As host of this weekend’s Sectional Tournament the Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization was particularly happy for the sunny, if somewhat belated, arrival of spring. Perhaps the strongest overall field in recent memory, nine teams attended, competing for four spots at next weekend’s Regional tournament. Seeded third, behind Middlebury and UMass, WUFO strapped it on for their first game against the scrappy UVM team.
Although the team was somewhat concerned about playing in decent conditions, the first point allayed those fears as only four passes were needed for the score. The disc only touched junior hands: Pete Jones ’01 threw to Duncan Meiklejohn, who quickly connected with Matt Wessler ’01, who hit the speedy Yang Wang ’01in the endzone.
The next point progressed rather more slowly as Williams relied on tough lay-out defense from sophomore Craig Tamamoto to compensate for some rash red zone play. Fortunately, the defensive intensity of these early points set the tone for the entire day, with WUFO players frequently diving past (and sometimes into) opponents.
The rapidly maturing freshmen continued to impress, as Ian Warrington threw to Jeremy Reburn for a score.
A wizened old Britton Mann, fifth year senior, showed that he wasn’t quite ready for the convalescent home with several nice defensive plays and the offensive acumen to run a set scoring play off a time out.
Pat Foyle ’01 also demonstrated his leaping ability, leaving his stumpy defender behind to sky for a lackluster long throw from Jones.
After halftime, Williams destroyed the UVM zone and Redburn returned the scoring favor to Warrington. UVM closed to within three points on several occasions, but Chris Durlacher ’03 was there to answer, having finally gotten his bearings on the angle of the field. Durlacher threw a score to lightning-quick Rob Gonzales ’03, and then, after Meiklejohn’s acrobatic catch of a Wessler blade, ran onto the winning score to finish the game 11-7.
The next game, against UMass, also began auspiciously when Alan Baldivieso ’01 leapt cat-like to snatch a scoring throw from Meiklejohn. The teams traded points to 3-3, with Foyle showing a willingness to match risky hammer throws with UMass, and Tamamoto hitting Gonzales in the endzone.
UMass pulled ahead to take half 7-4, but not before Baldivieso lobbed one deep to standout rookie Matt Student ’01. In the second half, Meiklejohn had a gorgeous scoring throw to Wessler, and then played middleman between Bailey McCallum ’01 and Mann to bring the game within two points. Despite consistently strong team defense, UMass battled for the 10-6 victory.
Playing for the third place spot against Amherst (losers of the other semifinal against Middlebury), WUFO had some unfinished business. In the fall, Williams had suffered a shocking loss to that “other school,” and – though not wont to slip into traditional rivalries – WUFO was primed and ready to eviscerate (figuratively) Amherst.
So, like wily pool hustlers, WUFO let the Jeffs score the first point for false confidence, before proceeding to take the next nine for themselves. The dominance began with a series from Mann to Redburn to Baldivieso, and continued with careful upwind offense.
Layout defense from Jones, more smart zone offense with McCallum at the helm, and an endzone rip by Meiklejohn took the game to half 7-1.
A layout by Dan Auerbach ’01 set up the final score by a horizontal Baldivieso from Meiklejohn. The dismantling was over, but not before Williams had shown the direction their play can take next weekend at Regionals.