Returning back to division play, the D.C. Breeze needed to find consistency with a tough stretch of the schedule on deck for the team. They had a great opportunity to do so Saturday as they returned home to face the Ottawa Outlaws; a team that has yet to be a threat but always provides solid competition with two 7-7 seasons so far. Unfortunately though, with the Breeze missing three O-line starters in Jeff Wodatch, Jonathan Neeley, and Markham Shofner, that consistency was tough to build up.
Instead, the offense found ways to mix in new players and see them perform in pressure situations. Every DC Breeze player on the game day active roster played at least one O-line point against the Outlaws. Eight players saw 10+ points when the team was receiving including Justin Solis, Chuck Cantone, and Ryan Nam. This was the trio’s most playing time on the offensive unit all season with 14, 17, and 16 O-line points, respectively. In fact, the fewest amount of combined points anyone played was Cory Broyles, with a useful and productive 14.
O-line handler Lloyd Blake had his first two throwaways of his AUDL career. He came into the contest 57 for 57 and left a still very impressive 90 for 92. His first turnover a hand block.
“I [knew it was my first turnover]. You can’t really hold onto those things, like no turnovers. You have to play and what happens, happens.” Blake said. “You start thinking about that stuff and you’re not really playing your game.” Blake leads the team in completions (90) so far in his rookie AUDL season. He is one of five players to complete more than 50 passes on the team, while only Matt Kerrigan has a better passing percentage among them (54/55).
The defensive unit had seven breaks in the first half compared to only three in the second half, and the difference allowed the Outlaws to cut into a seven point lead. Only 14 of Ottawa’s 26 turnovers resulted in blocks for the Breeze. A majority of those were the result of lofted throws caught by the wind. It was the same amount of blocks as in the Raleigh loss.
Eric Miner, Austin Bartenstein, Brian Marshall, and David Cranston also did not play against Ottawa on Saturday. The game was the first of the season for Troy Holland, Nathan Prior, and Keven Moldenhauer — the latter two Breeze and AUDL rookies, while Holland returns from 2015.
Breeze Top 5 Performers:
Tyler Monroe: 7 goals, 5 assists, 20/24 throws (+8)
-Season plus/minus is +19, leads team in goals (14)
Alan Kolick: 4 goals, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 39/41 throws (+6)
-Leads team in season assists (14)
Max Cassell: 4 goals, 2 assists, 21/23 throws (+4)
Delrico Johnson: 1 assist, 3 blocks, 9/11 throws (+2)
-Leads team in season blocks (6)
Matt Kerrigan: 1 goal, 3 assists, 1 block, 25/25 throws (+5)
Home for their second game in a row, the D.C. Breeze (2-1) will play the New York Empire (2-1) this Saturday, May 6. As always, home contests are played at Hotchkiss Field at Gallaudet University. First pull is scheduled for 6:30 pm as the two division leaders look to battle for sole possession of 1st place.