With the smiling face of Johnny Damon ringed in a triangle leading them on, open club ultimate Frisbee team LOS really stepped up its game at Carolina Sectionals held Sept. 18-19 at North Carolina State University intramural fields in Raleigh.
LOS ended third overall, advancing to the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament on Oct. 9 and 10 and improving on finishes outside the top five in competitions earlier in the year.
“Overall, the team played exceptionally well,” said captain Paul Weeks. “Every tournament has been a step forward, and I think we took one more step at Sectionals.”
On Saturday, LOS won all three games, beating Appalachian State University, Cannibal and XRATES – the last on universe point. Because the tournament launched in bracket play from the getgo, the triumph over the XRATES put LOS into the championship game on Sunday against local rival Ring of Fire.
LOS lost to Ring 15-11, and then lost to XRATES in the second and third-place game.
“Certainly tanking in the 2/3 game will stick with us for a bit, but playing Ring tight for most of the game and making it to the finals in the first place shows the steps we’ve taken to field a nationally competitive team have paid off,” said captain Mike Denardis.
Denardis says that the team did a good job of implementing strategy consistently throughout the tournament.
“We brought the fire and, for the most part, brains in every game,” he said. “Besides a few hiccups, we executed the plan well and surpassed expectations most would have, outside of LOS.”
But LOS even improved off the field. The men worked on team defense and incorporating the eighth man.
“Players on the sidelines did a good job of talking to our downfield defenders as well as the marks,” Weeks said. “We forced a lot of difficult throws, particularly in the Ring game, that led to a lot of turnovers.”
That didn’t leave the defense without its hiccups, however. Both Denardis and Weeks say that the defensive offense needs to concentrate on disc movement.
“We forced a lot of turnovers but were unable to convert on many of those opportunities,” Weeks said. “The O-line needs to stay grounded and focused. Problems arose when we stopped following our game plan.”
Given the team’s youth, LOS’ strides from season’s beginning to now have proved drastic. But on some level, Weeks says the youth has actually worked to better the team.
“The young guys really push the more experienced players by bringing intensity to practices and tournaments,” he said. “There is a lot of bantering between young and old, which creates a competitive atmosphere.”
That being said, part of the team’s success stems from the dedication of local players, both young and old.
“It was so refreshing to have a group that put in the work every week and bought into the system despite our results,” Denardis said. “We knew it was going to be a struggle, but because we stayed the course and put in the work, we are right back to where we should be.”
But despite the weekend’s success, the captains have begun looking forward. The team goal still remains to advance to nationals, and the road won’t be easy.
Any parting words? Denarids: LOS LOS LOS.