Photo by Pete Guion – Ultiphotos.com
After ending the third quarter down by 4, New York (1-2) turned things around to win their first game of the season against the DC Current (0-3), 21-19. The following day they were swept by the Philadelphia Spinners (0-4) losing by a wide margin, 25-10.
New York showed all their colors this weekend in their first double header of the season. On the one hand they flashed their talent, earning six breaks and scoring ten total points in the fourth quarter alone; on the other hand, they suffered the worst loss of the season, losing to the Spinners 25-10.
Due to travel issues, the game on Saturday was delayed by thirty minutes. The stress of traveling, both mentally and physically, can be a huge disadvantage and may have contributed to the Rumble’s slow start against the Current. The real beauty of this game took place in the fourth quarter comeback. Here’s a play-by-play:
New York ended the half down by three and ended the third quarter down by four. The first point of the fourth was a quick one; Mark Flores got a big D and turned it around for the score, 16-11. After a time-out called by DC and a mid-field pull, Cannon launched the disc to Mott, who came down with it. Mott then booked it to the end zone and, once again, tore the disc out of the air over multiple defenders, 16-12. With 2:03 on the clock, New York had tied the score 18-18. In the next point, New York’s Matt Wilson scored with Sean Mott, 18-19. New York pulled and, in an unfortunate miscalculation, Joseph DiPaula dropped the pull, allowing Matt Weintraub to throw a quick pass to Marques Brownlee for the score, 18-20. In the next point, Dom Gibson made an incredible play, diving past Brownlee and Delrico Johnson to catch the disc for a score, 19-20. The final point ended with a huge hustle by Charles Cannon, who was playing in a handler role, and a big throw from Scott Xu to who was wide open in the end zone, tracking the disc into the back corner for a smooth catch, 21-19 with 0:13 on the clock.
“Really, the feeling of the game started to change after the first quarter,” said Coach Eileen Murray, “we played the second and third quarters basically even, but momentum was on our side because of the huge plays people were making.” This was the first win of the season for the Rumble, and an important one, coming on the road. This was also the most sustained comeback we’ve seen from this young team. A lot was at stake for D.C., who will surely have a hard time regaining their confidence as they have now recorded the worst start in franchise history, losing three games in a row – all at home. New York’s ability to recognize D.C.’s weakness and to capitalize on their own strengths in the second half was truly something to watch. The Current will have an opportunity to prove themselves this weekend when they meet the Rumble at Bell Stadium for Week 4 (May 1).
Unfortunately, New York could not convert this steady flow to their game on Sunday against the Philadelphia Spinners. The two teams had met earlier this season at Bell Stadium in a game that ended 22-12 in the Spinners’ favor. While the Spinners are a team with Championship aspirations in 2016, New York is a team that is very centered on realistic goals. One step in front of the other is their philosophy. But this game, with an even worse point deficit than the first, must have been a blow.
In their first matchup, New York earned three breaks, whereas in the game this weekend they earned only one, recording a season low of 8.3% Defensive Scoring Efficiency (DSE). Another statistic that really tells the story of this game is the total number of attempted throws by team. The Spinners attempted 181 throws this game and New York attempted 250. The Spinners scored faster and cleaner points than the Rumble, outrunning them downfield and gaining yards easily for their scores. On the other hand the Rumble worked the disc across the field rather than throwing it away downfield. Overall, their completion percentage was 86%, only 2.4% lower than the Spinners. This kind of handler motion was also very prominent in the D.C. game and may be something Coach Anthony Nuñez and Coach Murray are trying to ingrain in their players. Dump and swing, earn points on the break side, play basic ultimate. But still, the Spinners overall athleticism trumped the Rumble’s: Matt Glazer scored 5 goals and assisted two, Billy Sickles scored two goals and assisted three, and David Baer and Isaiah Bryant also had big games, both scoring and assisting two points each.
Reflecting on the weekend, Coach Murray said, ‘The double header was really hard, but a lot of good came from it. The guys had additional time to bond. They could watch game video together on the bus and talk about things they could/should do. It was really productive for us as a team.’ Coach Nuñez couldn’t agree more. The New York Rumble are proving to be a team that can make big plays and can sustain momentum. With this knowledge and their coaches positivity it is going to be very fun watching this team grow.