Photo by Sean Carpenter – UltiPhotos.com
In the first three games of the season, the Philadelphia Spinners turned over the disc 61 times, good for an average of 20.33 per game.
Against New York on Saturday, the Spinners coughed up the disc 35 times.
“The wind definitely had its effect on the game,” Spinners coach Billy Maroon said. “We had 10 drops. The Spinners only averaged 1.5 drops per game last year and many of those games were in the swirling wind of Franklin Field.”
It was indeed a windy one, and it wasn’t just the Spinners that had to deal with the conditions. New York had 30 turnovers of their own, but the Rumble were able to take advantage of Philly’s turnovers with more consistency.
“On several occasions we tried to throw some tough throws in the wind instead of taking the easier ones, but our main issue was the basics – throw and catch,” Spinners co-captain and offensive handler Nick Hirannet said.
The Rumble jumped out to a 3-0 lead within a 1:30 of the first pull, showing early that New York planned to take advantage of Philadelphia’s mistakes.
While the Spinners played well enough to hang around in the contest, eventually tying it late in the fourth quarter, they were unable to put the disc in the end zone for the last 8:03 of the contest, spanning halfway through overtime as well as the entire second overtime.
“The game is a game of runs, especially when you factor the wind,” Maroon said. “If someone scores upwind, then they usually score downwind. Every upwind score accounts for a few minutes of the other team not scoring. Once we did not convert the downwind score at the end of the 1st overtime it was going to be a run for them.”
And it was. Maroon’s plan, as it was for most of the contest, was to choose the direction his team would pull at the start of each of the two overtimes rather than receive the pull.
He expected his D-line to stop the Rumble as they had to work the disc up slowly upwind. But the Rumble converted the upwind score, putting the Spinners in a position where they had to force the disc up in the wind. On a day when even the basics weren’t coming easy, that was too tall an order for Philadelphia.
Philadelphia also had difficulty handling the Rumble’s Chris Mazur.
“He is the only person on the field who could really huck it into the wind with his flick,” Maroon said. “They did a good job at catching those 50/50 balls.”
While the Spinners were able to limit the damage that Mazur did by putting Frederick Brasz on him and putting more of a focus on him in general, the adjustments came too late in the contest.
“Mazur is probably their most talented thrower and we knew that going in, but kind of dropped the ball on our plan for him early on,” Hirannet said. “Once we started double teaming him and poaching his throwing lane, we forced some turns from their other throwers.”
But while they forced turnovers late, the Spinners couldn’t convert, and Sean Murray’s absence may have had a hand in Philadelphia’s D-line having difficulty putting the disc into the end zone off of a turnover.
“We did miss Sean on both offense and defense,” Maroon said. “He played the most points for the team in our first three games and there was not one person who could replace him. I’m sure he would have helped us convert at least one of those turnovers.”
Murray will be back next weekend when the Spinners head to Boston to take on the undefeated Whitecaps. While there will be a significant amount of hype for this contest, the Spinners are thinking less about Boston, and more about how to improve themselves.
“It really doesn’t matter who we play this week,” Maroon said. “It’s about us. We have to play better. It’s not even about winning right now. It’s about playing together as a team. If we focus on getting better, then the wins will come.”