Week 3 Preview!

What to Watch For: A NightWatch Double Shot

          Well hello there, NightWatch Nation. It's been awhile. The last two weeks since Nashville last hit the field in a promising, yet ultimately disappointing NightWatch 2016 debut, have drudged by oh-so-slowly. But fear not, Nation! Your favorite ultimate team takes the field not once, but twice this weekend, facing off at Jacksonville on Saturday, April 16th and at Atlanta the following day. The breakdown of both matches on a need-to-know basis. You, my friends, need to know.

Nashville NightWatch @ Jacksonville Cannons

Where They Stand: Nashville (0-1, T-4th in South); Jacksonville (0-1, T-4th in South)

Last Matchup: On July 11, 2015, Jacksonville squeaked out a 29-27 victory in a knock-down, drag-out matchup that featured some chippiness from both teams. Nashville beat Jacksonville for its first ever victory on April 26, 2015. 

Key Players: 

Nashville’s Paul Lally is expected to return to the NightWatch lineup, providing a huge boon to Nashville’s talent on offense. Look for Nashville’s taller players Adam Paicely, Tom Radcliffe, Player Pierce, and captain Craig Stewart to play big against Jacksonville’s towering squad.

On Jacksonville’s side, Mischa Freystaetter is an absolute beast. It’s obvious the Cannons love to set up the huck to their statuesque star, but he also led Jacksonville in blocks in their season opening loss to Raleigh last week. Stephen Poulos provides a savvy presence on the handling line as well. 

Key Matchup: Freystaetter and Poulos vs NightWatch D 

Nashville’s defense looked shaky in the 4th quarter of Week 1, but was solid for a large portion of their game against Atlanta. Jacksonville is a team that looks for the deep threat early and often. How will Nashville defend against the long shots, and will they be able to turn Jacksonville’s aggressive nature against them with some shots of their own?

Quote Du Jour:

“[P]assing percentage and yards per completion would… be the most important. If you make higher percentage decisions as a team that advance the disc while forcing your opponent into lower percentage throws and a higher number of passes, the math works out in your favor.
— -NightWatch Coach Ryan Balch [on the key stats to winning in ultimate]

Nashville NightWatch @ Atlanta Hustle

Where They Stand: Nashville (0-1, T-4th in South); Atlanta (2-0, T-1st in South)

Last Matchup: A hotly contested game turned into a wide margin late, as Atlanta outclassed Nashville 26-16 on opening night, April 2. A game which saw the NightWatch lead after 1 half, ended with Atlanta scoring 10 in the 4th quarter.

Key Players:

Ray Davenport had himself a day during the first matchup. How will the man Coach Balch has described as “just relentless” fare against Atlanta’s D in the second meeting? Player Pierce led a Nashville defensive plan that looked sharp early, but faded late. Can he help keep the pressure up on Atlanta’s dynamic O?

Matt Smith has yet to play a point with Atlanta in 2016, but Allan Laviolette and Sean Sears have emerged as a top-of-the-line offensive duo, with Laviolette doing the assisting and Sears doing the scoring. And, of course, there’s the ever-dependable Robert Runner anchoring the defense and continuing to do most everything well.

Key Matchup: Nashville NightWatch vs adversity

Make no mistake about it, this Nashville team is for real. You don’t just waltz into Atlanta and take a 10-6 lead in the 2nd quarter on luck and happenstance alone. Doesn’t happen. What Nashville has in talent is unquestionable… and it’s good. The question with Nashville remains, how well can the NightWatch pick themselves up after they get knocked down? Nashville proved two weeks ago it belongs on the field with Atlanta. Now, the next step is bringing the Hustle for 4 quarters.

Quote Du Jour:

“[I’m] excited to see if we can make the adjustments strategically and really check in mentally to give ourselves a chance in the 4th quarter. I really believe in our team and our game plan.”
— -NightWatch Captain Tyler Conger