Photo by Rodney Chen – Ultiphotos.com
Ultimate is a sport of big moments – the long downfield huck, the layout goal, the end zone sky and the list goes on. Over the past four years of Major League Ultimate, those moments have been captured by our partners at Ultiphotos. In our new series, Caught in Action, we will look at some of the great moments from MLU’s history and how they have been captured by the talented photographers at Ultiphotos.com.
Today we look back at a critical moment from the final week of the season, as captured by photographer Rodney Chen. The final game of the 2016 season for both the visiting Vancouver Nighthawks and the San Francisco Dogfish would not have any effect on the grand scheme of things in the league. Both teams had been eliminated from the playoffs in their first season under new coaches. They had previously met twice before, with each team winning one of the game. So this Week 11 matchup was about pride and ending the season with a win.
The Nighthawks came out firing, doubling up the hometown Dogfish in the first quarter, 8-4. Not willing to let the visitors come and stomp them on their own turf, the Dogfish came fighting back, closing the gap to a three goal deficit by halftime, 11-8. Having stopped the bleeding by halftime, the ‘Fish looked to make their move in the third quarter, and sure enough they ended up with the disc in the final seconds of the quarter, only down a single goal. As time wound down, San Francisco moved the disc downfield, finding rookie standout Daniel Naruo on the far sideline with just about 20 seconds left on the clock. Looking to tie the game before the buzzer, Naruo fired a beautiful 40-yard flick down the sideline for the streaking Gabe Saunkeah. Saunkeah, the team’s top scoring threat was able to establish his position and score the tying goal, despite getting fouled from behind.
As Saunkeah extended his arms for the disc, nearly getting tackled from behind by the Vancouver defender, Chen snapped the shot and forever captured the look on both players’ faces. The Dogfish would go on to take the lead and win in the 4th quarter, ending their 2016 season on a high note. (BOXSCORE – WATCH GAME)