From the 19th to the 24th July 2016, the European Youth Ultimate Championships 2016 took place in Ghent, Belgium.
The Mooncatchers were present, of course, having no less than 10 of their junior players on the Belgian National U17 team, coached by Christophe Bihin. These players were:
Nicolas Hoquez #18
Benjamin Jonkers #35
Cassandre Tirions #22
Ernest Marczuk #28
Kuba Labaszewski #16
Samuel Kinda #12
Sofiene Bontemps #9
Gaetan Vanden Broeck #42
Corentin Schitecatte #13 (Skywalkers, Mooncatchers)
Nathan Vaiser #27 (Skywalker, Mooncatchers)
After some hard-fought matches, Belgium made it to the quarter finals. The young Belgians won their quarter against Italy 11-9 with some difficulty, when they should have won it more easily. It was not their best match offensively, there were too many small errors, too many "presents" given to the other team, but fortunately they qualified for the semi-final all the same.
The semi against France was a better game than the one they played for the opening ceremony, but the French were really very strong, with a very good flow and rapid distribution of the disc, whether they were playing against a zone or a man-to-man defense. They had quite a few problems playing against the French zone defense, again, which ended in a well-deserved win from the French with a score of 12-8, despite a good fight from the Belgians.
In the other semi-final, Germany was playing Colombia in a very tight and intense game. The Germans played a zone defense during most of the match, which ended up in too many double-teams, too rarely called by the Colombians. The Germans were also a bit close on their marks, especially certain players. One of them in particular was committing a bit too many "wrapping" infractions, contacts as well as straddles.
Despite this, it was a tight game and nice to watch. The tension was tangible on the field, as one could feel that the Germans didn't like the fact that the Colombians were giving them an excellent match-up.
Towards the end of the game, the Colombians set up a zone defense, which put off the Germans quite a bit. The zone was also too close at times, causing double-teams...
One German player in particular let himself get a bit out of hand when he called the double-teams, and the tension kept on building until the last point, the universe point.
The Universe point deserved its name, as it lasted for a long time. There must have been about 5 long stoppages for discussions about contested calls. There were also 2 spirit time-outs, along with some emotional outbursts...
Finally, after about 20 or 30 minutes, the last point was scored by the Colombians! But one or two German players called the Colombian "out" on his diving catch. The entire sideline seemed to agree that the player was inbounds, and after about 2 minutes of vague discussion, one of the German coaches stepped onto the field and raised his arms, declaring the Colombians victorious.
The next day, the Belgians played the Germans for the 3rd place.
Excellent match from the Belgians, one of their best ones with the matches against Colombia and the UK. They played well against the German zone, their offense was efficient and they were going all-out on defense.
The score was 12-9 for Belgium, cap to 13, but from that moment, the Belgians unfortunately never scored that game-winning point. The Germans tightened up their defense, and the Belgians seemed to be paralyzed by the perspective of a medal that was so close, and yet...
It really was a shame, because they deserved the win, and had played an almost perfect match until 12-9. The Belgians did make a come-back, however, and the game ended with a Universe point that the Germans took, for a final score of 13-12.
Finally, I would say that this U17 generation is very talented and that we will hear of these young players in the years to come; they are the star players of the future!
Now, the U20 Belgian Open team must go play their Championships in Wroclaw, Poland.
Come on Belgians and Mooncatchers in the team, shine and keep on gaining experience at the higher international level!
Final ranking: 4th out of 11
Report by Olivier Cassart.