Skyd Magazine’s coverage of Windmill Windup is brought to you by Five Ultimate.
The first round on Sunday morning held the semifinals for the women’s and mix division. In a stunning finish to an exciting tournament, five of the six semi finals across all divisions ended on double game point.
Hot Beaches vs. U de Cologne
Instead of a constant breeze from one direction, the wind through the Windmill Windup stadium swirled and buffeted in irregular patterns making disc flight paths as unreadable as a dyslexic with a corneal abrasion. Turnovers came in abundance from both the Czech and German teams but neither team was deterred. The desire to secure a spot in the finals led to a few marathon points lasting over ten minutes each. The Hot Beaches ground out a slowly widening lead under the disc skill of captain Aja Mala and crept out to a seemingly unbridgeable gap of seven to four. Cologne’s handler set displayed an array of patient swings and on-a-prayer hucks against a zone. The German team came charging back with great resilience and was able to fight through long points to bring the game to 7-7 as hard cap went on. Finally, finding a way to stop the bleeding the Hot Beaches put in the final goal to end the game as time ran out. Beaches advanced to the final with a score of eight over Cologne’s seven.
Lotus vs. Woodchicas
With my eyes hard fixed on the grueling battle on the other side of the bracket between Hot Beaches and Cologne, I unluckily didn’t spend as much time analyzing this semi as I would have liked, given this game’s conclusion. What I did see was Lotus doing what they do best at the beginning of the game: slicing apart zones with spacing and crisp, quick disc movement. Using their legs as much as their throws after being down three to five the Swiss Lotus battled their way through four breaks to earn a seven to four lead. The Woodchicas would roar back with Katja Hattermann and Lisa Kaulfuss leading the charge behind the disc. After trading points to make the game tied at 11s, the German based club would end Lotus’s hopes of defending their champion title.
Good Lord! v Ireland U23
In the only blowout of the semi finals, we saw the British-based team Good Lord! dismantle the Irish U23 team that will be competing at the world championships in July in Toronto. After playing an astounding quarterfinal, the Irish just couldn’t handle the wind and turns came aplenty from the young squad. Good Lord! simply had an answer for every Irish offensive attempt and the wind did little to slow the breaks from coming.The final score was 15 for Good Lord! and 2 for the Irish. The Irish youngsters did a great job keeping the spirits up despite the loss, celebrating every goal and every point and cheering their teammates on. We wish them the best of luck in Toronto.
Rebel vs. Mubidisk
Happy to make the quarterfinals in this Swiss draw system after a few losses on the previous day, Mubidisk, a team from the Canary Islands with quite a few pickups, looked to defend their Windmill 2012 championship. Rebel was stocked with a great mix of persistent handlers and athletic downfield cutters. As in the Swiss draw rounds, Sean O’Mahony was savage in the deep game, coming up with a number of Ds and skies. The Irish squad also had two Americans playing for them that played huge roles in the final game: Kelly and Luke Hyland. Mubidisk was unable to find a match for Kelly’s speed and she was often used as an iso play in the endzone. Mubidisk kept it tight with great downfield play by big man Jeff Trench and great breaks by their female handlers, but coming off a quarter final universe point victory over the home based Netherland UFO squad Rebel proved to be too much for the reigning champs and with a universe point score off a Brian O’Callahan to Sean O’Mahony connection, Rebel would advance to face Good Lord! in the finals.
Chiniya Rada vs. Ragnarok
Both the open semis were hosted on Saturday evening (check out our Day Two recap video to see highlights from the games). The American pickup team faced the Danish club in a spin cycle of a semifinal. Windy conditions forced games to become a battle of field position, not possession, as huck and hope defenses were employed. Teams still found ways to score upwind, however. Chiniya Rada could not stop Ragnarok’s slicing backhands and with receivers like Mads Bakkegaard toeing lines and clamping down floaty discs they took the first upwind break proving the wind was not unbeatable. Chiniya Rada attacked the wind by crashing handlers into the cup earning only a few yards at a time. Both teams would earn two upwind breaks but in the end it came down to who won the flip, and the US-based squad slid in the last downwind point working small ball into the goal.
Bad Skid vs. Freespeed
Taking place directly next to the other open semifinal these two teams faced similar conditions as they strugged with the always variable but always blowing wind. Some of the tallest and most talented receivers couldn’t get a good read on discs as they hovered in the air twice as long as normal. After cleaning up a floating pass missed by three defenders Freespeed rode the high morale of a lucky break, Never losing heart, Bad Skid would answer back, relying more on a calculated, patient approach to the wind instead of huge bombs. The German club would win in a similar fashion as Chiniya Rada as they walked in a double game point goal, 12-11 over the Swiss.
The finals schedule was shaken up a bit at Windmill this year with the Women’s final being prominently featured on the main field in the stadium, while the Mixed final was played on the far field. The ladies of Hot Beaches and Woodchicas took it to heart and provided the audience with a spectacular final game. The weather in Amsterdam played nice as well. With many making reference to the finals last year, where strong winds provided for a messy “Huck and D” affair, this year the partly cloudy skies and light breeze made for some great ultimate. Both the Woodchicas and the Hot Beaches started off with zone, hoping to force the opposing team to the sideline and trap to prevent easy options. But zone defense proved difficult as both teams were stacked with skilled handlers: Lisa Kaulfuss and Birgit Immen stood out on the Woodchicas side, while Lea Srbova and Aja Mala had a lot of great touches for Hot Beaches. Both teams traded points until half, with each converting a couple of breaks off of active defense. Lucie Schonova was big in the deep-deep position in the Hot Beaches zone defense. Woodchicas was the first to open up a two-point lead at 10-8, and while Hot Beaches showed bright spots, they were never able to close up on the difference. Woodchicas finished up strong to win 14-11.
The Open final was a hotly-anticipated matchup as the American team, Chiniya Rada, a group of Rise Up coaches and friends, took on German youngsters Bad Skid. Bad Skid was actually running with an older team than usual on the weekend, having lost many of their players to the German U20 roster. Both teams had faced each other in an early morning game yesterday, where the Americans struggled to find offensive cohesion and battled various early-morning hangovers (and the weather, which varied between windy and lashing rain). Bad Skid handed Chiniya Rada it’s only loss of the tournament, 13-10. The Americans weren’t about to let that happen again. Today, they used the entire morning to sleep off any lingering hangovers, relax, and mentally prepare for the rematch. Before the game they went through a long warmup routine, and talked through tactics, and it showed. Chiniya Rada started off the game with offense clicking on all cylinders, scoring their first few points in fewer than a minute each, including a first point break. They abused the Hylke Sneider matchup early, often throwing long to him for an easy clap catch which got them close enough to the endzone to walk in the first few meters. But Bad Skid started off with a bang as well, matching the Americans point for point. Nico Müller, Tilman Grimmig, and Marvin Waldvogel were cogs in the Bad Skid O-line. Eventually, Chiniya Rada took half at 8-7, and shortly after were able to open up a lead of a couple points on some smart handling from Ben Wiggins, Tyler Kinley, and Sam Harkness. At some points, it almost looked like they were about to run away from the game, but Bad Skid refused to give up, and their defense came up huge, scoring three points in a row to take a one point lead. The crowd was thoroughly on Bad Skid’s side, every European in the audience shouting in unity for an American defeat. Holger Beutenmüller came up with a few clutch blocks late in the game. Eventually, Chiniya Rada found themselves tied up 14-14 in a game to 15, with the disc on offense. They slowly and patiently worked it up, and Bad Skid got two Ds, both which were called back with fouls. Eventually Teddy Brower-Jarus found himself a few steps off in the zone and caught the winning goal. Listening to opinions after the exciting finish, it was clear that most in the audience agreed this was the best final in Windmill’s 9-year history. Bad Skid can only be proud of their performance in this game. This team is only six years old, and by the way they played in the Windmill final, it’s scary to think where they will be in five more years.
The Mixed finals were scheduled at the same time as the Women’s and Open finals, so our correspondents were busy working cameras on the main pitch. Good Lord would feed off their dominant semifinal performance and go on to beat the Irish based Rebel Ultimate 15 to 11. Our apologies to all the Mixed Fans out there for the brevity of this write up. We were able to step aside with Rebel Ultimate and a postgame interview with the runners-up will be up on Skyd later this week. Our coverage of Windmill doesn’t stop here either. More team interviews from the tournament and full game footage of the Women’s and Open finals will be posted soon, as well a couple other surprises.