The Rochester Dragons of the American Ultimate Disc League did what was expected of them on Saturday night at Webster Schroeder High School and defeated the visiting New Jersey Hammerheads, one of their Eastern Division rivals. While the team has a very difficult remaining season, they find themselves in a close race for a spot in the playoffs.
With weather a potential factor a couple of hours before game time, the players were hopeful that they would not have the strong wind gusts that hampered disc control in last week’s win. Just before the opening pull the sun peeked out, the crowds filled the stands and it turned into a good night for ultimate Frisbee.
The start of the game was back and forth between the two teams, but a couple of costly turnovers found the Dragons in a four-point hole at the end of the first period. Early in the second quarter, Jon Bain got the comeback started with a chest high diving block. Kevin Hoercher also got in on the action with a huge leaping block to keep the momentum in their favor. A strong second quarter ended on an 8-2 run to pull ahead at halftime with a 13-11 lead.
In the second half, the offensive line made their mark with outstanding play from KJ Dziak. Dziak, along with captains David Wheeler and TJ Burns, led a fast-attacking deep game with many big throws and amazing grabs. Maxwell Rick also got involved on the defensive side with several blocks while being a steadying presence on the line. At the end of three, the Dragons led 20-18.
They would never look back as the defensive line unit proved to be the difference. In a true team effort, contributions came from deep into the roster. Kevin Quinlan continuously put the opposing team in terrible field position at the start of points with his pulls, and Zack Smith worked well with Bain to keep the line operating at a high efficiency. Rochester pulled away in this one, winning comfortably 26-20.
The Dragons travel to play the Toronto Rush on Sunday, June 16. Toronto is currently undefeated in league play and the Dragons are hoping to change that. They come home to play again on June 23 against the DC Breeze, game time 2 p.m.
For more information about the team, go to www.rochesterdragons.com.