A loss to Brute Squad didn't sour the end of a wonderful two weeks.
August 12, 2015 by Tim Schoch in Coverage, Recap with 11 comments
BOSTON – The All Star Ultimate Tour finished on Tuesday night the same way it started two weeks ago in Seattle, with a nail biter in which the home team brought the game to a double game point finish. But this time, the home team, Boston Brute Squad, was able to claim the final point and deal the Tour their third and final loss of the campaign, 17-16.
Even though it was their fourth game in as many nights, the Tour came out hot to start against Brute Squad, coming off a third place finish at the Colorado Cup a week prior. Brute came out surprisingly flat and looked like they neither had the legs or the will to play with their younger opponents.
Boston showed incredible mental toughness throughout the course of the second half and was able to close the gap after the Tour took half 8-4. By clamping down on the Tour’s downfield cutters on defense and being patient on offense, Boston slowly scraped their way back to 12-10 and then 13-13.
This comeback provided the setting for the most exciting moments of the tour. With Boston needing a break for the win both teams found a new level of grit on defense. Each point was a battle with the point to go up 15-14 for the Tour taking upwards of five possessions. Brute was bringing it on defense but could never quite finish their break opportunities like they had earlier in the second half.
Both teams continued to trade points but with the point cap set at 17 Boston still needed a break to win, pulling 16-16. Boston got a turn but promptly gave the disc back. But the Brute defense was not going to give up and forced Alika Johnston to bullet a flick in and out of the hands of Lisa Pitcaithley. Quickly picking up, Boston bombed a flick huck to Kami Groom. Kate Scarth was inches away from a game-saving block but Groom pulled it down and dished to Becca Ludford for the break and the win.
It was an unbelievable finish for the home town in front a delirious Boston crowd and an epic end to the All Star Ultimate Tour.
The Tour’s defense was again exceedingly impressive as they forced numerous turns in the first half with suffocating person defense and timely junk looks that kept Brute off balance. Boston also had five disc-in-hand drops that gave the Tour many chances to break.
After the turn the All Stars turned to their consistent handler movement to work the disc up the field into the red zone. Qxhna Titcomb and Johnston were mainstays behind the disc, utilizing their outstandingly wide range of throws to find cutters across the field. The Tour was able to rattle off break after break and stormed ahead 6-2.
The opposite seemed true in the second half as the All-Stars showed visible signs of fatigue and, as in like their first game against Riot, were unable to close the door. They left a crack open and gave Brute Squad chances they couldn’t ignore. Their reset defense prevented the resets and swings that earlier the All Stars used to open up their deep game.
After the turn Boston relied on their speedy players to control the disc with Laura Bitterman roasting her defender across the field. She could then reset the disc to Paula Seville who marshalled the Boston offense all night. Another huge cutter was Becky Malinowski who was doing everything for Boston.
Throughout the entire game the All-Stars looked especially eager to cheer on their teammates, rush the field, and add as much energy as possible to their last game together. Not only did their play improve dramatically over these past two weeks but so did their camaraderie with every moment together and with every passing point played. In the back of their minds they knew this was their last hurrah and they made the most of it with a sensational game against one of the best teams in the country.
After two weeks on the road, six wins, and three losses, the All Star Ultimate Tour is unfortunately over but it is clear that during this trip they fulfilled their mission of spreading women’s ultimate. And although there is more work to do, they should be proud of what they accomplished in their time together.
A few weeks after landing on SportsCenter Top 10 and with the score tied 14-14, Lisa Pitcaithley may again have made one of the most memorable plays of the tour: