Radiance Triumphs in Last Leg of Double Header Weekend
By Gerleen Dineros
Nashville, TN—Sunday, June 9. With inclement weather threatening outdoor fields last weekend, the Nashville Nightshade hosted Raleigh Radiance at Vanderbilt University's indoor turf football field for the nail-biting Radiance win of 21-14 over Nightshade.
With no wind or wet grass to worry about, the speed of the game was relatively fast at the start of the first quarter, with three scores in the first five minutes. Radiance utilized a split stack offense while Nightshade used a side stack offense. Teams were on serve for points throughout most of the first quarter, playing a generally smooth game of ultimate.
Nightshade handlers Liz Barnes and Kelsey Foster showed off the chemistry they have built during their time at University of Tennessee—Chattanooga as they worked the disc up the force side several times for scores. However, once Radiance scored their first break point, they began to edge ahead of Nightshade, ending the first quarter up 8-4.
To combat Radiance's growing lead, Nightshade's defense shifted to flat marks on handlers and person defense in the backfield with switches. This defensive tactic slowed the pace of the game and forced Radiance cutters to work harder to find open space for their handlers to throw into. But with receivers like Jenny Wei and Anne Worth, Radiance's handlers found easy targets to keep the disc flowing downfield. Wei, a pivotal player on North Carolina’s women’s club team Phoenix and a 2018 D-1 Player of the Year nominee, did what she does best as she snagged several 50-50 discs in the air from Nightshade defenders. Radiance’s Anne Worth provided much-needed swing movement across the width of the field and offered options to handlers as she cut upline, throwing five assists throughout the game.
Coming out of halftime, Nightshade increased their intensity on defense. Their marks were tight, making it difficult for Radiance handlers to provide clean dump options at high stall counts. Nonetheless, Nightshade could not convert on their defensive possessions, often making reckless deep throws that overshot their intended receivers. Radiance used the unsuccessful conversions to their advantage, often capitalizing on momentum after turns to create gaps in the middle of the field for cutters to easily maneuver into. Rebecca Fagan, another wily Raleigh cutter, was able to score off several well-timed shots into the endzone, creating separation from defenders even in the tightest of spaces.
By the fourth quarter, fatigue was setting in for both teams. There were several marathon points where the team in possession of the disc immediately sent it deep, out of reach of the intended target or D'ed by the opposing team in the endzone. Fagan snagged the last point of the game over a dumpster fire of Radiance and Nightshade players alike as the timer ran out with a final score of 14-21.
Nightshade’s defense, led by Mariana Rodríguez and Abbey Hewitt, challenged Radiance's disc space and often generated turnovers with run through D's and smart positioning. Even though Nightshade’s offense improved over the course of the game, it was not enough to catch up to their opponents in their last game of their PUL season. Radiance will play their last game this Saturday, June 15 at home against Austin Torch.
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.