With the arrival of Spring Break, the Williams Ultimate Frisbee team (WUFO) headed south for its annual training trip and tournaments. The first weekend, Williams competed in the College Easterns tournament at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. This is one of the biggest college tournaments of the year, attracting teams from all over the East Coast and several teams from the West. After a long 14 hour drive, Williams was ready to take on some tough competition for the first time this season.
The first game of the season was against Richmond. Williams came out strong, taking the Spiders 8-1 at the half. The Williams defense proved to be too much for Richmond. Richmond came out strong in the second half and ran up the score to 12-6 until a huge hammer block by Mike Darowish ’98 and a score from Jon Alexander ’00 to Jon Soslow ’99 stopped their momentum. Williams continued to roll and closed off the game with a score from Lyn Debevoise ’98 to Austin Chang ’99. This was the first of three Williams victories of the day.
The next game was against a strong Indiana team who, like Williams, had qualified for College Nationals two years ago. After an inspiring speech from Darowish and Debevoise, Williams came out psyched and ran up the score, playing intense defense and conservative offense. With great play by Dan Niedzwiecki ’99, Tom Grant ’00 and Brian Frederick ’98, Williams once again led at the half 8-1.
This time Williams decided to put it away and rookie phenom Josh Fincke ’99 decided to step it up and single-handedly shut down the whole Indiana offense. Great playing by Bailey McCallum ’01, Duncan Meiklejohn ’01 and Pete Jones ’01 pushed Williams to a sweet 15-5 victory over a demoralized Indiana team.
The third game of the day was against Northeast rival RPI. Both sides played an intense game and the score was close throughout the first half. With a mix of zone and man defenses, RPI tried to shut down the Williams 4-man play; however, experience was on Williams’ side as they patiently broke down the RPI defense. Brian Connors ’00 and Ted Satterthwaite ’00 contributed immensely on defense and offense as the sophomore connection took Williams to half 8-6.
After half, the game was capped at 10 and Williams came out strong to put two quick scores away, with Neidzwiecki and Alexander connecting for both of them. RPI gave Williams a close game and should prove to be a tough opponent throughout the spring.
As a freshman remarked, “I can’t play four games in a row without resting,” Williams began its fourth game of the day against a strong Haverford team. Williams had already made the A bracket, but needed a win for a good seeding the next day. Haverford had just come off a bye and was well-rested. The long drive and lack of rest caught up with the exhausted Williams team and Haverford took advantage. The first half was close with Haverford coming out 4-1 with strong defense, but Williams came back to even it up at 7-7 with a score by Adam Mirza ’00. Williams could only manage one more and the game ended at a 12-8 cap. After a long day of competitive play, Williams ended the day 3-1, qualifying to play Colorado, one of the top eight teams in the nation the next day. Colorado was a large team, with the depth and experience that Williams lacked. Colorado came out hot and capitalized on the inexperience and fatigue of Williams and cruised to an 8-1 half-time lead. Williams managed to score a few more on great team defense and good offense from Neidzwiecki, Darowish and Meiklejohn. The final score was 15-5. This ended the first tournament of the year for Williams.
The following week Williams practiced intensely, and worked on new offensive strategies and better defensive play. Williams managed to scrimmage some good competition during the week including Harvard, Carleton College, and UNCW. First year players Brian Werner ’01 and Art Munson ’01 showed great improvement and played well in the scrimmages.
During the second weekend of Spring Break, Williams competed in a tournament at Clemson, South Carolina. Much of the same competition at Easterns was at Clemson, with most of the top 15 teams present. Williams started the tournament playing an inexperienced Duke team and ran up the score early, taking half 7-2.
Williams had smooth offense and sticky defense, with large contributions from Dan Aurbach ’01, and Jones. Williams showed improvement during the week, making fewer mistakes than the previous weekend. Williams closed out the game 13-4 with solid play.
The next game of the day was against Georgia, a top 15 team. Williams was pumped to play and gave Georgia a great game. In the first half, the score was very close, with neither team holding a lead of more than two points.
The experience and leadership of Debevoise, Darowish, Frederick and Ben Slocum ’98 came through and Williams took a 9-7 lead over a flustered Georgia. With the game capped at 10, Georgia turned up the defense and shut out Williams the last three points of the game. Despite the loss, Williams proved it could play with and beat any team in the nation.
The spring season in the northeast begins next weekend at Yale and then at Albany. With Sectional and Regional tournaments around the corner, Williams is ready to face anyone. In a competitive Northeast region, Williams will try to make it back to Blaine, Minnesota for the College National Tournament in May.