Photo by Paul Andris – Ultiphotos.com
The Philadelphia Spinners completed a four year journey in 2016. After slowly climbing the Eastern Conference standings since 2013, the Spinners found themselves hosting the game to see who would represent the east in the 2016 MLU Championship. Their opponent in the Conference Final? The Boston Whitecaps, the winningest franchise in MLU History and the reigning champions. The Spinners’ only previous postseason experience was getting walloped by the Whitecaps in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final.
One thing the Spinners didn’t have in that 2015 final: David Brandolph. Brandolph had been sidelined in 2015 by a torn ACL, but returned to the field in 2016 stronger than ever, leading the Spinners in assists on the year and being named a finalist for the 2016 Eastern Conference MVP Award.
As has been the case over the years, the matchup between the Whitecaps and Spinners kept fans on the edge of their seats. While the Spinners lead by a goal at halftime, 11-10, the Whitecaps flipped the story on the home team in the 3rd, entering the final quarter up a goal, 15-14. Receiving the disc to start the final quarter, the Spinners tied the game quickly as Michael Panna found Brandolph in the end zone. From there, the Spinners built a small lead, with Boston racing the clock to score with just a few minutes left. After a great defensive play by Boston to prevent Philadelphia from scoring, the Whitecaps looked to move the disc down the near sideline, when the typically offensive-minded Brandolph jumped a route and intercepted the Boston pass, quickly turning and finding longtime teammate Nick Hirannet in the end zone for the score. Brandolph’s block and assist effectively ended any chance the Whitecaps had of upsetting the Spinners. Brandolph would finish as the Spinners’ leading scorer on the day, cementing the Spinners first ever MLU Championship berth. (BOXSCORE – WATCH GAME)