Men’s Ultimate Advances to Regional TournamentBy Dean Bolton
The men’s ultimate frisbee A-team advanced to regional play after a successful 5-3 record in sectionals last weekend. Sectionals, held at Tufts University, is the first of two tournaments on the road to the National Championship tournament.
The A-team led by captain Leon Hsu G, and a B-team led by captain Edmund Chou ’02, both represented the Institute competing for the four spots that advance to regionals, the qualifying tournament for Nationals.
The B-team played in a tough pool consisting of Harvard University A-team, Boston University, and Boston College. They played good defense all day and forced the other teams to respect their offensive ability. In pool play they lost to Harvard-A and BU, and then dropped a close game to BC. In the first round of double-elimination play, they faced a strong Tufts squad that played a tough zone defense. They kept it somewhat close, but lost to the more experienced Tufts team. On Sunday, the B-team faced BU again. Due to several injuries the day before, the B-team was playing without any subs. BU was able to pull away and deliver another loss to the B-team, which eliminated them from sectionals.
The A-team’s pool consisted of Tufts, Harvard-B, and Brandeis. In the strong winds on Saturday, the team played mostly zone defense. They handily beat Brandeis 12-4 with great play by everyone, including some impressive throws from Bart Hendriks G and Alex Lian G. Then MIT played a young bunch of strong players on Harvard-B. Harvard-B played well and MIT was trading downwind points with them during most of the game. The score was close up until the very end, when Pat Walton G scored a critical upwinder to give MIT the game, 10-8. During the final game of pool play, the Engineers faced the Tufts squad, which was able to break through the zone defense. Tufts was able to take the game 13-4 and put MIT into the second spot in the pool, despite some excellent play by Frederico San Martini G and others. During the final game on Saturday, MIT faced an athletic BC squad. BC played an unusual German offense that isolated one of their best players, but MIT was able to stifle BC with great man-to-man defense. MIT won the game 11-5 with an impressive upwind score by Hunter Fraser ’01 to finish the day 3-1.
On Sunday, MIT faced its rival Harvard, ranked 14th in the nation, in the first game. Walton played well with several diving defensive blocks and two great throws for scores. The game was extremely close, but MIT lost focus near the end, which allowed Harvard to steal the game 13-9.
After losing to Harvard-A, MIT had to beat BU in order to clinch a spot at Regionals. BU came out fired up and stole a couple of quick points from MIT. Eventually, MIT was able to regain its composure and shut BU down, 15-5. As usual, MIT’s offense was running smoothly, and the defense, anchored by Andy Wong ’01, Chris Wilmer ’02, and Jim Fleming G, won the game, along with a great diving score by Win Chevapravatdumrong ’00.
The next game was a rematch against Boston College. BC came out strong and was leading 7-4 before MIT switched to a zone defense, and went on an 11-2 run to win 15-9 on a give-and-go play between Matthew Secor G and Hsu.
Finally, MIT faced arch-nemesis Harvard again. MIT started off fast with great play by Secor, Thad Matuszeski ’99, and Hsu. Harvard gained some momentum, and tried to dominate the game, but hot defense by Jeremy Lueck ’99 and Dean Bolton ’00, stifled their offense. Unfortunately, MIT wasn’t able to pull back into the lead and lost 13-10.
The MIT A-team finished 5-3 during the two-day tournament, which put them in third place overall. They advance to regionals next weekend, where they will face 15 other teams in a battle for the top two spots which advance to Nationals in Colorado. With superb teams like Brown University, Yale University, and Williams College at regionals, MIT will have to play its best in order to advance. But if the team plays with the intensity that it had on Sunday, then MIT should have a chance to upset some of the big names and advance to the nationals.