At the World Games the medal games are re-matches. This time it featured Colombia and Canada for Bronze and USA versus Australia for gold.
The Bronze began after the three-hour siesta in the afternoon and a TV delay as the international and local broadcasting teams needed time to get everything lined up. Why? Because host team Colombia surprised many by qualifying for the medal round.
This game had a little bit of everything as the re-focused and unified Canadian team that we saw earlier in the day against Japan was once again present and Colombia was focused and ready.
Every point was well-played through the first six with no turnovers from either side. Canada stretched it deep with Hibbert and Lloyd while Colombia’s leading goal scorer Elizabeth Mosquera collected two more.
A critical play at 5-4, Colombia’s advantage. Colombia has the disc on the goal line to go up two. But a rushed endzone shot is too much for Mendoza. Canada streaks downfield and scores in a hurry for a bit of a momentum shift. That momentum carried them to more scores on a sudden rash of Colombia mistakes and half went to the North Americans, 7-5.
But Colombia did not blink. First goal from half is Mosquera finding Yina Cartagena in the back of the end-zone to close within 1 at 7-6. The crowd roared after every Colombian goal and dampened after every Canada play.
Eventually Colombia ties at 8s and the stadium is buzzing again. Cam Harris lofts one deep to Hibbert who makes an outstanding grab over a perfect bid from Mauricio “Choco” Martinez, the veteran who was everywhere in this game.
Martinez responds with a goal to Ibarguen the fleet-footed and then a critical goal Martinez to Yina Mendoza and Colombia had the break advantage! It’s a late-game goal with the time cap looming large. This game featured a ton of calls: picks, travels, fouls, and lots of discussion. There was too much at stake — every call was discussed at length and the time cap came on after a beautiful Nick Menzies huck to Andre Collins to tie it at 10s, Colombia was on offense. The game would be to 12. Martinez carried the team on his back in this game. A beautiful half-field cross-field forehand from Martinez seemed to find Ibarguen behind his defender Hibbert but Ibarguen could not hang on and Hibbert crashed into him after. Ibarguen made a dubious foul call here and things got weird for a bit. After much discussion it was sent back and several passes later a similar incident as Mosquera on an in cut seemed to drop a pass with pressure from her defender Hui. No decision could be made. It was too hard to tell but finally it was decided no foul. And in a matter of seconds the Colombian hopes looked dashed when Mark Lloyd bombed a deep shot to Hibbert to take back the late-game break advantage, 11-10. Once again Colombia did not fold. Working up the field Martinez eventually found Alexander Ford (he of the dreadlocks and quick feet) in the end zone to tie it at 11 – next point wins. The crowd, at this point, was straight-out roaring. But Canada was receiving the disc for the win on double game point. The entire stadium tried to will Colombia to get a turnover. But a quick set play brought Lloyd under on an egg-beater cut to the sideline. The forehand side open he ripped one far and deep to a streaking Jeff Lindquist. Lindquist goes full out and with a left-hand extension makes a sensational catch to a fitting end to a barnburner game.
“That play was so weird,” explained Lindquist after the game. “I thought I made the catch but the crowd was absolutely dead silent. I thought maybe there was a problem, a foul, something happened or I dropped the disc? But I had the disc.” Indeed he did, and the game was Canada’s.
The silence was the sound of shock from the Colombia supporters who gave all of their heart and passion to the team but sometimes a team will come up short. We all do in our lives. We are only human and the home team even with the voices and hearts of thousands will not always win.
Fantastic plays in this game from Captain Martinez who threw three goals (assists) and caught three. Hibbert for the Canadians caught four goals, Lloyd and Adrian Yearwood threw four goals each and Cam Harris finished with two-and-two.
There would be no medal for Colombia.
There was little chance the gold medal match could mirror the intensity and thrills of the Bronze medal game. But few people expected this result: a pasting by the USA over Australia 13-6.
The United States truly showed what kind of team they are with a stunning array of versatility and talent on the field. They figured out some great offensive sets by circling Beau Kittredge in and out to reset the disc and reset the offensive looks on the field. When Kittredge wasn’t available big man Dylan Tunnell would fill the spot. When Ashlin Joye was covered Ryan Farrell would be there. When speedster Octavia Payne wasn’t on the field, Sarah “Surge” Griffith was there to make spectacular blocks.
The Americans neutralized big Tom Rogacki and his deep looks by covering tightly the release points of deep receivers. And sometimes they just capitalized on Australian jitters. A dropped pull at 4-2 gave USA a cushion of three which was already far too many breaks.
“It’s fine to lose a game if you play your best and give it your all,” said Australian Team Manager Kerry Justus, “ But it’s disappointing when you feel that you didn’t show up and didn’t bring your best game.”
The end result revealed everything about why USA was so strong this tournament in winning the third consecutive gold medal at The World Games: every one of the thirteen players on the roster either caught or threw a goal. No other team can say they accomplished that feat here in Cali.
Great Britain 6th