Surf and Turf -- Day 1 at the USAFL Nationals

It’s taken 17 years for the USAFL Nationals to come back to California.  After the opening day of competition here in San Diego, no less than six Golden State based sides are poised to bring home the chocolates.  A new champion looks to be crowned in Men’s Division 1, an All-Canadian Grand Final has been avoided on the Women’s D1 side, and still many Grand Final spots are up for grabs as we head into Nationals Sunday.  In addition history was made when three women’s clubs – Texas, Los Angeles, and Seattle, all won their first games in their respective divisions.

Links: Scores/Schedule | Ladder

Don’t forget that the Men’s Division 1, 2, and 3 Grand Final, as well as the Women’s Division 1 decider will be streamed live on Go Live Sports Cast, link below.  Coverage starts at 1pm USPDT on Sunday (7am Monday morning AEDT).

>>NATIONALS SUNDAY LIVE<<


MEN’S DIVISION 1

After lurking in the shadows since their ascension to Division 1, the Los Angeles Dragons have finally come out breathing fire, turning aside the New York Magpies, then the two-time defending D1 champions from Austin, to put themselves in a prime position for their first ever D1 Grand Final.  The 2-0 Dragons can take out Pool A with a win at 10am over Baltimore-Washington.  Should the Eagles derail the Dragons, however, then the winner of the 11am game between New York and the Crows will have a play at getting in on percentage.

Over in Pool B, the Golden Gate Roos came in and made workmen like work of the Dallas Magpies and Calgary Kangaroos to top the group after the first day.  The Roos don’t play until Noon on Sunday, but a win over the 1-1 Denver Bulldogs will put them into their second straight Granny.  The 9am game between 1-1 Dallas and 0-2 Kangas will mean a lot to the Lone Star State boys, but the Roos’ big percentage advantage may be enough to see them through.

WOMEN’S DIVISION 1

Any thoughts of an All Canadian Women’s D1 Grand Final was dashed early in the morning when the Minnesota Freeze knocked off the Montreal Angels 21-14 in their opening game.  San Francisco would go on to turn aside game challenges from the Freeze and Seattle Grizzlies to go 2-0 without allowing a single point.  With an infinity percentage, even a loss to 0-2 Montreal on Sunday morning wouldn’t keep the Maidens from defending their 2016 D1 title as the winners of Pool A.

Pool B will come down to the Canadian invaders in the Calgary Kookaburras, and the six-time champion Denver Lady Bulldogs, to determine the finalist from that group in a virtual semi-final.  Both teams ended up 2-0 on Saturday with wins over New York and Sacramento, though both teams had tough fights with Calgary holding off Sacto 10-7 and New York holding Denver to a 12-2 win.  The Kookas are still very much in the hunt for their first women’s D1 title in nine seasons.

MEN’S DIVISION 2

The Orange County Bombers and Minnesota Freeze will meet on Sunday morning for tops of Pool A, after both clubs accounted for Boston and Sacramento.  OC last won Divvy 2 all the way back in 2002, while Minnesota are trying for their third flag at this level, winning in 2007 and 2012.  For those of you who believe in numerological omens, tip the Freeze.

Pool B sees Les Saints de Quebec astride the group after victories over Portland and Chicago.  They play 1-1 Houston, and though the Lonestars are a long way back in terms of percentage, a win by them at 10am opens up the possibility of the Steelheads jumping up with a big win over the Swans.

WOMEN’S DIVISION 2

Lead by Simone Shepherd and Lucy Parrington, the Portland Sockeyes/Philly Hawks combo head into Sunday in first place at 2-0 after taking down the Texas Heat (1-1) and L.A. Dragons (1-1) combos by a combined 113-5 total.  They’ll play Columbus/North Star/Chicago (0-2) followed by Baltimore-Washington/Boston (1-1), and straight victories will give the Sockeyes their third D2 Women’s flag on the trot.

MEN’S DIVISION 3

Defeating Columbus and Nashville by a combined 101-3 score line, the Seattle Grizzlies are poised to advance to their first Grand Final since the 2009 D1 decider.  They play the Philadelphia Hawks early Sunday; the Hawks are 1-1 after an up and down day against the Kangaroos and Jackaroos, and will need to do the impossible deed of beating the Grizzlies by a huge margin to give themselves, or possibly 1-1 Columbus, a chance to sneak in from Pool A.

San Diego may make their home Nationals an unparalleled success after going 2-0 on Saturday, beating Arizona and Atlanta/Baton Rouge.  0-2 North Carolina can play the role of spoilers leaving the Hawks/KookaTigers matchup very much in play, but the Lions’ big percentage margin will make things quite difficult.  The Lions, who took out D1 titles in 2001 and 2006, haven’t played in a Granny since they fell to Denver in the 2007 D1 final.

MEN’S DIVISION 4

Two virtual semi-finals await the D4 groups, as Oklahoma takes on Cincinnati/Indy/Cleveland in Pool A, while New York/Portland/OC will face Calgary/Edmonton to settle Pool B.  The Cincinnati Dockers seek their sixth D4 flag.

MEN’S RESERVES

Austin (A) and Golden Gate (B), lead their respective groups after 2-0 performances on Saturday.

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