Medellín Revolution Kicks Off Season with a Win Against Atlanta Soul on Home Turf
by Gerleen Dineros
Medellín, Colombia—April 20, 2019. The Premier Ultimate League opened its season with two games played on different continents. An hour after Sadie Jezierski scored the first goal in PUL history for the Columbus Pride in Nashville, TN against the Nashville Nightshade, Medellín Revolution scored the first goal of its game with a deep huck thrown by Claire Chastain to a streaking Manuela Cardenas.
The thrilling Saturday night match between Medellín Revolution and Atlanta Soul took place on a world stage under South American stars during the elite-level Torneo Eterna Primavera (TEP) tournament. True to form, Revolution utilized their quick disc distribution and deep shots to pull out a win against Soul. Though Revolution pulled through with a win at 30-20, Soul refused to fall without an incredible display of layout Ds and long-ball connections in the end zone.
Starting with the first point, Revolution’s Chastain and Cardenas showed off the chemistry they have cultivated through their time as teammates on Denver Molly Brown with an immediate huck to the end zone after an initial centering throw. Throughout the game, Chastain fit perfectly into Revolution’s system of give-and-go’s, easily working the disc up the field with players like Yina Cartegena and Aleja Torres with enough finesse to crumble the defense and result in quick points. Soul fought back with fluid disc movement between Robyn Fennig and Leah Tsinajinnie, handlers known for high percentage successful (and ballsy) throws. Cutters Erynn Schroeder and Kate Travaglini displayed aggressive and decisive cuts that left defenders trailing behind them. Both teams retained mostly successful possession of the disc on their offensive points, resulting in few turnovers and Revolution leading only 9-6 at the end of first quarter.
Soul recovered momentum in the second quarter and maneuvered through Revolution’s loose zone defense. Schroeder, Travaglini, and Samantha Hill refused to be confined to the middle of the field – where the defense tried to dictate them – and successfully cut deep for scores. Katherine Yost, a 2018 D-III Offensive POY nominee, assisted several scores and pushed the defensive envelope with her aggressive layout Ds in this quarter, aiding Soul as they walked into halftime trailing 16-13.
In the second half, Revolution’s talented roster continued to push Soul’s slowly tiring team. Elizabeth Mosquera was lethal anywhere she was placed on the field and got bookends with a tremendous D and immediate cut into the end zone for a score, much to the adulation of the energetic crowd. Revolution’s junky defense coupled with Soul’s slight fatigue resulted in several breaks and scores at the end of the game, cinching the win for Revolution.
Soul’s loss does not take into consideration the incredible zone defense they were able to utilize against Revolution’s swift give-and-go movement. Soul incorporated a loose zone that forced Revolution to swing the disc from sideline to sideline rather than look towards the middle of the field for cutters. Soul was able to generate several Ds in the end zone because of their defensive system, with the help of players such as Katherine Yost and Evelina Pierce, who are known in Atlanta for their high-intensity defense.
Among the talented players, there are a few whose consistency and grit shone above the rest. Revolution’s Mosquera was one of them. It is not safe to put her in a box. The moment one assumes that she is only dangerous as a cutter, she will let loose a full field huck into the end zone – as she did for Ximena Montana – to chase down. Chastain also proved her diversity as a player as she not only assisted but scored several points in the second half with the help of Alejandra Torres and Valeria Cardenas. Soul’s handlers Fennig and Tsinajinne were repeatedly shouted out by commentators as they tore through Revolution’s junky defense and assisted in elevating their teammates to glory. Their solid throws and quick handler movement were saving graces at times when Soul’s downfield play tended to lag.
Maddy Frey, a co-owner and player on Atlanta Soul, could not have been prouder of the results of that night. This season premier, while just one game, was the result of months, weeks, and hours of hard work by Frey and other PUL leadership. When asked what it was like to play in her first PUL game, she shouted out the coach and captain of Revolution. “I honestly tear up just thinking about it. Mauricio, Aleja and I have been friends for 10 years,” she said. “We have been thinking about, organizing, and planning something like this for so long…We don’t always agree about everything and that’s what makes us stronger. We hold each other to a very high standard. Last night, everyone had already won before we stepped foot on the field.”
I watched the game between Revolution and Soul on the live stream and it was electrifying. One can only wonder how it felt to be surrounded by the crowds of people, cheering as their hometown heroes, women who have proven their mettle on a world stage, came together to play competitively on a professional level. This was a great start to the season for the Premiere Ultimate League, and hopefully future games continue to bring the same intensity and energy.
Gerleen Dineros is a competitive club player located in Atlanta, GA whose heart is scattered across ultimate communities in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Washington D.C. She has volunteered as the club Sectionals Coordinator for the Southeast Division since 2015. At the top of her bucket list is to play at the Boracay Open.