The Eighth Man

Boston Rides Off With Benepe Trophy

Credit: Mike Iadevaia

Credit: Mike Iadevaia

The first 11 games of the Boston Night Riders’ championship run all looked pretty similar.

Taking control of the game from the gate, Boston would comfortably take a lead and never look back. The Riders never played a snitch-range game. The team was never forced to switch into the dual-male beating set many thought it would try before the season started.

The Night Riders were never truly tested.

Until they met the Titans for one final clash.

When the Night Riders won their last two games en route to a perfect 13-0 season, it took everything the team had to take down New York in a Titanic rematch.

In the teams’ previous meeting two weeks prior to championship weekend in Toledo, the Night Riders dominated the Titans. Poor management by a New York team that was missing coach Michael “Yada” Parada led to lopsided scorelines that weren’t indicative of the potential of the Titans.

With Parada back from Portugal to control substitution patterns and Kyle Jeon making his lone appearance of the season, the Titans made Boston’s sweep look as tense as a seven-game series in the NBA Finals.

Throughout the summer both New York and Boston avoided displaying some of their best strategic lineups. The Titans typically kept Parada and Augustine Monroe on separate lines throughout the regular season, and Boston strayed away from using a dual-male beating set with Max Havlin and Andrew Miller for any sort of extended periods.

With all the chips on the line, each team threw any restraint it had out the window in attempts to go home with the Benepe Cup.

During the series in Boston, Monroe severely underplayed himself. Saturday, Parada wouldn’t let that be the case. Playing significant time on pitch with fellow All-Stars Parada and Lindsay Marella, Monroe earned a hat trick in each game and three assists in the first.

Though Boston didn’t have to throw its strongest beating pair at New York during the regular season, with Jeon in attendance, the Night Rider’s weren’t afforded that luxury.

In the USQ season, Jeon’s beating with New York University notably gave the likes of Havlin and other Bostonian beaters fits. The MLQ Championship was no different.

After Boston pulled out to a 30-0 lead in the first game, Jeon subbed on and outplayed Havlin much in the way Havlin had outplayed everyone else in the league.

Once Havlin’s normal beating partner Lulu Xu was replaced with a larger, more-athletic Andrew Miller, the beating game tilted to a more balanced state, but the chasing game began to lean in New York’s favor.

After a potential game-winning snitch grab by Andrew Zagelbaum was questionably called off late in the game, Harry Greenhouse helped Boston escape the close call with a timely grab to give Boston the 140*-90 win.

The second game of the series played itself out similarly. With Parada and Monroe on the same line for large portions of the game, Boston’s most efficient line of Tyler Trudeau, David Fox and Jules Baer was forced to go back and forth with the Team USA chasing pair.

As the snitch entered the pitch, the descending sun behind Boston’s hoops forced Monroe to slow the Titan’s offense and the game saw fewer possessions as Zagelbaum and Greenhouse once again battled to catch the snitch.

Ultimately, it wasn’t Maryland’s Greenhouse, who helped the Terps record a perfect SWIM record the 2014-15 USQ season, but the rangier Trudeau who put a bow on Boston’s perfect season.

One final 120*-90 victory had Boston riding off into the Toledo night with the Benepe Cup, despite playing a pair of games that defied expectations.

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  1. Pingback: Dear Boston, | Paulina M. Pascual

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