Perth, Western Australia (Jan. 9, 2018) – It was a full day for the U.S. contingent at the 2018 World Under 24 Ultimate Championships. All three teams had two games apiece. The mixed and women’s teams both continued in pool play; the men’s team finished out pool play with their first game today before moving into power pools.
The women’s team faced New Zealand to start the day and cruised to an easy 15-2 victory. There was a lot more buzz leading into the women’s second game of the day against Australia. They faced each other in a friendly scrimmage during the U.S. training camp last week, and after a tight start, the U.S. ran away with the game. Questions about whether today would be a repeat abounded, and although the scoring for Australia was a little more consistent throughout the game, and despite a mid-game run after halftime for Australia, the final result was similar. Both teams stretched the field, airing out deep looks – not all of which were successful. But as it was last week, when the U.S. settled in, the deep handler corps took control and led the team to another win. Sophia Knowles was a huge threat in the deep space throughout the game.
The mixed team took on Germany and faced a stiffer challenge, at least in the first half. Germany got the game’s first break to go up 3-1 before the U.S. got it back, plus a couple more, to take half 8-4. Germany held out of halftime before the U.S. turned on the jets that took them to a 15-8 win. The U.S. defense did a good job of forcing tough throws, and with guys like Lior Givol and Joe Freund downfield to clean things up, the team had lots of opportunities. Megan Ives also came through on defense, picking off multiple heads-up D chances. The zone offense also looked strong and very patient, with Anna Thompson and Matt Gouchoe-Hanas leading the way behind the disc for the O line. The mixed team took on Colombia in their second game of the day and easily earned their fourth victory overall. The wind wreaked havoc for the Colombians, particularly when combined with the tight U.S. defense that was forcing Colombia away from their preferred looks. The U.S. ran away to a 15-0 win.
The men’s team faced New Zealand to start the day and, overall, put together a really clean game. The only exception was the point for 11. Between the teams, nearly a dozen turnovers riddled the field. That point alone likely included more turns for the U.S. than the rest of the game combined. The breeze made it mostly an upwind-downwind affair, and aside from that one point, the U.S. just handled the wind better. New Zealand struggled to keep the disc from popping up, and the taller U.S. players just kept plucking discs out of the air. With Sam Van Dusen, Tristan Van de Moortele, Ben Sadok and the like anchoring the offense, the U.S. moved the disc with ease and ran away to a 15-1 win.
The more exciting game for the men’s team came with the start of power pools. Earlier in the day, Ireland mounted a late comeback to defeat Great Britain on double-game point, which earned Ireland the pool victory and Great Britain a match up with the U.S. Great Britain opened the game with a hold and a break to go up 2-0 and force the U.S. to get their heads in the game. A case of the drops plagued the U.S. for much of the game and gave Great Britain a chance to stay alive. But again, the depth of the U.S. and the team’s defensive ability earned extra possessions. The U.S. took half 8-4, though the game felt closer. Great Britain largely stuck with their zone defense in the second half, much to the delight of Codi Wood and Jonah Wisch, who often ran the backfield alongside the plethora of talented U.S. handlers. The second half was a littler cleaner for the U.S., and the team ground their way to a 15-6 win.
The women’s team continues in their round robin pool play tomorrow with Germany at 9:00 a.m. local time, and they’ll follow it up with arguably the most anticipated game in women’s pool play – U.S. v. Japan – at 1:00 p.m. (midnight ET). The game will be livestreamed on the WFDF YouTube page.
The mixed team has just one game tomorrow, versus Denmark at 3:00 p.m. And the men’s team continues in power pools. They are set to face Germany at 11:00 a.m. and Italy at 3:00 p.m.
Stay tuned for more updates from Perth!