Forced by the rain to implement its zone offense, the Yale Superfly men’s ultimate frisbee team entered the Fall College Challenge in Devens, Mass.
But the zone offensive shift was not enough, and Yale found itself winning just one of its four Saturday games.
The team’s lone victory came over the University of Vermont 11-5. Yale fell to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 11-9, the University of Massachusetts 11-6 and Boston College 13-11.
The weather was a major factor. Yale chose to play zone offense because of the rain, and the setup handled zone defenses successfully, co-captain Brandon Wu ’03 said. But in tight games, Yale struggled to put competitors away.
“We’ve been having trouble closing out games,” co-captain Mike Steffen ’03 said.
After a disappointing Saturday, the team bounced back on Sunday against Brown University in the pre-quarterfinals.
“Brown historically is a very good team,” Wu said.
Again, Yale found itself in a close game but prevailed 15-12.
“It definitely surprised people,” Steffen said.
After defeating Brown, Yale faced Williams College in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the Yale Coffee Cup contest from the middle of September. And once again, Yale found itself on the losing end to Williams, falling 15-7. With only two substitutes for the entire tournament, fatigue set in.
“We were pretty gassed,” Steffen said.
Josh Cohen ’04 and David Chu ’04 had solid tournaments. Cohen played strong defense and played nearly every minute of all five games.
“Josh [Cohen] has been training really hard — he was unbelievable,” Wu said.
After a tough Saturday, Chu picked up his play with several diving catches on Sunday, Wu said.
After losing seven seniors to graduation, all integral to the team’s offense, Yale is dependent on both veterans and rookies to fill in the gaps this fall.
“We graduated a lot of people last year, and we’re really just looking for people to step up into their new roles on the team,” Steffen said.
Though the team’s offense is not at last year’s level, the defense is strong. Aggressive defense will be Yale’s trademark, and the team has the potential to be the best defensive team in the northeast, Steffen said.
The Fall College Challenge was Yale’s third tournament this fall. On Sept. 14 and 15, the team competed in the Metro N.Y. Sectionals, competing in Division II and going 6-1 with victories over Columbia’s A and B teams, Fordham, Vassar, SLIPdisc, and the Bronx Zoolanders. The team’s only loss came to a New Haven club team.
On Sept. 28, the team hosted the Yale Coffee Cup. The team went 1-2 with a victory over Rochester and losses to Harvard and Williams. Williams, the eventual tournament champion, escaped with a 1-point victory.
This weekend, the team goes to Williamstown, Mass. for Purple Valley, a tournament hosted by Williams.