NYGL Remains Undefeated with a Win Against Columbus Pride in Week 3

by Caleb Fine

Brooklyn, NY—Saturday, May 4. It was a breezy night in Bay Ridge, where New York Gridlock was hosting Columbus Pride in each team’s second game of the season. Both coming off impressive wins in prior weeks, each was looking to keep their perfect record intact.

For the first quarter of the game, Pride had some early errors that they gradually worked through. NYGL’s person defense made every throw a challenge, starting with a hand block that led to the first score of the game. NYGL kept its foot on the gas, with its d-line generating four break points in the first quarter. After a timeout, Pride was able to find its rhythm with a quick score off a turn when Sharon Yee poached off for a D and dished to Martha Gregory, who threw a blade flick for an open score.

NYGL ran an effective horizontal stack but started taking some riskier shots while up 5-2 in the second quarter. When Pride generated turns, they often had to start from their own end zone. But they were able to answer the call, scoring three in a row to get the score to 6-5, NYGL.

That’s when NYGL Coach Eileen Murray called timeout. “I think we started playing to the crowd a little bit and playing too loose, which allowed [Columbus] to come back in,” commented Murray. “We took some deep breaths and said ‘lock in.’”

Lock in, they did. NYGL’s o-line was instantly effective, scoring with four cuts and four throws. On the next point, a Pride overthrow and NYGL’s Lindsey McKenna’s good field awareness led to an interception. NYGL would capitalize for a break for the final score of the half, leading 8-5.

During halftime, Pride Coach Ben Sever said of their first half performance, “I think we had to shake off the travel jitters. The roster is kind of new to each other. It’s a different roster then we had two weeks ago in Nashville.” Pride could only bring 18 players to the game, missing Jackie Matonis, Annelise Peters, and captain Sadie Jezierski to their college graduations.

The second half of the game was a tale of two different quarters.

The third quarter was notable for each teams’ efficiency in play. The quarter started with three NYGL scores, the third coming from Nastasia Tangherlini, who set up Cassie Wong for a sky in the end zone. Pride fought back, unfazed. After an NYGL timeout with just over three minutes left in the quarter, Pride came out hot, generating a D which lead to an upline score. NYGL stayed up 14-10 going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter featured the longest point of the night, a point that lasted for over half of the quarter. Despite the length of the point, both teams’ defenses turned up the intensity, with every other throw highly contested. Speaking about his team in the fourth quarter, Coach Sever said, “I can see that being a little bit of fatigue. The energy was taken out of us a little toward the middle of the fourth quarter.” The point would finally end with Lauren Piontek pulling down a Brittany Kaplan forehand, leaving NYGL on top with what would become the final score, 17-10.

To their credit, even as the final pull went up, Pride was still fighting. When NYGL had the disc in the red zone, Pride’s Libby Lehman was able to reach out on a swing, getting a hand block on the disc for the D and then running to set up the offense.

Pride’s season ahead still looks bright, especially when factoring in the full strength of their roster. After the game, Coach Sever said, “I learned what players I have, what I can get out of them, and what positions they’re going to play.”

With NYGL, Coach Murray was happy with the win, and saw more potential in her team. “That game was a game of runs. We were having too many unforced turnovers, but our defense carried us through. Our defense always carries us through.”

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Caleb Fine is a Binghamton University grad that's been playing ultimate since 2010 but been playing frisbee since 2005. He is forever searching for the next fun game, a new punchline, and a great slice of pizza.

Tim Kepner