In a highly anticipated rematch, the DC Breeze take on the New York Empire at home tomorrow for the first time this season after playing in New York each of the first two meetings. While the Empire remain undefeated through six games, the Breeze have by far been their toughest competition. In two games against DC, the Empire have averaged a margin of victory of just 2.0 goals. Against all other teams this season, the Empire have won by an average of 5.75 goals. Tomorrow's game will be the first meeting since the Empire's controversial 26-25 double-overtime win over the Breeze in Week 6, and it will be the final regular season matchup between the two teams.
Breeze Look to Upset Empire
Phil Turner Making Second Year Leap
Through eight weeks, the Toronto Rush have averaged the second-most blocks per game (12.2) and are allowing the fewest points per game (18.0). A large part of their defensive success this season has been second-year player Phil Turner. After playing just four games as a rookie in 2018, Turner has quickly established himself as one of the premier defenders in the league this season. Turner has 13 blocks this season, tied for third most in the AUDL, and he is on pace for a 30-block season. His +16 plus/minus ranks third on the Rush, an impressive feat for a player who has played 82.9 percent of his points on the D-line.
Turner is getting league-wide recognition, earning a spot on Matt Rezin's weekly Players to Watch article in Week 8. He is this week's Rush Player to Watch, as he comes off a solid two-goal, two-block game against the Madison Radicals in the Week 8 Game of the Week. He'll look to limit the second-leading goal scorer in the league, Quentin Bonnaud, in a matchup against the Montréal Royal this Sunday.
No Roney: Hustle Roll Over Cannons
The Atlanta Hustle defeated the Tampa Bay Cannons 23-14 on Saturday, successfully getting revenge on a team that opened the season with two-straight home wins against Atlanta. The Cannons were without 2019 All-Star selection Andrew Roney for the first time this season, and his absence was certainly felt; with just 14 points, Cannons produced their lowest scoring output of the season. Roney has 30 assists on the season, and he has accounted for 36.1 percent of all Cannons scores (goals plus assists) in the games he has played.
The Hustle have now won three of their last four games, and they have brought their record to a respectable 3-5 after dropping their first four games to start the season. Four-year Hustle veteran Daniel Sperling had seven assists against the Cannons and finished with a game-high +9 plus/minus. Sperling made his 2019 debut in Week 7 against the Flyers, and he now has nine assists and three goals in his first two games. 2019 All-Star selection Matt Smith added three goals and two assists against the Cannons, bringing his plus/minus to +37 on the year, tied for fourth highest in the league.
Thunderbirds Win Third Straight
The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds defeated the Minnesota Wind Chill 24-17 this past Saturday for their third straight win. In their first meeting of the season, the Thunderbirds lost to the Wind Chill 25-22 in overtime.
The Thunderbirds are now 3-3 after losing each of their first three games to start the season. Averaging just 18.3 points per game through their first three games, the team has turned things around over the past three weeks, averaging 23.0 points per game. Max Sheppard picked up six more goals on Saturday to bring his season total to 22, most on the team. Tyler DeGirolamo saw a 4-10 O-point to D-point split from his Week 6 debut turn into an 18-2 split in his second game of 2019. DeGirolamo had three assists and two blocks against Minnesota.
Wildfire Get Back on Track Against Indy
The Chicago Wildfire defeated the Indianapolis AlleyCats 18-17 on Saturday to improve to 3-2 on the season. After defeating the Minnesota Wind Chill in their first two games to open the season, the Wildfire dropped their second two games against the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds and Madison Radicals before rebounding this past weekend against the AlleyCats. Per usual, Pawel Janas led the way for the Wildfire offense, dishing a season-high nine assists - half of the team's goal total. Former Wildfire handler Brett Matzuka led the AlleyCats with 75 completions and 24 points played. With the win, the Wildfire moved into second place in a competitive Midwest Division.
All-Star Game Roster Announcements
Toronto Bounces Back Against Madison
The Toronto Rush showed they are still a force in the East after defeating the defending AUDL champion Madison Radicals 22-15 this past Saturday in the Week 8 Game of the Week. The team bounced back after losing both games of a doubleheader road trip last weekend for the first time in franchise history, falling to the New York Empire and Philadelphia Phoenix. The Rush completed 97.4 percent of throws on Saturday; by contrast, they completed just 90.1 percent of throws in their two games combined last weekend. AUDL career completions leader Thomson McKnight led the way for the Rush, completing 50 of 51 throws and tossing three assists.
Rowan Earns Honor Roll for Fifth Time
With five goals and five assists this past Sunday against the Montreal Royal, DC Breeze hybrid Rowan McDonnell earned a place on Evan Lepler's weekly Honor Roll for the fifth time this season. The former AUDL MVP has averaged 9.4 scores (goals plus assists) per game this season, most in the league and over one score per game more than Ben Jagt, whose 8.2 scores per game ranks second. McDonnell leads the league in goals (35) and plus/minus (+53); he is on pace to have the best offensive statistical season of his career.
Rowan was announced on Saturday as one of two captains for the inaugural 2019 AUDL All-Star Game.
photo by Rob Gilmor
2018 Peter Graffy Highlights
Peter Graffy spent his first four and a half seasons as the deep coverage specialist for the league's best defense on the Madison Radicals, racking up an AUDL-high 129 blocks over that span. But a midseason blowout loss to the Raleigh Flyers required a retooling of the Radicals offense that shifted Graffy to offense, a role he was familiar with as a dominant receiver at Luther College. The result over the final 10 games of Madison's season, including playoffs, was 31 assists, 40 goals, 232-for-243 on throws, 10 blocks, and an AUDL title.
Perennially underrated as a thrower, Graffy used his athleticism as a playmaker to better position himself as a handler, setting himself up for a heap of in-rhythm looks. And though Graffy is known for his aerial dominance as shown above, he really became elite as an operator in the redzone for the Radicals, shimmying open seemingly at will and punishing opposing defenses for any gaps.
- Adam Ruffner
2018 Mark Burton Highlights
Over the past three years, Mark Burton solidified himself as the premier run-and-gun offensive playmaker in the league, making an All-AUDL sqaud in each season while racking up an absurd 222 assists and 106 goals. Never the biggest or fastest player on the field, Burton has a way of making sure the disc finds its way into the endzone for the Seattle Cascades with his big throws, no-hesitation decision making, and perhaps the strongest set of hands in the AUDL.
Just look at the velocity on this 70-yard flick throw from a standstill. Sure, Burton's bomb is saved by a splashy layout from Reed Hendrickson. But it is Burton's full-field range as a thrower that allowed Hendrickson to even consider such a route. With Burton on the field, the Cascades offense had an ability to score from seemingly any position.
- Adam Ruffner
Kittredge Signs With New York
The New York Empire have announced that they have signed four-time reigning AUDL champion and two-time league MVP Beau Kittredge. The deal is a two-year contract with the team. Kittredge is coming off a championship with the San Francisco FlameThrowers. The Empire missed the postseason for the first time ever as a franchise in 2017, finishing 6-8 on the regular season.
“It’ll be kind of a balance of letting them be youthful and fun and getting them to buckle down and be professional," Kittredge said in an interview with Ultiworld. "It’s going to be a fine balance. Between the lines, I think it’s going to be a fun season.”
Montreal Starts 2018 With A Win
After falling to the DC Breeze in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs, the Montreal Royal got immediate revenge with a season opening win on the road to start 2018. Stève Bonneau led the Royal in both assists (5) and completions (59), while Mike Voelpel (5 goals), Francis Vallée (3), and Quentin Bonnaud paced the Montreal scoring attack.
The Montreal win ended DC's 14-game home winning streak dating back to April 23, 2016—the longest active streak in the league until last night. In 2017, DC was the only team in the AUDL to go undefeated at home.
San Jose Shocks Reigning Champs
Sonny Zaccaro (eight assists, 39 completions) and Sam Kunz (two assists, five blocks) helped lead the Spiders to their first win over the FlameThrowers in San Francisco since 2015, snapping a five-game losing streak. Game Center
Seattle Upsets Minnesota In Opener
Best Hammers From 2017 Season
Seven minutes of the best hammers from the 2017 AUDL season.
NightShade Announce Captains, Coaches
We would like to announce and thank the coaches and captains of the @NashNightShade for everything they have done for this team! From L to R, Coach Tobey Balzer, Captain Colleen Wright, Coach Nick Peppers, Captain Liz Barnes. #Nashville #NightShade #thefutureisfemale pic.twitter.com/Pj89kAavHn— NashvilleNightWatch (@NashNightWatch) March 4, 2018
Minnesota to Host Madison after MLS Game
Kids These Days
Minnesota's Cousins Spin-o-rama Throw
Royal Video Roster Announcement
The Montreal Royal are introducing their 2018 roster in style. The Royal are looking to build off of their playoff apperance in 2017 with much of the same core from last season.