BLUE ASH, Ohio — With the U.S. Open fast approaching, we thought it might be fun to do a tournament preview. We’re already in Ohio and we’ll be heading to West Chester bright and early for our first round of games. These thoughts are our own—read them in a playful tone and proceed to learn all of our secrets for the weekend. #upandupandup
This is Nightlock’s first season in the Pro Flight and it’s our first opportunity to consistently test itself against the nation’s top teams. An added benefit of opting-in to the U.S. Open means that we get to test ourselves against some of the world’s best teams as well. For most of us, this will be our first exposure to some of these teams and their markedly different styles of play.
Since the tournament has 12 teams per division, the schedule is a little janky. To start the tournament, Nightlock is seeded 8th overall, and 4th in Pool B. Fellow Pool B teams are Fury (San Francisco, CA), Riot (Seattle, WA), Ozone (Atlanta, GA), Schwa (Portland, OR), and Phoenix (Raleigh, NC)
Coming off a season where they didn’t qualify for Nationals, Phoenix is looking to reestablish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the women’s division.
Much of Phoenix’s roster looks the same from last season though they have re-upped and seem to be re-energized. In the years past, Phoenix has been carried by a solid core and this year it seems as though they’ll rely on that strategy with some welcome additions.
Phoenix will be an interesting matchup since we haven’t seen them in a while, but if they’re like anything in years past, we’ll focus on shutting down their handlers and slowing their flow.
About a week and a half ago, Riot was stopped short in its near-epic comeback against Fury in the finals of Solstice. The defending U.S. Open champions will be looking to repeat this weekend.
Historically, Riot has had our number and we’re looking to change that this season. U.S. Open seems like a great time to work towards that goal. We want to slow the tempo of the game and force Riot’s O to change up their upfield looks. Small adjustments on defense could help us disrupt the flow. In our offense, we need to move the disc and hit the cutters when they’re open early rather than trying to create offense with our throws.
In our last matchup, Schwa narrowly beat us with a couple of late breaks in the cap. They’re as athletic as always and they keep us on our toes for sure.
This season, it looks like Schwa will continue to be a fun matchup and we always look forward to playing them.
Things that we learned at Solstice: Schwa has some of the most creative throws that we’ve seen on the club scene; Schwa plays a poachy defense that we have yet to figure out how to counteract.
On D, we’ll change our looks and play suffocating man when needed. On O, we’ll challenge Schwa’s throws with our own and work the field with our legs.
At Solstice, Fury eeked out a tournament win over Riot and will be looking to reestablish their position atop the women’s division this weekend. From the little we saw of them at their last tournament, not much seems to have changed from the years past. They’re still looking to move the disc with quick tempo and get the disc to the cutters on long under cuts.
Against Fury, we’re looking to play tight man defense and force tough throws to small windows. In the past, suffocating defense has kept us in the game. Now, we’re looking to keep up the defensive intensity and to convert after we generate turns.
The last time we played Ozone was last July, so it’s been a while since we saw them. The game was super spirited and tight throughout. Ozone played steadily through Nationals last year and slid into the middle of the Pro Flight. We’re looking forward to the rematch!
One of our main focuses in this game will be stopping Ozone’s big hucks and slowing the cutters downfield. This might involve backing, but this also might give us a chance to practice our team defense and helping deep. Other than that, we’ll focus on playing our game and getting to our offense flowing early in the game.