Torch Fired Up against Indy Red

by Jacob Long

Austin, TX—Saturday, May 18. With a strong second half, the Austin Torch pulled away from the Indianapolis Red with a final score of 22-13 in their match-up last weekend.

The Torch came out firing in the first quarter with a quick break, capitalizing on two turns from the Red as they were about to score. The teams traded points until the end of the first quarter, when Indianapolis lost out on a chance to tie up the game after time expired. At the end of the first, the Torch led 3-2.

The second quarter continued to see points traded on amazing, highlight-reel offensive plays by Julia Schmaltz of the Torch and defensive plays by Austin Prucha of the Red. The Red’s Jamie Smets had multiple instances of catching deep throws, dumping to a handler, and then going deep for the score. The Torch offensive line did their job against the Red defense effortlessly, allowing the Torch to maintain fresh legs. As the second quarter winded down, the Torch was able to get their second break of the game after a Red drop led to a Torch huck for a score from Tiffany Schumacher to Tina Woodings. A couple more holds by each side took the teams to half with Torch up 9-7.

The first half was still a good scoring half for the Red. Kate McInerney, captain of the Red, attributed this success to changes that the team made going into this game.

“We had strict sets of offensive and defensive players earlier in the season, to give players a smaller group of teammates to gel with,” said McInerney. “Now that we have a couple of games behind us, we loosened up on those roles in this game and saw several players cross over. Everyone adapted to the change quickly, and it was definitely a positive to have people playing both sides of the disc.”

Like the first half, the Torch started the second half with strong defensive effort and got a break on the Red. This was the start of a 4-1 run for the Torch, allowing them to pull away from the Red. Meanwhile the Red’s handlers Nichole Kwee and McInerney sustained injuries in the second half. The Red, also without captain Sydney Olund, was already short on handlers coming into the game, and these injuries left the Red without the ability to work the disc as well. The Torch continued their strong play as they took a 14-9 lead into the fourth quarter when Bex Forth reeled in a huck from Sharon Tsao to end the third.

The Torch offense came alive in the fourth quarter as they stretched the lead to 17-10. The Red was able to provide a last surge of strong offensive play from Prucha who had a layout grab and two scores in two consecutive points. This brought the score to 17-12 in favor of the Torch, but that was the closest Red would come in the last period as the Torch ended the game on a 5-1 run.

This win was special for the Torch’s Anastasia Foster, who had played with the Red the previous season. Foster also played with members of the Red team in club and college at Purdue University. “It was fun to get to hang out with them again, but at the end of the day, I’m a competitor so I want to win,” said Foster after the game. “I can joke with you before, during and after the game, but it won’t change my effort on the field and my mentality of wanting to win.”

Looking ahead, the Torch, now 2-1, look to move towards a playoff push when they travel to the New York Gridlock after a bye week. Red, now 0-3, look to notch their first win of the season this coming Memorial Day weekend as they host the also winless Nashville Nightshade.

Jacob Long has been a huge fan of ultimate since he was a member of Purdue University’s club team. When he’s not actively playing, he’s consuming as much ultimate content as possible, hoping it’ll make him a better player some day.

Tim Kepner