By: Zoey Clark
Today was Semifinal Saturday at the National Championships, with two great match ups on tap in the mixed division.
San Francisco Mischief v. Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust
In the first semifinal game of the tournament, we found Mischief (6) facing off against Drag’n Thrust (1). Drag’n Thrust pulled first and ran downfield with a backhand force to start the game, but Mischief played quick, clean offense with a huck down the force side to score. Drag’n Thrust was quick to return the favor and tie the game at 1-1, followed by a near flat force defensive scheme that caused a Mischief turn and a break for the overall one seed. After the game was tied at 2-2, Mischief kicked it into high gear and created two breaks with tight person defense, obviously eager to take the stage Sunday morning in the championship final. The rest of the first half was dominated by Mischief’s ability to work the handler space and trust that their deep looks would connect or that turnovers would be salvaged by the incredible work of their defensive players. The half ended with Mischief in front 8-5, after an outside-in flick across the field to Mischief’s Lexi Zalk, her third goal of the game.
Drag’n Thrust received out of halftime, facing the relentless Mischief defense sprinting down to contest the first throw. Despite the wind starting to pick up, Drag’n Thrust refused to let up on their game plan and sent a huck to the end zone to keep them in the contest. However, even with long points created by great defense on both sides, for every Drag’n Thrust score, Mischief seemed to counter with two of their own. The Minnesota team seemed determined to make each point interesting, with plays like Leo Sovell-Fernandez’s one-handed save on a throw the wind had all but sent flying, but in the end, Mischief’s turn-causing defense and high-intensity offense brought them to game point. On an outside-in flick to the force side, Mischief got the 15-10 win and heads to the National Championship final on Sunday.
Fort Collins shame. v. Philadelphia AMP
In the other semifinal game, the defending champions, AMP (3), faced off against shame. (9) for the second spot in the championship final. The game started out with shame. on offense, a few turns here and there and a score from AMP to break. Who started on offense or defense didn’t seem to matter to either of these teams, as shame. tied it up at 1-1, then broke to take the lead with a cross-field, breakside throw to Kasey Anderson. With a field of contenders as unpredictable as this year’s have turned out to be, athleticism is the strongest asset to rely on, and shame. has that in troves. Unafraid to rip hucks from end zone to end zone, or throw hammers like the one Marilyn Reich launched straight up-field to score, shame. raised the level of intensity in the game and in the crowd – everyone loves a great show. AMP tried to rise to the occasion, but scrambled to keep up as shame.’s early break hung over their heads. With every AMP score, shame. returned the favor, with the extra security of being two points ahead. Though they were tied at sixes, shame. took half 8-6, and it was clear that AMP’s energy was not on par with their counterparts.
While the first half was filled with long points, multiple turns and attacking defense from both teams, the second half started with traded points and neither team really contesting throws. That is, until AMP shot a great pull to the back of end zone and sent a forceful D line down the field. Michael Ing laid out for a block to bring the game back into color. The point was won after a long back and forth, with Ing finally getting the assist on a break throw to Raha Mozaffari who skillfully toed the line to keep it in bounds. AMP certainly put up a fight, but the score was still 12-14, shame., in a game to 15, with shame. on offense. Either shame. holds, or AMP scores two breaks against the hungry Colorado team. AMP got their first break chance off a Bobby Roos D that ended with Sean Mott getting open in the end zone. 13-14. The second break was a breakside throw from Danielle Walsh to Luke Ryan. Double-game point, 14 all.
The point from heck.
It was more than 15 minutes long with almost 10 turns, half of which were blocks from one team or the other. Both teams laid their bodies and spirits on the line for this point before AMP’s Anna Thompson threw a flick huck to a sprinting Paul Owens who turned and jumped just in time to catch it in the end zone over his defender. AMP won 15-14 and moved forward to face Mischief in the National Championship game.
In the fifth-place game, Seattle BFG (8) beat Seattle Mixtape (2), 14-12. In the Pro Flight play-in games, Superlame (16) won 15-12 over Cocktails (13), and Public Enemy (12) defeated Snake Country (10) 13-11, to earn spots in the 2020 Pro Flight.
Tune in to the mixed division final at the 2019 National Championships, live on ESPN3 and in the ESPN app, Sunday, October 27, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.