University of North Carolina, Darkside, beat University of Pittsburgh, En Sabah Nur, 14-10 in the final game of the College National Ultimate Championships on May 28 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. UNC beat Pitt in a hard fought battle.
One of UNC’s handlers, Kai Marcus, started the game with a masterful fake, leading to an easy put in the end zone. Grant Lindsley of USAultimate.com said, “UNC opened with a display of patience as they methodically worked the disc down the field. Kai Marcus’ prior struggles seemed to have evaporated…” Darkside followed with another score to go up 2-0 on En Sabah Nur.
— USA Ultimate (@USAUltimate) May 28, 2018
Pitt’s offense started out with dynamic hucks, though their first couple fell, well, flat. Eventually, they started to work down the field with methodical precision and accuracy, tossing short throws to one another to break apart UNC’s new defense.
Darkside began throwing zone defense against their Pennsylvanian opponents, which is smart on the surface, because a good zone forces more hucks and dangerous throws. Unfortunately for North Carolina, with short, smart, and effective passes, Pitt ended up in the end zone.
Both teams had momentum heading into the game; UNC beat Oregon with a break on universe point and Pitt upset Carleton to make it to the final game. Their energy drove these teams early on and led to an unforgettable battle.
Marcus put his name on the board once more, after a horizontal stack led to play right near the end zone. With the disc just outside of the goal, Marcus caught a short pass with an upline cut. 3-1 Darkside.
UNC’s defense adjusted to Pitt’s success and the match seemed like it would end up rather one-sided until Noah Robinson connected with Kevin Tsui to cut Darkside’s score in half. 4-2 Darkside.
While Pittsburgh was climbing back, their reckless deep throws slowed them once again as a turnover on a huck to Matt Hanna, turned into a turnover. Fortunately, their mistake was not a death sentence as they scored later on in the point.
Yet another huck opened up the second half for Pitt, but this one ended up back in En Sabah Nur hands, leading to good position. Trailing 8-5 after the half, Pittsburgh was eager for a score, but zone defense from UNC held them back.
— UNC Admissions (@UNCAdmissions) June 6, 2018
Kai Marcus made his name heard once again with a put in the end zone resulting in a wild bid from Alex Davis in the back corner of the end zone for a score. Then, after another misplaced Pittsburgh huck, UNC took an 11-7 lead.
Trying to spur a comeback, Pitt took more careful focus before hucking. One huck ended in a flying block from a UNC defender. Another huck finally resulted in a score, however.
Soon, the horn was sounding and soft cap was met. This meant that the 12-8 game would be a game to 14, not 15.
Eventually the score was 13-10 UNC and Pittsburgh was completely bereft of energy. With an Elijah Long pass to Colin Smith, Darkside took the game and thus won the national championship.
Jesse A. Cook
June 6, 2018
“UNC Wins National Ultimate Championships”