Photo by Sandy Canetti – Ultiphotos.com
The Washington, D.C. Current (1-4) notched their first win of the season when they defeated the New York Rumble (1-4), 19-17.
Determined to get off on the right foot on a chilly, wet, and sloppy afternoon and eager to shake off the disappointment of a 22-17 loss to the Boston Whitecaps the previous evening, the Current rattled off four straight points, including three breaks, within two minutes to take a 6-3 lead in the first quarter.
This fast start gave D.C. the early advantage they sought as they began the second game of their road doubleheader.
“This was a solid weekend of Ultimate for us,” said Head Coach Will Smolinski. “We started off [this] game well and had some more flashes of what we think our potential is throughout the rest of the game.”
The centerpiece of the Current offense, handler Lloyd Blake, led the charge with 5 assists and 49 completions on 52 throws. Cutter Kyle Khalifa continued his impressive rookie campaign with 5 goals on the day (bringing his weekend total to 9) and cutter Justin Solis had a breakout game with 4 goals, 2 assists, and 20 completions.
“Our offense has started to click and we are starting to figure out how to create space and use it and then grind when we don’t have space,” said Assistant Coach Sam McClellan. “Our offense is starting to figure out how to work together and some of the flow that was generated was simply beautiful.”
Nevertheless, although the Current found an early groove, the unfazed Rumble held firm and did not allow D.C. to extend their three-point first-half edge. New York matched D.C. point for point in the second quarter, an effort that culminated with a highlight-reel grab in traffic for a goal by Marques Brownlee on a Andrew O’Connor huck as time expired.
Late in the third quarter, the Rumble cut the Current lead to just one, 13-12, setting the stage for another thrilling fourth quarter in a tight contest.
“Mentally and emotionally, our guys have started games strong,” said Assistant Coach Jacob Nuxoll. “The coaches have been trying to maintain that focus throughout the whole game. We accomplished that [this afternoon] against New York.”
After Keven Moldenhauer scored on a short goal line pass from Trevor Griesman for a break that put the Current ahead 19-15 with less than five minutes to play, the Rumble came roaring back with two scores in under 60 seconds, thereby swinging momentum their way late in the fourth quarter.
New York appeared to be on track to come from behind and snatch another victory from D.C. for the second week in a row.
Layout blocks by Andrew Ferraro and Delrico Johnson in the final two minutes of regulation, however, halted the Rumble’s surge and clinched a long-awaited and hard-earned first 2016 victory for the Current.
“We’re pumped to have put together four good quarters and to have come through, mainly with grit and hard work, to jam out on the second day of a doubleheader,” said cutter Mikey Moses, who scored three goals. “We’re getting better each game, and we’re only going to improve from here.”
The Current will have byes the next two weeks and will not play again until May 21 when they go up against the Rumble in Washington, D.C..
New York stays at home for their next game and will play the Philadelphia Spinners on Saturday, May 7.
“All in all, I’m loving the direction we are headed: up,” said McClellan. “Once we have our full roster and have rested our bodies a bit, we will be truly dominant. I can’t wait to see how much we can do with the remainder of the season.”