Northern VA Indoor Ultimate Championships Recap

On the last Friday of 2016, the DC area Ultimate community congregated in Chantilly, Virginia for the Northern VA Indoor Ultimate Championships. 14 teams attended, representing all ages and geographic areas: there were multiple teams of High School players from Arlington, a team from Fairfax, a team composed of many University of Maryland alums, and a team with many Baltimore club players.

Defending champion Independent Suspension had Breeze players/alums Max Cassell, Glenn Poole (2015, 2013) and Greg Esser (2013), as well as newly signed Philadelphia Phoenix player Matt Esser. They also had six Scandal players on their roster, including Breeze assistant coach Sarah Itoh.

Last years runners up Ball Circle Babes had Breeze players/alums Alan Kolick, Kyle Khalifa (2015), and Zach Norrbom (2013), as well as Scandal veterans Jenny Fey, Molly Roy, and Shino Yoshen.

However, two first-time teams stole the show: Send it Back (with Rowan McDonnell, Jonathan Neeley, and Tom Doi) and Ben & The Fengettes (with Ben Feng). Those two teams matched up in round one.

Theresa Hackett (Send It Back) pivots around Kristin Herbert (the Fengettes).

In a high-powered offensive game with very few turnovers, the Fengettes and Send it Back continuously traded points. Theresa Hackett (Scandal) of Send it Back scored at will, but the Fengettes received major contributions from college players Maddy Boyle (Oregon), Allison Hahn (Virginia), and Maddie Preiss (Carleton). After holding, the Fengettes broke to take an 11-9 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. While Send it Back scored the final goal of the game to narrow the gap to one, the Fengettes ran out the clock in a 13-12 nailbiter.

None of the four above teams were seriously challenged in any other games. The four teams combined for a 11-1 record heading into quarterfinals, and all four teams won their quarterfinal matchups. This set up two high-profile semifinals games: Independent Suspension vs. the Fengettes, and Ball Circle Babes vs. Send it Back.

Maddy Boyle (the Fengettes) leaps for a goal over Amy Wickner (Independent Suspension)

In the Independent Suspension vs. the Fengettes semifinal, the latter played with incredible defensive intensity, forcing high pressure situations. On the offensive end, nobody had an answer for the Fengettes’s Chance Cochran and Joe Freund. Despite a late run by Independent Suspension, the Fengettes prevailed 18-12.

In the other semifinal, Send it Back got out to a big lead early. But the star studded Ball Circle Babes put on a huge run late in the game. With about two minutes left, Ball Circle Babes got the disc back down only two; Thomas Owen (Virginia) recorded a block on the goal line, which led to a break and and a three goal lead, effectively sealing the game en route to a 19-16 Send It Back win.

The final was a rematch of a first round game. Both teams only brought 9 players for a 5 v 5 tournament, and were now playing their 6th games. While the Fengettes did a better job containing Theresa Hackett, Sarah Buxbaum (Grit) and Jill Simmerman (Grit) came up with some huge goals. Send it Back switched to a force backhand defense with deep poaches, creating smaller throwing windows and forcing turnovers. Mark Vandenburg distributed very nicely, and played great all around. Send it Back got up early and stayed in front all game.

Final Score: 18-12, Send it Back.

Send It Back (photo: Delrico Johnson)


Rowan McDonnell (Send It Back) skies Ben Feng (the Fengettes) in the finals.
All photos by Kevin Wolf except where noted

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