AUGUST 25 — Tomorrow afternoon the Madison Radicals will face off against the San Francisco FlameThrowers in the first 2017 AUDL semifinal. Madison will be making their fifth consecutive AUDL Championship Weekend appearance, while San Francisco qualified for the first time in franchise history this season after making the playoffs in each of the past four years.
Although the FlameThrowers team is new to the final four stage, they have a roster packed with former AUDL champions. Former San Jose Spider, two-time league MVP, and three-time AUDL champion Beau Kittredge will be making his third appearance against the Radicals in the postseason in the last four years after helping defeat Madison in each of their previous two matchups. He will be joined by all-around star and two-time AUDL champion Cassidy Rasmussen, who leads the FlameThrowers with 57 assists in 2017, as well as Marcelo Sanchez and Greg Cohen, two key members of the San Jose team that eliminated the Radicals in 2014 and 2015.
Each team will bring a contrasting style of play to the field on Saturday, with the Radicals stingy defense looking to slow down the most dangerous offense in the league. San Francisco finished the 2017 regular season ranked number one in scoring, averaging 27.7 goals per game thanks to their quick strike deep attack. Three different players on the team—Sanchez (42), Antoine Davis (43), and Joel Schlachet (40)—caught more than 40 goals on the year, while the offense as a whole averaged just 8.25 throws per scoring drive, the smallest amount in the AUDL. The FlameThrowers showed the same offensive potency in their playoff game against Los Angeles, putting up 33 goals on the Aviators, the sixth time this season San Francisco scored 30+ in a game.
By contrast, the Radicals and their defense were once again stellar in keeping opponents out of the endzone. They ranked number one in the AUDL in goals allowed this season, giving up just 18.5 per contest, while also ranking first in the league in forcing opponents into the most throws per scoring drive at 18.65; for reference, the second best team, the New York Empire, forced opponents into 13.78 throws per scoring drive. Madison runs some of the best defensive schemes in the league, but they are also stacked with playmakers, with Peter Graffy (31), Kevin Pettit-Scantling (29), and Andrew Meshnick (28) all ranking in the top ten in blocks in the league.
The semifinal begins tomorrow at 4:00 PM/ET on AUDL.TV/Live.