Photo by Bob Hume – UltiPhotos.com
In an early season match-up of Eastern Conference heavyweights, the D.C. Current landed a last second knockout blow to end the Boston Whitecaps’ 13-game win streak. Several plays stood out on Saturday, but here are just a few takeaways from D.C.’s 18-17 win over Boston.
99 for #99: Kolick Perfect on Passes
Through two games Alan Kolick has been perfect on the field, at least as far as throwing the disc is concerned. In Week 1, Kolick completed each of his 43 throws including five tosses that ended up as scores in the end zone. In the Current’s big win over the Whitecaps in Week 2, Kolick one-up’d himself as he went 56-for-56 with the disc in his hands, tallying two goals and handing out five assists. While others on the Current might end up with better point totals than Kolick on a given night, there is no question that he is the player who drives D.C.’s offense.
Vice President of Major League Ultimate has challenged his Twitter followers to guess when Kolick’s streak will end. Tweet Nic your answer for a chance to win a free t-shirt.
99 straight completions for @alankolick in 2 games. How long does this streak last? Closest to the pin wins a t-shirt.
— Nic Darling (@nicdarling) April 21, 2014
Making the Whitecaps Work
Boston has one of the most efficient offenses in the entire MLU, but on Saturday the D.C. defense made them work for every point. The Current focused on shutting down the Whitecaps long game and largely were very successful at containing Boston’s deep threats. By the end of the contest eight different Current defenders were credited with making at least one defense, with rookie Eddie Peters leading the way with four total.
“Last year they were averaging about eight throws per score,” said Keven Moldenhauer, the Current’s head coach. “I’m very proud of our guys, because regardless of when they did score, their O-line had to work. I don’t think their O-line ever had to work like that before. We made them earn every score they got, and I think that led to some of their mistakes later in the game.”
Prial’s Big Finish
Going against his old team for the first time on Saturday, Peter Prial wanted to have a big day. But Prial, the leading goal scorer in the MLU in 2013, had an uncharacteristic uneven start to the contest.
“Boston has really good defenders and I think they were playing pretty aggressive at the beginning of the game,” said Prial. “It definitely took me a few points to get in the swing of things.”
While Prial’s impact over the first 20 minutes might have been limited, his play in the final quarter was one of the key factors in D.C.’s win. Following a Current turnover, Prial would layout to block a 7-yard upfield throw getting the disc back for D.C. on a point they desperately needed to score on.
They play seemed to spark Prial, and the rest of the Current, as they would go on to score the comeback victory. Capped by Prial’s last second game winnnig hammer throw to Calvin Oung.
“It always feels good to get a D and that was a point we needed,” said Prial. “So obviously I’m very happy that I was able to get it back for us and we were able to score. In the end, when you only win by one point, every point matters so it felt really good.”[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/acM_7YaR5u4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
Fourth Quarter D
The Current’s defense was top notch all game long, but D.C. really ratcheted up the pressure down the stretch. The Current held Boston to just two scores in the quarter, an impressive feat considering all of the weapons that the Whitecaps have in their arsenal.
One of the turning points in the game came with about three minutes left on the clock. Boston’s Jeff Graham held the disc 20 yards out from the goal line while D.C.’s Brian Marshall applied a hard mark. Marshall’s teammates behind him stuck close to their cutters and Graham simply had no options open, eventually getting stalled out. The Current would convert the break point to knot the game at 16 all.
“I started off pretty 45, and kind of looked up field and took a portion off,” said Marshall. “He just didn’t have any options. I think our downfield defense was really solid. We shut down all of his options and he had nowhere to go.”
At 2-0 the Current are the only undefeated team left in the MLU. The win snapped Boston’s 13-game win streak that stretched all the way back to the beginning of the 2013 season. The D.C. victory also makes Prial the winningest player in MLU history at 14-0. While every one on the Current’s roster played extremely well, many credit the loud crowd for a big assist in the victory.
“I think out of every game last year and every game I’ve been to, this was the best experience I’ve seen so far from the MLU,” said Moldenhauer. “From the music, to everyone running the event, the crowd chanting, the guys having a good time – it was a big game on a beautiful night. This is the direction we want the MLU to go and this is beautiful.”
The Current head back to Boston for a rematch this Saturday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m.