The Tuesday Toss: Big Plays Punctuate Opening Weekend
April 5, 2017 — By Adam Ruffner
Due to Evan Lepler's wedding and ensuing honeymoon, Adam Ruffner is taking over the Tuesday Toss for an abbreviated update from around the league.
A day late and several thousand words short of Evan Lepler's usual efforts, I'm one for a bit more brevity and directness, so let's jump right in to the action from around the league in Week 1. In lieu (there we go) of the normal Toss format, this week we'll be going game-by-game with our breakdowns.
Atlanta Hustle at Raleigh Flyers
In the first game of the 2017 season, the Raleigh Flyers got immediate revenge on their rivals from Atlanta after the Hustle ended the Flyers' season in the playoffs in 2016. Raleigh jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Fueled by their steady offense that converted 76 percent of their possessions into scores, the true impact performance for the Flyers was the disruptive defensive play of Hunter Taylor, who finished the night with a game-high four blocks.
Nashville NightWatch at Jacksonville Cannons
In the highest scoring game in team history, the Jacksonville Cannons and their imposing offensive attack defeated the Nashville NightWatch for the fourth time in six meetings since 2015. Mischa Freystaetter, Jakeem Polk, and Jeremy Langdon combined for 24 goals as the offense converted 92 percent of their drives into scores. But the most noteworthy performance on the day came from Jesse Shofner of the NightWatch, who became the second woman to play in an AUDL game, but the first in league history to register a goal.
Austin Sol at Dallas Roughnecks
The Austin Sol defense held the Dallas Roughnecks to their lowest point total in franchise history, but in the end the reigning champs still prevailed despite title fatigue. The Roughnecks O-line continually won back the disc despite an uncharacteristic 25 team turnovers on just a 92 percent completion rate, finishing the game with a 79 percent offensive conversion rate. And with five assists on the night, Jimmy Mickle now has 20 assists in his last three regular season games going back to the 2016 season.
San Jose Spiders at San Francisco FlameThrowers
In the most competitive matchup of the week, the San Jose Spiders gave their rivals the San Francisco FlameThrowers everything they could handle for a full three quarters before a series of late-game heroics gave the reigning division champs some breathing room. Mac Taylor (5 assists, 1 goal) and Grant Lindsley (2 assists, 6 goals) had sensational AUDL debuts, while Cassidy Rasmussen started his MVP campaign in stellar fashion, finishing with seven assists and five goals to go along with 44 completions and just one turnover. The win gives the FlameThrowers seven straight wins against the Spiders dating back to 2015.
Los Angeles Aviators at San Diego Growlers
In the offseason the San Diego Growlers signed a cadre of defensive playmakers away from the Los Angeles Aviators, but the Aviators had the last laugh on Saturday as they tied a franchise record with 31 goals, including 19 in the second half. Mark Elbogen once again paced LA with 11 goals, while the O-line handler core of Tim Beatty, Eli Friedman, and Eric Lissner combined for 12 assists and 156 completions compared to just five throwaways. Los Angeles now has won seven straight regular season games dating back to last season.
Vancouver Riptide at Seattle Cascades
The 2016 runner-up Seattle Cascades played with entirely new lines against their arch rivals the Vancouver Riptide, but the results continue to be the same as they score 20+ goals for the sixth straight game. The Cascades offense converted 90 percent of their drives, largely thanks to the fast paced, run-and-gun styles of Mark Burton and Khalif El-Salaam, who combined for nine assists and 10 goals.
Madison Radicals at Indianapolis AlleyCats
All tied up at halftime, the Madison Radicals scored three straight times out of the break to take a lead that they would not relinquish against the Indianapolis AlleyCats, improving their all-time record to 13-0 in the series. Six different Radicals finished with two or more goals, while center handler Andrew Brown (44 completions) had his tenth game of 15+ completions with an assist and no throwaways in 25 games dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season. Madison is now 5-0 in season openers.
Next week, the normal Tuesday Toss returns! The Tuesday Toss is published weekly during the AUDL regular season and will be monthly staple during the offseason. Got a comment or question about the AUDL or the current state of ultimate? E-mail Evan Lepler at AUDLMailbag@gmail.com. Feedback can also be levied on twitter: @EvanLepler