Coming out of the draft, I didn’t expect Billy Joe’s Jags to lose any regular season games. They have the deepest squad of FMPs in all of league and four historically 1st round MMPs. Drawing them in our first game of the season while we are still building chemistry and coaching up our younger players didn’t bode well for starting out the season with a W. On top of that, we were missing both Abbie and Elizabeth to illness / injury, leaving Michelle and our two Diesel ladies, Maddie and Amelia, to play nearly savage (every other point was 4-3 ratio).
With the odds stacked against us, we came out swinging. Thinking the wind was going to be more of a factor than it ended up being, we trained everyone up on zone and prepared for a huckfest. Our zone was surprisingly effective at forcing their experienced handling crew to make a ton of passes and we got several turns on the first point, but they eventually scored. Nearly all of our points this game would be similar, grindy, multiple turns, and hotly contested scores. We went down a couple of breaks, but great play from our young college players Maddie, Aymo and Nevin let us battle back and be on serve at half, 7-8.
Coming out of halftime, several games were finishing up and people trickled in to watch our battle. It gave the game a “finals” feeling and I think our team excelled at handling the pressure of dozens of extra eyes on them. We capitalized on a few throwaways and ended up in control of the game for the last several points. We very uncomfortably traded points from about 11-11 on with our man defense struggling to get any blocks. At 14-13, we switched back to zone and a great no-dump call from Tyler forced Manny to throw it away at a high count. Several throws later, we finished the game off, 15-13 Royal.
Highlights for Teal: Fletcher caught Bhagya sleeping in our zone and launched a massive endzone-to-endzone huck that looked like it was going to no one, but it had so much hang-time that Ellie was able to run it down from about 50 yards away. Best throw of the season contender. Nes continues to annoy me by throwing just past my mark and through our zone.
Highlights for Royal: Maddie had consistently good play all night and blew by her ladies on offense several times at critical times for either a goal or a big gainer that would lead to a goal. Everyone that had to cover Sam, Billy, and Joe in the deep space did their jobs exceptionally well with a big shout out to Bueno who chased down a wide-open huck to Joe and forced him to doink it.
Hoping that we don’t see the Jags again this season and also hoping we get Clyde, Abbie, and Elizabeth back next week for our showdown with Nat and Shea’s poop team.