Team places fourth out of 20 teams in weekend tournamentThis past weekend the University of Maine Ultimate team made its second annual trek to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for a two-day ultimate frisbee tournament known as “Beasterns.” The squad, also known as the “Frozen Fury,” came away with an impressive result, finishing fourth out of 20 teams.
The tournament began on Saturday, where teams played in pool play and then were seeded for the championship and loser’s brackets on Sunday based on the results. UMaine’s team was looking to improve its Saturday play after suffering several tough losses last year, resulting in a trip to the “chumpionship” bracket on Sunday. The squad went on to post four straight victories.
The first game on Saturday pitted UMaine against James Madison University. JMU came right out of the gates, scoring the first point of the match. The Frozen Fury were not to be outdone after letting up the first score and continued to score 15 consecutive points to take the game with a 15-1 final score. Keeping its momentum, UMaine made another great defensive stand, letting up only two points in the next two games against Florida Tech and Georgetown, both resulting in 15-4 final scores.
Great defensive plays helped pump up the sideline of the Frozen Fury while keeping their offense with the disc. Many of the rookies aided in an excellent zone defense, which held UMaine’s opponents to only nine points in four games.
“Personally, I learned a lot from this tournament, especially in terms of playing defense,” said rookie Rob Brouillard.
First-year player Brendan McKay also stepped up with his defensive plays.
“Overall, I feel we left everything on the field down in North Carolina. We played strong and well and that’s why we got to the championship bracket,” he said.
The Frozen Fury closed out their final game Saturday against Middlebury College, winning 15-4.
Coach Anthony Mourino explained that taking advantage of certain opportunities lead to Saturday’s victories.
“The offense capitalized on the competition’s mistakes and the defense forced many turnovers,” he said. “Because of this, the team dominated the competition and they were able to explode on offense.”
After impressive play on Saturday, the team went into Sunday with a first round bye as well as the No. 1 seed in a 20-team tournament. Sunday’s competition proved to be much tougher due to stronger teams and the exhaustion of playing four games the day before.
UMaine came out to a slow start for the first game against the University of North Carolina, but was energized by the stunning defensive plays by Sol Cooperdock and Tyler Gagnon, which powered its offense into taking the win 15-6.
Both Jeremy Baker and Josh Kahn were responsible for making difficult throws that led to scoring on both days.
“I feel like I contributed well. I played at a high level for most of the tournament,” said Jeremy Baker, who went on to receive the Most Valuable Player game disc for stepping up on defense and his endzone scores.
The semifinal game put UMaine against tournament host and defending champions UNCW. Although highly skilled, the UNCW team has a famous reputation of being headstrong and at times downright dirty. Although Josh Kahn was impressive with his full-field throws known as hucks, the Frozen Fury fell to a 15-5 loss after a heated game.
The tournament finished with UMaine against Cornell University, with the winner taking third place. UMaine came out flat, but persevered and put in effort, although the team was deflated after playing six hard games that weekend.
Cornell dissected the zone defense that the Frozen Fury utilized after it had been successful throughout the tournament. Cornell went on with a 15-10 victory, giving UMaine the fourth place spot.
Although the tournament ended in two losses, the UMaine men had no reason to hang their heads.
“Maine ultimate has come a long way in the past couple of years,” Mourino said. “This past weekend in Wilmington is the best I’ve seen Maine play ultimate.”
UMaine looks to continue their momentum this weekend as they head to another two-day tournament hosted by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The team is focusing on the annual sectionals tournament April 17 and 18, which UMaine will host.
Sectionals is the biggest tournament of the year, as there are three bids to go to the regional tournament if victorious. Tom Myers, a fifth-year veteran, is confident in Maine’s ability at the sectional tournament.
“The term ‘turning some heads’ has been used a lot with this team in the past, but based on our performance here I think we can place well and beat some talented teams in our section,” he said.
by Brian Chalifour