September 1, 2013 by Keith Raynor in News, Recap with 0 comments
DAVIS — Throughout this year, we’ve seen evidence of parity in the Women’s Division. Some expected things to regress to the mean – the top few teams dominating the rest of the field.
But Saturday at the Pro Flight Finale in Davis, California, did not show any regression to the mean. An exciting first round filled with upsets kicked off a day of close games and competitive action.
Chicago Nemesis was the only undefeated Women’s team to attend the Pro Flight Finale, but they started the weekend against San Francisco Fury, usually a team guaranteed to end a winning streak. But Nemesis was able to deliver the biggest women’s division upset in years.
The Chicago women went down in the first half, but never fall far behind the top seeded Fury. A streak of five breaks in the middle of the game not only gave them the lead, but allowed them to take control. Nemesis was doing what so few teams do: finding the blend of poise and grit to take advantage of Fury’s mistakes.
Fury, for their part, was making more mistakes than usual. Nemesis was doing a great job covering pulls and applying early pressure, resulting in San Francisco turning the disc over on their first throw six times during the game. Nemesis converted five of those turnovers for breaks. Short fields can be deadly at this level and as the turnovers and breaks piled up, Fury’s grip on Pool A slipped away. The final: 15-13, Nemesis.
Nemesis was the only team in the Men’s or Women’s Division to win all of their games, drawing them Austin Showdown in the quarterfinals today.
Fury Responds To Loss With Strong Performances
It isn’t often that Fury loses on Saturday. It is even rarer that Fury loses to someone that isn’t Seattle Riot. In fact, it has been eight years since the last time San Francisco lost to a team from the United States that wasn’t Riot.
“No one on this team likes losing,” said Fury’s Kaela Jorgenson. “I think we definitely came out the next game harder because we had lost.”
The response from Fury was to take half 8-4 over Molly Brown en route to a 15-10 win. They’d add a dominant 15-7 over Ozone, the biggest deficit of any Pool A game. Their pair of wins on the day sets them up to see Toronto Capitals in the quarterfinals tomorrow, and potentially Riot in the semifinals.
Upsets And Contested Battles Speak To Divisional Parity
The upsets that opened play in Davis set the tone for the day. Nemesis over Fury and Showdown over Riot made it clear that most games were going to be tight affairs with little room for error: removing the two blowouts, the other 10 games averaged just a 2.4 point margin of victory.
Only one team went winless Saturday – Denver Molly Brown – and one of those was by just two points. Despite Showdown beating the Pool B #1 seed in the first round, they would eventually still wind up last in that pool. Had they managed to beat Capitals in the last round, we would’ve seen a three way tie in that would have been tiebroken by point differential.
What To Watch On Sunday
Nemesis vs. Showdown: The cream of the crop in the division has been Fury and Riot, and the two teams that beat them will battle it out for a spot in the semifinals. The Texans’ offense will have to be much cleaner against an intense Nemesis defensive unit.
Scandal vs. Ozone: These two teams are familiar with each other, having played twice at Chesapeake Invite, splitting that series. Ozone has something to prove after an underwhelming Saturday. Both teams add big players that were missing last time out: Alicia White for Scandal and Angela Lin for Ozone.
Fury vs. Capitals: The Fury ladies did not seem very concerned with their loss and remain focused on their tournament goals. Capitals played the most points of any team yesterday, but made absolutely nothing easy for opponent’s on Saturday. Can their legs allow them to do the same Sunday?
Riot vs. Molly Brown: Riot’s win over Scandal featured sloppy play and some lulls in energy from both sides, but Seattle gutted out the win with a late run. Molly Brown has struggled the most of any team in attendance, the only team that still seems like they are figuring themselves out.
Additional reporting by Claire Chastain.