Photo by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com
This season the Vancouver Nighthawks of Major League Ultimate brought in two highly regarded young rookies, and so far they have lived up to expectations. Gagan Chatha, who turned 21 as the seasons started, has steadily improved his play and increased his field time and is now a regular starter on the O-line while totaling 23 goals and 31 points in the regular season, both second on the Nighthawks.
And then there’s Peter Yu, who only turned 21 a few days ago. He has become a key part of the Nighthawks’ D-line, forming a great partnership with Alex Davis doing the marking, Yu shutting down the dumps and swings, and Morgan Hibbert knocking down anything that might get by them down the field. And Yu, though only 5’7″ tall, has become a human highlight reel to boot, as you can see by watching this play, which won him the Innova Throw of the Week Award for MLU Week 7.
And then a few weeks later he did this.[iframe src=”http://gfycat.com/iframe/CaringShimmeringAsianconstablebutterfly” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” width=”628″ height=”342″]
It’s hard to understand why Yu didn’t get another Play of the Week Award this week for a play he made in San Francisco last weekend. I can only guess that he confused those making the choice by combining a fantastic layout catch and an amazing throw in one play, so they didn’t know which one to give him. See for yourself. [iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/UpKqx3iUvEU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen]
To fully understand how great this play was, you need to know how bad the conditions were during the game. Not only was the wind very strong, blowing in over Yu’s left shoulder on this play, but it was also extremely gusty and variable, making even the simplest throw hard to complete. Neither team had a Completion Rate of much over 80% for their passes in the game.
After Morgan Hibbert’s short pass is pushed away by the wind, Yu has to lay out fully, but he still makes the fingertip trailing edge catch with his left hand and then quickly pops up. There’s a saying in Ultimate, ‘Good Catch, Bad Throw’, which encapsulates the tendency for players who have just made a great catch to then throw the disc away, but apparently it doesn’t apply to Yu. He sizes up the situation, spots teammate Takuya Saito streaking towards the far side of the end zone, and launches a perfectly weighted OI sidearm that uses the wind to curl around the defender and gives Saito the chance to make a nice catch of his own for an important goal. The Nighthawks eventually won the game 17-15 to cap the season with a four game winning streak.
Yu and his teammates are busy preparing for Saturday’s Western Conference Final between Vancouver Nighthawks and Portland Stags in Portland at 7 p.m. PDT.
If you’re going to be in Portland, you can buy tickets for the playoff game here.
Otherwise you will be able to watch a live stream of the game here.