Chicago Nemesis: 2013 Team Preview

Chicago Nemesis at the 2012 Club Championships.
Photo by Pete Guion —

With nine players leaving and ten new players joining the roster, Chicago Nemesis will be undergoing some changes in 2013. For many teams, that sort of turnover can inspire fear. For Nemesis, a look at their lineup inspires hope.

That’s because their incoming class includes a Callahan winner, two Callahan top ten finalists, and a great deal of experienced talent.

“One of our team goals is not to just sit on this recognized talent and expect to win big,” said Nemesis’s Carol Li. “With a lot of traveling players from outside Chicago, we’re working hard to make sure we create the chemistry on and off the field that we need to mesh well and have great flow and communication.”

Winning big may get easier when bringing in former Callahan winner Paula Seville (the now-defunct Overhaul), Kami Groom (Team USA U-23 Women’s), and Cassie Swafford (Ohio State, Team USA U-23 Women’s), while reacquiring Lien Hoffman (Northwestern). They also add Becca Ludford (Heist), Jacqueline Jarik (Michigan), Marissa “Jolie” Mead (Zeitgeist), Kelly Bolt, Katie Dyer, and Phoebe Shambaugh (Chicago).

“[Our additions bring] depth in talent,” said Li when asked about their lauded recruiting class. “It seems as if all the new players were college all-stars, playmakers, and game changers. Cuts this year were incredibly tight.”

While they’ll be taking the roster spots of some of last year’s important contributors, like the athletic Megan Tormey and the veteran Val Ngai, Li and the team are focused on how to utilize the skills of their new talent. The Nemesis leadership is excited to tackle the unique challenges of a group like this.

“We’re working to build a team where each player shines in what she brings to the team,” she said. “We all bring very diverse skill sets, but by working together, we can put on a great show.”

The rookies should slot in well with the style of play Nemesis is aiming for. On defense, they’re a very athletic group that prefers to force turnovers rather than waiting for a mistake. Offensively, coach Ron Kubalanza wants them playing clean and structured, going so far as to play “boring.” They’ll be sticking to the fundamentals: hitting the open player, getting smart resets, and switching fields.

The Pro-Elite Challenge at Terminus in Atlanta will give both us and the team the first real look at Nemesis 2013. Expectations are high and the team comes in as the #1 seed in Pool B. Teams are looking to gel and to start making a statement. As a top seed, there will be little room for error if Nemesis wants to avoid scrutiny.

They’ll have the tools to beat anybody in attendance. With physical and athletic players like the hard-as-diamond Kelly Johnson and the grinding Margalit Gould, there won’t be many easy points to be had against Chicago. Lizzy Shiel can also be expected to be a key offensive cog, helping generate disc movement with her field vision.

Like some of the other teams that will be competing in Atlanta, some of Nemesis’s young players will be missing the action for U-23. Swafford and Groom are both on the U-23 Women’s team, meaning they’ll be training with Team USA rather than their new club squad.

Despite those absences, expectations will be very high for Chicago Nemesis. “We’re focusing on what we need to do to play our game, regardless of the other team,” Li explained. “We’re looking to break down mental blocks against teams we’ve never beaten before and to not be afraid to play great.”

All the pieces could be lining up for Nemesis to have the chance to play great, consistently. Terminus will give us a peak into if they have conquered that fear.

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