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Ultimate Falls Short in Quest for Nationals

By Mike Jones
Team Member

The ultimate team traveled to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst last weekend to play in the college regional tournament. Sixteen teams qualified for regionals by doing well at one of the four sectional tournaments the previous weekend.

The region MIT extends from New York to Canada. The MIT squad entered regionals as the fifth seed based on its record in earlier spring tournaments.

The regionals tournament were double elimination; the top three finishers will go national championship at the end of the month. MIT entered the tournament with intentions of qualifying for nationals.

On Saturday, MIT squared off against the University of Vermont for its first game. The MIT players expended very little energy in jumping out to a 60 lead. After that they were content to trade points with Vermont, and cruised to a 137 victory.

Next up for MIT was fourth seeded SUNY-Binghamton. Before the game started, 20 to 35 mph winds began to blow straight down the field. The strong winds dramatically changed the character of the games. Zone defenses became the norm. Upwind goals were rare and were often game breakers. With the wind playing havoc with the disc, MIT and Binghamton started the game by trading downwind goals.

Neither team could work the disc all the way upfield against the heavy winds although both teams came close. The first half ended with Binghamton up 87 in a game to 15.

At the beginning of the second half, MIT finally managed to score an upwind goal, and it looked like victory was near. MIT maintained their lead until late in the second half. However, with the score 1211, the wind let up briefly and Binghamton took advantage to score an upwind goal and tie the game.

Then, with the wind at their backs, Binghamton scored again to lead 1312. The two teams traded points, bringing the score to 1413. Binghamton then scored another upwind goal to win the game 1513.

This was a huge let down for the MIT competitors who had thought they had the game won. It dropped them into the losers bracket and made the path to nationals much more difficult.

The loss to Binghamton set up a third round matchup with Carleton University from Ottawa. MIT wasted no time in scoring an upwind goal against Carleton and quickly got out to a 41 lead.

Carleton was unable to move the disc upwind against the MIT zone. MIT was content to trade downwind goals and ended up winning 1512.

On Sunday, MIT met Harvard University, which had surprised some teams by making it to the second day of regionals. The wind had not subsided and so scoring upwind goals continued to be extremely difficult.

However, MIT came out smoking against Harvard and scored two upwinders in the first half to take an 83 lead. The second half was more of the same as MIT scored three more upwind goals while Harvard was unable to score any upwinders. MIT wound up winning easily 155.

Next up was Williams College, who MIT beaten Williams twice this season. With the wind still blowing relentlessly, MIT seemed to build an insurmountable lead by scoring two upwind goals early in the game.

However, with the score 62 in favor of MIT, Williams mounted a comeback, scoring two upwinders of its own. Williams ended the half with a 87 lead.

In the second half, Williams managed to score another upwind goal and took control of the game. MIT battled hard, but could not manage to score another upwind goal. Williams held on to the lead and won the game 1513.

This loss knocked MIT out of the tournament and ended its season. Williams went on to qualify for the championship along with Yale and Cornell. The MIT ultimate team ended the season with an 18102 record and ranked 20th in the nation.