Day 3 at the Pan-American Ultimate Club Championships saw the last two games of pool play finish up before teams headed right into semifinals. While the day started out sunny and warm, rain clouds appeared in the early afternoon, accompanied by thunder and light rain that continued until the end of semifinals.
Without a doubt, the biggest story today was a vulnerable Sockeye. Perhaps feeling the effects of two days of play and a Friday tournament party on their legs, the Fish looked downright sluggish in their first-round matchup against Evolution Up (Venezuela), a team that quite clearly outran them on every point. Sockeye was down 8-5 at one point after half, but a strong mental game allowed them to outscore Evolution Up 5-1 from that point on, taking away the win and securing their spot in the semifinals. Then, they had an immediate game against Santos (Venezuela), who didn’t even bother warming up. Surprisingly, both teams traded points early with some uncharacteristic deep turnovers from Sockeye, until Santos broke to take half 7-6. Santos played their best ultimate of the tournament, maintaining the lead until Sockeye finally tied it up at 9s. After a long point, the Fish stopped the risky deep shots, started playing small ball, and took the first lead of the game at 10-9 and held on to win 13-11 to secure the one seed in pool A.
The first semifinal featured a familiar Venezuelan matchup in Warao vs. Voladores. Although Voladores had a 2-1 record against Warao this year in tournament finals, Warao was able to pull the game out 13-9 to advance to finals.
The second semifinal saw a match of two eerily similar teams: Sockeye vs. Xaquima, a young Colombian team with a number of short, fast, cutters who made life hell for the Seattleites. Sockeye, perhaps sensing the impending situation, took warmups seriously, and it showed. Their offensive line was unstoppable, and they forced a couple key turnovers (including a red zone layout D from Xtehn Titcomb) to take half 7-4. However, after half, it was clear that Sockeye had no legs left to match the army of speedy Colombians. Xaquima’s offensive line was unstoppable, making use of their upline cuts and speedy handlers that found empty spaces on the field to pull close to Sockeye as their offensive line started to falter. While Sockeye maintained a two-point buffer, every offensive possession was filled with tension as both teams challenged each other to turn over first. At 12-10, Sockeye forced a turnover and BJ Sefton walked the disc in to secure the victory and the finals berth. One statistic from the semifinal was telling about the playing style of both teams: there were only two total huck attempts in the game, one by each team. Both resulted in turnovers.
Seattle Riot continued to dominate on Day 3, shutting Brazzinga out 13-0 in their last pool play game and beating Colombia Women again 13-3 in the semifinal (it should be noted that this is not the Colombian women’s national team, but rather a team formed from various Colombian players that were interested and had money to attend PAUCC).
The other semifinal pitted Mantis against IFP in an all-Venezuelan matchup. While IFP had taken the last confrontation on universe point, Mantis showed great strength in beating IFP when it mattered to advance to the final, 13-9. It remains to be seen if they can improve on their 0-13 showing in their previous matchup against Riot.