For the first time in franchise history, the DC Breeze have finished a regular season with a perfect home record.
It is not unheard of for AUDL teams to go undefeated in front of their home crowd, a feat often reserved for those destined for top playoff seeds in the respective divisions. In particular, the Toronto Rush have enjoyed one of the best home field advantages in the league to date. At 36-3 over five years, the Rush have never lost more than one game in a season on home turf. The Breeze now join this elite company as one of the only teams to ever accomplish a perfect home season. They join the Rush as the only two teams in the AUDL East to ever do so.
“I think home-field in pro ultimate is very important,” head coach Darryl Stanley said. “Traveling some of these distances to play our division rivals is very difficult. The itineraries are very tight and keeping the team focused, fed, rested and limber is a significant challenge.”
The Raleigh Flyers, who played a thriller against the Breeze back in April, are the only other team to finish undefeated at home this year. Thanks to a surprise 1-goal victory by a visiting Jacksonville team July 8, the Dallas Roughnecks will not finish undefeated at home for a second year in a row despite winning their first six in Dallas. Five other teams have lost only one home contest in 2017 but still have at least one home game remaining.
The Breeze finished with a +37 point differential at Hotchkiss field for an average victory margin of 5.3 goals/game. They defeated the Rush and New York Empire twice each, and every other team in the division once. The offense’s productivity was 71 percent.
Only four players played in all seven of the contests at Gallaudet University: Chuck Cantone, David Bloodgood, Lloyd Blake, and Max Cassell. Five others missed only one game. With the exception of the injured Brad Scott, every player on the roster played in at least one home game.
Leading the team in overall goals, it was no surprise that Cassell had the most at Hotchkiss as well. He found a Gallaudet end zone 26 times, and only Tyler Monroe (18 goals) came close. Cassell also had 15 assists, three blocks and a team-leading +32 plus/minus at home. Monroe had the most assists with 19. Leading in blocks in front of the home crowd was Rowan McDonnell with 15.
Rookie Nathan Prior‘s impressive numbers were primarily in Washington D.C. Throwing 113 completions with only one turnover in his four home games played, Prior’s passing percentage was the highest for players with 100+ attempts. The University of Maryland alum would add a goal and four assists at Hotchkiss.
All this could not have been accomplished without the incredible fans that filled the stadium this season. From the DC Breeze organization to you, whether at home or sending your spirit from elsewhere, thank you for an incredible season. The team is not done quite yet and may include a home playoff game.
“The crowd is so close to us, and the campus isolates us in a very helpful way. The city just melts away and we are in our own little world, due to Gallaudet’s fencing around the campus,” Stanley said. “Overall, I think we have a great base of fans that I’d love to build on.”