You know the season’s truly started once you hit Boston Invitational! On June 20th & 21st, for the 11th (or more!?) consecutive year, Brute Squad trekked down Route 2 to the ever familiar Fort Devens to debut 8 baller rookies and put the 2015 roster to its first test.
Anticipation was palpable with many burning questions yet to be answered: Who would do hair now that “Braids by Jabooby” was closed for business? What did BO@BI really mean? What would Sunday’s 100% chance of severe rain and thunderstorms deliver?
With #tanksquad fully in action, Saturday featured pool play games against Vice, Venus, Hot Metal and Bent. We started weekend off with a very spirited game against our crosstown rivals Vice. Capitalizing on several early miscues, our efficient offense– which featured several no turn points– led us to a 15-0 victory.
A second round bye not only gave Brute time for some chalk-talk, but also work on our food catching skills and continue to debate what team hats to order (jury is still out). The second game of day brought us Venus, a new Canadian team, as well as the “showcase field,” featuring New England’s finest rolling hills, dangerous divots and dirt pits. In another very high-spirited game, we stormed to a 15-1 win behind stifling defense, which included a nasty layout D by Courtney “Coug” Verhaalen that earned her Spirit Circle MVP honors– and a Quebec sticker.
We went from a brand new opponent to Hot Metal, a familiar face out of Pittsburgh. Hot Metal has always been a gritty and athletic team and this game showed nothing less; despite earning a 15-4 win, the game featured a lot of scrappy back and forth play.
The last game of the day pitted us against our regional rivals Bent from New York. Despite some roster turnover, Bent was as aggressive and fired up as ever and the final score (15-4) didn’t reflect intensity of game. Increased wind during this round challenged both teams on offense and led to some longer battle points. Game highlights included Shellie Cohen’s monster pull, which set Flannery McArdle for a sick –and very casual– callahan. While Emily Baecher’s previous overnight shift started to show in some less than coherent line calling, it didn’t effect her playing whatsoever, as she ran the show on both sides of the disc with multiple big Ds and several good-looking forehand hucks.
Sunday’s bracket play brought on some additional elemental opponents–from HOURS of rainy downpour to a very hot, humid and sunny final.
Despite the continual downpour, a very athletic and fast Green Means Go came out raring in the quarters game. We traded points early and before pulling away to af 8-2 halftime lead. Adjusting to GMG’s strong offense and effective break throws, our defensive pressure forced them to 3rd, 4th and 5th options, only letting up 1 second half point on way to 15-3 victory.
Apparently bringing the weather with them across the pond, our semifinals game was against Iceni from the UK. It’s always a privilege to get international competition and this game did not disappoint. A very high-spirited, competitive and fun game, we managed to pull out a 15-5 victory thanks to stifling team handler defense that led to countless backfield turns, and fantastic cutting by Chelsea Murphy who had a monster layout grab near the endzone! The post game spirit circle was full of respect and positive remarks from both sides– thanks for coming all the way to Boston Iceni!
After a rainy bye spent eating mini muffins, playing converge under the pavilion and shopping at Target, Mother Nature continued her pranking as the rain stopped, clouds opened and it was suddenly 85 degrees and sunny. We were excited to play Iris for the first time, a new Canadian teaming combining previous teams QUB and Nova, who won NY Invite several weeks ago. Ramping up for Canadian Nationals in August, it was exciting to see such talent early in the season. Breaking to start the game, Iris set the tone with guns out and blazing. After trading points, which included a “no she didn’t” filthy forehand flick from Laura Bitterman to Becky Malinowski, the D-line battled back, earning multiple breaks and a 8-5 halftime lead thanks to phenomenal defensive effort led by Christie Kim who had two massive run through Ds.
Pressuring with another second half break and strong handler movement with impressive inside throws, regardless of the force, Iris refused to go away without a fight. Countless goals by Courtney Kiesow and some buttery handler action by Paula Seville proved ultimately too much for the French-Canadians to handle and Brute closed out the tournament win with a 15-9 victory. After unstoppable offensive play all final long, Becky was awarded the MVP prize from Iris during the post-game spirit circle, which was ironically a pencil.
Thanks to all the parents, friends and significant others who came out and supported Brute at Boston Invite! Sideline celebrities included former coach and Brute Mike Zalisk and Kirsten Unfried on Saturday and former Brute Squad veteran Sara Jacobi who braved the rain on Sunday and is the only reason we had more than one twitter update per game… Additional shoutout to Burt Granofsky for his amazing photos, as well as our in-house photographer, Christie Kim, for capturing this weekend’s highlights!