Saturday, July 10, 2010

Competition is Over: All that is left is T-shirt Trading and Ceremonies

the kind where the winning Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists basically hang around aimlessly on the fields for pictures, cold beers and colored necklaces with tinted medallions.

In the stands everyone eyes everyone else's shirts with envy. Can i get a Sockeye shirt? What about that Magon one? Who got lucky with the Vigi 2006 shirts? Is there a Buzz Bullets shirt without the Bunka Shutter logo?

etc etc.

Most of all, already, I miss the competition. It's been great to play at this high level with a good bunch of guys who competed every day on the field and never gave up. We finished 5th overall, one ahead of seed, and won our last game so we can leave the tournament with our heads up.

I hope to be back four years from now for another Worlds but it's never easy getting here and i'm sure there will be more things going on in my life.

Right now the cheers and the medalists are still going -- Buzz Bullets get a hearty cheer for their third-place finish. Basically, no one wants to leave. Why would they? Free entertainment, cheap beer, cool shirts everywhere, cute girls and guys, a nice stadium -- we're all just waiting to crash, basically, or at least throw down some more good pilsner before an early rest.

Revolver wins 17-13 over Sockeye

basically trade out to win the game --

Trading: Sockeye 9 Revolver 13

excitement slowing down, teams trading, we shall see if sockeye can get their second wind.

Sockeye gives up 4 in a row: Revolver 9, Sockeye 6 half

that sums it up pretty well -- Sockeye can't get a groove as Revolver converts and is now looking good. Question is: will Sockeye have another burst of energy left in them for the second half?

2-2 Revolver Sockeye

on serve

Sockeye Revolver Rematch

in 10 minutes we have a big game coming up. post your comments to get live comments

Fury wins 16-15

Interviews with players will be coming before the Men's finals

Universe point 15-15, Fury receiving

Thrilling plays on O and D from Manu Argili and Fury is on the verge. They get the disc on O but the Japanese D has been superfast and really tough. Its anyone's game.

14-14 Game to 16, Fury-Uno

four layout blocks last point....

13-13 Figuring out Time Cap

Tie game, break advantage to Uno if they trade out to the time cap. Great game so far.

Game Action CLX Onyx

Ok, so here's the deal: Onyx cannot stop Chad Larson on D as captain kevin Seiler and main target Keith Brorsen for CLX are open at will on the unders and big hucks.

CLX uses their men and height to great effect and are rolling through this game right now with ease. Onyx looks behind by 2-3 steps on every cut

Live Mixed Finals

is coming on now-- comment as you wish and we will get it on air if possible

Starting the Day: the Mixed Finals

Begins in 1 hr, 15 minutes. Time to get on the horse. Post comments if you want commentary.


Friday, July 9, 2010

mini Mini World Champions

Adam, Mikey and Lucas "Noon" Murphy lost in a three-on-three match with me and Xtehn and Qxhna from Five Ultimate in mini Mini even after we spotted them 4 goals, and now they owe us dinner.

Anyway outside of that I have to crash now to get up and ready and prepared for tomorrow's 9am mixed finals start and live broadcasting

as always, if you email/blog post comments i will try to bring them up during the broadcast

hella, its 2am right now

Time Cap Comes Quick: Troubled Past wins 13-11 over Surly

Troubled Past got back the lost two breaks in the second half and before anyone knew it, the cap was in effect and a tight game at 11-10 was game to 13. TP strode to the finish line behind a bunch of d blocks and a lot more energy to take a well-deserved win, 13-11.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch it again because i believe they will still be up online afterwards.

Live Masters Finals

am broadcasting live for the Master finals -- check the links to the right for the Czech site

1-0 Surly

post for comments and I will respond on-air

Away for now - Back to Action

My team, One Last-Ditch Shot at Glory has a 5/6 game to play in Masters against Wolpertinger, so I am off to play right now, back to broadcast the Masters at 5:30

Onyx doing Live phone interview for Quebec TV Morning SHow

I just talked to Onyx, who are being interviewed right now over the phone by a Quebec Province TV show about their surprise run to the finals. So that should be pretty cool.

They told me they have about 1000 people in their Ultimate association, 50 summer league teams in Quebec City alone and 100 winter-league teams, and winter is indoor and 8 months a year just about.

CLX- MTF game

OK, so here's how the Chad Larson Experience/ Mental Toss Flycoons game ended.

First thing to say is that MTF has the break advantage, receiving in a tied game with the time cap. But a lyout block by CLX gives them the disc at a critical juncture and they convert with, what else, a huge hammer to #77 for the score, 14-13.

Receiving, MTF moves four passes but then i think 77 for CLX makes a layout block and now Iowa has the disc with 20 yards for the game. But after a swing, tall guy #01 for MTF gets a two-handed layout lunch and MTF can tie it up. After working halfway downfield, an IO floaty deep huck is put up -- why not, and seems to track perfectly into the hands of the receiver in the far back left corner for a goal.

Double game point, CLX receives, they work it and then captain Kevin Seiler unleashes yet another hammer, about half-field, never quite turns over and stays bladey instead, going to #77 who is covered, but he can get this disc. instead it sails through his hands and into his chest like Terrell Owens dropping a deep ball and its MTF's disc on their goal with the field ahead of them. No timeouts are called. Instead the work it, but up the sideline I think CLX gets the block somehow. Disc gets back to Seiler who throws it to a wide-open Christine Rosen for the game-winning goal.

Sockeye 16-15 over Chain, Revolver 17-14 over Buzz Bullets

8:30 simultaneous semis on strahov fields means I wasnt there, so i got no info for ya

No Details, but Fury 17-14 over Riot, Uno 17-10 over Brute Squad

for womens semifinals, played at same time as Mixed, on different field site.

will find out more later perhaps, but Fury and Uno in finals, as expected (and seeded, i believe).

Hucks, Layouts and Scoobers: Onyx and Chad Larson Advance

Great matchup between Northeast foes Onyx and Quiet Coyote who last played at the Bell Crack coed tournament in Philadelphia, QC losing in Quarters and Onyx in the finals.

But I digress: at 12-11, Onyx got another break, working dishy upfield passes to a lefty 5 yard score shot to keep the lead comfortable and take a 13-11 lead. QC receives, works downfield and then with about 15 yards to score, Judy Winglee is trapped on the sideline by a creative and aggressive quasi straight-up to forehand mark by Onyx's #10, Jessie. On stall 9/10 Winglee has to chuck it into the endzone and she does but Kate Beaulieu gets the layout block and suddenly Onyx has the disc with a chance to end it.

After several swings, facing a long field too, a short under cut by Jessie is baited by Winglee and she gets her disc back with a brilliant catch block. After a dish, she gets it back in the endzone for the score, 13-12 now.

For ultimate strategists, the next point is a reminder. QC pulls, down one, game to one, and it never comes close to staying in bounds. Onyx starts with a very, very short field and lines up in a ho stack. As usual, with the pressure of a late game in the air, its hard for poachers to be active, lest they get burned and embarassed, so the ho stack leaves room for cutters and the green lawn beckons like a wide open sea. At about a 6 stall, the Onyx handler who took the brick rips a low forehand zinger that is tracked down and caught by #5 with about 5 yards for a score.

mark gets on him quickly, stall 1-2-3-4-5-6 and no one is moving in the endzone, especially Jessie faceguarded by Judy Winglee (apparently a good matchup both ways) and so #5 unleashes a scoober over the top and Jessie with the 5-6 inch height advantage, two-hands it and the game is over.

On Serve both games, MTP and Onyx

I have to be about 2 fields over to post, but you can hear the roars.

CLX (i have the full name story now, will come later) and MTP are identical teams with very exciting styles of play, big, rangy players both men and women, and fearless huckers sending it deep out of Horizontal stack varieties.

The vuvuzelas sound off after scores. Big layout after big layout, neither team tired.

On serve, MTP now up 12-11. QC player Eric Stevens makes an impossibly sticky super-high sky grab in the endzone on a floaty huck to tie it at 10s and hold serve, Onyx receiving but the excitement from the grab might provide some momentum

Semi-live Blogging of the Mixed Semifinals

the games are a bit too far to capture the signal from the sidelines

but Mental Toss Flycoons went down 6-1, tied it at 7s, Chad Larson Exp (CLX) took it to half at 8-7, MTP got a break off the half, 8s, then CLX scored for 9-8

Tim Murray of MTP says "we are very similar teams"

Onyx from Montreal versus QC from Boston: also similar score, was 8-7 Onyx when I left. Will find out more soon

Semifinals Womens or Mixed

I am going try to cover women's semis at Strahov if there is internet access again and if i can properly move in the next few hours. Am fairly exhausted after 4 days of play, the sun, the beer, walking all over Prague in flip-flops, etc.

I just have to figure out what mode of public transportation to get there and then it's Fury-Riot (!) and Brute Squad versus Uno (Japan)

Basically, as expected, it's UPA/USA semifinals to a tee.

It holds up across all divisions: Mixed is a NE regional battle between two surprise contenders in ONYX from Montreal and Boston's Quiet Coyote, a team that's been peaking. I remember playing them several times over the past several years and defeating them and then they kept getting better and better it seems.

Chad Larson Experience versus Mental Toss in the other semi, sort a Western battle (Iowa + surrounding states versus Montana + several states). I may actually try to cover Mixed instead of Womens. I guess we'll find out with the next post from me,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Andrew Fleming's layout for Sockeye

Andrew Fleming is a pretty nice guy, I've talked to him several times on Sockeye sidelines, even back when they weren't so good (or he played for Portland?) He's one of the oldest guys on that team and he made the defining play of this game, and maybe the tournament.

Sockeye wins now, 17-15, on a huck and dish but Fleming with the grab was tremendous.

Sockeye's got the Tude

looks like Ironside's still-developing identity isn't developed. They're a bunch of very good players, but are they a team yet? Same can be said for Sockeye, but they have owned this second half and are displaying a lot more swagger. Ironside as the nice guys? Ironside as the brainiacs? Ironside as the talented ones?

they need that identity it seems. Even if it's "we're a great mix of players from everywhere and this we relish" then that's cool. but they need something. without money in this sport, you can't build around a lackluster brand, and Sockeye's brand is better.

they do score to make it 14-15, however, Trey (a ringer recruit for the last few years) toe-ing the line.

but THEN i think andrew fleming makes one of the greatest layouts anyone has seen in a long time for Sockeye, one of those ones where he hit the ground first sliding head first and the disc somehow lands in his hand

Sockeye Spikes, Ironside Gets a Score

A spike by Aaron Talbot on an Ironside player after a score by Sockeye, Ironside trades, it's 13-12 Sockeye, then Sockeye with a catch-spike score to make it 14-12.

Crowd begins its disinterest phase. The vuvuzelas sound off from time to time. But its a good size group here: 2-3,000 perhaps, maybe more?  Hard to tell, but its packed with players from 30+ countries, that is quite clear.

This is a different field site than the other games and one playing live at the moment (Riot vs Huck look at the link on the right).

Turnover on Sockeye's goal by Ironside (missing an easy chance to stay on serve but down a break) but they get it back on a half-field huck turn by Sockeye and its 14-13 Sockeye

Boston nervous?

Yet another turnover after a pick call on a huck, and a huck that was turned down, but finally they score at least. 12-11 sockeye.

12-10 Sockeye

Well after a throwaway by Boston, Sockeye slowly (with a timeout) works it downfield and gets the score and are now firmly in control of this game with Ironside stuck in, ahem, ironsides. The game is to 17, don't forget.

Wiggins or Holt

Not sure which, the distance is too great, but either Adam Holt or Ben Wiggins, off the pull, rips a perfect 60 yard backhand that is very pretty. Short of the end zone. Swing comes to Wiggins/Holt who makes a froggy layout one-handed stab to preserve possession on the side line, then dishes it into the endzone where it ends up in an Ironside player's hand -- but a strip is called, agreed to and a goal is had. Tremendous excitement.

Next possession is a huck too far by Boston followed by the same for Sockeye. Its 11-10 Sockeye now.

Sockeye with the big Mo and a sudden lead

The halftime lead has evaporated, as teams traded, then Sockeye with two breaks, the first a nice up in the air D on a medium-length Ironside huck, the second on a floaty Ironside huck to Danny Clark that was D'd up by Ray Illian, the almost-full-fielf huck from Sockeye's Spencer Wallace, then Joe Sefton cut across the throwing lane playing the unders on Ironside's Peter Prial and suddenly Sockeye is up! 10-9, remarkable turnaround.

Rebholz to Stubbs

Big huck across about 2/3 of the field, tracked down very quickly by a speedy George Stubbs (who i think went to UM and beat my alma mater ND at Regionals again -- yet for the last time) for halftime to Ironside, 9-7.

By the way, I picked Ironside by 1 or 2 in this game.

Why People Should Throw More Scoobers

Nasser with the nifty lefty dump dish pass. Trey swings the disc. Ironside works it. Many passes against man-to-man, Jacob Goldstein to Teddy, it looks like.

"because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" is the answer from Al from Columbus, Ohio, backpacking through Europe right now and spectating at Worlds, although she is flying to Boulder THIS weekend (leaving tomorrow) to play women's masters with Mojo.

Question from Paolo to Al: "you're going to miss the finals?"
"yeah, but I get to play next weekend, so i'm all for that!"

O score and a Break for the Fish

uh, yeah, that sums it up basically. 6-5 Boston.

the guy in front of me with a video camera is taping the event as part of a doc following two Chinese ultimate players who gave up their banking careers to pursue ultimate and promote the Spirit of the Game.

yes, this is true. And so he is following them for maybe a documentary that will go to Sundance one day. As a filmmaker, i can suggest that this is highly unlikely, but strangely possible.

In any case, teams trade, 7-6 Ironside

Slovak National Juniors Team

is what a t-shirt says that walks by.

Interesting 2-3-2 zone from Ironside. Sockeye scores. 6-4.

Report: DominO from Dominican Republic scores their first win over the Latvians, says Bob Suvanich.

Ben Wiggins bows to Crowd Consesus

There's a drop on the field, apparently, the announcer at the stadium says that "ben Wiggins hasn't dropped a pass in five years" after what is apparently is a drop, and the crowd is encouraged to say it's a turnover, so Ben concedes. Ironside scores the break to go up 5-3.

Then Sockeye turfs it. 6-3 Ironside.

Nasser Bladey flick to Chicken

"I get the feeling that Worlds is kind of like a huge party that you have to qualify to get in to" says Paolo
-- "or pick up with a team from ______" says Stenclik .

Anyway, Nasser slices in a nice forehand to Chicken from 25 yards out for the score, 4-3 ironside

Swing to sideline goes too far

Sockeye gets the turn, scores. 3-3.

Angie who went to school in Boston, flew from Vermont to come to Worlds with Doug "The Hammer Hucker" Stenclik who is padding his stats with Brazil's Brazzinga mixed team, is rooting for Ironside

will Danny guard Bailey?

Old Pike teammates -- will they guard each other? No, Ray Illian (formerly of NC fame) guards Danny, who gets a swing from Nasser and then Danny finds Trey upfield for a score at the front cone. 3-2.

Teddy gets a D on a 50-50 huck and Ironside with a disc

2-1 ironside

Sockeye scores on a deep lefty backhand huck, Ironside works it up and Trey catches a goal.

Tons of people milling about with Czech beers in hand. Totally the way to go.

Sockeye in a diamond-shaped vertical O for the score to tie it at 2s

Ironside receives, 1-0

I also see Moses Rifkin on Sockeye's roster -- another old school Bostonite

Ironside versus Sockeye

Sockeye in white, as we know. Ironside in red. They have some unique matchups --

Bailey Russell, formerly of New York's PONY (Ironside regional competitors) and a former teammate of Boston's Danny Clark, is playing for Sockeye

Nasser Mbae from Ultimate Vibration/ Skogs is playing for Boston, for some reason.

The Twitter Blog Post

Live from Field 9! Stadion Strahov 2 in Prague, CZ. Before Ironside-Sockeye Quarters match

Yaka female player from France-- "I'm tired and I want to drink" -- with three drinks in her hand
Paolo from Brazil's Brazzinga - "She is the cutest thing. I was so happy to give her disc back, but she doesn't seem like talking"
Nicola says - "if you start calling me Nicole or Nicola I will pinch you."

Quick poll: Sockeye (Seattle) versus Ironside (Boston).
Overall Results

 Sockeye 9, Ironside 4
Carlos from Kwata, the Colombian club team in Bogota, calls Ironside by 1
The Russian girls, French girls, Nicky from Melbourne, Paolo from Sao Paolo and two fans of Chevron from the UK vote for Sockeye

Two Montreal Mephisto players both choose Boston's Ironside.
Jaap from the Netherlands chooses Sockeye, "because they are playing in white jerseys"

I will try to live blog as the game progresses

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exercising the Demons, Reliving the Past

Yesterday we played Troubled Past, the USA Masters champions who have re-christened themselves Czechered Past here in Prague. Since Nationals they've added a few more veterans with sketchy spirit careers to round out the roster.

I come from playing in New York, east coast, playing for Philly now, and I love myself a good character or two. This team has a few of them.

First of course is captain Mike O'Dowd. In the 1970s when he was in his early 20s, O'Dowd  ran a numbers scheme in his native Chicago from his father's O'Dowd Bar on Milwaukee Avenue. If you're playing the numbers i can tell you right now: you aren't going to win. There's a reason it's called a numbers game. It's a fix and when the fix is in and you owe a few big ones, young man Mikey OD as they called him, would beat the shit out of you with his face. I mean, pummel you, more than KD beat Sanchez with his face. If you haven't seen a man pound another man's face with his own face then you haven't seen what brutality really is.

Forehead to jaw, ear to ear, cheek to jowl, a face attack from Mikey OD is like getting taken out back by the wood shed.

30 years later, that's pretty much what Troubled Past did to us in a game almost as fixed as the numbers. We weren't going to beat TP (as they call themselves) and we couldn't even wipe with it because it was already dirty -- they were the better team, deservedly so, but the game was still fixed.

Barry Switzer was there, Cooper, Sanchez, some cornhole with glasses, some redbeard hat-wearing typical call-making type -- just by writing this I can remember an old canuck friend of mine telling me about shooting pictures for the UPA at Nationals in San Diego and a team known as Blaze of Glory with a similar makeup threatened to fight him. I mean, fist fight, a face beatdown, the kind of cheek to jowl hurt that only guys who've had alcoholic fathers can relate too.

So I may run into my own Czechered Past later this tournament, who knows. I'm not a fighter, but I do have Italian blood so I get hot. I curse, yell, celebrate, taunt, throw the finger, i've gotten in pussy scraps before but never really a fight in a long time. I'm not above the Past, I would never claim to be holier than TP (but certainly cleaner) and I can make calls that are dicey -- but I won't generally.

Sanchez suggested I add a footnote to my book(s) about giving their team the finger after a pick call on a player not in the play negated one of our scores. Well, here it is, if it makes him or anyone else feel better: I'm no angel, none of us are, and angels I would tend to be a little suspicious of.

Furthermore, I don't mind playing these call-fest games and there's a part of me that kind of likes them. I don't mind controversy, i don't take offense at bad calls, I don't think negatively about the other team or player and I like the hot-bloodedness that courses through the body.

But the point is, if you want to see what ultimate and the Euforia-Doublewide game was all about at its core, you don't need to look to the future. You just need to look to the past.

As Mike O'Dowd said in last winter's UPA newsletter, and I quote, "We finally exercised the demons."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Broadcasting Worlds

Yesterday was my first shot at broadcasting for worlds. I've done Paganello a few times as well as College Easterns way back in 1997 or 1998 and I did the DVD for Sandblast 2004.

By far this is the best setup, on par or eclipsing what CBS College Sports did for USA-U college championships. The Czech company really seems to have good pacing on their shot selection, excellent replays, they are following the disc extraordinarily well and the graphics are good. All told, it makes it a lot better when the full package is put together.

Seeing the game like this (i watched monday's broadcast live) definitely ramps up the level of excitement and showcases ultimate as an actual spectator sport.

Broadcasting games live with multiple camera angles isn't a new thought, Charles Kerr and I talked extensively about putting together live webcasting for games almost 10 years ago, but without support from the then-UPA we had no chance. CBS College Sports involvement is great, I wonder when the time will come to do it for Club Nationals. UltiVillage is also a good tool, but limited.

Since I work in the TV/Film/Video business in New York i can tell you that putting together the kind of operation you see here (click to the right side to watch the games, even now they are up so it won't be live, but more like a DVR'd replay) in the United States would not be cheap. Those cameramen with good enough skills to follow the action and the director calling shots in their headsets want 500/day. The camera rental (looks like we had 3 primary cameras for Worlds, possibly 4, plus a small miniDV cam in the broadcast booth) would tally 1000/day easily, likely more. Add in a director and the switching equipment, etc etc and I'm guesstimating 5-7K a day, at cost, a company might charge 10K for the whole operation. Fortunately finals are all on one day.

Still -- it can be done for cheaper with cheaper cameras and cheaper cameramen, but quality would suffer. Even so, for ~10K to the USA-U/players to broadcast Club Worlds, is it worth it?

The answer is rather simple: sponsorship. Even if a sponsor only throws 2K at USA-U for getting their logo on camera, in the shots, on the screen (like we saw here) during the webcast that's a great start to the USA-U's decades-long quest for someone to be interested in the sport.

Invest now is my suggestion: down the line in 4-5 years Club Championship broadcasting should pay for itself -- and then some.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shock and Awe: The Status Quo Remains the Same

Despite superior experience playing ultimate, the benefit of more athletic talent, strong stewardship and history -- you would think that the top teams would get nailed from time to time.

Which happens, of course, just not so often in opening round pool play at a 136-team worlds. But the upsets -- they do occur.

Fortunately my team did not succumb to one today, defeating the strong Masters team Wolpertinger. Looking back at the scoreboard provided by WFDF we ran off 4 straight points to win 15-13. The last three on defense. Nice.

My point all along was that I thought maybe our featured Game of the Day would truly be one. But Doublewide crushed Bogotá's Euforia, the Colombian national champion. I got a lot of good info on the scene in Colombia from Luis Rodriguez who plays for 2600 Mixed and joined me in the broadcast booth for the game. I wish I had more time to blather about it all but it's late already and sometimes there's just too much information.

Generally speaking, there's so much going on at Worlds that it's hard to keep track.

But the upsets and the big games -- they're coming. Right around the corner, in fact. Power pools are set. Actually, i wish I could find out how the heck 4 of the 6 best team's in the women's division ended up all in the same power pool together, especially if there are 4 power pools. MUD (Japan) Fury (San Fran) Backhoe (Raleigh-Durham) and Huck (Japan) are all together and that's deathly.

Controversy to come, for sure. But for now - the top teams remain on top, the new nations still looking for the footing on the field. But the Yanomami drums keep everyone's feet dancing and the great amount of teams that have come to represent keep the universal spirit of ultimate strong, status quo or non.


here is a link to see the Open "standings" although its not entirely accurate because we are all in pool stages of course. if you click around on the left hand side you'll find more info on teams, games, specific points scored by specific players and much more.

and one last note -- I haven't even seen CLX yet, nor about 100 other teams (Sockeye, Fury, Riot, Chain, Mental Toss, Axis of Cville, etc etc among them) so if you are waiting for updates on some of these top teams they will presumably have to come at later stages.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Stadium - It Works

Today's featured game played in a decent-sized stadium featured the local Czech/Prague-based team Hot Beaches against Storm, and up-and-coming team from Montreal.

Pretty awesome game to watch. I got to watch from the play-by play booth as well as in the stands and the entire match was electric. The stands were half Czechs and half ultimate players and both halves ended up rooting for the home team. It reminded me a bit of the year the local Rimini team Cota Rica made (and won) the finals of Paganello in front of a crowd 0f 5000+, many of them from Rimini.

In this case the home team Hot Beaches, it turns out, play a fast and loose game: they absolutely loved to rip it deep and seemed both fearless and overly determined to do so. Storm had some pretty smooth receivers themselves and a good zone.

Long story short: Storm took a 15-11 lead about 10 minutes after what some thought to be a hard cap. After scoring the 15th point, they ran on to the field and celebrated while the Czechs walked back to their line. The mixup ended up in Hot Beaches' favor: it was a game to 17, not 15, hard at 17

Hot Beaches scored the next possession but then Storm worked it down again to make it 16-12, game point.

So the Beaches were definitely in trouble. But somehow they just keep lasering 50 yarders to the endzone and this time, came down with the catches (whereas in the first half they dropped several long bombs). Soon it was score, D-block, score, Storm turnover, Beaches 35 yard crossfield hammer rip on stall 2 for a goal, d-block huge forehand huck down the line, Storm turnover, Beaches backhand huck.

After every big play the crowd kept roaring in approval and it was clear that Storm was rattled. At 16-16, game to 17 it was possible that the quite miraculous Czech comeback aided by a stadium of supporters could actually be willed to happen. Storm called timeout and were receiving the disc now for the fifth straight point.

Hot Beaches came down in zone. Several near-D's were caught by Storm, who looked patient and willing to work it. After 40 passes or so, the teams at a standoff but field possession favoring Storm (they had gained yardage to within 20 yards of the game-winning goal) Storm finally tried to break the knot. A forehand to the short corner on an in-cut would have gained them 15 but the throw sailed up and over the target. A Storm player alertly kept her feet in the goal and lunged out to catch the overthrow. Game set match, 17-16 Storm.