Heated Semifinal Games Result in Two Double Overtime Wins
by Gerleen Dineros
Silverbacks Stadium—Friday, June 28. The two highly anticipated Premier Ultimate League semifinals went late into the evening in Atlanta. In both evenly matched games, victories happened in double overtime sudden death rounds. Raleigh Radiance defeated New York Gridlock 19-18 and Medellín Revolution sealed a 27-26 victory over Atlanta Soul, leading to a Radiance versus Revolution final the following day.
Raleigh Radiance, 19 vs. New York Gridlock, 18
The game started off on serve, with the angle of the setting sun and blinding light in the endzone as the biggest obstacle. Radiance's Jessi Jones and Anne Worth traded throws across the field on offense as they provided their cutters with easy reset options and took bold shots into the endzone.
Gridlock used a poachy person defense to combat Radiance's handler movement, which gave them ample opportunities to generate interceptions and layout Ds before Radiance cutters could reach the disc. Gridlock's Cassie Wong’s defensive prowess seemed to single-handedly shut down Radiance's offense, and Wong utilized those turns to initiate Gridlock's momentum downfield for scores. New York and Raleigh went into the half tied at 9s, foreshadowing how the rest of the game would play out.
In the third quarter, Gridlock buckled down on offense and scored two points right out of halftime. Gridlock’s Lauren Doyle attempted to continue her team's scoring momentum with a huge huck deep, but Radiance’s Jenny Wei knocked down the disc in the endzone. Radiance was able to convert that point into a score when Jones sent the disc deep to teammate Lisa Pitcaithley, who caught the disc over her defender who was only a step behind her. Raleigh’s assertiveness with the disc and renewed tight defensive pressure made New York turn over the disc several times on offense in the fourth quarter. But New York still managed to tie the score at 17-17 as the final buzzer rang.
The first round of overtime in PUL games is four minutes. Radiance began on defense, using a poachy handler defense on Gridlock, who was able to move the disc upfield with a saucy hammer from midfield to Linda Morse close to the sideline. Gridlock worked the disc for a little before a miscue allowed Radiance's Pitcaithley to intercept a pass and eventually throw a beautiful around backhand for the score. On their next possession, Gridlock patiently passed the disc until they reached the endzone where Tulsa Douglas assisted Morse, tying the game again and sending the game into double overtime.
Double overtime is a single untimed point. Since Radiance began on defense at the beginning of the first overtime, they started on offense this time. Radiance patiently worked the disc downfield and into the endzone as Becky Widmayer threw an incredible backhand to Sara Dieter, who found the perfect window to jump on the disc to end the game at 19-18.
Colombia Revolution, 27 vs. Atlanta Soul, 26
While Revolution successfully snatched another win from Soul on Friday night, the point difference was significantly slimmer than when the teams met at the beginning of the season. Atlanta fans had come out in full force this time. Revolution’s Yina Cartagena struck first in the endzone and could hardly be contained. During the first quarter alone, she scored twice and assisted three points as she moved the Revolution offense quickly into the endzone with the help of teammate Claire Chastain.
But Soul's chemistry was at its best that night. Soul's Robyn Fennig and Leah Tsinajinne were stalwart offenders, directing traffic to send Caroline Taylor, Maddy Frey, and Marie Perivier into the endzone for scores. The team played tight zone defense, which forced Revolution to slow down their typically speedy offensive swings across the field, isolate them from their downfield cutters, and even caused some turnovers that Soul was able to capitalize on to close out the first half leading 13-12.
Out of the half both teams exchanged breaks to keep the scores tight. Frey made a highlight-worthy layout grab in the back of the endzone to make the score 18-17. Soul notched several more points to keep the lead at 20-18. But Revolution wrested back control in the fourth quarter. Valeria Cardenas caught the pull on one point and immediately sent it deep to Cartagena for a score over Soul’s Sam Daugherty. Later, Cardenas would dish it to teammate Claire Chastain in a high-pressure situation where Chastain jumped over two defenders to score. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 24-24, both teams looked to score in their final possessions but came up short
In the first round of overtime, Revolution scored first. Soul retaliated with a score of their own as Mo McCamley grabbed the disc over a flying Kaela Helton in the front of the endzone. With a minute left in overtime, both teams were able to score again but could not pull ahead of their competitor as the clock ran out and sent the game into double overtime.
In a highly anticipated last point, Soul began on offense. Paula Seville immediately sent it deep to a streaking Kate Travaglini, who laid out in an unsuccessful attempt to catch the disc and took an injury call to sub off. Revolution set up a side stack and moved the disc along the home sideline. Despite Soul’s tight person defense, Manuela Cardenas was able to find Yina Cartagena in the front of the end zone to cinch Revolution’s place in the finals against Raleigh
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.