Nationals Day 1

We arrived at the fields early to start this tournament off right and turned on some tunes. With this being our 4th Nationals appearance in a row, our team didn’t want to walk away empty handed. In the days leading up to the tournament I replayed  intense training moments and practices in my head, kept calm, and prepared to show up to just play. The sun was coming up, the grass was beginning to dry but we were two missing two of our all-stars, Anna Hettler and James Hron. Their flight into Texas was just landing as the game was going to begin. However, I wasn’t too worried. We’ve pulled out wins before without some players in the past and I knew Drag’n would be in good shape. In fact, this is the most calm I’ve ever been the first day of any tournament, ever. It was kind of weird, but I couldn’t wait to start the tournament by playing Odyssee, a team from Canada who we have previous wins and losses against. The most recent was a loss earlier in the season at the US Open in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Odyssee 14-13

Drag’n won the flip and started on O. I primarily rotate with Erica Baken as the female O-line handler, and she was out there to start. The first point of the game was one I will never forget: Odyssee pulls and I recall Jeff Trosvig, Austin Lien, and Baken working the disc up. Our cutters ran a crisp offense. Almost too crisp. Every cutter touched the disc, and every handler worked it around. As we slowly worked it in for the score I smiled and said under my breath, “Oh my God, we’re going to win Nationals”. I obviously couldn’t confirm that at the time, but something about that point gave me a good feeling that we were going to do good things.

Side note: If you watched this game and many others you will quickly realize we ran through some muddy water and had a few heart attacks in plenty of our games, but our team kept calm and had faith that we would do the right thing when the time came.

We go up 3-0 before Odyssee started to keep it close. They threw a zone which used to be a Drag’n weakness; but not this year! Our offense was on, punishing their defense and they quickly retreat to man D. Anna and James finally show up, but won’t be warmed up in time to help finish the game. I still don’t know why, but our team started to get heated and went ahead and earned two TMFs. The game stays close as we fought through staying up on O and creating plays to get breaks. Drag’n receives their third TMF. Turns out it was on universe point with us starting on O on the Odyssee goal line. Jake Henderson and Patty King call a line, myself included. I help to keep the defense out of the way and reset the disc. I stay pretty calm because as oblivious as I was I didn’t realize it was universe point; I have a tendency to focus on the good things we are doing in the games over the bad. That’s good, right? Anyways, Drag’n turns the disc on a cutter miss-queue and Odyssee quickly tries to capitalize. After just a few quick throws, someone throws a scoober up field. Lucky for us Jaime Glader was on her game and comes out of nowhere for the lay out D. With the adrenaline going, we make a few quick up field passes with a nice fade throw to win the game 14-13. The team ran out to celebrate our win and we said good game to Odyssee. I looked at the score and saw we only won by one point. I say to Patty, “Was that universe point?” She looks at me and says, “Uhhh yeah.”

I think part of me just knew we weren’t in any trouble… yet 🙂

7Express 14-9

Drag’n comes out fired up and ready to put away a game in a timely fashion against first time Nationals qualifier (but long time high-level club) 7Express.  Intensity is high, and everyone is ready to put the previous game behind them.  DnT looks to exploit athletic mismatches in this game, especially with James and Anna stepping on to the field fresh after their first round bye.  That’s exactly what happens, as many of our over-excited throws are left too high, but ultimately cleaned up by the vertically gifted among the Drag’n Thrust ranks.  With the short rounds, the game goes to cap, but not before we’re able to build a five point lead.  7Express is always a very fun and spirited team, and we loved being able to match up against them at their first time at the big show. We complimented them on their shorts, and proceeded to both talk up our Spike Ball skills.

AMP 13-12 purchase at low price medications online –

After our two wins we settle down for an unfortunate 4 hour bye. We split up to go back to the hotel, get food, and watch games. We had time to mentally prepare for our last game against the 1 seed, Philly’s AMP, which wasn’t scheduled to start until 6:30pm. I think the majority of us were thinking, “This is great! It will be just like we’re getting warmed up and starting practice; sun is going down and we are going to be in our playing environment.” Our confidence grew after we learned that AMP lost earlier that day to Odyssee, 8-14; however, we were unsure of what AMP would look like not having played them this season so we had to be prepared for everything.

This team had performed extremely well early in the season, but hadn’t seen much Nationals level talent in the past couple of months.  This left them as a dangerous wild card in the eyes of many other teams, including ours.  In matchups in previous years, AMP had left DnT completely in their wake, save for a few exceptions.  We were concerned, but excited to be presented with the opportunity to snatch the overall one seed moving on to bracket play.

Not to disappoint us, AMP comes out hot.  Very hot.  AMP goes up 3-0 on us and it started to show that we just came off a long bye. We come back a few points, but AMP made it a point to convert every offense turnover for a score. Their O-line is scoring quickly and efficiently, not leaving our struggling offense time to diagnose our own issues.  #4 Raha Mozaffari is eating up major yards on in-cuts, and showing no fear in putting the disc 40+ yards downfield.  #7 Nick Hirannet is providing effortless resets from the handler position, and testing our legs with give-and-go cuts. The AMP D-line looks like they’re having a blast – throwing their bodies around like crazy.  The sun sets on our field, and things are not looking good for the Thrusters.

Sometime after half we were down by four points, but it felt like more. We were doing all we could and defeat felt a little closer after each point.  At this time, fellow handler Alicia Carr came up to me on the sideline. She smiled and asked me, “What do you think?” (Classic Alicia). I thought about it, laughed a little bit, and responded with, “I’m having a LOT of fun”. Alicia smiles back and responds with, “I like that.” It was in that moment where I knew our team was going to do something great.

We get the score to 11-9. The soft cap goes off (game to 13), and Jake Henderson attempts to rouse the troops.  Lines are tightened to nearly our breaking point, but AMP strikes immediately to make it 12-9.  With the game in AMP’s capable hands, something interesting happens.

Whether unable to face us in a game of top 7 v top 7, or simply just nervous at the prospect of winning the pool, AMP’s hands start to become less steady.  Hucks sail long, in cuts are dropped, and previously available resets are looked off.  At each AMP miscue, DnT strikes hard.  Almost the entirety of the playing time in the last five points went to Erica Baken, Jaime Glader, Jane Lucas, Sarah Meckstroth, Tom Bomberg, Jay Drescher, James Hron, Austin Lien, and Brian Schoenrock (IIRC).  This is far fewer players than we ever play in that many points, but the energy on the field grows after each one.

We managed to come back and score five points, eventually tying the game at 12-12, starting on (line) for another universe point. AMP receives the pull and immediately jacks a backhand just out of reach for #44 Andrew Baill, trailed closely by Jay Drescher.  DnT patiently works it up the field until 20 yards out on the trap (forehand) sideline.  Sarah Meckstroth leaves her girl behind on a same-third cut, and points to the back corner for Jay.  As soon as the throw goes up, all fourteen players on the field know that this game is over. Sarah snags the flick huck out of the air in the end zone solidifying our win, and the best possible path to win it all.

Winning this game from what I could tell at the time, felt like winning it all. We cheered as we ran on the field to celebrate one of our best comebacks ever. That moment feels historic to me, and it won’t be won I soon forget. AMP exposed our weaknesses and although we solidified the 1-seed and saw the path we had ahead; our team knew there was no point to take for granted. But for now, we enjoyed the taste of victory and I thought back to the prediction I made during the first point of the first game….it was an incredible first day of Nationals and I couldn’t wait for what was going to happen next!

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