Thursday, May 22, 2008
Nationals was so much fun :) Boulder had beautiful weather, beautiful fields with snow-capped mountains in the distance, and sMITe played some amazing ultimate. The one game that I remember the most is our game against Wake Forest on Friday. It was our last game in pool play. The first half Wake played man defense and we would work it up the field and turn it over. There were a few points where I would huck it to Jenny going deep (surprise surprise) and we overhead the Wake coach saying, "There she goes again..." haha :)
I think Wake took half at 8-5 and during the second half they played a lot of zone defense. But their cup was HUGE and Catherine, Daphne, and I were having a field day swinging it around the cup and hitting poppers through the cup. It was probably the most satisfying and fun zone offense I ever played. and I reeeally like zone O. :) sMITe did a little better the second half but at one point we found ourselves down 10-14 in the game to 15.
"Then, all of the sudden, MIT loosened up and started playing with nothing but heart. The women sprinted to the line and played the nose game to see who got to play; they stopped stressing and started to score. In a surprising and gutsy comeback, they tied the game at 14s before Wake Forest scored again. Then the teams traded, and finally Wake Forest won, at the cap, squeaking out a 17-16 victory over a very spirited MIT squad."
We're definitely a team that plays better when we're happy and playing for the love of the game. I was really sad that we lost this game against Wake but it was one of the best games that sMITe has played (aside from the games against Dartmouth in Regionals) and it was really fun.
Sunday's weather was a lot warmer and some of our team were getting dehydrated and nauseous. We played Maryland, Michigan State, and Oregon which were all semi-close games but not really. During our last game against Oregon we were getting schooled because the legs just weren't there: no one was cutting and when we were, we weren't running through. At half we were down something ridiculous and then we started playing fun lines: Asian line, white line, odd course # (Catherine: "I'm both 1 and 11!"), even course # (Catherine: "1 plus 11 is 12!!!), graduating line, rookie line (+ Karen or else there would be no handlers), etc. The rookie line did very well I might add. :) Very promising for next year :)
Anyway, it was all in all a great time at Nationals. :) Thanks to all the alums and boys who came out to support us:
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I can't believe it's snowing in Boulder. I know you're not going to Nationals because you have to stay here to kick some quals butt, but can you take a study break and move some clouds in Boulder? Consider it your biggest feat, controlling the weather 2000 miles away. Thanks Smeri! You're the best!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
- Doris cowering into a fetal-position when the disc was coming at her because she saw two huge guys running towards her.
- Keith (6'4") hand-blocked Catherine's hammer
- Cody (6'5") completely skying everyone (who was at least a foot shorter than him). Every time it happened it was like, "well okay then... now what?" Completely unrealistic... :P
Anyway, it was a fun practice because I love zone O. It was like Christmas Day :)
Today we had a scrimmage against Brute Squad. It was kinda sad because we only had 11 people show up to begin with. Erika's hand is still injured. Daphne got a little dizzy and her ankle was strained a little during warm-up. Rosa was sick. Then Doris extended her elbow a little too far. Trish got cleated during one point. And then we were down to 6... we had to borrow some Brute people so we didn't have to play 6's or savage. We got a lot better throughout the course of the scrimmage: we weren't dropping as much stuff and we were playing better D and better zone O. I'm just glad no one got seriously injured. And yay Smeri came to play today even though she was still studying on the sidelines.
I have two finals on Tuesday and then a meeting with my advisor on Wednesday and then I'm off to Boulder!!! Can't wait!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The MIT women’s ultimate team (sMITe) took second place at the New England Women’s Regionals last weekend, securing a place at the College Nationals in Boulder, CO this May 16–18.
The team was seeded fifth going into the tournament, after a third place finish at the Metro Boston Sectionals two weeks ago. In bracket play, MIT beat no. 12 Connecticut College 15-6, and no. 4 Wesleyan University 15-5, to make it into the semi-finals on Saturday. There they upset top seed Dartmouth, traditionally the best team in the region, in a close, tense game, winning 15-13.
Dartmouth took the first point, but MIT quickly caught up and the teams traded points before MIT took half 8-7. When play resumed, Dartmouth pulled ahead and the teams traded points again. MIT finally scored two in row to take the lead 14-13 as a time cap was called.
With MIT needing one more point to reach the finals, Dartmouth dug its feet in. The point lasted over fifteen minutes and had many turnovers, as both teams pushed the disc to within a few yards of the end zone, only to lose possession before scoring.
After Dartmouth lost the disc on a stall (failing to pass the disc within ten seconds of receiving it), Jennifer L. Barry G finally caught a long throw from Doris Lin G just outside the end zone and called a timeout. When sMITe set up again with an end zone play, none of the handlers were able to get open to receive, until Barry threw a backhand floater with the stall count at eight to co-captain Erika M. Swanson G who was standing by herself in the middle of the field for the score.
Swanson and the rest of the team initially didn’t realize that she was within the end zone; it was only when the observer (similar to a line referee) called her in with the game-winning point that MIT rushed the field.
“I wasn’t surprised to catch it, I actually was looking for it,” said Swanson. “I was just really surprised to be in the end zone, and almost shocked by what that meant.”
“We peaked at just the right time,” said coach and sMITe alum Darlene E. Ferranti ’06, referring to MIT’s relatively short spring season. “Dartmouth is a very talented team, but no team is unbeatable.” Ferranti spotted a weakness early on: Dartmouth was less comfortable being forced to throw backhand instead of forehand.
On Sunday morning, sMITe lost to no. 2 Northeastern University in the finals, 15-8. The loss put MIT in a rematch against Dartmouth in the backdoor game-to-go for second place and a place at Nationals. MIT regrouped to keep the game close in the first half. sMITe then took half, 8-7, and never looked back, giving up only one point in the second half to close out the final 15-8.
“This is the tournament where sMITe really came together as a team,” said coach Jin Ding. “Players were focused and aggressive — on the field and on the sidelines. Nationals is an event most teams can only dream of attending, and sMITe earned their spot.”
“They showed great composure by putting [the] loss [to Northeastern] aside to defeat Dartmouth,” wrote Kendra Frederick, regional coordinator for the tournament, in an e-mail. “I was impressed by sMITe’s athleticism and conditioning, and their solid fundamentals. Catherine Seaborn, Erika Swanson, and Doris Lin lead the team with their stellar abilities, but the real reason MIT is going to Nationals is the depth of their roster.” sMITe has 22 players, of whom 11 are new to the team this year.
MIT did not get the chance to face no. 3 Tufts University in the tournament, a team they have yet to beat this year. Tufts was upset by no. 6 Boston University in bracket play, and then lost to Dartmouth on Sunday.
“Dartmouth and Tufts have been strong teams the past couple of years, and [many] assumed they would be representing our Region again this year at Nationals,” wrote Frederick. But, she added, “MIT has had a strong team in the past,” and Northeastern “has been an up-and-coming program for a couple of years now.”
Monday, May 5, 2008
Top Row: Coach Darlene, Trisha (G), Jess ('10), Jenn ('11), Jenny (G), Kelly ('11), Natasha ('11), Veena ('09), Coach Jin
Middle Row: Amy ('10), Karen (G), Smeri (G), Adele (G), Anne ('11), Shan (G)
Bottom Row: Catherine (G), Erika (G), Doris (G), Daphne ('08)
Not pictured: Svetlana ('11), Rosa (G), Chenxia ('10)
Looks like a winning team to me :)
Sunday, May 4, 2008
We had the final game against Northeastern this morning. It was drizzling a little bit with some wind. Both teams played a lot of zone. The off-point in the cup sometimes drew away from the cup to cover the other handler, which threw us off a little bit. There were some great hammers/around the cup from Amy, Catherine, and I but our zone offense seemed pretty stagnant. There was a lot of issues with the poppers working with each other and with the wings. So it seemed like Catherine and I were just swinging it back and forth, get pushed back and losing yards because the off-point kept biting on the other handler. This should have left a huge hole in the cup but we weren't filling it.
When it wasn't zone, our offensive flow looked really good. Everyone was really open, the dumps were able to get open, and we had a few really nice dump-swing-score-on-the-break-side points. The first half was neck and neck. At one point they had a run going until 7-4, but we caught up to tie it 7-7. Then they took half 8-7. The second half of the game things just kind of fell apart for us and Northeastern played a very good game as well. They had a lot of run-through Ds and really great catches. They also had some really awesome pulls that landed in the endzone (I want to learn to pull like that!!). I think this is the half where Doris got slide-tackled by someone, injuring her elbow/arm (its her left, so its ok). She also got bowled over by Jenny. Anyway, sMITe managed to get a point in at game point to bring the game to 8-14, but Northeastern pulled away with the win at 15-8.
We licked our wounds and psyched ourselves up for the backdoor game-to-go against Dartmouth. We looked at each other and told ourselves that this is OUR GAME. WE WANT IT MORE.
They played a lot of zone D on us but we were able to throw it around and through the cup. Our man defense looked really good. There were a lot of high stall-counts and we even stalled them a few times because nothing was open upfield and the dump was pretty well-covered. I told myself that my girl was not gonna get open, and I think the entire game, my girl only got it once or twice. It's a pretty satisfying feeling shutting down cutters. There were a few ridiculous calls this game. One time I D-ed a huck and my girl called a foul on me. I should've gone to the observer, who would've ruled in my favor. But it was a contested foul and went back to the thrower. I felt robbed of a D... it's not every day where I block a deep throw. :( Some other ridiculous calls: Doris' awesome layout grab in the endzone for a score and her defense tried to say the disc was down. Wtf? Another time: Erika and her D grabbed the disc at the same time and her D tried to say that she was there first. Observer ruled in favor of offense. (Go Erika!)
Another time: I was guarding their dump and my girl tried to run through me and stomped on my foot - I called a foul and she contested (her reason: you were in my way... I can't help it if you're in my way and I'm trying to go there). This time I was smart and went to the observer, who called an offensive foul on her so the stall count stayed where it was. (What would've happened if the it was ruled against me though??)
Anyway, the first half was neck and neck and we took half at 8-7. The second half our offense looked really really good, both man and zone. Again, there were a lot of high stall counts and even stalls - our downfield D did such a great job of covering people. I remember being especially psyched when I got a run-through D and then hucked it to Jenny for a score. The last point of the game we were so psyched that we were one point away from going to Nationals... we worked it up the field and got a little too over-excited and threw the disc away. Dartmouth worked it towards their endzone and it got D-ed by someone awesome. And again, sMITe worked it up the field (everyone touched the disc in amazing offensive flow). Soon Smeri had the disc and dumped it to me. But I was like 5 feet from the endzone and there was so much clogging in the endzone because again, everyone was too overexcited for the disc. Suddenly Catherine made a great cut up the line and I made an easy 10-foot pass to Catherine for the score :) We came away with 15-8, only letting them score one point in the second half.
Holy crap I can't believe it... sMITe is going to Nationals!!! I feel like I can write that over and over again... sMITe is going to Nationals!!! Nationals!!! I'm so proud of everyone this weekend. Everyone really stepped it up, kept each other motivated, and communicated to each other. One of the things that struck me about this team, is that even though during the Saturday Dartmouth game, they had a ton of fans (most of them annoying and some of them dressed up as dinosaurs and teletubbies) who erupted in cheers when they scored. But sMITe didn't let that faze them; they just kept their heads up and played their game.
Some quotes from this weekend:
"Let's do to Dartmouth what Northeastern did to us." - Anne, right before the start of second half of the game-to-go against Dartmouth. (which we did).
"I really want to go to Nationals, but I'm afraid then I'm not going to graduate on time." -Catherine, after our first win against Dartmouth
"GRRGGGGRGGGGGARHGHARHGHHGHH" -Coach Jin with her biker gloves because Smeri wanted a T-rex impression
"Throw a hammer next time!!" -Darlene/Jin, to Karen after she threw a crappy blade to Doris who caught it. :/ (I was trying to do a bendy throw.)
"OMYGOD" -Doris, right before she caught the crappy blade from Karen.
"Does anyone want to drive with someone with a mild concussion??" -Daphne, when we were getting ready to drive back
"I'm just happy we get to play another tournament together" -Amy, on the ride back to MIT
"OMG I LOVE YOU DORIS!! And I haven't even said that to NG yet!" -Karen, when Doris laid out in the endzone for the score
"Yet... she said 'yet'. There's hope for you." -Yang, to NG.
Thanks to all our fans who came out to cheer us on this weekend: Liver, Shuang, Genevieve, Yang, MattyB, NG, Nurit, Ali, Erika's mom, Mr & Mrs. Barry :) And I heard that Liver was updating the score on her away message during the games for far-away sMITe fans :) You guys are amazing :)
And finally, a picture of Doris looking pregnant:
Saturday, May 3, 2008
We started off against Conn College. We were a little stagnant in the beginning of the game. It was difficult getting people to initiate cuts and continues. There would be a cut, and then no continuation so the dump would have to work to get it back. And then it would happen again and again. But a few points into the game we got into the flow of things and our offense started looking pretty good. There were a lot of great points this game. A few that I remember distinctly were Chenxia making some amazing cuts and grabs in the endzone for 3 points in a row. I remember putting it to Jenny in the endzone a few times. MIT came out 15-6.
Next game was against Wesleyan. We were so pumped up: this was the game we needed to win. We played a lot of trap zone and FM zone and clam and it worked pretty well for us. Our offense flow looked amazing. There were continuation cuts, both in and away, and lots of dump swing and scoring on the breakside. We also had a lot of fans (Shuang came, and some of Doris' and my friends came out - thanks guys!) and it was just a really exciting game. I couldn't stop smiling and jumping around. In the end MIT came out 15-5.
Semi-finals game was against #1 seed Dartmouth. We started off with zone defense but they just walked right through our zone, throwing many hammers and working it through and around the cup to score the first point. The next point Dartmouth put zone D on us as well and we answered their point with one of our own: we worked the disc up the field and scored without a turnover. After that neither of us played zone anymore. The rest of the game was man defense, which was awesome. They played a lot of horizontal stack but we did a pretty good job of covering their downfield, and Erica/Anne/Jenny/Smeri and many others covered their handlers pretty well. There was this one point where Smeri didn't have a dump, we were a few yards away from the endzone, and she threw a hammer, which was caught by Jenny. That was weird (in the sense that Smeri doesn't throw hammers). The whole first half we were either tied or sMITe was up by 1-2 points, and we took half at 8-7. From half, we took the next few points 10-7. We traded more points and we found ourselves at 14-13. Then it was the longest point ever. I think it was about 15 minutes long. There was one point in time, when we were on D and Jenny's girl threw it to someone in the endzone for the score. And then we found out it was an uncontested stall and it went back to Jenny's girl. Dartmouth and sMITe took turns working it up the field and then getting D-ed. Doris and Erika made a lot of awesome Ds in the endzone, and we would keep turning it at our endzone too. Daphne laid out for a disc and her head hit the ground and had to call and injury. I think she said it was probably a minor concussion... I hope she's okay. And then Smeri caught the disc and keeled over because her calf cramped. So she had to take an injury as well. After a few more passes, Jenny had the disc a few yards away from our endzone, and she called a time-out. When we re-set Catherine and I were the dumps but neither of us got open because we didn't give ourselves very much room to begin with, and Jenny threw a stall-8 floaty backhand to Erika who was in the middle of the field to score. All of us looked at the observer, who called it in and then we all rushed onto the field to hug/cry/jump up and down/scream at each other. It was the biggest rush ever. The greatest part was that everyone played in this game. Yes, we did sub competitively, but every teammate got to play in at least a few points and all contributed to our victories today.
Holy crap we're in the finals. I am so proud of this team and all the great plays that people accomplished today. I'm super excited for the finals tomorrow.... ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! :) Good job everyone and get lots of rest :)
And thanks Shuang and Liver for coming out to watch and support us :) Yay yay yay...!!!!!
Friday, May 2, 2008
During my freshman year in college I took this class called Engineering Design and Communication. One day we learned about teamwork (I thought it was really cheesy at the time.) We learned that when some teams got together, their productivity is the sum of the individuals:
And then there are some teams that are very inefficient, don't get along, or whatever, so
And then there are some teams that get along great and they utilize each others strengths and they're on top of things:
And then there are the few teams where the teammates motivate each other and they play for each other. They want it individually but when they see their teammates wanting it, they want it all the more, not just for themselves, but because their teammates depend on them. They spur each other on and don't let people give up on themselves or the team:
Smite is that team. There's no other team I would rather play for or run my butt off for or get grass in my underwear for. This weekend we need to play as a team and win as a team. Yes there will be awesome plays by each individual, and I know everyone is going to step it up and play harder/more focused/more intensely than she have ever played, but if we're going to do well this weekend, it's going to be because we played as a team: offensive flow, shut-down team defense, communicating to each other, listening to the sideline, and motivating each other.
So excited for regionals :)