UDU smashes expectations at UTD tournament

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Photo by Patrick Vitale

The University of Dallas Ultimate club (UDU) had an impressive showing at the Ultimate 101 Tournament hosted by UTD on Oct.19 and 20. Both teams performed well, playing a total of seven games over the course of the weekend; the men won five, while the women won three.

UDU attends the challenging  Ultimate 101 tournament annually, where UDU typically faces off against larger schools with bigger programs. This year, superb team chemistry and hours of practice produced an especially successful outing.

The men’s and women’s teams, Vortex and Vitality, respectively, broke seed with their overall records for the weekend. Prior to competition, the tournament seeding placed Vortex at 16th out of 20, and Vitality at eighth out of 15. By then end of the tournament, Vortex placed 11th and Vitality took seventh.

On the men’s side, the tournament began with a rocky start as the UD team fell to Abilene Christian University, despite a pair of diving catches from John Key and James Dougherty to open the match. 

Recovering from the rough beginning, the men’s squad rallied to beat Texas A&M’s B team, and carried this momentum into the rest of the day’s matches, defeating Rice University’s X team and UTA. After an initial loss against club team Glycerin on Sunday morning, UD managed to win victories over Rice’s Y team and SFA, closing out the weekend well above their initial seed in the tournament. 

According to senior captain John Lowrie, highlights from the games included skilled disc-handling from Key and the defensive prowess of Dougherty and junior Greg Vanderheiden, both of whom forced turnovers with multiple diving swats. 

“Amazing job from everyone,” said Lowrie. “We finished above our seed against good competition. The future is looking really bright for UDU.”

The club’s lineup this year includes many new players whose skills and spirit were instrumental to the team’s victories. Sophomore captain John Key highlighted the impact of the solid contingent of freshman players.

“I was pleased to see the freshmen step up, and we wouldn’t have done as well in the tournament without them,” Key said.

The women’s team is also looking forward to a bright future as indicated by their remarkable success despite having significantly fewer players than the opposing teams. After losing well-fought matches against UT and club team Chickflicks on Saturday, the team mustered up a huge win against Rice and followed up with another victory over TCU. 

Overcoming a tragic loss in overtime to Baylor and another close defeat to Texas A&M, the UD team finished Sunday strong with a decisive win over UT Dallas. 

Sophomore Sarah Evans and senior Abby Thorpe led their team to success with impressive disc-handling. All the team members contributed their tenacity and skill, even while playing “savage,” that is, without any substitutions. Sophomore Juliette Judge emphasized the impact that the squad’s chemistry had on their impressive showing.

“I feel super grateful to play with such a great group of girls who despite not having any subs just played completely savage the whole time,” said Judge. “We played seven games in two days, and they gave their all the whole time. It’s inspiring.”

“I am so incredibly proud of my girls,” wrote UDU president Abby Thorpe. “I asked so much of them to play without any subs against teams of 10 to 20 players. We went on to beat teams with bigger programs and give great competition to those we lost. This is my last 101 tournament and I could not be happier with the results from both guys and girls. I’m going to get sappy: this team is so important to me and I can’t wait to compete with them in the spring season.” 

The club’s promising team will continue to prepare for the beginning of the regular season in the spring.

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