This past weekend, all the best teams in the Northeast gathered in Bowdoin, ME to compete for three spots at nationals. Williams came into regionals as the fifth seed, as a result of last week’s loss to sectional rival Dartmouth. With Williams improving every week, they had their sights set on qualifying for the national tournament.
Their first round opponent was MIT, whom they had beaten easily a few weeks back. The game was short and sweet, with Williams dominating from the beginning. MIT’s hapless defense couldn’t contain WUFO, and Williams easily closed the game 15-2.
The second round was a rematch with Dartmouth. Last week, Dartmouth stole the fourth seed from Williams. WUFO was determined not to let that happen again. The game started out close, with the score going back and forth most of the first half. Dartmouth went on a little run and led at the half 8-6.
Williams wasn’t ready to give in and came out after half-time fired up, going on a 7 point run, which included many long hucks from Dan Niedzwieki ’99 and many patient zone breaks by Lyn Debevoise ’98. Dartmouth tried to throw a zone but great zone offense from Ted Satterthwaite ’00 and Bailey McCallum ’01 kept the Williams offense rolling. After trading a few points, Williams ended the game 15-11.
In winning their first two games, Williams made it to the semi-finals, a game against the top seed Brown. A nationals berth was at stake. Williams had faced Brown a couple times this season, with the last meeting a 12-9 Brown victory.
Despite the importance of this game, Williams made some mistakes and after a few injuries, WUFO decided to let their starters rest and widened up the rotation. Ben Slocum ’98 showed some superb leadership and connected with Duncan Meiklejohn ’01 and Pete Jones ’01 for two Williams points.
Brown cruised to an easy victory over a tired and injured Williams team. With Williams winning two games, they automatically qualified for the back door semi-finals the next day.
The first oppenent on Sunday was an athletic and psyched UMass team. Last year, UMass knocked out Williams in the same game of regionals. This year proved to be different.
On the first point of the game, Satterthwaite got a D-block and Niedzwieki threw it long to Jon Soslow ’99. This set the tone for the entire game. Williams rolled out five in a row before UMass could score. Great defense by Brian Connors ’00 and Mike Darowish ’98 held UMass to three points in the first half.
First year rookie phenom Josh Finke ’99 played an incredible game and scored half of Williams’ first half points with Niedzwieki throwing all four of them. The second half was much of the same. McCallum had a huge endzone D-block and then caught a long forehand from Finke to bring the score to 12-6. Williams faltered a bit near the end of the game, but Brian Frederick ’98 retaliated and caught a forehand from Soslow. Finke closed out the game 15-9 with a long pass to Jones.
The final game of the tournament was the back-door final against Yale. This was the third place game, the winner qualifying for nationals. Yale had beaten Williams earlier in the season. This game was close, as both teams knew what was on the line.
The first few points went back and forth, with Yale going up a break 5-3. Williams offense was flowing beautifully with Soslow catching scores from Debevoise and Darowish. WUFO gained the break back with a great layout D-block from Debevoise. With the score tied at 5, both teams wouldn’t budge. Everytime someone scored, the other team responded. Finke scored on a great up the line trow from Darowish, but Yale scored right back.
At this point, the weather started to turn for the worse and the game was stopped because of lightning. After an hour rain delay and hard fought bickering by Debevoise, play was resumed at the Williams goal line. Despite the delay, Williams came out strong and punched the disk in to even the score 7-7.
Williams turned it up a notch and gained a break on a great point block by Jones with Finke who then connecting with Frederick. At this point, Williams started to get tired as the four man play started to fail.
Yale played intense defense and shut down the first few passes and scored easily. This happened many times as Williams started to fade.
The points were long, and Williams couldn’t afford the long points without substitutions due to injuries. The Williams offense was stagnant as the Yale defense grew tougher and tougher. They closed out the game 15-9.
Despite not qualifying for nationals, Williams Ultimate Frisbee had a very successful season. No one in the beginning of the season expected Williams to go this far after placing eigth at Regionals last spring. Williams fought hard all spring and gained valuable experience for next year.