On a hot day on Randall’s Island, New York struggled early with throwing miscues and drops in the windy conditions before going on a late run to secure the victory against Philadelphia. New York trailed 9-8 with under three minutes left in the third quarter, when Philadelphia had a chance at an upwind break but turned the disc over on the goal line due to a miscommunication. New York subsequently scored that point, and then captured two breaks in a row to take a lead that they would not relinquish.
The New York offense was led by Taylor Brooks and Sam Little, who combined for 52 completions and only one throwaway, along with the relentless cutting of Markian Kuzmowycz. Little also lifted the offense with four blocks in the first half, when the offense was struggling with turnovers. Jeff Babbitt again had a strong game for the defense, with four goals and three blocks, all of which were in the end zone and prevented Philadelphia goals.
Starting with the first throw of the game, when a simple centering pass by Sam Little nearly went awry for New York, it was clear that the wind would be a major factor in this game. The first half was played entirely as an upwind-downwind affair, with both teams having trouble working it towards the west endzone. Although the wind abated somewhat in the second half, it was still gusting at times and creating challenges for throwers.
New York took an early 3-2 lead with the first upwind score after forcing a stall at midfield. To open the second quarter, New York tacked on two more breaks and threatened to put the game away early with a 5-2 lead. However, Philadelphia showed great poise and patience going into the wind, working it all the way up the field from the back of the end zone to punch in the upwind score. The Phoenix paired that with a downwind break on a great catch by Greg Martin, forcing a New York timeout to regroup after a long point. The timeout failed to stop the bleeding, though, as Philadelphia added another pair of breaks to finish off a four-point run that pushed them to a 6-5 lead. New York ended the run with a smooth downwind hold to even the game heading into halftime.
The second half opened as a back and forth affair until Philadelphia’s aforementioned chance at the upwind goal line in the third quarter. Already with a one goal lead, the Phoenix were on the cusp of taking control of the game when Scott Xu and Marques Brownlee found themselves on different pages and an errant throw landed harmlessly in the end zone. New York worked it down the field to tie the game again, and finally retook the lead on the next point on an upwind score from Josh Alorro to Mike Drost.
Starting the fourth quarter up 10-9, Ryan Holmes intercepted an overthrow on the first pass, which led to another score for Jeff Babbitt as New York pushed its lead to two. Two points later, after a block by Babbitt, New York scored another upwind break that was set up by a deep throw by Josh Alorro. From there on, New York held at least a three-goal lead, as Philadelphia’s break to open the second half would turn out to be its last of the game.
-New York moved to 2-1 on the season and remains tied for first place in the East with Montreal and D.C., who improved to 2-1 as well with victories of Toronto and Ottawa respectively.
-Ben Ivers and Conrad Schloer made their season debuts for the Empire. Ivers was returning from an injury and is one of five players who has been with New York for all five seasons, while Schloer is in his first season with the team and recorded his first block and goal in the same point to push New York’s lead to four in the fourth quarter.
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