The Atlanta Hustle were defeated by the Raleigh Flyers 23-21 on April 13 at home to push their record to 0-2. The Hustle led for most of the game, but a couple of late breaks by Raleigh sealed the win for them. It was a gorgeous spring night and the ATL crowd was rocking St. Pius stadium.
By Hayden Austin-Knab
The first quarter was full of big plays for the Hustle and a strong start all around. The game went hold for hold for the first 4 points making the score 2-2. Hustle’s defense stepped up early with two breaks as a result of Paul Lally’s strong boxout and block on a deep shot from Raleigh. Christian Olsen’s speed and vision in the zone lead to another break making the score 4-2. Big offensive plays came later on in the quarter as Alex Trautman saved a tipped deep shot with a beautiful, back of the endzone layout. Elijah Jaime skyed a Raleigh defender in the endzone, showing off his hops on a play that had the crowd on their feet. Raleigh earned back a break they had gaven up as the 1st quarter ended with a score of 7-6.
The Hustle generated an even larger lead during the second quarter by collecting two breaks as a result of their zone defense and by playing solid, possession offense. Big plays came from Kelvin Williams on a deep catch and dish, and from a sky block by Josh Bush on a buzzer beater attempt from Raleigh. The first half ended with a score of 14-11, Hustle leading.
The 3rd quarter saw the Hustle lead diminish into a tie after Raleigh stormed back. The Hustle held on their first possession with a high percetange away pass from Carter Rae to Elijah Jaime. ATL had the opportunity to break again and create an even larger lead after an excellent run through D by Austin Taylor in the zone, however they turned it and Raleigh held making the score 15-13. Raleigh put an exclamation point on their comeback with a flick blade score with 4 seconds left, 18-18.
The 4th quarter began with a long point filled with turns, revealing both teams fatigue. The Hustle offense turned it twice, leading to a Raleigh break to take the lead for the first time. 19-18. The Hustle answered back with a hold on a score from Paul Lally. Raleigh then rattled off 2 more breaks as a result of Hustle throwing errors that led to a solid 22-19 Flyers lead. The Hustle, with four minutes left, needed to convert quickly and generate some breaks in order to come back. They scored with a little under 3 minutes left, making the score 22-20, Raleigh up. The Hustle had a chance to break and force the score to 22-21 after a Raleigh misthrow, but a nice layout block by Raleigh put the disc back into their hands. With 2 minutes left and the disc, Raleigh slowly moved it up the field and punched it in to make the score 23-20 with 27 seconds left in the game. The Hustle then scored with 5 seconds left, but at this point it was too late. Final score of 23-21, Raleigh Flyers over Atlanta Hustle.
The Hustle, feeling like they should have won that game, will be looking for revenge when these teams meet again on April 27th for the AUDL Game of the week
Takeaways from the game:
- The Hustle showed that they can be a very good team that can get breaks and run smooth, high conversion offense. They gave themselves a significant lead at halftime and looked scary, converting on break opportunities and making big plays.
- Zone defense: Hustle displayed their impressive zone defense that was responsible for most of their turns and forced Raleigh to throw a lot of passes to score. Not many teams run zones in the AUDL and the Hustle may be proving to other teams that this can work on such a big field.
Late game play: Hustle had most of their turnovers in the 4th quarter against Raleigh which made it very hard to stick with them near the end. More poor throws were made and decision making suffered as a result of fatigue. The Hustle are capable of beating any team if they play hard and smart all 48 minutes.
Elijah Jaime: +6 5G 1A
Brett Hulsmeyer: +4 3G 1A
Christian Olsen: +4 1A 1G 3D
Kelvin Williams: +4 1G 2A 1D
Carter Rae: +4 1G 3A
Matt Knowles: 4A
Zach Avello: 2G 1D