Photos by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos.com
Once again, the Spinners and the Rumble battled it out in a double overtime thriller. After losing the game 13-12 on universe point, the Rumble are the ones who will regret their missed opportunities.
Philadelphia handler Alex Peters found cutter Frederik Brasz with a floaty flick huck, giving the Spinners their first win of the year in dramatic fashion.
Just one week after New York (1-2) edged the Spinners (1-2) on a controversial score by Chris Mazur in the second overtime, the Spinners were able to exact a measure of revenge on a walk-off goal of their own, sending a boisterous home crowd at Colonial Stadium into a frenzy.
“All three games this year, we’ve had the disc with a chance to win or tie the game,” Peters said after the game. “This time, we were able to pull it in, and that’s what we need moving forward.”
For New York, this loss will be a difficult one to swallow.
After the Rumble received the pull in double overtime, they wasted a glorious opportunity to escape with the victory. On their first possession, handler Michael Hennessy lofted a beautiful backhand huck to a wide open Jonathan Cox in the end zone, but Cox dropped what would have been the game-winning goal.
“I wasn’t thinking anything in particular [on universe point], more just hoping that I didn’t have a heart attack,” said Rumble Head Coach Anthony Nuñez.
The Rumble still had two more chances to punch in the deciding goal in double overtime, but they failed to capitalize on a Spinners turnover when cutter Jack Marsh was unable to come up with an up-line feed near midfield.
“On that last point, the wind was super vicious. It seemed like 25-30 miles per hour, and with that wind it’s tough to complete throws upwind or downwind,” Mazur said.
“Strategically, we’re confident enough in our o-line to work in that wind. We did what we had worked on, we were swinging it around and to the breakside, but we had a very unfortunate drop, which is something that isn’t really correctable.”
On their ensuing possession, after Spinners handler Michael Panna launched a huck intentionally to deep space to gain field position, Cox under-threw cutter Joe Anderson, setting up Peters’ game-ending toss to Brasz.
“Philly clearly played it strategically by punting when they got the disc,” Mazur added. “We messed up. We weren’t executing.”
The first overtime period was as much of a sloppy affair as the second, with each team able to muster only one point in the frame.
Ben Scharadin put the Spinners on top 36 seconds into the period off of a throw from Jake Rainwater, but Philadelphia could not convert on multiple subsequent break opportunities. After a grueling point that included five turnovers in a span of a minute, Dave Vuckovich equalized with 2:06 left, tying the score at 12.
The Spinners nearly won it with seconds left in the first overtime when Michael Panna made a diving catch-block on Jack Marsh’s throw with under a minute on the clock. But a Spinners throwaway on a dump look with 25 seconds left sent this game to sudden death.
Matt Esser, who scored both game-tying goals for the Spinners in overtime last week, provided his heroics this week in regulation. With the Rumble looking to score the go-ahead goal in the final minute on a flick from Vuckovich to Mazur, Esser dove in front of the 2013 Eastern Conference MVP and knocked the disc away. But a misfired pass to Nick Hirannet ten yards away from the end zone with a dozen seconds left in the fourth denied Esser a chance for a game-winning bookends.
Amazingly, this was the third double overtime game between the Rumble and the Spinners, with New York taking the previous two match-ups. Unlike last week’s 24-23 shootout, however, this contest was a defensive struggle from the very beginning.
The Spinners opened the scoring with a Hirannet catch a minute into the game, but it took over four minutes and nine turnovers for the Spinners to tack on the next point.
“The defense was good, but it wasn’t great,” Mazur said. “There were many, many unforced turnovers, and there’s not much you can do to explain it.”
Nuñez added, “It was a very sloppy game on both sides of the disc. We had many opportunities to score but had trouble in the red zone. We just didn’t get the job done.”
Though the Rumble’s Ben Faust nearly made the highlight reel on an audacious greatest attempt, the Spinners needed a spectacular play of their own to secure the break point, courtesy of a beautiful layout end zone grab from Brasz. Jack Casey then skied Adrian Banerji on the following possession to put the Spinners ahead 3-0.
But the Rumble responded, going on a 5-0 run into the second quarter, punctuated by two Cox goals and a sprawling catch in traffic by Mazur, en route to taking a 7-6 lead at the half.
Nevertheless, receiving the pull to start the second half, the Rumble were unable to expand their lead. A layout D by Hirannet allowed Jake Rainwater to notch his first goal of the game, knotting the score at 7.
“They were putting on some great defensive pressure, laying out to force turnovers,” Mazur said.
From there, the wind picked up, and both teams largely traded downwind points to end the third quarter.
Aside from his second-quarter goal, Mazur was largely held in check by a stout Spinners D-line. Hennessy, who entered the night third in the MLU in points, added a goal and two assists to his totals.
With the win, the Spinners move into a tie for third in the East with the Rumble.
“We’re going to work on a couple of tweaks this week in practice, not as much changing our strategy, because it’s not that our offensive and defensive strategies weren’t working this game,” Nuñez said.
“Basically, we need to go work on confidence and percentages – making high percentage throws. We were lucky that Philly kept us in the game, because whenever we’d turn the disc over, they’d give it right back.”
The Rumble will look to rebound next week as they host the Whitecaps at The Eagle’s Nest at Union City High School. The Whitecaps previously defeated the Rumble 22-14 Week 1 in Boston. Tickets for the game are on sale now.