It’s always hard to beat a team twice, but UNC was not scared of Georgia Tech. Darkside had shown the defensive intensity needed to outlast teams, but the Tribe were not going to lie down by any means.
UNC started out on the defensive and decided to come with a trap zone despite the non-windy conditions. Nick Lance would destroy it with a flat laser hammer to give GT the first point. Hogan McHugh would launch a big back hand pull off of a Darkside uncharacteristic drop. Lance would waste no time, bolting up the line for the score and the break. Up 2-0 the Tribe would have another chance for a break after a deflection by Karl Staber. After an errant throw, GT #2 EJ would get high for a D, but would give it right back to UNC. #55 Paul Corbett would preserve the possession, laying out for the disc and dish a break flick to give Darkside their first point.
After another Georgia Tech pass to no one, Darkside would break to tie it at 2’s. Both teams decided to start bombing hucks, and #42 Andrew Fish would bring down a float flick up the line from Hogan McHugh, giving the Tribe the lead. UNC would come out with a horizontal stack and Tristan Green would change roles with #10 Sayre-Mccord. Green was found streaking deep as Sayre-Mccord put a flat flick to space. Hogan McHugh would answer up the line to keep on serve. #5 Chris Zeiber and #44 would show how to be true teammates when both simultaneously latched onto a huck. After realizing they were on the same team, they met in an embrace in the middle of the end zone. Darkside and the Tribe were once again tied at 4’s.
Nick Lance decided to break away from his usual handling duties, going up for the sky and the goal. Georgia Tech would come down on defense using a 2-3-2 zone to confused UNC. After trading several turnovers, Paul Corbett would send it deep to Sayre-Mccord who would break the mark with a back hand to #6 Christian Johnson to bring it to 5 all. Attempting to also break the Tribe’s offensive flow, UNC showed a 3-3-1 zone. Lance ended up in possession of the disc, trapped on the sideline with two offensive players in the left and right corners of the end zone. Lance stared down Sayre-Mccord, causing him to shift to the right offender. Once he started to cheat to the right, Lance lofted a soft hammer to McHugh making it 6-5 GT.
Darkside would gain momentum on the darting moves of Tristan Green. Green would dance in the lane, then go up the line for the score. The following possession Tech would throw it away and UNC would get it at the line, calling a time out. Green would stay with Johnson as he made isolation cuts within the lane , until finally Green put up a back hand for the break (video below), 7-6.Tech went deep to #42 Andrew Fish, but the disc was over thrown from Lance. Unfortunately Fish would be injured on the play, there was speculation that it was a broken leg. Hopefully that is not the case, but get better soon Mr. Fish. At this point in time a crowd had gathered in the background waiting for the start of the Women’s basketball game. That’s when I heard “Man, they are really intense about this” from a guy on a cell phone. Soon after, Sayre-Mccord would go up the line to take half at 8-6.
UNC would receive to start the second half with a chance to go up 3. However, a throw away would give GT the chance to catch up. Lance would go horizontal into the end zone for the break and get the Tribe within one. Green would come back for UNC delivering a 30 yard back hand to #5 Chris Zeiber to preserve the 2 point lead. The ensuing possession, the Tribe showed a split stack and worked it steadily down the field. McHugh sent a flick down the line into the end zone ahead of Lance. “I had to turn on the afterburners for that one”, Lance told me afterwords, as he had a burst of speed to get into position and snatch the disc high out of the air. With Lance doing the majority of the offensive play making , I asked him how much he had left. “Just enough to finish this game” he replied with a near exhausted look on his face.
Needing another break, GT came out on defense with a force middle 2-3-2 zone. Sayre-Mccord dropped an easy one and McHugh took advantage going up the line to tie the game at 9 (Picture below). The plague of the drops hit all of a sudden with sure handed Green dropping two in a row. #42 Sean Balla attempted to D a huck going out of bounds, and fell in the same spot where Fish was injured earlier. However, Balla got up all smiles and showed off his guns in the end zone. At this juncture Tech seemed to be having fun while UNC was tensing up.
#00 on Georgia Tech got up huge to tip a disc away intended for Sayre-Mccord. After the turn, Tech would convert giving them the lead back. UNC would stay patient as the Tribe were using the 2-3-2 again, working it down the field with short passes to convert. Lance would once again respond, by going down the field to grab a high arcing flick huck from McHugh to go up 11-10. Darkside switched from a vertical to a horizontal stack on the following possession, but would throw the disc away. On the next throw, a pick was called, but not recognized by the thrower. Sean Balla would have to extend his body to make the catch in the end zone to seemingly preserve possession. The observers convened and ruled it a goal due to the defender being unaffected by the pick.
Darkside would come out in an L stack attempting to run a set play, but it would falter giving Georgia Tech the chance to put some distance on their opponent. UNC was pressing and Paul Corbett received a TMF for an intentional marking foul. Lance would find the space with a flick to McHugh, who would then send his own forehand deep for the score. UNC would regain some patience and successfully navigate the 2-3-2 keeping them in the game. Johnson would be found for an uncontested score on the open side giving his teammates some hope.
After several throwaways on the next possession, Gabe Miranda would go up the line for a high rising flick and appeared to drag his foot in bounds. However, the observer ruled that Miranda was out of bounds on a close play (picture below). None the less, Georgia Tech would get it back and Lance would float a hammer into the left back corner for the score. Rather than describe the final point, you can watch it below.
That’s Clay Williams with the hand block and Matt Mills for the score. Georgia Tech takes the ACC Crown and begins the season with a tournament win. Great job by both teams.