Women’s Ultimate Frisbee had their season debut this past weekend in Burlington at the Steeltown Classic. They competed against most of the western Ontarian universities and placed second overall.
It was a mad rush for the team to get ready for this tournament.
“The university ultimate season is super short and therefore super condensed,” player Valerie Vujacic, ConEd ’25, said in an interview with The Journal.
Tryouts for the team started before the first day of the fall semester, and since then the team has been practicing four times a week. To make matters more difficult, there was a lot of team turnover when compared to past years.
“Some of the girls that did make the team this year haven’t really played ultimate necessarily since high school or maybe they’ve never even played before,” Vujacic said.
Despite these circumstances, the Gaels pulled up on the weekend ready to compete. It was their first tournament of the year, and their first chance at normal competition post-COVID.
“COVID, I think, disrupted how things would normally have gone, this year too especially. We had a change in head coach so that’s different for sure, but it’s been great so far,” Vujacic said.
The stakes were high at Steeltown: the tournament champions are awarded a bid to host the national championships that take place later this fall.
Vujacic saw this weekend as a “a good way to feel out who the competition is going to be for the season.”
“Going into the tournament we were also a little bit nervous; we didn’t really have very many expectations,” she said.
The weekend also helped build team morale.
“It was our first time really getting to know the team and spending a lot of time with all the girls on the team and I feel like overnight tournaments are also really fun because you get that like cohesion,” Vujacic said. “You really get to know people, aside from just as being player, like actually as people.”
In Frisbee, attitude is everything. A team is truly impacted by the on-field energy.
“Positive energy especially from your team, your fans, [and] people that are cheering for you, is super, super important […] I feel so more than most other teams, or most other sports I should say,” Vujacic said.
They played five games, winning four and taking their only loss in the finals against McMaster.
The loss against McMaster was a tough one for the Gaels because they had already proven they could beat the Marauders earlier in the weekend.
“They came out super strong—it was their home tournament too—in the finals and I think that kind of intimidated us a little bit and at that point we had never really been losing in a game, we had never been down, and I feel like our team didn’t really know how to react to that so we kind of let them pull away a little bit,” Vujacic said of the final game.
While the game unfortunately ended before they had a chance to make a comeback, it taught the Gaels a powerful lesson.
“We definitely don’t want to be a second-place team,” Vujacic said. “Hopefully next time we will end up on the other side of that.”
They hope to replicate their early weekend success in the future.
“Early on in the tournament we were kind of blowing teams out of the water, we were playing super well,” Vujacic said.
The women’s team pulled off an amazing start to the season and will compete alongside the men’s team next weekend at the Canadian Eastern University Ultimate Championships. They are hoping to secure a bid to Nationals this time around.
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