Raleigh vs. Hustle 4/27
by Hayden Austin-Knabb
The Raleigh Flyers faced off against the Atlanta Hustle on a beautiful night at St. Pius Stadium. The flyers prevailed in this contest, defeating the Hustle by a score of 21-15
The first quarter was pretty low scoring for both teams, consisting of long points and good defense. The Hustle scored only twice on an upline shot from Alex Trautman to Javier Ortiz and on a longball from Taylor Minch to Jason Crowe. The Flyers converted off of Hustle turnovers, racking up 2 breaks to give them a 5-2 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Hustle came out strong in the second quarter, starting off with a hold and break to make the score 4-5. They were in a position to tie the game after Christian Gaeta forced another Raleigh turnover, however the Hustle failed to convert and Raleigh held. The Hustle’s big highlight of the game came in this quarter as Christian Gaeta racked up his second blocking, with an impressive full extension layout. Alex Trautman skied his opponent in the other endzone to convert the break and tie the game at 6 each. Atlanta had chance to take the lead on the next point but failed to convert. Raleigh then seized the momentum back, going on a run to end the quarter, collecting back to back breaks off Hustle errors. The first half ended in a score of 9-6, with Raleigh leading.
After both teams held on the first 4 points of the quarter, Hustle forced a turnover with a big deep sky D from Karl Ekwurtzel, and converted with a break to make the score 9-11. Matt Smith had a big quarter offensively, scoring 3 of his 4 goals on the game, but the Hustle’s late quarter play led to two crucial Flyer breaks, leading to a score of 14-9 at the end of the quarter.
With the Hustle down five points, the outcome looked bleak. Atlanta held out of the quarter break and then forced a turn on Raleigh’s following possession. Atlanta failed to convert and allowed Raleigh to hold their lead. Both teams would hold on the rest of their possessions, leading to a final score of 21-15 and a Raleigh Flyers win. Player Pierce displayed his range of his hammers, connecting on two deep assists in this quarter. The Hustle scored most of their points in the 4th quarter, tallying 6, however could not stop Raleigh’s offense, forcing no breaks.
Takeaways from the game:
Downfield defense: Atlanta’s downfield defense is something to be proud of after this game. The Hustle contested multiple Raleigh deep throws and forced a few turnovers by poaching. Raleigh has a lot of athletic, quick deep cutters and Atlanta did a fairly good job containing them.
Turnovers: The Hustle turned the disc over 19 times compared to the Flyer’s 11. In a game where every possession matters, Raleigh beat Hustle in the turnover battle. Many of the Hustle’s turnovers were unforced errors due to drops or throwaways that Raleigh did not necessarily contest. This many turnovers allowed the Flyer’s defense to break the Hustle’s offense eight times, compared to Atlanta’s three breaks.
End of Quarter conversions: The Hustle failed to convert on all of their end of quarter/ buzzer beater opportunities. The first quarter ended with a hammer attempt that was defended short of the endzone. The second quarter ended with a Hustle turn, followed by Raleigh deep score with a little over 20 seconds, then a drop with 5 seconds left and no attempt at the endzone. The third quarter ended with a Hustle drop with one second left, followed by a Flyers score with 3 seconds left. Had late quarter play been better, the Hustle could have competed deeper into this game.
The Hustle’s record is pushed to 0-4 while the Flyers advance to 3-1. After only facing two of their four south division opponents, Atlanta hopes to have better luck against its Texas opponents, the Dallas Roughnecks and Austin Sol. The Atlanta Hustle will face the Austin Sol this Saturday at home in the ATL Block Party.
Matt Smith: +3 4G
Thor: +3 3A 1G
Player Pierce: 4A
Paul Lally: 2G
Christian Gaeta: 2D
Karl Ekwurtzel: 2D