested. Superlame put up a strong fight, always keeping the point differential small and the level of play and energy nearly equal. However, their heads-up defense and fast breaks kept Cocktails above water and sent them to their quarterfinal battle against Mischief.
In the livestreamed pre-quarter game, Drag’n Thrust received the pull from Slow White, and both the teams started with quick, three-throw points, ending with a huck to the end zone, making the score 1-1 in less than three minutes. The following points weren’t so easy. Drag’n Thrust’s Tavis Leighton finally earned the next goal with a bid in the end zone to end a near six-turn point. Slow White returned the favor after both teams put up contested floaty throws that their opponents were quick to capitalize on. A hammer from Slow White’s Ari Nelson tied the score again at 2-2. This pattern and length of points never ceased as each team vied to maintain their spot in the championship bracket. Slow White proved they came to play and garnered a small lead for a majority of the game, but with a serious crowd amassed by 10:30 in the morning, the game came to its head at double-game point, 13-13. After throwaways on both sides, Drag’n Thrust closed out the win with a D from Caleb Denecour who found Claire Thallon in the end zone. Drag’n Thrust won 14-13, earning them their spot in the quarterfinals for yet another year.
The wind picked up just slightly for the second round of the day, as if things weren’t interesting enough. In their quarterfinal game, AMP started on offense, but with Jonas Golden’s D to shut down a huck look, BFG was able to break on a backhand up the line. In a back-and-forth battle, first BFG was up by two, before AMP took half up one. When it looked like AMP might run away with the game, with BFG stagnating with eight points, the Seattle squad went on a four-point run to keep them in the running. After a poach D from AMP’s Bobby Roos, the game was tied at 12s in a game to 13. Double-game point ended after turns from both teams, when AMP earned the win with an outside-in flick across the field and into the end zone, sending them back to the semifinals.
Snake Country played shame. in the second of the morning quarterfinals. shame. started out with a clean offensive point, followed immediately by a break to make it a 2-0 game. Though the Snake Country defense made shame. work, Snake was unable to completely stifle the momentum. shame. ended up putting together a five-point run. In the end, shame.’s clean inside-out flicks to break the mark and floaty outside-in throws to space in the end zone were able to win them the game and send the Colorado team further into the championship bracket.
In the afternoon quarterfinals, Mischief never let their guard down against Cocktails. Even hot off their win against Superlame in the pre-quarters, Columbus couldn’t catch a break. Though the scoreboard may not show it, with Mischief running up a five-point lead by halftime and never looking back, the Columbus team played a game equal in athleticism with big plays on both offense and defense. However, the early lead Mischief earned was too great for Cocktails to overcome, and Mischief earned their spot in the semifinals.
The repercussions of this year’s tumultuous outcomes finally hit home when we found the tournament’s overall one and two seeds facing off in the quarterfinals, a matchup much more familiar in the later, semifinal and final, rounds. Coming into the game, Drag’n Thrust’s blood was pumping after a close call with Slow White in the pre-quarters, leading to two straight breaks to get going. Once Mixtape got their legs under them, they brought the fight. Kieran Kelly sent a beautiful inside-out backhand into the end zone to make the score 3-2, with Drag’n still in front. While both teams utilized quick transition offense to capitalize on missed hucks from both parties, Drag’n Thrust held onto their early momentum and kept themselves just a step ahead throughout the game. With the score sitting within two at 12-10, Drag’n Thrust kept with their game plan and ended the battle 15-12, sending the overall one seed ahead to a meeting with Mischief in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
Pro Flight Bracket
In the first fifth-place semifinal, Mixtape defeated Cocktails in a tough 15-11 game that ended on a thread-the-needle throw that was caught just inside the end zone. In the other fifth-place semifinal game between Snake Country and BFG, the score was tight throughout, never giving a good sense of who would come out on top, until BFG was able to freeze Snake Country at 11 while they ran up the score to the cap at 14. The tournament’s 8-seed ended the day on a high note and will face Mixtape for fifth place tomorrow morning.
The seventh-place bracket games left just enough room for a twist here and there, to keep par with the theme of the tournament. In one of the games, MOONDOG was able to capitalize on a tired Slow White. Slow White’s hard-fought pre-quarters battle against Drag’n Thrust, helped MOONDOG pull out a 13-12 win. In the same bracket, Superlame overtook Wild Card for the second time in the tournament, winning 14-11. At the same time, the Polar Bears defeated Toro in a 13-9 game, while Public Enemy overcame Space Heater in a back-and-forth game that ended with a 14-13 score.
In the last two games of the Pro Flight bracket, Superlame and MOONDOG found themselves tied at 10s, but Superlame came away with the tight win at 15-14 and will be moving forward to play Cocktails Saturday at 9 a.m. PT. And finally, with a hefty win over the Polar Bears, Public Enemy will also play Saturday at 9 a.m. PT against Snake Country in a battle for the final spots in the 2020 Pro Flight.
Both mixed semifinals will be streamed live from San Diego. Tune into the first semifinal, Mischief v. Drag’n Thrust, at 10 a.m. PT on the USA Ultimate YouTube page. The second semifinal, shame. v. AMP, will be broadcast live from Mira Mesa High School on ESPN3 and the ESPN app at 2:30 p.m. PT.