Oh my God, it’s 2pm and I’m only on the second of four recaps today. Lots to do. Let’s get right to it.
First up is Joanna Whitney of Artemis:
First things first. I saw this article yesterday, giggled, and thought “Is this a real headline right now?” I thought it was appropriate:
Anyway, as much as I hate having to get to Rancho Cienega because there is no convenient route to it from anywhere north, I love that we can have dogs there. Dogs just make me happy. However, I learned that that’s not the case for everyone on the field. How can you not love a playful puppy and his older friend who silently puts up with his shenanigans? Or two little ancient chihuahuas in sweaters who just want to eat your french fries?!?! I feel sorry for anyone who can’t get as much joy from seeing these sweethearts as I can.
Unfortunately I played on the other field from the puppies, but at least I was away from humans I’ll never understand. We headed over to a field of smiling faces and did some pregame heckling of Uranus. They know they’re fast, and we know they like to run around the field constantly and never get tired, so we needed to start out strong with something. Our gift of gab was what we chose. I mean, we have Chicago, Cubby, Elmo, and Snatch, need I say more?
Artemis starts out on D having run exactly zero warm up drills. The air was warm enough for us. The game starts out fast paced and not just because of Kate’s legs. Artemis forces a turn and grabs the first point. Then before I know it 3-1 Artemis. I’m not sure on exactly which point we start to strategize, but we know that they have the potential to run us and that probably means deep, so we throw on a zone. Basically putting that ring around Uranus like we learned in elementary school (and from Beyonce).
Uranus has some veterans, but they also have young blood in the form of multiple high schoolers (still convinced they may just be secret 50 year olds because they talk strategy like they’ve been playing for decades). I’ve seen these vets break zones before, but tonight was not the night. Shutting down their speed meant they had to utilize a lot more strategy that struggled to come to fruition. I couldn’t tell where their offense was breaking down, but we kept the disc passing between their handlers and only very rarely did they get it into the middle. There was also usually a whole sideline area with no one around so our wing could poach in a lot, which made a huge difference on many occasions. By half at 8-3 it was clear that our zone was doing all the work. There was one point where Tiger covered everyone in his area whether there was one or three people, which meant eventually he got the d, ran down, and got the bookends. That point was definitely at least 60% Tiger’s doing.
Out of half Artemis had piles of confidence. Uranus could smell it. They had had enough of it and were ready to put us in our place. Despite Artemis starting on O, Uranus scores the first point out of half. They bring it to within 3 points at one point. We tried to be tricky keeping them on their toes by switching between man and zone, but it was clear we needed to get back to what we did best. Cupping Uranus. I had to work that phrase in somewhere. Zone it was.
Around 12-6 (maybe?) with Artemis on O, Uranus called the stall count power to force us to be quicker and to give themselves more time against our zone. There was some grumbling about fast counts because when you’re already handicapped with half the stall counts you really need to be mindful of fast counts. The power works, we turn it over, but luckily not because of an actual stall call, Uranus has time to work their play and eventually gets the point.
12-7 with Artemis on O again, we call the running power. We had lots of discussion about which power would be better to use against this team. They are fast so we didn’t want to let them run away from us, but would the zone shut it down? Our Zone was doing well on its own, but could making them have 5 seconds be even more successful? Ultimately the choice wasn’t up to us, but I liked the one we got to use. It was a lot of fun to watch everyone juke and jive. Tiger came out looking like a running back right off the line. Fuse who wasn’t confident she’d remember to run once she caught it also had some evasive measures and gained us yards. We ran it all the way to within a few feet of the end zone where Avatar had the disc and jammed it in to a crazy looking Chicago. At this point, Chicago tweaks an ankle, which is now injury number 2 for the night. Ultimately we’ll end with 3. 2 ankles and 1 mouth on top of my previous ankle and Felix’s hamstring. Artemis was a strong goddess who ran the wilderness. Do you think she was ever hurt?! She played through the pain! But seriously guys, stop getting hurt. Take care of yourselves. It’s only game 3.
13-7 and Artemis starts on D. We get a turn. Work it up the field, and the pass goes to Tiger. Now I’ll admit I have an active imagination, but I swear Tiger contorted his body under his defender’s arm and around his body to put up a crazy io to the end zone where it might have just gotten a tip of the defender’s finger and landed in Snatch’s hands. The night was full of “just the tip” on a couple points that got second chances for the score. That throw shouldn’t have been a score, but it was. I couldn’t believe it. 14-7.
Uranus works hard to shut us down and make a comeback, but Avatar does a diving catch of a disc super low in the end zone. It looked like an iffy catch, but I was too far away to know for sure and the guy at the other end zone was way too far away to call it even though he tried. The players in the action agreed it was a score and Artemis wins 15-7. Bar score 3-0. We also learned that Joxer only kept the bar open for us. Ultimate is kind of a big deal.
I was like, wait, did Beyonce put a ring around Uranus in a song…… oh, OHHHH. Got it. Dumb me.
Glad that some discussion went on about which power to use. That was always the intention, to make it an interesting decision. Feels like the last couple weeks were dominated by the Reverse the Pull power always being used first, so I’m glad at least you have to think about it this week.
And I’m sorry, what was the mouth injury? Did I miss that? Did you just throw that in to see if we were paying attention?
And here’s Ethan Lacoe of Uranus with the other side:
Artemis has a bunch of experienced players who know how to play ultimate. They have a very strong roster from top to bottom. They jumped out to an early 5-1 lead and easily took half 8-3. Uranus used the time power successfully in the second half, and we fought our way back to 6-9. Artemis successfully used the running power and went on a run, bringing the score to 13-6 and closing out the game 15-7.
For Artemis, I thought their women played fantastic, especially Avatar. She’s extremely fast and has great hands. She scored a lot, and she made all the right throws. Definitely one of the best women in the league. I also thought their Family Style men played great. I’ve always been Alex Chin’s biggest fan. These guys rarely make mistakes, which makes it difficult to force turnovers.
For Uranus, Andrew Schwartz and Honey Badger played great. I also thought the young trio of Mike Dykes, Ryan Berry, and John Lazo played really well. Keep in mind that Mike, Ryan, and John have no league experience. They have played some pickup ultimate and have a little bit of tournament experience at the high school level, which is a very different game. Without KJ, they didn’t miss a beat.
Mike is a really good athlete who makes difficult catches. He plays within his means and is always an active cutter. I’ve seen him improve weekly. As he starts to understand spacing and improving his timing with his cuts, he will make a major break through.
I was the most familiar with John’s game going into the season. He comes out to Newbury pickup more than the other two in the trio. He has reliable hands, incredible closing speed, and plays excellent defense. I don’t think John realizes that he is way ahead of the curve for a player his age.
Ryan has really impressed me this season. His handler cuts have improved immensely, and he is extremely calm and comfortable with the disc. He has already developed break mark throws on both the backhand and forehand side. Once he develops a huck, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
I felt like these guys got a little discouraged after last night’s game. Sometimes it’s hard to see improvement when the team is struggling and the improvement isn’t immediately translating into results. I want to remind them that they are doing an excellent job on and off the field. Their high school team absolutely dominated this year, and I can’t think of a more humble, hard working group of guys.
Nice, good to see the next generation is coming along. LA’s youth ultimate scene with SCYU is definitely continuing the great work that many have been doing for years to help get new young players into the fold.
|June 21, 2017||12:00 am||Summer League||2017|
|Rancho Cienega Recreation Center|