CHESTER, P.A. — In a dominating defensive display, the D.C. Current defeated the Vancouver Nighthawks, 23-17, to claim the 2014 Major League Ultimate championship Saturday evening. The Current arrived at PPL Park in Philadelphia without their best player, Alan Kolick, but it was hard to tell D.C. missed him after their display against Vancouver.
“We just have so many talented Frisbee players on this team,” Current team captain Sean Keegan said, “that everything is good if we play within ourselves and play within our roles – regardless of who we have on the field, we’re going to win no matter what.”
The beginning of the game set the table for the rest of the evening’s action. The Current capitalized on an immediate throwaway from Vancouver, who received the opening pull. D.C. took the quick lead and never looked back.
“We let our defense run,” said D.C.’s Markham Shofner, Player of the Game. “[Our defense is] fast – as fast as anyone in the league. … You just let them go to work, and they’re going to go out and get you breaks. It’s wonderful to watch, as a teammate and a fan of Ultimate. It’s just a fantastic team.”
The Current operated flawlessly in the first half, while the Nighthawks did the exact opposite. Playing in front of a predominantly supportive crowd, D.C. finished the first half with a 13-4 advantage. A big reason for the swift lead was turnovers: The Current scored six break points in the first quarter alone.
But the Nighthawks did not win the Western Conference accidentally. They battled back in the third quarter, providing the Current with a slight scare. The quarter began with a Vancouver score, and the Nighthawks simply appeared faster and more invigorated than they had in the first half. At one point in the second half, Vancouver produced three straight points and had the score deficit cut to just four points.
“I’m not sure exactly,” Shofner said when asked to explain Vancouver’s third quarter comeback. “I think it was a little bit of a malaise. Maybe we were maybe content. I don’t think anyone was saying it, but maybe we just weren’t winning the matchups as we should’ve. But it was great – once we got back on track – to get to work.”
D.C. received contributions from a plethora of names. Accompanying Shofner’s 6 points, the Current had four players score 4 points. Meanwhile, the Nighthawks’ roster collectively recorded 6 drops to the Current’s 2.
In the end, it was too little, too late for Vancouver. But for D.C., a consistent mantra could be found after their victory.
“That early lead was all our defense,” said Keegan, who finished with 4 points. “All year long we’ve been winning because of our defense. We don’t win games, and we don’t get that [point] cushion, unless the defense shows up. All defense.”