Photo by Niko Duffy – UltiPhotos.com
D.C. dominated New York in the first quarter jumping out to a 8-2 lead over the opening 10 minutes of play inside Catholic University of America’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. The Current made things look easy on offense, while harassing the Rumble on defense all game long as they cruised to a 28-15 victory.
A pattern emerged quickly on Saturday as the Current received the opening pull and in less than five throws were up a score after a beautiful Markham Shofner huck came down in the hands of David Cranston in the end zone. On the ensuing possession New York attempted a huck of their own, only to see it fly out the back of the end zone. The Current’s D-line would take advantage of the early break opportunity as they confidently worked it up the field before Bobby Gordon hit Brent Bellinger to give D.C. a 2-0 lead.
New York would get on the board during their next possession and were then able to convert an O-line score their next time out on the field to make it a 3-2 contest with 6:21 to play in the first quarter. But the Rumble were held scoreless over the next nine minutes, as the Current would go on a 7-0 run to break the game wide open.
“We came out on fire,” said Current Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “Our D came out hungry and aggressive and our O created space and made good throws.”
D.C. scored four straight break points to end the first quarter and then opened the second quarter with another tally by their D-line. A combination of poor throws, drops and great defensive pressure on both the mark and the receiver led to New York’s first quarter collapse.
“We pressured them on the marks, we pressured them down the field and we made them throw things they didn’t want to throw,” said defensive cutter Brian Marshall. “That made it easier for us to get the D’s.”
Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
Up 8-2 heading into the second frame D.C. let off the pressure slightly and New York was able to climb off the mat. After committing a turn on their first throw of the second quarter, which led to another break for D.C., the Rumble showed some composure and were able to cut the Current’s lead to 9-4 after scoring a break point of their own.
Following a Current turnover late in the first half, the Rumble had a chance to narrow D.C.’s lead down to four. But New York couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity as they gave the disc back to D.C. who promptly score from the goal line on a Jeff Wodatch pass to Eddie Peters making it a 13-7 contest.
Things would only get worse for the Rumble in the third quarter as D.C. continued to force New York into making mistakes. The Current ran off three straight points to open the second half staking themselves to a 16-8 lead, with the last score coming off a Gordon pass to Connor Maloney to convert the break.
“We knew we had a good first quarter, but then we kind of got a little complacent in the second. We didn’t convert a lot of those breaks we were in the first,” said Maloney. “We went out in the second half hoping to do what we did in the first quarter and just keep it rolling. We knew what it takes, we knew what it felt like and we were just hoping to get back there and it worked.”
Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
The Current would continue to break the Rumble all game long, as D.C. tallied 14 scores after pulling to the Rumble, equaling the number of goals they scored on pulls they received from New York. The effort on defense was spread throughout the entire team, as 10 players recorded an interception and eight were responsible for defenses.
“The plan was just to run them and be aggressive every where we could on the field and hope we could just grind them down,” said Maloney. “I think we got lucky early on and really punched it in. Got the momentum going and it paid off.”
While the Current’s defense stole the show on Saturday night, D.C.’s offense had an incredibly solid performance as well. D.C.’s O-line was broken just once, scoring points 14 out of the 15 times they received the disc. Alan Kolick led the way with nine points coming off of two goals and seven assists. Peter Prial (four goals and one assist) and Shofner (two goals and three assists) both posted five point nights. While Brian Marshall (two goals and one assist) and Bellinger (three goals) paced the defensive line.
“The biggest difference between this performance and past games was we didn’t have any simple stupid mistakes,” said Kolick. “We didn’t have any drops and we were pretty much throwing to 100% targets. I just feel like everybody was open and that they just didn’t seem that intense on defense.”
Photo by Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com
The Current move to 4-1 on the season and hold a one game advantage over the Boston Whitecaps in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference halfway through the 2014 campaign. With the loss New York falls to 2-3 on the year, but the Rumble won’t have to wait long to exact some revenge against D.C., as they will host the Current next Saturday at the Eagle’s Nest in Union City, New Jersey.
“I guarantee you it’s going to be a closer game next weekend,” said Moldenhauer. “Those are good players and they have a lot of pride, so I think the true test will be how we come out next weekend. Win or lose if we come out playing the way we did tonight then we are definitely moving in the right direction.”