I’m writing a series of blog posts about the USA vs. Canada game from Spring Reign a few weeks ago. The game film is amazing and makes this game such a great opportunity to learn from some of the best players around.
The first three posts are here:
For this next post I wanted to write about two players who really caught my eye – Sarah Anciaux from the US and Kate Werry from Canada. It is my fault for not knowing either player all that well before this game, but one of the great joys of reviewing film is learning about all of the incredible players who are in the game. These two players are sensational.
So, I’ll go through a few examples from each player below. First, though, here’s the link to the film:
I’ll begin with Canada’s Kate Werry. She’s playing out-of-this-world ultimate from start to finish in this game. It didn’t matter who the US used to defend her – she just attacked and attacked and attacked and attacked. In fact, after after watching the game one more time to focus on her play the only thing I could think of that was similar is the old Honey Badger video on youtube. Kate Werry don’t care – she takes what she wants.
So, a few examples:
(1) The first point of the game around 0:23 in the game film
Here Werry is in the bottom left corner of the screen and has a reasonably open cut to the corner of the enzone to score. My guess is that 99/100 players would take this cut, but, although it is hard to see in the still shot, as she starts to take the cut she checks behind her – note where she is looking in this picture.
Another player from Team Canada has a better look and Werry stops her cut immediately. That heads-up play leads to an easy goal for her team. Really, 99 out of 100 players would have just taken that cut – super smart play by Werry.
(2) Attacking the open space at 3:54 in the game film
This picture above shows Werry about to receive a huck on the 2nd pass of the point. This two pass sequence is great work all around by Team Canada, actually, but I love how Werry reacts to the situation. She sees Kathryn Pohran (#20) coming across the middle of the field from left to right. Werry takes off heading down the field a little right to left to create space on the right side of the field, and, importantly, starts her cut starts 4 or 5 steps before Pohran gets the disc. Pohran is unmarked and has no trouble floating a perfect huck to Werry into the wide open space down the right hand side of the field.
Werry’s play here is so instructive. The timing of the cut creates a little separation and the initial direction of the cut creates so much extra room for both the thrower and the cutter. This is 10 out of 10 – exactly what you want a deep cut to look like.
(3) Werry’s goal throw at 29:14.
Two posts ago I wrote about an excellent example from Opi Payne of how to move the mark. Werry gives a great example here, too. The next pass (which happens about 1 second after this screen shot) will score – who is she going to throwing to?
I picked this screen shot because it shows the impact that Werry’s backhand fake has on the defenders. You can see 4 US defenders looking at Werry and reacting to that fake. Meanwhile #27 on Team Canada realizes that if all of the US defenders are on one half of the endzone, the other side of the endzone might be a nice place to hang out for a while.
Great work from Werry (and, after a monster grab, too!). I love her game and totally, completely, 100% recommend watching her in isolation in this game. You will learn a ton about how to play ultimate. As an extra bonus, her hat makes her really easy to follow even when the camera shot is wide.
Now, for Team USA’s Sarah Anciaux. I don’t follow the mixed division very much, so I’ve really never seen Anciaux play before. What a loss for me, but damn was I happy to have the chance to see her play in this game. Here are a few examples that caught my eye:
(1) The block at 34:28
This block comes after a long discussion about a near Callahan by Rohre Titcomb. The pass floats a little and Anciaux explodes towards the disc and gets a huge block (and, ha ha, the US sideline reacts as though they’ve seen Anciaux do that 25,000 times . . . ). As I said in one of the earlier posts, the athleticism in this game is off the charts.
(2) The block at 55:36
This block isn’t about athleticism, this one is about ultimate brains, field sense, and team D.
Canada’s possession begins at 55:08 and Anciaux is playing super D this whole point. She nearly gets a poach block on the 2nd pass, finds her player again, looks to help on D the whole time Canada is moving down the field and then gets a big poach block on the goal line. Absolutely fantastic play from Anciaux during Canada’s entire possession.
D isn’t about chasing your player all over the field, and Anciaux’s play on this possession illustrates what D looks like at the absolute highest level. It is so fun to watch.
(3) The goal at 20:04
Anciaux is on the left hand side of the screen shot here as the US swings the disc into the middle of the field. I love how she is attacking the deep open space before the catch is made (similar to 2nd example from Kate Werry above).
Team USA does a nice job keeping everyone short and Anciaux has the whole deep part of the field to herself – good luck defending that 🙂 The throw here misses by just a little bit but the situation has such a huge safety margin that Anciaux is able to make the play without that much difficulty.
So, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about Anciaux at all before watching this game film. It was really great to watch her play, though – she’s amazing!