Photos by Brian Canniff, Paul Andris and Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
Following a weekend full of excitement, wind, and some dirty language, your 2015 Club Nationals Champions are: San Francisco Revolver (Men’s), Boston Brute Squad (Women’s), and Minneapolis Drag’n Thrust (Mixed).
Each champion was the top seeded team entering their respective divisions. The city of Seattle made a strong showing by making the finals in each division (Sockeye, Riot, and Mixtape), but each fell short to the eventual champions. Across each division, some of MLU’s finest showed why they are so dominate in the sport of ultimate.
This year’s games were arguably some of the most exciting in years. In Men’s pool play alone, seven of the twenty-four games were decided on the final point of the game. That trend carried on into the Quarterfinals, where three of the four games ended on universe point. Revolver’s toughest challenge came against Washington DC Truck Stop in the Quarterfinals, where it took a full team effort to eke out the win 13-12. Other than their game against Truck, San Francisco won all their games by at least four points.
Boston Ironside also made a strong showing in the tournament, reaching the Semifinals before losing to Mark Burton’s Seattle Sockeye. 2015 MLU Champion and Boston Whitecaps Captain Alex Simmons gave a breakdown on how the weekend went for his club team:
Ironside only won one game during pool play, what did you do in preparation for elimination games the following day to lead to your semifinals run?
“We came out uncharacteristically flat on Thursday, which was one of the major reasons we didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for. We talked about needing to be the hardest working team moving forward and having relentlessly positive energy. We knew that if we could achieve that good things would happen.”
A lot of the guys on Ironside also play with you on the Whitecaps. How much did playing together outside of club contribute to your success?
“The more reps you get together the better off you’re going to be, so playing on the Whitecaps was definitely beneficial in that sense.”
You played a tough yet familiar Philly Patrol team on Friday, and neither team converted a break until the second half, followed by a strong win over Austin Doublewide. Do you prefer playing against teams you know well or opponents you hadn’t seen yet this year?
“I enjoy the challenges of both scenarios. Playing an unfamiliar opponent forces you to make more in-game changes while playing a familiar foe the outcome is more affected by who executes better.”
What are your plans for the upcoming offseason before next year’s MLU and club seasons begin?
“I’m looking forward to taking a few weeks off and then hitting the gym hard to start getting ready for next season!”
Simmons lead the Whitecaps to a second MLU Championship, tallying 19 pts (7G, 12A) playing 140 of 168 points on defense.
In the women’s division, Brute Squad rolled their way to the championship game, winning every game by at least four points. In the final game, they took a large lead on Seattle Riot early, and Riot could never get back into it. Until then, Kate Kingery, Fiona McKibben and Charlie Mercer, coaches for the Seattle Rainmakers were part of the undefeated run Riot made to get to the Finals. Two Quarterfinal thrillers ending on universe point, Denver Molly Brown vs. Washington DC Scandal and Riot vs. Vancouver Traffic, highlighted an action-packed weekend in the Women’s division.
Charlie Mercer, Fiona McKibben (above) and Kate Kingery (top) coached the Rainmakers from (4-6) in 2014 to the MLU Championship in 2015.
Rounding out the weekend was the Mixed Division. Championship winners Drag’n Thrust defeated Seattle Mixtape in an epic rematch of a pool play game from earlier in the tournament. Mixtape won that first game against Minneapolis handily 15-9, but couldn’t repeat the performance in their final game of the weekend. However, Khalif El-Salaam showed once again why he is one of the best young players in the sport with this incredible sky against the San Francisco Polar Bears.
Khalif El-Salaam followed up his 2014 Breakout Player of Year win with a solid 2015 scoring 30 pts (16G,14A) in just 6 games.
Now that the Club season has ended, ultimate players everywhere have a bit of a lull until the college season begins in earnest. You can go ahead and get some sleep, turn in that overdue assignment, and maybe acknowledge the family you’ve been neglecting….at least until next year’s MLU and club seasons begin.
– Dave Pannepacker
For full Men’s results, check here.
For full Women’s results, check here.
For full Mixed results, check here.