By Steven Lienert
PROVIDENCE, R.I.- Trey Katzenbach does not lay out.
For over a decade, that was as much a statement of fact in the Philadelphia Ultimate community as ‘the sun will rise tomorrow.’
However, much like the photos of Sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster, there is now video evidence that the Spinners captain does, indeed, dive.
His lay out grab of what was a defensive block by the Rampage was the back-breaking goal Philadelphia needed to finally subdue Rhode Island en route to a 30-22 win Saturday night.
Arthur Shull scored seven goals, Jake Rainwater added five scores and Katzenbach and Sean Murray had three goals each as the Spinners improved to 3-0, took over sole possession of first-place in the American Ultimate Disc League’s Eastern Conference standings and became the first AUDL team to crack the 30-point barrier.
Still, it was Katzenbach’s lay out that was the talk of the game.
“We were comparing it to the Josh Zipperstein lay out at Nationals in 2009,” Rainwater said. “The defender made a great play and Trey ran it down and layed out. For someone that’s 41-years old, we were giving him a lot of ribbing for coming up with it.
“To see him make a full extension lay out, I think we were all in shock.”
The Spinners jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Shull opened the scoring but Rhode Island, behind handler Brandon Malecek, rallied for three straight goals to give the Rampage what would be their largest lead of the gameat 3-1.
Greg Owens hauled in a huck to pull the Spinners within 3-2 before Leon Chou’s point block set Philadelphia up deep in Rhode Island territory. Sean Murray found Chou to convert the game-tying goal. The Rampage seemed rattled by the break and the Spinners capitalized for two more goals to take a 5-3 lead.
Philadelphia never trailed again.
“We weren’t playing our game,” Katzenbach said. “We had trouble getting the rust off after the long drive. But we didn’t panic. Part of it is that we have played with one another before. We started working it underneath and made them make adjustments and switch things up.”
A long huck to Katzenbach that was converted into a goal by Rainwater capped another 4-1 run which opened an 11-8 lead for the Spinners. They held the three-goal lead at halftime until yet another four-goal spurt midway through the third quarter established a 20-14 advantage.
The only chance Rhode Island had was to score quickly to try to get back in the game, but that played right into the Spinners’ hands.
“We kind of knew the game plan that (Malecek and Michael Miller were) going to huck it,” Rainwater said. “We knew Malecek has a good flick. We were forcing back hand, but on him it was straight up. We wanted him to put it because we have guys like Owens, Murray and Patrick Lindsey that can come down with it more often than not.”
Philadelphia maintained its’ five-goal advantage through the start of the fourth quarter. After the Rampage pulled within 22-18, though, Dave Brandolph got the disc along the sideline and unleashed a deep flick intended for Katzenbach.
It was slightly underthrown and Rampage defender Chip Cobb layed out and got a good chunk of the disc, but it fluttered up and somehow stayed afloat long enough for Katzenbach to get it.
It was definitely the highlight of an evening that ended in the Spinners’ first-ever road win.
“I didn’t think I was going to get there,” Katzenbach said. “All the guys were giving me a hard time about this being my first time laying out. I’ve had one before.
“Now I have to get one on ‘D.’”
The catch gave the Spinners a 23-18 lead, which ballooned to 30-21 with just under a minute left in the game. Once the Spinners got the lead, it was evident that Rhode Island had a better chance of striking oil on its’ home turf than staging a comeback.
For Katzenbach, who is a notorious Kentucky Wildcats fan, the way the team closed out the contest reminded him of another team.
“One of the most beautiful things about this team, and it’s like this year’s national championship Kentucky basketball team, everyone puts away their ego,” Katzenbach said. “We are a team, not a bunch of individuals. Even if some players’ numbers aren’t in the top echelon of this league, we are going to win a lot of games. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.”