Wroclaw, Poland (July 23, 2017) – In arguably the team’s best performance here in Poland, the U.S. won gold at the 2017 World Games early this evening, defeating Colombia 13-7 to earn first place.
Initially, the U.S. was supposed to play Poland in their last round of preliminary play before heading to the gold-medal game against Colombia, but Mother Nature evidently didn’t feel like cooperating. Shortly before the scheduled start time, massive amounts of rain, incredibly high winds and lots of lightning blew right across the playing fields. Given the extent of the delay, the World Flying Disc Federation decided to cancel the U.S. v. Poland game, since it wouldn’t affect either team’s standing. Instead, the U.S. athletes holed up in the gymnasium on site, alternately napping or playing basketball with a muscle roller ball. Sarah Griffith and Georgia Bosscher also threw reading and crossword puzzles, respectively, into the mix.
So the first challenge for the U.S. National Team in the lead up to the gold-medal match was to get themselves appropriately warmed up, pumped up and focused for the game ahead. Over the course of an hour and a half, the team discussed strategy and match ups, with quite a few tweaks from their first game against Colombia on Friday, before moving into focused throwing and their normal warm up drills. By game time, they were ready.
Women ruled on the first point. With the U.S. starting on offense, Anna Nazarov broke across field to Carolyn Finney, helping relieve some of the going on in the first 20 yards or so, and Finney ripped a huck to Sandy Jorgensen for the hold. Lien Hoffmann got a handblock on the second point, and an easy put from George Stubbs into the end zone for Bosscher had the U.S. off to a great start.
Colombia held on their next offensive possession, despite solid defensive pressure from the U.S. that forced quite a few throws. They managed to get the early break back on the next point, with a throw that just missed the outstretched fingers of Griffith, tying the score at 2-2. A second consecutive throwing miscue from the U.S. gave Colombia another break on the next point to give them the lead, so the U.S. called a timeout. Out of the break, the U.S. looked resilient, marching down the field and finding open space through the Canadian defense. A great break look from Chris Kocher to Dylan Freechild set up a goal from Bosscher to Hoffmann. 3-3.
The U.S. got their break back on the next point after Jimmy Mickle stepped into the lane for a block and got one more break right away to go up 5-3. With a 7-5 lead at halftime, the U.S. was in control, but the coaches were adamant that the team double down on their defensive strategy: taking way inside looks early as the mark before switching to take away the arounds while downfield defenders focused on aggressively taking away cuts underneath.
The marks managed to force several high-stall bail out throws and throws that popped up into the air, all ripe D opportunities for the U.S. Taking advantage of Colombia’s execution errors, the U.S. worked their way to an impressive 13-7 win, avenging their Friday loss to Colombia and claiming the gold medal at the World Games for a fourth consecutive time.
It was a game full of great all-around ultimate, punctuated by incredible plays. The fingertip layout goals from Griffith, Bosscher and Kocher will probably be replayed countless times around the world, and they are just three examples of the highlights in the game. To wrap things up, Bosscher launched a backhand huck to her former Wisconsin Bella Donna teammate, Sandy Jorgensen, who reeled in the game winner.