An intrepid reporter braves the wind, cold, and (her own) mishaps to bring you exclusive D-III coverage from Prospect Park
March 10, 2023 by Fiona "Scotti" Nugent in Recap with 0 comments
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Due to a comedy of errors, most of which my own fault, I was unable to make it to Prospect Park to watch pool play for the No Sleep Till Brooklyn tournament. I was frustrated that I couldn’t give the effort I felt was deserved, not only to my position at Ultiworld, but the teams I love to cover. After all, this is the only local tournament I can easily make it to. So when the clock struck 7 AM Sunday morning, I was ready to go. Here is an anthology of my day, the games I saw, the connections I made, and another reminder why I love this sport and the people who play it so much.
7:15 AM – The Q is Running Local
Good morning New York City! The sun is shining, the high is expected to be 50, and me, my partner and our McDonald’s coffee are on our way to the fields where he will lead the team he coaches in warm ups. Of course we see a flock of college frisbee players on the Church Ave stop and join them in our pilgrimage to the Prospect Park Parade Grounds turf fields. Reviewing Saturday’s women’s pool play results, Wellesley commandingly won their pool, while Cornell broke seed to take pool B and Harvard swept pool C. Williams and Columbia A were certainly competitive in their pools as well, going 2-1, and were slated to face off in the 8:30 AM quarterfinal game, with Cornell facing Wesleyan at the same time. The bracket had changed around a couple times since Saturday afternoon, so Harvard, Bates, Wellesley and NYU got to sleep in for their first round byes and play their quarterfinals at 10 AM.
8:40 AM – Sunday Whites
The Williams-Columbia A game was already underway by the time I got to the fields, so I quickly got my little notebook out to chat with the Williams coach, Garrett Clay. He was excited to highlight the players who’d developed their skills playing on Starling this past summer, and their improvement certainly showed. The Nova D-Line was commanded by senior captain Lauren Lynch, who was unafraid to huck in the wind and knew her receivers well, often finding the hands of Lauren Ryan. On offense, Coco Rhum was dynamic in her athleticism, including a chest-high layout to maintain possession on the last point. Columbia made Williams work for every point, with notable defense from Tien Lardner, and a heads-up layout grab by Nina Haskins to maintain possession after a Williams block was taken by the wind. D-line handler Lily Bresee managed to pilot Curbside to a couple breaks, but their offensive line couldn’t return the favor.
Ultimately, Williams just wanted the win more. Each defender was right on their mark’s hip, punishing any second-guessing with run through blocks, and coming down with floaty throws. Rhum and Lucy Grossbard worked the disc patiently through Curbside’s zone set each offensive point, and the Nova sideline supported with their energy to win 8-6 and go into their bye.
10:13 AM – What Would Mike Ball Do?
My dear friend and fellow D-III editor asked me to get some intel on Bates men’s team to help place them on our Power Rankings. I was more than happy to oblige and popped over to watch Bates play Columbia in their quarter final. The contrast in the teams’ styles of play certainly made for a tight game. UpLo rely on structure and set roles, while Bates played with quick, around backhand breaks and hammers into their end zone. Bates’ Daniel Snider was like an airbender with the disc, putting up bladey OI flick hucks directly into the hands of Zach Van Dusen over and over, capitalizing on their height advantage over the Columbia defenders. Snider worked with Ben Fasciano and sophomore handler Eric Treyz to quickly work through Columbia’s defensive zone, however heads-up defense from Aaron Bruce resulted in blocks to help Javier Dobles work with Benji Waltman convert any low-percentage throws into Uplo goals.
Columbia took half 7-5. The handler-cutter combo of Luke Holtzman and Bernard Wang worked in tandem to move the disc to the end zone through the wind, with Wang coming down with grabs under double coverage. Coming out of half, Bates were able to come back up with two breaks to tie the score, but ultimately Columbia were able to punch in a downwind hold to take the quarterfinal on universe.
10:57 AM – The Best Jerseys at the Tournament
If you’ve ever listened to Laying it Out, you’d know that I am passionate about jersey designs,1 and I was enamored with Tufts B’s pinstripe jerseys from the second I arrived at the turf. I asked the “eboys” for a picture of their jerseys, and they were more than happy to oblige, plus showed me their arguably even-cooler whites. I assured them they’d get a shoutout in my article for winning my award for “Best Jerseys at the Tournament.”
Who knows, maybe someday I’ll do a piece on cool team jerseys, so please feel free to send them my way!
11:30 AM – New England Forever
Yes, I am biased so this game was my Super Bowl. I knew that Williams Nova facing off against the Wellesley Whiptails for their second time this tournament would be the game to watch. Nova coach Garrett Clay told me earlier in the day that it was Wellesley’s buy-in that won them the pool play game, but now Williams knew their system. Excited to see the Nationals runners-up play in person, I curled up on a top bleacher to watch the game.
Wellesley immediately broke Williams’ defensive line with a quick block and conversion into the end zone to start the game, but Williams’ offensive line handler set of Nina Kolman and Lucy Grossbard went every other to quickly hold and tie the score. The next couple points involved a number of blocks and overthrows that caused possession to change multiple times, but both teams held and the score remained tied. Leah Black piloted the Whiptail’s offense through the Williams zone, but a miscue was capitalized on by Lauren Lynch with a huck to the end zone, directly into the hands of her receiver to bring the score back on serve. Tess Dolan responds with another hold, and Wellesley’s D line breaks again to bring the score to 4-3. The wind is picking up, and I’m certainly getting cold, so it is no wonder every throw is so hotly contested. Up until half, the teams trade holds, with Dolan padding her stats by receiving the majority of the goals and Black continually finding her in the tightest spots.
“How tall is that player?!” quipped a pickup football player watching the game next to me, waiting for his field permit to start. “She’s jumping higher than I can!”
Wellesley take half, but Williams are fired up. They’re coming out on defense, determined to get the disc back and score. Considering how long the game had already been, cap was sure to go off soon. Nina Kolman switched over to the Nova D-Line to assist in driving the offense once Nova generated a turn. With the score 7-8, Kolman catches a crucial score to break and tie the game right as cap goes off. With the Whiptails receiving the disc on offense, Wellesley are able to hold and finish the game 9-8. With both teams in the powerhouse New England region, we are sure to see them face off again multiple times this season and continue to push each other to greater heights.
12:57 PM – Across the Universe (Points)
In search of warmth and more sunshine, I wandered back over to the men’s games to learn that the scores all day were tight – Williams beat Columbia on universe 10-9 to advance to the final, and MIT took their semifinal game over Syracuse 11-9. With an MIT/Williams final and Columbia/Syracuse battle for third, I decided to take my opportunity to cover a little more bracket play. The wind was picking up even more, and teams had to adjust on the fly to changing elements.
Columbia and Syracuse threw zone defense at one another, attempting to force low-percentage throws and turns. Both teams were physical on defense, playing right on the hip of their matchup. Syracuse’s defense would not have been as strong without the dynamic playing of Cole Arnold, whose explosive athleticism allowed him to seemingly cover two players at once. When I chatted with Arnold on the sideline, he excitedly shouted out O-Line leaders Matt Latvis and Joshua Friedman for their steady confidence, pointing them out as Doom scored and he ran to lead D-Line.
Ultimately, Columbia’s offense prevailed against Syracuse’s strong defense. Due to the wind, a number of throws were highly contested, but heads-up offense by Uplo’s Daniel Esler saved a number of potential turns to keep the score in Columbia’s favor and take third 12-9.
1:32 PM – Finals Baby!
On the other field, Williams and MIT were trading scores for the final championship. The two teams were showcasing very different play styles, MIT unafraid to throw hucks in the wind and Williams capitalizing on small-ball handler movement. With the score very close for the entirety of the game, I overheard MIT captain Ezra Gordon thank a Williams player for keeping the game light and spirited although the score was so close.
The MIT offense was run by core handlers Gordon and Sean Cheng who relied on their cutters’ speed and height to come down with deep and floaty throws. Austin Sol player Chris Layden joined the MIT roster for graduate school, and his star power was certainly utilized in the team’s victory.
Meanwhile, Williams handlers Reed Kendall and Danny Klein piloted WUFO’s offense. Looking to run every other as they weaved through the MIT defense, Kendall and Klein capitalized on short field throws with higher percentage catches to ensure possession in the wind. Notable defense by Jonah Tobin resulted in breaks that WUFO capitalized upon to avenge early breaks by MIT. Ultimately, one of those breaks sent the game to universe point. But the break train stopped before its final destination, with MIT’s offense holding to win the men’s bracket of No Sleep Till Brooklyn.
3:34 PM – Wellesley Whiptails with a Windy Win
In the women’s championship game, Wellesley were facing Cornell. The increasing wind and decreasing temperatures proved difficult for both teams to play easy, clean offense. With the wind taking flick throws and causing short field turns, Wellesley were able to quickly break several times and take half. By the time I made it back over to watch their final, the score was 10-2. On the neighboring field, Williams was up against Bates 7-2 in the third place game, coming back after half. Both Wellesley and Williams won their respective matchups, with hard cap going off to end the tournament. Ultimately, Wellesley defeated Cornell 10-4, prevailing over the wind and Williams took third 9-3.
3:47 PM – The Only Thing I Love More Than Frisbee is This Deli Sandwich
Overall, what a day! It was so fun to get to know the teams, coaches and personalities in Prospect Park. I’m sure that the teams were more exhausted than I was, and hopefully even more enthusiastic about the season to come. Personally, I was thrilled to bring coverage to more teams and shout out more deserving players. For now, I’m off to refuel with a good old fashioned NYC Deli Sandwich for a writing session.