18 – 17 

In one way, put simply, this is just another Boston vs. D.C. classic. I wonder if the other teams in the league get bothered by how much fun these games look like to play in?

In another way it was just another week for Boston with receivers streaking down the center of the field off of the pull play for a goal, Tyler Chan consistently getting open deep, Ross Kittross-Schnell again proving his worth and Josh Markette defining awareness

…and just another week for D.C. with the sidestack providing space to work for their offensive cutters, catching tipped discs for scores (this week Dom Gibson), multiple blocks on resets and Alan Kolick nearly redefining awareness at the final buzzer.

– A key dose of stress for the losing offense: BOS 9, D.C. 8
9:09-5:14, timeout, 5:14-4:12
4:58 in game time.
Always better to be on defense during long points.

Piers McNaughton played 11 points all in the third and fourth quarter and scored four goals on 10 catches while completing all six of his passes for Boston.

– Thorny road ahead for D.C. after the loss. Much rosier for the Whitecaps after a good win on their part. But nothing has been determined just yet… and obligatory Poison reference.

 14 – 16 

This was the first strong home performance at home in a windy stadium on the weekend. In this one, 17 Dogfish were involved in goals. Only 19 Nighthawks played. The result can easily hinge on how many players you have at a game and how playing time gets broken down as a result. The home team also has an advantage in his sense as their players tend to live much closer to the home stadium than to away stadiums.

It should be mentioned:

Eyrich to Hibbert.
Hibbert to Eyrich.

This is dangerous. It seemed that every other time Vancouver had the disc, these two were playing giant-ball by tossing to each other in space while the normal-sized folks watch.

Then this would happen:

Nice skip-step upline cut by Hibbert who does a quick check to the outside and then whirl across to the breakside. The throw is just nightmarish. Just toss the backhand there. Or even just a scoober which hits the receiver comfortably. Or… anything.

The thing about the Nighthawks is that all season long after all of the unique Hibberting and assorted lovely over-the-top throws and strong defense they’ve been plagued by the same types of errors the Rumble make:

This play is the difference between a one-point and two-point game at half.

As for San Francisco, they are making noise at the right time of year. Gabe Saunkeah, for all his deserved praise, is nearly-making a few more plays than he actually makes every game rendering his overall influence positive yet erratic. The rest of their current roster has stepped up from game to game, but not across the board:

Saunkeah 281414177196
Second on SF 14 (Stearns)9 (Cascino)9 (Hooker)158 (McGuirk)175 (McGuirk)

Basic stats in which Saunkeah does not lead the current team:
Blocks: Hooker 10, Adamson 8, Abram 8, Stearns 7, Saunkeah 6.
Completion Percentage (over 20 throws): Abram 97.3, Saunkeah 90.3 (14th).

This team’ first option is Saunkeah. Not a bad first option. The rest of the team is solid, and they are playing with very worthy cohesion right now. It is not always clear exactly how they’re doing it, but they are committed to playing through negativity until they get positive results. This fish is alive and should be considered dangerous.


18 – 20 

I finally had the opportunity to see the Stags and Rainmakers in person, and neither disappointed. Seattle displayed creativity on defense and a competent offense. Portland displayed a relentless offense and a competently tireless defense with bonus Peter Woodside.

Seattle played well on the whole, though Portland exhaled an air of control all afternoon. And yet I return to something noticed in the opening week: Portland’s players are on the whole just bigger than Seattle’s.

This certainly wasn’t the lone deciding factor in the game, but it helps Portland by consistently increasing the margin for error. Before needing that enhanced margin, Portland starts with consistently being on the same page on offense.

More than once in this game, a hammer was put up for a goal before the receiver had turned around to see the throw.

Generally, when on offense, the structure of the Stags was a vertical stack but it wasn’t as though they stayed stacked. It is more like the Stags rely on the concept of a “Vertical Stack” only so far as “there is a clump of 2-3 players in the center of the field.” Of these players, one will be clearly in front and is expected to get involved in the reset motion as necessary and be in a position such that the thrower can see him and throw him the disc if the defender is playing dishonestly.

Aside from that, the active downfield offensive players are running around in two separate giant swaths of field. And each has one of these expanses all to himself. The Portland throwers then use this clear structure to look downfield as their receivers work through cut sequences against single defenders. More than this, it is clear that the reset is reading the field well from behind the disc as this player would not always simply serve as a bounce for the original thrower, but would complete upfield passes to open cutters wide on the field when available.

The Stags have a simple and clear offensive system. Within that system they have a host of offensive cutters who persist in attacking space at a pace which seems just faster than the defenders are comfortable with. That the first two on this list are Cody Bjorklund and Timmy Perston make this style of offense quite potent even in potentially tight spots:

If it’s not Timmy, it’s Cody.” Well said, Mr. Brad Stein.

There are eight seconds left in the third quarter and the score is tied as the disc is centered to Ben McGinn. In three throws and eight seconds of play, Portland will be up 10-8:

A blade to Bjorklund (whose defender dropped to double Perston and/or give deep help considering the time left) and a blade to Perston (who is double covered) for a goal.

Now there remains four seconds in the quarter.

There was an offsides on Portland, which granted the Rainmakers the disc at midfield… without the clock starting. Seattle was then charged with a delay of game for starting before the whistle blew, moving the disc back 10 yards. Portland double-teamed the thrower and gets a point block which results in a last second one-on-one heave and a Portland score on a height mismatch.

It starts with Bjorklund and Perston, but this much winning requires a team.

(Oh and Woodside erasing goal-scoring opportunities as time expires.)

 17 – 20 

This was a good spot for New York to get this victory not just for their own benefit and reward, but for all of our benefit in having the most interesting race possible in the East.

That said, the plays of this game were simple: Wodatchahan.

[iframe width=”628″ height=”360″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/XwJWuqWTYdk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]



New York played like a team desperate for a win throughout the game which served them well. They also seemed to be acclimating to their new perch of a home field at St. John’s. Each team is establishing a type of home-field advantage by simply being used to the peculiarities of the wind and environment in their home fields.

All ultimate players can tell you that the wind is just different in different places. The way it swirls or is dead in one space or another depending on the direction of the winds or the shape of the stadium. There is no other sport in which this could possibly play as dominant a role.

Which I think is fantastic.

Also of note from this game:

– Philadelphia converted breaks on three of four half-field pulls. The fourth was an out-of-bounds pull from Leon Chou.

– A key dose of stress for the losing offense: PHL 7, NY 10
5:15 – 0:57, 4:18 game time
Always better to be on defense during long points.

– Philly tied at 12 on New York errors. Philly gets a defensive possession at 12-12 on a Chou point block, does not convert. In fact, over the course of four throws, the Spinners progress New York about 10 yards closer to a score than before the point block. The Rumble score, and then break on the next point as the Spinners offense looks out-of-sorts and slow during their stint on both offense and defense.

This is how a quick stretch of poor play can set the game to slipping away. Not one of those individual four throws was a bad decision, but the aggregate result was better for New York. Funny game, this ultimate.

Seven On & On Anon…

1. This is very pretty offense on the part of Philly
5:59 – 6:03 the setup… 6:04 the break … 6:05 the break huck. This is spreading the field and attacking. Kudos, Dave Baer and Ben Scharadin.

2. Stat-stealing Shofner!
Not that he should not have caught it (That is a vital play as we relearn every week!), but rather that the way stats are recorded in MLU, Chuck Cantone will not get a block, but Shofner will. I have presented my argument to Statman Luke that it would be best to track both deflections and catches. Offensive deflections and defensive deflections. Most are quite easy to see in video, and many are easy to see in live play (though not necessarily record).

3 “You Just Ignore Being Tired.”
Hibbert’s halftime interview answer to playing how he plays so many points. Yessir, Mr. Hibbert, Sir.

4. Ya Gotta Catch the Greatest
…or it is just another incomplete pass.

5. This is a great segue of poach block by Castine…
…into to point block by Markette to end the quarter.

6. “‘Datch Set Me Up”
With apologies to D.C.’s Mayor-for-life Marion Barry (may he rest in peace), John Wodatch’s Callahan was a setup from Wodatch AND a miscommunication between thrower and receiver. Much like it may have been a setup, but Mayor Night Owl was still Rob Ford before Rob Ford. Wodatch was planning to commit to an under in this situation, but the receiver broke his route to the break side just as the thrower threw it to the open side. Valiant effort on the catch, but this would have been incomplete absent Wodatch. Add a pinch of Wodatch? Callahan.

7. That really is a nice throw from Hochhalter.
There’s a second look via replay if you watch through for a bit.

Midfield Heave as Time Expires

Blake leaps for a great catch in a crowd at the end of the first quarter! …one-yard shy of the end zone. Nice Catch. No Goal.