By Nicole Ramsey
The East Field was overflowing with excitement and cheers from spectators and players who attended the Sean Ryan Collegiate Ultimate Frisbee Tournament last weekend. The event brought together 29 schools, nearly half of which hailed from California. Not even the rain or the cold could stop the Slugs from coming out to compete.
Both men’s and women’s teams participated, using the tournament as a fundraiser and a way to get rookies acquainted with the game.
“This sport combines elements of soccer, basketball and a little bit of football,” senior men’s captain Nick Chapman said. “I think it draws out a lot of ex-athletes who played these sports in high school.”
The women’s ultimate frisbee club, which goes by the name of Sol, is trying to rebuild their team due to the loss of several senior players from last year and the addition of many rookies. Even though this is the women’s second tournament of the year, some rookies are still trying to grasp the experience of playing in a real game.
“I felt so nervous,” Jo Bulmer, transfer student from the UK, said. “There is always pressure in these tournaments to play well.”
Because the women’s coach was unable to be at the tournament, old teammates who came to watch ended up stepping in as temporary coaches and cheerleaders.
“It has been difficult for us this quarter because our new coach also works full-time and isn’t always able to come to our weekly practices,” junior captain Joy Stanistreet said. “The captains have been leading practice and our coach tells us what to work on. Hopefully we will have more coaching later on heading towards our season.”
The women’s team, which placed 12th in the tournament, is finding a way to make the most of the high number of rookies this year by staying optimistic and teaching the new players everything that the older players have learned over the years.
Even though the weather was unpleasant and it started to drizzle, the Slugs kept their spirits high and played hard until the end.
“We played well,” coach Daryl Nounnan said. “We played very good defense and we are certainly one of the favorites to win.”
While the men didn’t end up taking the tournament, either, they had a strong run and made it to the semifinals, finishing with a 5-1 record.
“We just want to practice together as a team in the tournament, which you can’t replicate in practice,” Chapman said. “There is a huge difference between playing against another university with your team at the sideline, and at practice.”
While the men’s and women’s teams have their differences, they still share some of the same goals and expectations for their teams and the legacies they wish to leave.
“Our goal for this team is to make nationals,” Chapman said. “We have maybe eight seniors who have all been playing with each other for four years and it would be a great way to end our career here.”
As for the girls, they are hoping that the rookies will learn to love the sport as the veterans do and bring their own energy to the team.
“The rookies will be the ones who carry on our team after we graduate,” Stanistreet said. “It seems that this year we already have a lot of people who are already committed, which is really good. I’m optimistic about our team this year.”