Riptide to Feature Women’s Showcase Game on Saturday

By Scott Lewis

The Riptide will be featuring a special bonus for their AUDL home game against the San Francisco FlameThrowers at Swangard Stadium on June 4th. Before the Riptide take the field, ticket holders will get a chance to see two of the finest women’s teams in the world, Vancouver Traffic and Seattle Riot, play a special Showcase Game.

Yes, a ticket to the Riptide game also gets you entrance into the Showcase Game, which is part of the venerable Flower Bowl tournament, now almost 30 years old, taking place nearby. The stadium gates will open at 4 p.m. that afternoon with the women taking the field at 4:30, and after they finish you can watch the AUDL game which starts at 6 p.m.

And the stands will be rocking; every player in the dozens of teams taking part in Flower Bowl will get entrance to both games at Swangard.

Vancouver vs. Seattle has been one of the great rivalries in ultimate for several decades, both in women’s and in men’s play. The teams have met many times over the years, and even when one of the rivals is able to establish a period of dominance in their division, the games between the two always seem to be competitive.

At times on the men’s side, the two teams have become over-competitive – foul fests and interminable arguments over fouls come to mind – but not so on the women’s side.

Yes, we are competitors,” said Catherine Hui of Traffic, “but competitors in the sense that there is no animosity towards the other team. Traffic wants to be the best and our neighbours in Seattle help push us to get better. A positive competitive relationship with any team is a big help for us; the only way we can become the best is by playing against the best.”

Jillian Goodreau from Riot is just as effusive.

“I think both these teams love the battle. It has been a while since we have played at Flower Bowl and we are really looking forward to it!”

“We are really excited to have Riot make the trip up to Vancouver,” added Hui. “It is also great to be able to showcase high-level women’s ultimate to the Vancouver Ultimate community. We rarely have big competitions like Flower Bowl here in town, so it’s our opportunity to show locals what we can do.”

Reflecting the outstanding junior programmes in both Seattle and Vancouver, Traffic and Riot, like the Riptide, bring together multiple generations of players, featuring plenty of youngsters newly graduated from junior and university play and on their way to stardom.

On Riot, watch for young players Cassie Swafford, Alex Ode, and Nora Landri, all former university-level standouts. Their counterparts on Traffic include Ellen Au-Yeung and Naomi Morcilla from UBC, though Collefas Mot will be missing this game due to her commitments to the Canadian team for the WFDF Under-20 World Championships.

Hui also highlighted the arrival of seasoned rookies Megan Kidston and Nicola Parker, who contribute “big throws and gnarly intensity”. Goodreau counters with Kristin Gruver, “a speedy defender and offender who is re-joining us after taking a couple of years off before playing with DC Scandal last season”.

Both teams will be contributing a number of players to their respective national teams that will be competing in June at the WFDF World Championships, where no one will be surprised if the two countries meet in the final. Seattle captain Rohre Titcomb is one of six members of Riot heading to London, while the leadership group of Laura Mason, Rachel Moens, and Hui head up an even larger contingent from Traffic. Traffic form the core of the Canadian team as a result of handily winning their fourth Canadian Championship last summer, while Seattle lost their final by a single point at last years U.S. Open Ultimate Championships.

The traditional West Coast style of play developed by men’s teams features lots of hucking, but the women have developed their version of that style, particularly in recent years. The men may be able to throw further and jump higher, but there is a directness to the style of play between these teams that can be just as compelling.

“We love to huck!” said Hui (pictured above). “One of our team mottos is to score in as few passes as possible. We are always looking for ways to be efficient in our offensive flow, but will grind hard and play gnarly D when needed.”

We like to huck too,” added Goodreau, “but our overall emphasis is on attacking the break side and creating a lot of big open space for our cutters.”

Something else to watch for is that the women’s game is following a similar path to the men’s, going away from traditional division of the team into O-line vs. D-line and handler vs. cutter.

“Our style encourages every player to be confident with the disc,” said Hui. “Yes, some players are better at certain roles, but we encourage diversity. Our goal is for every player to feel comfortable in all roles.”

Both the Showcase and the AUDL games will be highly competitive matches between elite teams. Add a big crowd in the stands, and this will be the Ultimate event of the year. See you there!

You can buy tickets for the June 4th games and for the rest of the Riptide’s upcoming home games at Swangard Stadium here.

You can get more information about Flower Bowl here and about the Showcase Game here.

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