Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
Ultimate is a sport of big moments – the long downfield huck, the layout goal, the end zone sky and the list goes on. Over the past four years of Major League Ultimate, those moments have been captured by our partners at Ultiphotos. In our new series, Caught in Action, we will look at some of the great moments from MLU’s history and how they have been captured by the talented photographers at Ultiphotos.com. This week, we take a look at a huge moment in the 2016 MLU Championship, as captured by Kevin Leclaire.
For the first time since 2013, the 2016 MLU Championship saw the top teams from the regular season face off for the league’s title. Both the Philadelphia Spinners and the Portland Stags had finished their respective seasons with 9-1 records, oddly enough both losing their chance for an undefeated season at the hands of the Boston Whitecaps, the only franchise to have accomplished that feat.
With teams full of some of the league’s biggest scorers – Portland’s Cody Bjorklund, Timmy Perston and Raphy Hayes, and Philadelphia’s David Brandolph, Billy Sickles and Nick Hirannet – the offensive output for the Championship was expected to be high. However, it was the perhaps undervalued D-line for the Spinners that struck first.
Just about a minute into the game, the Spinners had forced a turn and worked the disc up the far sideline into the red zone. After a quick pass between Philadelphia’s Jack Casey and Matt Esser, two players known more for their athletic defensive plays than their skills with the disc, Esser found speedy rookie Nick Patel cutting towards the end zone with a low backhand. Patel made a full-speed bid for the disc, bringing in the first goal of the game and setting the pace for the Spinner’s eventual victory. (BOXSCORE – WATCH GAME)
As Patel made his play, Leclaire snapped his shot, perfectly capturing the moment before the game’s first score.