After New York gave Boston a close match last Saturday, the Spinners know the Rumble team they face this weekend has grown since the two teams met in their preseason contest.
In that game, the Spinners ran away with the match, taking control in the second half to win, 27-14.
“I think many people put too much stock into the score from the preseason game,” Spinners head coach Billy Maroon said.
But what the Spinners haven’t forgotten about their first meeting with the Rumble is that New York was without a full roster.
Last week against the DC Current, 22 of the Spinners played, a testament to the difficulty of playing in this professional style of Ultimate.
“I don’t think the average Ultimate player understands how difficult it is to play this style of ultimate with only 14 players,” Maroon said. “There is only one minute between points, you can’t make calls on the field to slow the game down and rest, the field is bigger so you have to run more and … I haven’t seen a zone work on this field yet.”
New York went up to Boston and pushed the Whitecaps to the limit, eventually falling 19-16. Even in the loss, the Rumble not only showed that the Eastern Conference race will be a tight one, but that their preseason loss to the Spinners was more about stamina than fatigue.
Maroon saw New York’s competitiveness last week as “simply a case of them having a full roster.”
At the same time, with each passing game, the Spinners’ competition will gain more experience about what it takes to win in this single-game format.
“There’s no doubt that with every game you play in the MLU, you learn more about the new rules, the new style of play, and about how your team can adapt,” Spinners captain Nick Hirannet said. “You’ll always have roster fluctuation, but New York is a very talented team top to bottom and we expected them to bounce back and be a real contender in this league.”
While they know that the Rumble will push the Spinners to the brink, the Spinners have been focused on their own play against the DC Current.
“I’ve only been watching our game against the Current,” Maroon said. “There is a lot to learn.”
And while the Spinners will be watching the preseason game against the Rumble, it won’t be to learn about their opponent.
“Most of our focus was on ourselves at that stage,” Hirannet said. “We’re really trying to get our game the way we want it.”
Philadelphia will look for a little more breathing room in this week’s contest, rather than having the game come down to the last moments, as it did against the Current.
The Spinners relied on a great layout defensive stop in the endzone by Leon Chou with the score tied at 14 for Philadelphia to ultimately take control of the point and the game.
After a win, the Spinners keep the celebration short.
“As a rule, Coach [Maroon] basically gives us 12 hours to celebrate a win or mourn a loss and then it’s done, time to focus on the next game,” Hirannet said. “But we’ll always go back and look at what we did right or wrong.
“We’re constantly going to make improvements to our game.”