Article by Matt Hunt
Battling heavy winds, the Rumble were unable to continue their winning streak, falling to the Boston Whitecaps 21-13. The game was a showdown between the league’s two leading scorers, Jeff Grahm and Chris Mazur. Graham, of the Whitecaps, entered the weekend with 31 points while Mazur, of the Rumble, was right behind him with 30.
It was Kids’ Day at the Eagles Nest, with many groups of kids out attending the game, enjoying the entertainment that was provided, including face-painting, balloon twisting, and a special half-time performance by juggler and entertainer Marcus Monroe. Former NBA champion and current NBA scout for the Golden State Warriors Speedy Claxton was also on hand at the game, who took part in the coin toss.
The Whitecaps, the only undefeated team in the league, demonstrated exactly why a team has yet to beat them. Early in the 1st quarter, Boston turned over the disc on their own goal line, but kept New York out of the endzone. Following the turnover, the Whitecaps took control of the game and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Rumble answered back with a point, but crucial turnovers and a lack of defense kept the team from gaining momentum. The Whitecaps would take advantage and gained a 7-2 lead near the end of the first quarter.
As time ran out in the 1st quarter, Faust caught a huck in the endzone despite being surrounded by multiple Whitecaps defenders. The Rumble hoped it would spark a comeback, but they continued to struggle in the 2nd quarter. Early in the quarter, the Rumble turned the disc over in their own endzone and the Whitecaps immediately scored. New York failed to generate offense, turning it over 9 times and only scoring twice.
Entering halftime down 11-5, the Rumble needed to come out strong in the second half to make a comeback. However, the Whitecaps would remain in control and found themselves ahead 17-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Boston played to their strengths by using the deep game, with the majority of Boston’s points resulting from hucks to the endzone. The Rumble’s defense challenged them to throw it deep, and they did just that. “They made throws we didn’t think they could make,” said Daniel Quaranta, Head Coach of the Rumble.
New York started the 4th quarter with two consecutive points, but would end up trading points with the Whitecaps for the rest of the game. Even though a comeback was not possible, New York was still playing for 2nd place. The Rumble found themselves in a tie with the Spinners in the standings based on point differential. New York received the pull with 27 seconds left and needed to score to take control of 2nd place. With 4 seconds left, Ben Faust caught a pass from Kevin Terry in the corner of the end zone, securing sole possession of 2nd place.
The Rumble lacked the defensive intensity that they had in their win last weekend over the Current. Their offense also struggled with the heavy winds, turning the disc over 32 times. “We let the conditions dictate what we did instead of going out and playing,” said Quaranta. Assistant Coach Anthony Nuñez, claimed that although the conditions were rough, the team came out flat. Jon Cox also discussed the team’s mental attitude during the game. “A lot of over-thinking, we were turning the disc over and criticizing ourselves too much for it,” said Cox.
After their consecutive wins, the team was looking forward to playing the undefeated Whitecaps. “We were excited to play them; there’s going to be a team that beats them first. We thought it was going to be us…but we still play them one more time,” said Cox. They hope to bounce back in their next game to remain in the playoffs. “The 4th quarter showed what we’re capable of and hopefully we can carry that into next weekend,” said Nuñez.
The Rumble will battle for 2nd place Saturday on June 1st, when they travel to Philadelphia to play the Spinners. They will return home the following Saturday on June 8th, to take on the DC Current at 7 pm.