Ultimate Battles Elements in Final Tournament
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
On Sunday afternoon, the Men’s Ultimate team, SERF, was faced with a choice: play one more match in the cold and rain, or leave the Missouri Loves Company tournament at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Like many of the other 40 teams present, they decided to forfeit their final match, finishing the tournament in 25th place with three wins and three losses.
The first match on Saturday was a tough 5-11 loss to Kansas State University. Rough starts to tournaments have shaken the team before, but this time, SERF stayed collected. It went on to win the next two matches of the day, beating Iowa State University 12-8 and Truman State University 13-4.
“We didn’t let that initial loss affect us too much,” said Co-Captain Sam Kaplan ’14. “It was good that we could have a first loss and still come back strong.”
SERF took on Ohio University to end Saturday’s play. Although Ohio took an early lead, SERF was able to tie the game at six. Still, Ohio scored the seventh point first, securing the halftime lead, and they went on to win the game 10-8. Kaplan said, “I think that if we took half, it would have been a different game,” but added, “Ohio’s a team that a lot of people think will get second in our region, so for us to take them that deep, we’re pretty happy with that.”
Sunday started with a game against tournament host Missouri. A win would assure a spot in bracket play and a chance at the finals. SERF beat Missouri soundly, with a final score of 12-6, but it was no easy task. SERF played the match in a crosswind.
Despite the conditions, SERF’s strategies for maneuvering the disc prevailed. “It was nice to see that a lot of our players were really confident in the wind,” Kaplan said. SERF played a final game against Cincinnati University, losing 4-11, before the elements became too much.
Spring is SERF’s official season. “No one is really concerned about the results of the fall tournaments, because it’s not the collegiate season,” Kaplan said. “The only reason we go to this tournament is to get better … This was about knowing that we could perform in the wind and against really high competition.”
Despite the strong performance, the team will need to face some challenges. Last year’s head coach, Brady Meisenhelder, departed after his wife got a job at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Although Logan Rhyne, brother of Co-Captain Jordan Rhyne ’13, was coaching the team in the fall, he will leave the team in the spring to accept a job in Washington, D.C.
Playing without a coach won’t be all bad, though. Co-Captain Rob Heavner ’15 said, “Losing that structure kind of made all of these new possibilities for where we’re going. I think the challenge is figuring out where we want to take the team.”
One place the team hopes to go is Division I nationals. Even though Kenyon is a Division III school, SERF could compete at the Division I level if it wins Regionals in the spring, as it did last year. In the event of a win, the team would likely face Ohio University again. The captains are confident Ohio is a team they would be able to beat.
Although the start of the spring season is not solidified yet, Kaplan believes it could begin with the Music City Tune-Up tournament in Nashville, Tenn. in February. Heavner is hopeful for the new season, saying, “We’re looking forward to the future. I think we have a very bright one ahead of us.