Radicals Beat Colorado

Ryan Baker, Journalist 

Breese Stevens Field finally saw the good guys win in a big way on June 14, when the Madison Radicals hosted the Colorado Summit and walked out with a 24-22 win. 

This game was a true testament to what the Radicals have been pushing towards for the last couple of years. They were able to keep their heads in the game throughout the entire night, preventing the Summit from making any big runs. Part of that mitigation was due to a seven-goal and one-assist performance from rookie Pieran Robert.

“Coming into the game, we really wanted to put pressure on, after a Colorado turn. Out on the field I felt like if I continued to run hard and flow with my teammates, I could find some separation. Our handlers were more than willing to play aggressive and give me some really easy catches,” said Robert.

The Radicals arguably won the game in the first half, with six of Robert’s seven scores coming in the first two quarters. A four-break outburst in the second quarter had Madison going into the half up five. However, in classic Colorado fashion, the Summit weren’t going down without a fight. 

“This was a really great win. We haven’t been fantastic in the 3rd quarter this year, even though we did ‘lose’ the 3rd quarter in this game we kept it much closer and kept our focus. We needed a test like this to make sure, as we push later in the season, we can commit to the full game time and not only have hot starts,” said Robert.

A three-point run in the third quarter allowed the Summit to close the gap to four going into the final quarter, and that’s when some Radicals fans started to worry. It was déjà vu from some of Madison’s bad breakdowns in recent history, as the Summit continually put two points in a row on the board, until they were down just  one with about two and a half minutes to go. 

“We’ve frequently been in situations where we’ve squandered 4th quarter leads, so the sideline was naturally a bit tense during those last few points. However, there was an immense amount of focus and emphasis on keeping our energy and emotions up from our coaching staff that really paid off during that late surge by the Summit. All week and during practice, coaches were giving us confidence in ourselves and encouraging us to be the one to step up and lead by example instead of waiting for another teammate to do so,” said Jake Carrico.

Colorado’s Alex Atkins had the disc in the red zone with time winding down when he put up a flick that floated a bit too much as it traveled into the front corner of the endzone. The float was all Carrico needed as he rose up and slapped it away, effectively icing the game and keeping the lead at one. The third of Carrico’s blocks led to a Radicals score, going up two with just under a minute to play.

“Honestly, as soon as I saw my line turn the disc over with a minute left down 1, I was just praying that Colorado would give me a chance to get it back. Atkins had a really impressive game, including roofing me for a block earlier, but as soon as the disc left his hands on that floater to the corner, I knew I was about to make Breese erupt!” said Carrico.

It was some of the best all-around ultimate the Radicals have played all year. Jack Nelson continued his impressive season by adding four goals and two blocks to his resume. Kai Marcus had an up and down game, managing six goals but throwing away the disc seven times in the process. The offense has been at its peak with Marcus at the helm, and he showed up when it mattered, turning it over only once in the fourth quarter.

“We try to meet in the middle. We want him to be aggressive. We give him some autonomy to shoot, but we definitely want a couple of those throws back. We always try to make a distinction between a bad decision and bad execution. If you make the right decision and make a bad throw, we still want to make that throw,” said DeByl. “We definitely want to find a happy medium with Kai as far as his aggression level.”

Meanwhile, veteran Joshua Wilson had a field day by throwing six assists. Veterans like Wilson have helped the younger players develop throughout the year, and that effort was on display this past weekend.

“It’s extremely helpful having a variety of experience on the team. Having 11-year veterans all the way down to us rookies creates a learning environment where everyone is willing to push each other. We are all working towards a common goal and trust each other a lot, which makes it a lot easier to take the field together and have games like this,” said Robert.

Madison needed this win to keep their playoff chances up there with the best of them. They will need to add to this momentum as they enter the toughest part of the schedule for the remainder of the season. At 5-2, just under the first place Minnesota Wind Chill in the Central Division, Madison will have a chance for revenge this upcoming weekend when they travel to Minnesota. 

“The team played really well. We were really happy with the result. I think the Carrico play was great for us to show that we can still make a play late in the game, but we have stuff to work on. I think our O-line didn't perform great in the second half, and that's something we need to work on,” said head coach Tim DeByl.

The Radicals travel to Minnesota Saturday night in a battle for first place. You can watch on WatchUFA.tv!