Men’s Frisbee hopes for return to .500 record

With a full contingent of substitutes for the first time this season, the men’s Frisbee team heads to Seekonk, Mass., for its last fall tournament.

The Huck-a-Hunk O’ Burnin’ Pumpkin tournament on Nov. 2 and 3, hosted by Brown University, marks the end of the team’s fall season. Seekonk lies just 10 minutes from Providence across the Massachusetts border.

But while Yale Superfly will benefit from a deep bench, the absence of Kyle Dunn ’03 will force the team to make adjustments. Dunn will not compete because of personal reasons, team members said.

“Just knowing that we have a full team and knowing that our goal is more than just learning causes an attitude change,” captain Brandon Wu ’03 said. Superfly has three team captains.

With a full team, Yale will have six or seven substitutes. For much of the fall, Yale played with as few as two bench players, contributing to the team’s 10-11 record. The additional depth will improve the team’s stamina, especially in Sunday elimination games, Wu said.

The tournament’s first day features pool play, where teams are split into a round robin format. The top teams advance to Sunday’s single-elimination round.

In Superfly’s last outing, the Purple Valley tournament in Williamstown, Mass., on Oct. 18 and 19, Yale finished with a disappointing 1-4 record.

“Right now, the biggest issue is confidence in our individual players,” Wu said.

For much of the fall, the team experimented with different offensive strategies. At Purple Valley, Superfly employed its zone offense, partially because of the wet weather that weekend.

But to build confidence, recent practices have focused on a simpler offensive system.

“We’ve been asking people to really push themselves,” captain Mike Steffen ’03 said. “This week, we’re going to really focus on being more conservative in our offense.”

The loss of Dunn, one of the team’s best handlers and an integral part of the offense, will be a major obstacle for the team, Wu said. Other players will have to pick up the slack, particularly if Yale runs zone offense. Dunn plays a significant role in Yale’s zone offense.

“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Wu said.

Dunn remains confident his teammates can compensate for his absence.

“We have plenty of key players that can step up,” Dunn said. “I’m not worried at all.”

Yale will compete against Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Swarthmore and Wesleyan this weekend. Brown, Cornell and Harvard will be the toughest teams at Seekonk, team members said. Yale already has faced Brown and Harvard this fall, with mixed results.

Wu said the team hopes to avenge its 11-6 loss to Harvard on Sept. 28 at the Yale Coffee Cup.

This fall, Superfly is 1-1 against Brown, the only other team in the upcoming tournament that Yale has faced so far.

And the competition will be weaker because the University of Massachusetts and Tufts University, both with strong Frisbee programs, withdrew from the tournament at the last minute.

With this tournament being the last of the fall season, team members are already looking toward the spring competitions.

The fall tournaments serve as a warm up for the main events in the spring. During the spring season, each game counts toward a ranking that seeds sectional and regional tournaments. Fall season results only affect admittance to very competitive spring tournaments.

Superfly hopes to raise its record above .500 this weekend, but even if Yale has a poor tournament, the spring season provides a clean slate.

“We’ve definitely improved already,” Wu said. “The change has been pretty big. If we don’t get the results we’re looking for, we won’t be that worried.”

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