Waterloo, Ont. (Aug. 20, 2018) – It was a short day for both the U-20 National Teams on Monday. Luckily enough, both teams were only scheduled for one game on the day – the boys’ team taking on Japan at 9:00 a.m. and the girls’ team facing New Zealand at 11:00 a.m. Which left both teams with some quality personal time throughout the afternoon. As was the case yesterday, the boys’ team took advantage of break opportunities. In addition to the many break chances they forced, Japan also had some unforced errors that the U.S. squad was able to convert throughout the game. Things started in just that way. After a drop from each team – early morning nerves or dewy disc, who knows – Japan turned the disc back to the U.S. with a deep look that had too much on it, a common source of turns for Japan throughout the game. The U.S. took advantage, earning a first-point break and setting the tone early. As has been the story for the U.S. National Teams thus far, everyone is contributing, particularly as comfort levels with each other are rising. Jonny Malks, Kodi Smart and Jake Taylor are still the most common driving forces in the handler spots for the offense, particularly against zone defenses, but Malks and Connor Chin are also developing a great report as primary handlers in the vertical stack offense. Tony Venneri and Drew Di Francesco are doing a great job shutting down opposing handlers, and Connor Ryan, Ben Preiss and Leo Sovell-Fernandez are eating up yards downfield and continually find space in the end zones. Sam Hammar had an outstanding game this morning, with three Ds and a goal, in addition to his other, more “normal” contributions. Japan had some strong offensive points, working their way through and around the U.S. defense at times, but the U.S. was stalwart and great after the turn, leading the team to a 15-5 victory.
The girls’ game against New Zealand was steamed live by Sports Canada and can be re-watched anytime here. Particularly in the first half, the game was a bit sloppy, resulting in some long points. The U.S. still came out ahead on most of those points, but turnover numbers were higher than what we saw yesterday. New Zealand has a fair amount of height and attempted to take advantage of it by tossing quite a few high and floaty throws into the end zone. The U.S. defense converged there, winning those battles more often than not. On offense, Bailey Shigley, Ella Juengst and Jenna Krugler continue to be cutting machines downfield, with Alyssa Ehrhardt, Kate Lanier, Rachel Hess and PX Rong taking on a lot of the handlers’ heavy lifting. Carly Campana had another great game, keeping the offense moving with well-timed cuts and continue throws that ate up yards. The U.S. was in front 8-1 at halftime, though, at times, it may have felt closer. The second half started with a break for New Zealand, the first against the U.S. in the tournament. But the second half was also cleaner throughout, with the U.S. defense forcing turns quickly and the offense looking crisper and more efficient. In all, New Zealand put three more points on the board in the second half before the U.S. closed out a 15-4 win in their third game of the tournament.
Both U.S. teams have 3-0 records after two days of play in Canada, and Tuesday will provide more fun challenges. The boys’ team will meet Sweden and New Zealand tomorrow, while the girls’ team will take on the Netherlands and Italy.
Stay tuned for more from the World Junior Ultimate Championships and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada! All four games tomorrow will be live tweeted from @USAUltimateLive, with overall and behind-the-scenes coverage being posted @USAUltimateU20.