August 5, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in News, Recap with 11 comments
The Toronto Rush defeated the Madison Radicals 16-14 on Sunday in Chicago to claim the 2013 AUDL Championship title and complete a undefeated season.
The Rush had no trouble adjusting to a largely unknown opponent, showing patience against the double teaming Radical zone and playing outstanding defense to force mistakes.
It was Madison, however, that started off the game with the advantage, opening the game with a break after the Rush’s Thomson McKnight got stalled in the Radicals red zone.
Both teams showed some signs of nerves early, but settled into their offenses. As they traded points throughout the first quarter, each team established a deep game and an ability to work smoothly underneath.
Madison’s defense was effective early, trapping Toronto on the sideline with the double team and forcing some difficult hammers that were easily blocked. But Madison’s defensive unit had real difficulty working the disc upfield for a score. They only managed two breaks in the game.
The Rush opened the second quarter with a goal to take their first lead of the game at 6-5. They would follow that score up with a break after a Madison huck to Scott Richgels floated over his head. Toronto showed great patience, working upfield against the challenging zone.
Pat Shriwise helped the Madison offense stay within one after a huge layout grab on a huck.
Toronto would open up the first three point lead of the game, however, just two points later. Jeff Lindquist stayed with Brian Hart downfield and got a block near the goal line. After a timeout, Mark Lloyd put up one of the best throws of the game, a 65 yard flick strike that floated to the very back of the endzone for the score and the 10-7 Rush lead.
Two points later, Madison was threatening to get back within one after getting a block, taking a timeout, and subbing in their offensive unit. They worked it all the way to the goal line and found Andrew Brown uncovered in the endzone. Brown dropped the disc, but Toronto’s Adrian Yearwood gave it right back with a drop of his own.
Outstanding red zone defense prevented a Madison break, though. A high stall turnover gave the Rush the disc back — they were patient, working smoothly with under cuts, and scored for the 11-8 lead.
After scoring with time winding down in the third, Madison received to begin the fourth quarter with an opportunity to get back to within one. It was the same story: they worked it to the red zone before a high stall forced a throwaway. A Rush punt gave them the disc back, but they coughed it up quickly and Toronto maintained their three point advantage.
The Rush sealed a victory on the ensuing point. After multiple turnovers, a Rush throw into the endzone was too high and deflected by a pair of leaping players. The disc stayed alive, however, and floated into the hands of a trailing Rush receiver for the break score.
The teams traded points down the stretch. Madison did get their second and final break off of a Mike Swain hand block (that may well have been an unwhistled foul) to make it 15-13, but Toronto would not give the disc up again as they claimed the first perfect season in the AUDL.
Lloyd, who just returned from Colombia competing with Team Canada at the World Games, was deservedly named MVP for his performance. He was outstanding on both sides of the disc, making some of the most impressive throws of the game in the windy conditions.
The Rush, despite playing a much easier regular season schedule in the weaker Eastern Division, rose to the challenge in the finals with sharp defense and great poise against a double team from Madison that had given their Midwestern rivals a lot of trouble.
Toronto, along with the 2013 title, claimed a $15,000 player prize in addition to the $5,000 they had won for reaching the finals.
They join Major League Ultimate’s Boston Whitecaps as one of two undefeated professional ultimate teams in 2013.