Being perfect is a tough place to be, as KB's found out Saturday in the season ending Ultimate tournament played at O'Donnell Park in Bellevue.
Grumpy's, which lost its first five games this season, stormed back with three consecutive wins including a hard-fought 13-9 victory over previously unbeaten KB's in Saturday's championship game.
Third-seeded Grumpy's upset #2-seeded WrapCity 11-9 in Saturday's semi-final, while KB's needed to rally for an 11-7 win over #4-seeded Board Bin.
In the championship game, Grumpy's (3-5 overall) went on the attack early and forced KB's mistakes for a 7-5 half-time lead. Grumpy's kept adding points and held off a KB's comeback for the 13-9 triumph.
KB's (7-1) was looking to become the first team in local Ultimate league history to pull off a perfect season.
Under clear blue skies, Ultimate action heated up with three games at O'Donnell Field. The first two were semi-finals.
KB's started smoothly against #4-seeded Board Bin. Using its well-oiled team offense, KB's took a quick 5-2 lead—the semi-finals being played to 11 points. Board Bin then executed a nifty bit of strategy, breaking out the zone. The defensive maneuver stifled KB's usually potent offense.
Backed by the smooth throwing of Board Bin Jim Slanetz and the hard cutting of Jordan Dale, the Bin stormed back to even the score 5-5.
Faithful KB's fans were little uneasy on the sideline wondering whether the magic was over. Would this be the end of the glory season on a KB's squad hailed by some players as the "best summer league team I have ever played on?"
Like a true champion, KB's did not crumble. The regular-season league champions ran off the next four points behind Lucy "Is that a zone or butter" Chubb and Mike Aushmin's hard running and cutting. And KB's survived the match 11-7.
In Saturday's other semi-final, Grumpy's looked to keep its one-game winning streak alive against a taller and faster WrapCity team.
Using a zone defense to help neutralize WrapCity's height and speed advantage, Grumpy's capitalized on mistakes and cruised to a 9-5 lead. Perhaps it was Grumpy's overconfidence or the renewed energy of WrapCity, but the flow of the game changed dramatically.
Wes Southward and Kat Roberts took control with athleticism that included one-hand catches. Favored WrapCity scored four quick goals tying the tight contest at 9s.
Grumpy's called time, huddled and devised a sophisticated plan—to score a goal, plain and simple. Jeffrey "Energizer Bunny" Bagette pumped one deep to Scott "Kidd" Runkel who caught it on the goal line and flipped it to Jacob "Sure Hands" Thomas for the clutch go-ahead goal.
Buoyed by the score, Grumpy's clamped on the zone defense and forced a turnover. Tom TK Kennedy flipped an inside-out backhand between defenders to win the game 11-9.
Top-seeded KB's, a strong favorite going into the tournament, seemed to have the advantage in the final matchup.
Winning the flip, KB's chose to play defense and forced a turnover. They quickly scored.
But Grumpy's once again went with an aggressive offensive strategy, looking for quick deep strikes. The underdogs either scored goals or forced KB's to start deep on their side of the field. Despite completing numerous passes against the zone, KB's offense stalled.
Capitalizing on mistakes, Grumpy's grabbed a 7-5 halftime lead. A quick strike to Jacob Thomas after another unforced KB's turnover stretched the Grumpy's lead to three, at 8-5. Riding on the momentum, Grumpy's scored four of the next six goals to take a commanding 12-7 advantage.
Needing one more goal to secure an unexpected victory, Grumpy's relaxed and KB's fought hard to keep alive its dream of a perfect season.
An acrobatic end zone grab by Scott Liebsle and a display of cat-like reflexes by Mike Payne to knock a pass out of the air had KB's believing a comeback might be possible.
Grumpy's got the disc on the goal line and called a time out. They diagrammed the infamous "Moses" play in which five of the six up-field players flare either left or right—leaving the middle wide open for Sage Pressman to presumably prance in for the score.
Once again Mike Payne saved the day. He poached the middle of the field, foiled the play and forced a turnover. KB's sliced the lead to 12-9.
Reverting to what worked in the last game, Grumpy's came up with a winning answer. Lisa Chang found TK at midfield. He sent a backhand sailing into the hands of the Kidd for the final score and a 13-9 victory.
Winning the much-coveted spirit award for her boundless enthusiasm, terrific attitude and love of the game was Kat Roberts of KB's.
The final league games of the season were played Thursday at Ketchum's Atkinson Park with KB's facing off against WrapCity. KB's (6-0 regular season) kept its domination intact with an easy 13-6 win over second-place WrapCity (4-2 season, 4-3 overall).
In Thursday's other game, previously winless Grumpy's rolled to a relatively easy 13-7 triumph over Board Bin (1-6 overall). So Grumpy's earned the tournament #3 seed based on point differential.
Ultimate pick-up games will continue Thursday nights at Atkinson Park. The annual North/South game will be Thursday, Aug. 17 to determine valley bragging rights.