Women's ultimate crowned

UCSD women’s ultimate frisbee claimed a national championship by defeating Stanford, 15-7, in the culmination of a three-day tournament May 26 in Spokane, Wash.

In an awesome display of defense and offense, the Psycaughtits peaked at the right time and had little trouble dispatching their opponents. They went undefeated for the tournament and never allowed a team to score in double digits.

Starting on May 24, UCSD steamrolled through the opposition and set the tone for the rest of the tournament in its first game. The Psycaughtits played University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which tried to extend its sporting dominance beyond the bounds of men’s basketball and women’s soccer. But UCSD would have none of it and the Psycaughtits shut down UNC’s deep game, with Alicia White laying out for a couple of great catches to help UCSD to a 15-6 win.

The scores over the next three days looked much the same when no team could keep up with UCSD’s stellar attack, and the Psycaughtits appeared incredibly focused out on the field.

“”We have been practicing since October,”” said team captain Dania Goodman. “”Nationals has been a goal of ours the whole year and we firmly believed that we could win. Everyone stepped up and peaked at the right time.””

Last year, the University of Georgia knocked the Psycaughtits out of nationals, so when UCSD faced them in the fourth round, the smell of retribution was in the air.

UGA lost many key players to graduation last year, and this year it didn’t have the legs to keep up with UCSD. The HoDawgs of Georgia fell 15-5 to the stellar UCSD counterattack.

“”This was a bit of a revenge game for us after getting knocked out last year by them, so it felt good to beat Georgia,”” Goodman said.

The closest game of the tournament for the Psycaughtits came in the semifinals, where they played MIT for a spot against Stanford in the championship game. The game stayed close until UCSD exploded to outscore the Smites 8-4 over the remainder of the game for a 15-9 win.

On the next night, after all the semifinal matches were finished, there was an awards ceremony. UCSD’s Stacey Burger came in fifth for the Callahan, an award that goes to a player that exhibits great skill on the field, plays the game in the spirit it is intended and helps lead and improve the players around her.

Burger is a four-year player at UCSD and has witnessed the evolution of the program into a national champion.

“”Offense wins games and defense wins championships,”” Burger said.

After the award ceremony, the annual tournament party commenced, and while the Stanford team retreated to the confines of its house for a team meeting, UCSD was so loose that the team stayed out till the wee hours, partying with the best of them.

The Psycaughtits had already beaten Stanford once, and they had won the Stanford tournament and made it to the finals of two other tournaments. They had only two losses on the year and were confident that they could beat Stanford in the finals.

“”We went out and partied the night before,”” Goodman said. “”I want it to be known that Stanford stayed at home and that even the next morning, we were dancing on the sidelines, loose and ready to play.””

One of the reasons the Psycautits played so well during the tournament was their coach. Known only as Coach Pav, she has been playing ultimate for over 20 years and is one of the best players in the nation. Pav is the one who helps the team setup defensive and offensive plays, and most importantly, she taught the team to adapt to game-time situations.

UCSD beat Stanford because it could adapt. Stanford scored a couple quick points off of hucks downfield, but the Psycaughtits recognized this, shut-down the huck and went on the counterattack. Stanford couldn’t adjust to UCSD’s defense and lost the game 15-7.

“”Our ability to adapt was huge. We changed our defensive strategy and, therefore, the game. In this tournament, our offense really flowed from our D,”” Goodman said.

The Psycaughtits look to return to the top of the collegiate ultimate ranks next year. Despite losing eight players, they have had stellar recruiting classes the last two years and are confident that they can make another run for the national championship.