May 31, 2018
By Tyler Byrum
In all levels of competitive ultimate, breaks are the story of and the difference in a game. A break, when a team that is pulling to start a point scores, can signify many things in a head-to-head contest. Typically the team that scores more breaks in a game will win, but they also lead to momentum shifts, fresh players seeing playing time, and the complete destruction of a team’s morale.
All of the above happened on Saturday evening when the DC Breeze (3-4-1) played the New York Empire (3-2). Knocking off the Empire 29-21 at home gave the team their third victory of the 2018 season and second in the East Division.
DC took control early in the contest. Five breaks in the first quarter opened up the game early and gave the Breeze a lead they would not relinquish. Paired with three offensive holds, DC held an 8-3 advantage at the first scheduled stoppage.
New York spent the rest of the contest trying to catch up to the Breeze’s breaks. They never did, finishing with only four breaks of DC’s O-line. DC’s defensive line would finish with 11.
Eight different players scored a break goal for the Breeze, going with a theme of balance throughout the contest. Two of Eric Miner’s team-high five goals were breaks, Joe Richards scored his first two goals of his 2018 season off of breaks, and Aaron Langley added two more when playing on the D-line.
Of the team’s 20 active players, 18 either recorded a goal or an assist. All 20 played 13 points or more, with Delrico Johnson leading the team with 29.
Miner’s five-goal performance marked a career-high in his two years in the AUDL. To go with the two breaks, his remaining three goals were scored on the five O-line points he played. Talk about efficiency.
Jeff Wodatch (+4) had three goals to finish second on the team. Adding an assist and 15/16 pass completions, he led the receivers on offense.
There was a five-way tie for the team lead in assists as Xavier Maxstadt (+4), Brad Scott (+6), Rhys Bergeron (+2), Nate Castine (+4), and Marcus Thaw (+2) each had three. Continuing their break success, Richards added two assists to lead the team in points on defense. Two of Thaw’s four assists came on defense as well, with Johnson chipping in two.
DC had 13 blocks along with the 11 breaks. The 22-year-old Richards continued his breakout game to lead the team with three of the 13.
Despite slightly breezy conditions and a persistent drizzle, three players managed to make the perfect game club with 10 or more throws. Castine completed all 27 passes he attempted, followed by Scott (15/15), and Rowan McDonnell (12/12). Scott has not throw an incompletion in four straight games with his last coming on May 5.
Breeze Top 5 Performers of The Game
Nate Castine: 2 goals, 3 assists, 27/27 throws (+4)
Eric ‘Astro’ Miner: 5 goals, 5/6 throws (+4)
Delrico Johnson: 2 goals, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 17/18 throws (+5)
Joe Richards: 2 goals, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 5/7 throws (+5)
Brad Scott: 1 goal, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 15/ 15 throws (+6)