Photo by Sean Carpenter – Ultiphotos.com
For the second consecutive season, the Spinners and Whitecaps will face off to decide which team will represent Eastern Conference in the MLU Championship.
In the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship, the Whitecaps defeated the Spinners, 21-16 on their home field in Medford, Mass. The Whitecaps went on to defeat the Western Conference Champions, the Seattle Rainmakers, 31-17 to capture their second MLU title in three years.
While the Spinners enjoyed their most successful season in franchise history in 2016, the Whitecaps are never a team to count out. The winningest team in league history, the Whitecaps have appeared in the conference championship every season the league has operated, winning twice on their way to two MLU Championship titles (2013 and 2015). The Spinners first taste of the postseason was as recent as 2015.
This season, while the teams may be the same, the setting has changed. Having secured the best record in the conference, the Spinners will host this year’s matchup. Over the first four seasons of Major League Ultimate play, the Whitecaps have been the most successful franchise, holding a 30-10 regular season record (4-1 in the postseason, 2 titles). Despite Boston’s success, Philadelphia is the one team that has consistently given them fits. Over the four year rivalry, Boston and Philadelphia have split their 12 regular season meetings equally, 6-6. Boston’s 2015 victory was their first postseason matchup.
Philadelphia and Boston were dominant in the Eastern Conference this season, both going undefeated at home, with their only losses coming against each other.
While Boston was able to continue their winning ways under veteran Head Coach Sam Rosenthal, despite the retirement and departure of several perenniel stars, the Spinners got the better of them, winning two of their three matches in 2016. Lead by veterans Christian Foster, Piers MacNaughton, Jake Taylor and Ben Katz, the Whitecaps were particularly apt this season at spoiling teams on hot streaks. In Week 6, the Whitecaps handed the Spinners their only loss of the season, and followed that up by ending the Portland Stags (9-1) undefeated season in Week 7. Impressive contributions by new Whitecaps Rob Baker (previously of the New York Rumble) and Frederik Brasz (previously of the Spinners), as well as rookies Tanner Halkyard and Carter Thallon, helped the Whitecaps keep pace with Philadelphia and earn their league leading 4th consecutive playoff appearance.
The Spinners have continued their evolution as a team in 2016 under the leadership of first year Head Coach Darryl Stanley. While Stanley inherited a talent core of players – Nick Hirannet, Matt Glazer, David Brandolph, Michael Panna and consecutive Rookie of the Year winners, Matt Esser (2014) and Billy Sickles (2015), the Spinners have been bolstered by a talented influx of new blood. Greg Martin, Ethan Peck and Vince Reydams highlight an impressive rookie class for the Philadelphia team that looks to win it all in their own town.
The winner of this weekend’s Eastern Conference Championship will advance to play the Western Conference Champions in the 2016 MLU Championship, July 16 at Franklin Field at The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Eastern Conference Championship Details:
- Boston Whitecaps (8-2) at Philadelphia Spinners (9-1)
- Where: Carey Stadium at Germantown Academy (340 Morris Road, Fort Washington, PA 19034)
- When: Sunday, June 26 2016 – 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM