Perth, Western Australia (Jan. 8, 2018) – The U.S. is 6-0 after two days of play at the 2018 World Under 24 Ultimate Championships. The day started for the U.S. delegation with the mixed team taking on Great Britain and the men facing Colombia, the second seed in each respective pool.
Both opponents offered good early challenges for the U.S. squads, putting up stronger performances than what the final score lines reflected. U.S.A. mixed and Great Britain traded scores early before taking the half with a tight lead. Great Britain scored three straight out of halftime, but the U.S. rallied to close out the game with a final score of 15-8. The U.S. zone offense looked strong, with lots of patience in the handling corps. The team was also able to generate numerous Ds on Great Britain’s resets. Along with the positives, the team also came away with things to work on going forward.
As with the mixed team’s game against Great Britain, Colombia made the U.S. men’s team work to earn their first victory. The score was on serve at 3-3 before the U.S. got the game’s first break to go up 4-3. That break turned the tide, all in favor of the U.S. The U.S. red zone defense was particularly impressive, forcing reset after reset from Colombia, and eventually earning the U.S. break opportunities. Colombia forced several turnovers and ground out some long points, but in the end, the U.S. got the win, 15-6.
Both the men’s and mixed teams played again at 1:00 p.m. local time, facing less-experienced opponents. The men took on Singapore while the mixed team saw Hong Kong. On both fields, the U.S. played cleaner games than they did this morning, taking advantage of bigger throws and taller athletes. U.S.A. men’s won 15-4, and U.S.A. mixed won 15-1, both moving to 2-0 after their first day of play.
One of the most anticipated games of the tournament, certainly in the preliminary rounds, the U.S. women took on Colombia at 3:00 p.m. local time. It was the round’s featured game, streaming live on the World Flying Disc Federation’s YouTube page. As it turned out, the much deeper U.S. roster, plus the game Colombia played earlier in the day, buoyed the team to a big victory. After a marathon first point, which the U.S. finally scored to hold, the Americans calmed down considerably, significantly reducing the number of unforced errors on offense and turning up the heat on defense. The increased defensive pressure forced many of the team’s numerous break chances. Claire Trop stood out on defense, generating multiple blocks. Amel Awadelkarim was handed the difficult task of containing Manuela Cardenas, a job Awadelkarim relished and did well. It was definitely the match up to watch throughout the game. Angela Zhu, Dani Runzo, Carolyn Normile and Julianna Werffeli commanded the backfield, connecting with their many talented cutters. Claire Thallon and Sophia Knowles also had impressive games downfield. The U.S. women rolled to their second victory of the tournament, closing out the game 15-5.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will start tomorrow against New Zealand, at 1:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m., respectively. The women’s second game will come against Australia at 3:00 p.m. The mixed team will start against Germany at 11:00 a.m. and follow it up with a game against Colombia at 5:00 p.m. The men’s team moves into power pools tomorrow afternoon.