Photo by Bob Hume – Ultiphotos.com
In the last week of the regular season, the Washington D.C. Current (3-7) dropped their final home match to conference leading Philadelphia Spinners (9-1) who used a methodical comeback to topple D.C..
The Current were receiving the pull, facing their first deficit of the night and only :14 seconds remaining on the clock. A crowd, which skipped the edge of their seat phase of nervousness, rose at Woodrow Wilson High School for what was due to be a thrilling ending to an incredible game. The D.C. offense, which had been struggling all season catches a break with an offsides pull by Philadelphia and giving the team only forty yards until the endzone. Picking up the disc and wasting no time, Lloyd Blake throws a lofty hammer on the break side of the field to no one as Aaron Richards cut the opposite direction. This would complete the Spinners comeback as they defeated the Current 19-18.
Three separate times the Current held a four point advantage over the best team in the Eastern Conference. A position the Spinners had not been in all season, the team needed the fourth quarter to finish off a historic regular season. Coming into the game, the Current had been outscored 44-23 in the final frame. Once again the team lost their flow and only scored two goals in those ten minutes.
“I just thought we had it,” offensive handler Zach Norrbom (one assist) said. ““We hate fourth quarters, we should just play three.”
Early in the game the defensive line was able to take advantage of what the Spinners offense gave them. This led to three straight breaks to start the game for D.C. and helped set the tone for Antoine Davis (two goals, two assists, three blocks) and Dom Gibson (three goals, one assist, three blocks) to control the skies. Not only getting the job done on offense but defense as well.
Davis, playing in his final game in a Current uniform before moving out west, was all over the field for the team. Not only did he produce on the stat line, he won numerous downfield matchups.
“We wanted to play for the fans, give them a good game,” Davis said. “It was our last game of the season and we don’t get to play in the playoffs so might as well ball out.”
Needing patience in a troubling game, Philadelphia looked past their traditional playmakers to come back on the Current. Keeping the offense calmed and composed David Brandolph navigated the Spinners offense through a defense focused on controlling handler movement. On a night where Billy Sickles, Matt Glazer, and Nick Hirannet were relatively quiet, Brandolph completed 31 of his 34 throws and tossed three assists. In addition, the 5’ 8” hybrid scored the go-ahead goal for Philadelphia in the final seconds.
In total he helped the Spinners hold their offensive possession 12 times, one more than D.C.’s 11. The team matched each other in breaks with seven each. Had the Current held on the final point, it would have all been even.
One Spinner in particular knew when to get goals to crush the Current’s momentum – Greg Martin. Tallying four goals to lead all scorers, he would add an assist and a block on a successful night for the Rookie of the Year contender. Often time he would find himself matched up with Delrico Johnson (one assist, one block) and more times than not, Martin would come down with the disc.
In what was a down day for Johnson scoring, it was made up with the breadth of scoring for the team. Of the 28 players who stepped onto the field, 20 were able to score a goal or an assist.
“Once the season started we wanted to make sure this was a team playing for each other,” coach Jacob Nuxoll said. “Down one or down six we had guys pushing it on every point, and that really showed tonight.”
The Current now end their season looking toward the next step in the team’s ‘three year plan’ that was outlined at the beginning of the season. The team ended the year 3-7 but only a point differential of -21, showing that the team was able to remain competitive all season long. In the eyes of the players though tonight was a disappointment, being so close to knocking off the Spinners.