Photo by Sandy Canetti – Ultiphotos.com

Weather played a major role in the Rumble’s opener against the Philadelphia Spinners leading to a landslide loss for the home team.

Although the rain had subsided by the first pull, the damp conditions and cold weather was an additional obstacle for the young New York Rumble (0-1) against the Philadelphia Spinners (1-0), a more established team looking to compete for the MLU Championship this season.

The final score, 22–12, is not wholly representative of this game, however. The real story behind the numbers is a series of multi-point runs for both the teams. In a ‘perfect’ game of ultimate, two teams exchange offensive points until one team scores a break. This game was definitely not perfect ultimate and, in truth, there weren’t many back and forth point exchanges. The Rumble’s multi-point run happened in the third quarter where they came out strong on defense and were able to earn two breaks, giving them a three-point-run and bringing the score to 12–9. Unfortunately, the Spinners regained their momentum and went on a five-point-run in the fourth quarter widening the gap to 22–11 without enough time for the Rumble to have their next volley.

With so many new players joining the Rumble this season, there were many questions about who they would field and which rookies would really establish themselves on the field. As Rumble Coach Anthony Nuñez pointed out after the game, “This team’s average age is 23, and it’s many of the player’s first time playing Pro.” There are clearly many talented young players on this team, several of whom shined through in this opening game, despite the final result. Sean Mott, a rookie from Bucks County Community College, was all over the field and had two assists and one goal, and Seth Canetti assisted fellow rookie Steven Willis to earn an important point in the third quarter.

The returning stars from last year also played well this game. In a pre-game interview with Coach Eileen Murray, she admitted that her favorite highlight from last season was ‘anything Jibran did.’ That may well be the same answer at the end of this season as Jibran Mieser scored two goals and assisted one. Another fan favorite, Marques Brownlee, also had a highlight worthy block in the third quarter and, in the same point, assisted the first of three points of to kick off the Rumble’s biggest offensive run of the game. Scott Xu also scored two points this game, one on a high-speed throw in the last 15 seconds of the game. 

As noted before, the score is not wholly representative of the how the game played out. If we take a look at the game stats, the Rumble’s overall completion percentage was only 4.9 points lower than that of the Spinners. This shows that the chemistry amongst the Rumble was within striking distance of the Spinners, a team whose players have a much longer playing history. The major discrepancies were turns –the Rumble had 29 turns, compared to 19 from the Spinners –and their HPSE (Hold Possession Scoring Efficiency) – the Rumble were 27.2% less efficient than the Spinners. Confident in his players ability to close these gaps, Coach Nuñez remarked after the game, ‘I feel great. There’s only room to improve.’

This attitude will be a motivating sentiment as the Rumble prepare for their next game against the Boston Whitecaps (1-1) who defeated the Washington D.C. Current (0-1) on Saturday, before losing to the Spinners (2-0) 18–16 on Sunday. If one thing is clear it’s that the Rumble will not be hanging their heads low this season regardless of the outcome. This team is here to develop, to grow together and to figure out how to make their roster work to its fullest potential. The next game will be at Bell Stadium this Saturday, April 16th at 4PM. Get your tickets today or watch live at MLULive.com.

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