[b]Men’s Semifinal Classic[/b]: The New England Freeze and the defending champions, New York City played an overtime thriller last night. The match was a see-saw affair with NYC establishing an early lead and NE rallying in the second half. NYC was able to hang on for a tie in regulation despite NE having a 6 on 4 advantage in the closing minutes. In overtime the game appeared to be headed to penalty throws with only an end of game 9 meter free throw left. The Freeze’s Marco Betsch, however, was able to find an opening in the wall to score the winning goal. New England will take on Los Angeles, which easily dispatched Houston 23-17
[b]Men’s Semifinal Classic #2[/b]: I was focused on the NE-NYC match, but right next to us on the center court, Miami and Denver needed penalty throws to decide who would advance to the Men’s Open Finals. Miami was the victor and they will face Minnesota in the finals.
[b]Women’s Final[/b]: This year’s final will feature the defending champion Chicago Inter and last year’s 3rd place side, the Houston Firehawks. It should be an interesting match with contrasting styles. Houston plays a fast paced game while Chicago Inter plays a more traditional half court game.
[b]Why crossover games are important[/b]: Today’s men’s elite finalists both placed 2nd in their respective pools. LA lost to NYC and NE lost to Houston in pool play. Both sides, however, won in the semifinals where it counted. A format without crossovers would have pitted NYC and Houston in the final.
[b]A very quiet town hall meeting[/b]: USATH GM Steve Pastorino and Board Chairman Dieter Esch spoke for about 25 minutes to around 50 members in attendance. A few details concerning U.S. National planning were revealed/confirmed. Resources are focused on 2016 Olympic qualification, but U.S. players will be allowed to self-finance an attempt for 2012 qualification. The first step in that process will be qualification matches vs. Canada later this year. It was also announced that there are preliminary plans for a USA match prior to the 17 July, Poland-Germany match in Chicago. As to why the meeting was quiet?: Only one question (where will Nationals be next year?) was asked by the audience. The answer for that question is TBD, but the plans are for May next year. I was a little surprised at the disinterest shown, but perhaps everyone is getting their questions answered offline.
[b]A chat with the AAC Rep[/b]: I sat down for a short interview with David Thompson, the men’s Athlete’s Advisory Council (AAC) Representative. As the AAC rep David also sits on the Board of Directors. We discussed his role and his position concerning the decision to not provide financial support to 2012 qualification. This interview as well as the town hall meeting will be posted later.
[b]Live Broadcasts[/b]: The men’s and women’s elite finals will be broadcast live today at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM (Pacific Time (GMT-8) today. Kenn Tomasch will do the play by play and yours truly will be providing the color commentary.