Photo by Pete Guion – Ultiphotos.com

The D.C. Current head into the second half of their 2016 season with momentum and a positive attitude.

The Washington, D.C. Current believe that they have yet to play their best Ultimate in 2016.

Though they face an uphill climb with a 1-4 record at the season’s halfway mark, the Current remain unfazed and feel confident that they will achieve more success in their next five games.

“All the pieces are in place to do well,” said Assistant Coach Jacob Nuxoll. “It’s a question of execution now.”

After playing five consecutive games (three home games followed by a road doubleheader) to begin their 2016 campaign, D.C. used their first of two straight byes to rest and recover last week. This week, players and coaches are working through what they call “Phase Three” of their season as they strive for “peak performance,” said Head Coach Will Smolinski.

“We are doing a good job of controlling our energy, believing in each other, and having fun,” Smolinski said. “Revamping from the ground up is not easy and this team has trusted in the process, they believe in our message, and are doing a great job of working hard to play at our highest potential.”

D.C. believes these latest steps they’re taking to solidify their systems will help them gain the consistency that has eluded them this year thus far.

“In the first half of the season, we’ve shown flashes of what we can be as a team, but have had trouble maintaining that for an entire game,” said cutter Kyle Khalifa. “We’ve had extremely close games with every team so far, and I think we are on the brink of turning those scorelines in our favor. It was tough starting out the season with so many home games in a row as well. We have a lot more of a sense of who we are as a team now that we’ve gotten our first long road trip under our belts.”

Before their bye, the Current fell 22-17 to the Boston Whitecaps in Boston on April 30 before they picked up their first “W” the next day against the New York Rumble on the Rumble’s turf, 19-17.

Through all of the ups and downs of their challenging season, the constants for the team have been their optimism and their commitment to steady progress and improvement.

“It is hard not to feel a bit disappointed by our record, as we let two games go in the last minute of the game that we had been winning the whole rest of the game,” said Assistant Coach Sam McClellan. “From a developmental and team standpoint, I couldn’t be happier. The team morale is high, the energy levels are great, and the guys have the best team focus I’ve seen at this level. They are highly supportive of one another and I am excited to see what we can do from here on out.”

Along with opportunities to gain ground on their Eastern Conference rivals, the Current look forward to the returns of handler Zach Norrbom and cutters Jack Field, Cam Barnhardt, Dom Gibson, Joe Freund, and Antoine Davis, all of whom are coming back from college commitments for the second half of the season.

D.C. will play their first post-bye game next Saturday, May 21, when they face New York at home. Afterwards, before their next bye in the first weekend of June, D.C. will travel to Philadelphia to play the Spinners on May 28.

The Current close out the regular season with three games in seven days when they play another road doubleheader that first brings them to Boston to take on the Whitecaps on Saturday, June 11, before leading them back to Philadelphia for another showdown against the Spinners the next day, Sunday, June 12.

D.C.’s regular season finale will be a home contest against Philadelphia on Saturday, June 18.

For now, however, as coaches have reminded both themselves and players, there is no need for the team to look too far ahead. They intend to take the remainder of the season one step at a time. It’s all part of the process.

“We rarely talk about winning and losing,” said Nuxoll. “Our expectations are those things that I have said previously: team-first, personal growth, successes in the program. Our goal is always ‘up from here.’ Our successes are almost all ‘mental.’ Keys [to success] will be staying focused, working together, and executing the game plans.”

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