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Women's Ultimate Team Finishes Ninth at Nationals

By Olivera E. Kesler
Team Member

The women's ultimate team finished a solid 2410 spring season with a ninth place overall finish in their first ever appearance at the National College Ultimate Championships at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota last weekend.

The team, in only its third year of existence, qualified for nationals by finishing in third place at the Northeast Regional Championships on May 2 and 3. The top 12 women's and men's college teams from around the country qualify to play in the National Championship tournament.

The team played very well, and compiled a 23 record for the weekend, including a win over one of the teams that made it to the semi-finals of the tournament.

The tournament format consisted of two pools, each with six teams. Each team played five games Friday and Saturday, one each with each other team in the same pool. The top two teams in each pool advanced to the semi-finals and finals on Sunday morning. MIT was seeded fifth out of the six in their pool.

MIT's first game in pool play was with second seeded Yale University, who had defeated MIT 155 in the semi-finals at regionals four weeks ago.

MIT came out very flat, and quickly got themselves into a 05 hole. At that point, they started to get back into the game, and threw a lot of solid clam and 1-3-3 zone on defense to take 14 of the next 20 points, to win the capped game 1411 in the end.

MIT's lifetime record against northeastern powerhouse Yale had previously been 03, and MIT had never scored more than 7 points in a game against Yale.

MIT was inspired by coach James Sarvis' G show of solidarity in helping the team strike a symbolic blow against patriarchy by wearing a dress while coaching MIT at the tournament.

MIT's second game was against fourth-seeded Indiana. The teams started the game by trading downwind goals.

While working the disc successfully through Indiana's zone defense, one of MIT's poppers, Jessica Young G, was knocked over from behind by one of the Indiana players and had to sit out with a facial injury.

Indiana took the next four points, to take a 51 lead. MIT again tried to claw their way back into the game, but most of the remaining goals of the game were scored downwind by Indiana.

MIT was unable to convert enough of their upwind opportunities, and the closely contested game finished with a final score of 15-11 in favor of Indiana.

The third game was on saturday morning against sixth-seeded Rice. The start of the game was delayed by 90 minutes because of lightning.

MIT played mostly zone defense, and scored all of the upwind goals in that game, for a final score of 13-4. Unfortunately, MIT experienced several injuries during the game to add to those from the previous day.

The fourth game was a hard-fought game to go to the semi-finals versus the third seed University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Both teams needed to win the game to advance to the semi-finals.

Once again, MIT came out to an early deficit as they were caught off-guard by UNC-Wilmington's frequent fouls and didn't call enough of them. After going down to a 14 deficit, MIT got back into the game and tied it up at 44. UNC then took the half 75, and a series of tactical errors combined with fatigue took MIT out of the game.

UNC-Wilmington won the capped game 115, ending MIT's bid for the semi-finals. UNC then lost to Yale in the next round, so Yale advanced to the semi-finals with a 32 record; their only 2 losses coming from Stanford and MIT.

MIT's final game was against first seeded Stanford, who was 350 for the spring season at that point. MIT fought fairly hard and made Stanford work for every point, but Stanford took an early 41 lead.

MIT scored several points on full-field throws, and even managed to score one of their points using a new type of offense learned from the Swedish National Team.

They even managed to work the disc all the way to the upwind goal line against Stanford on several occasions, but in the end MIT scored only four downwind goals, and Stanford took the game 134.

The Stanford team went on to win the National College Championships, and they have now won 60 games in a row over the past two years.

Overall, the weekend was very successful, and all of the team members had a lot of fun, played very solid ultimate, and showed the other teams that MIT can perform well among the best college ultimate teams in the nation, despite the relative inexperience of the team. Next year, the team will be looking to return to nationals and to perform even better there.