Missing several key players, the men’s ultimate Frisbee team struggled in the Purple Valley tournament Saturday and Sunday, finishing with a 1-4 record.

The tournament began well for Yale. Arriving Saturday at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., Yale Superfly won its first game against Williams’ B team.

But then things took a turn for the worst. Yale lost its next four games to Middlebury College, a Williams alumni team, Tufts University and Brown University.

Throughout the fall season, the team has competed without its full lineup at tournaments. This weekend, Yale had only three substitutes.

Two of the team’s captains, Mike Steffen ’03 and Brandon Wu ’03, chose not to play to avoid injury, Wu said. Both will compete in the club national championship in Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 26 and 27.

“We could have played a lot better if we had our full squad,” Oliver Thomas ’06 said.

Wu and Steffen still traveled with the team to offer guidance, Wu said.

Strong freshman play provided a bright spot in the team’s disappointing weekend.

“Overall, despite our weak results, this was a great tournament for our new players,” Wu said.

Yale dominated Williams’ B team 13-3 but then fell to Middlebury 13-6.

Matches at this tournament continued until the victor scored 13 points.

“We played Middlebury close until they switched to a zone defense,” Steffen ’03 said. “Once they made the switch, our offense struggled, and they ran away with the game.”

Yale then lost to the Williams alumni team, the eventual tournament champion, 13-5. Again, Yale struggled to cope with zone defenses, Steffen said.

Yale finished the first day of competition with a 1-2 record.

On Sunday, Superfly played Tufts University, last year’s Northeast regional champions, narrowly losing 17-16. Frisbee games must be won by at least two points or until the victor reaches the cap total, which was set at 17 for this tournament.

Muddy conditions produced many turnovers, but Yale played strong defense, Steffen said.

“This was a great game; we stepped it up a lot from Saturday,” Wu said.

In Yale’s last game, the team took a more relaxed approach against Brown University, who they beat just a week earlier 15-12 at the Fall College Challenge in Devens, Mass. This time, Superfly lost 13-8.

“We weren’t worried too much about results at that point and used the game to experiment and have some fun,” Steffen said.

With a depleted squad, younger and less experienced players stepped up.

“New players got a lot of playing time and learned a lot,” Wu said.

Lynn Kau ’06 and Jordan Barr ’06 had particularly strong tournaments.

“Lynn — had several spectacular diving catches on Sunday,” Steffen said. “Jordan — played really well in the air.”

Despite its losing record, the team remains optimistic about the rest of its fall season.

“Obviously, we’re not getting the results we’d like yet, but I think that we’re still improving very quickly and we’re playing good, tight games against some strong opponents, which is what’s important at this point in the season,” Steffen said.

On Nov. 2 and 3, Yale heads to Seekonk, Mass., to play its last autumn tournament: the Huck-a-Hunk O’ Burnin’ Pumpkin tournament, hosted by Brown University.

For the first time this year, the team expects to compete with a nearly full squad, Wu said.