Varisty 2016: Ultimate Frisbee

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In the build up to this weekends Varsity competition, writer, James Moseley, interviews Southampton University’s Ultimate Frisbee team, AKA ‘Skunks’, to get their views on the biggest fixture for Team Southampton this year. James talks to Men’s captain Maks Tobiasiewicz, Women’s captain Kaite Allen and Club Captain Claire Baker. 

Interview with men’s captain Maks Tobiasiewicz:

How has the season gone for the club so far?

This season has been the first one run as a BUCS league which has seen a huge change in training structure and time demands, making it very challenging for players to balance university work and team trainings. We started the season out strongly, but it has dragged on and recent results haven’t gone our way. However, we’re yet to see or play Pompey as they’re in a different region so we’re confident that we can give them a strong game. They’ve accrued some strong players from junior programs in recent years which have bolstered their squad so it’ll be an interesting game to be sure!

Have you had any specific training for this game?

We’ve spent the last month preparing since our last league game, however, the squad has undergone some changes in preparation for National Championships at the end of April.

How confident do you feel going into varsity this year?

They have the potential to field a very very strong team, individual’s availability will have the biggest influence.

How do you feel playing at home will affect the team?

Playing in front of a home crowd will be great, and with rubber crumb underfoot, every controllable variable is in our favour!

With the weather looking to be mostly dry but with the possibility of being quite windy, how are you going to accommodate your game plan for this?

Weather is always a huge influence in how the disc flies and depending on the strength of the wind might see some interesting offensive and defensive looks.

What are the team’s key strengths? Are there any key players we should be keeping an eye on?

Our strengths lie in consistency across our roster, whilst Portsmouth can field some of the strongest university players in the country, the drop off is steep and hopefully this is where we can punish favourable matchups. Look out for Portsmouth’s William Routledge collecting trash all over the field, and Ross Nugent’s rapid movement. However, we have strong competition from our own boys in burgundy: Jelmer Van Den Dries’ long fast legs and Piers Durnfords left handed throws which are sure to throw off any defender.

Prediction for the final score?

Until I see the teams on the lines, I’d hate to take a guess. Under pressure ill say 10-6 but not who it’s to.

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Interview with Katie Allen, women’s team captain:

How has the season gone for the club so far?

The women’s team have had a fantastic season of recruitment, and have focused on the development of newer players in the hopes to create a strong player base for subsequent years.

Have you had any specific training for this game?

We have had outdoor training sessions for the last 3 weeks in preparation for the upcoming outdoor season.

How confident do you feel going into varsity this year?

I feel confident that we are going to have a good time, and that all the girls will play their hardest and give Portsmouth a run for their money. Portsmouth have had an incredible indoor season this year and it will be interesting to see if they can translate that onto the larger 7v7 outdoor pitch.

How do you feel playing at home will affect the team?

I think the main advantage to playing at home is having the crowd behind you. A supportive and encouraging side-line can make the world of difference in tough games, and I’m sure the rest of the club will turn out to support the girls!

With the weather looking to be mostly dry but with the possibility of being quite windy, how are you going to accommodate your game plan for this?

Wind is an Ultimate player’s nightmare! Luckily the same will be true for both teams, so in a high wind situation it is likely that both teams will be employing a form of zonal defence, which is used for trapping the player with possession of the disc in a corner and forcing them to throw into the wind, generating a turn over. We have done some work on zone defence, as well as how to play against one, so it will be good to see the girls put into practice what they have learnt!

What are the team’s key strengths? Are there any key players we should be keeping an eye on?

We are a highly spirited team with friendship at the heart of our squad. Win or lose we are in it together, and everyone is there to support and encourage each other, especially the newer members! Definitely keep a look out for our club captain Claire. You’ll find her speeding away from her defender and putting her body on the line to bring home those points. Also keep an eye out for our keenest fresher Zoë who is an absolute joy to play with, as well as possessing a mean leftie backhand!

Prediction for the final score?

I’m not currently sure of the game length or what cap has been decided, but I think the game has the potential to be very close. Portsmouth have a couple of super star players, so provided we can shut them down effectively I think we stand a good chance. Either way, it should be a fun and intense game to watch!

 

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Interview with Claire Baker, club captain and captain of the mixed team:

How has the season gone for the club so far?

The club’s aim for this season has been on growth and development of new players, and is one we have so far achieved to great success. The club has roughly doubled in size across all 3 divisions: fielding two women’s teams for the first time in the history of the club (a feat only 4 universities nationwide managed). In addition to this we have had record signups for the men’s BUCS league and mixed divisions competitions. The season isn’t over yet, all 3 squads have progressed to their respective outdoor nationals coming up in the next 6 weeks, there is so much enthusiasm, talent and potential, so I see an exciting few years ahead for the club!

Have you had any specific training for this game?

This year we have opted for a training squad approach to the mixed national competition the weekend after varsity. All those representing Team Southampton on the mixed squad have had training as a part of this larger squad, but excitingly Sunday will be our first competitive game as a team!

How confident do you feel going into varsity this year?

I am confident that we will be able to put in a reasonable showing against a strong and GB superstar ridden Portsmouth side.

How do you feel playing at home will affect the team?

Having a home crowd always helps, and we get an extra hour in bed!

With the weather looking to be mostly dry but with the possibility of being quite windy, how are you going to accommodate your game plan for this?

In a sport so affected by the elements, it is key to take plenty of time before the game to adjust accordingly. I don’t want to reveal too much, but we will have a couple of different defensive and offensive looks up our sleeve to shake up our opposition…

What are the team’s key strengths? Are there any key players we should be keeping an eye on?

Our more experienced players have smart throws and can keep the disc moving in windy conditions, which will hopefully play to our advantage! The wind will also give the opportunity for some huge diving catches so keep your cameras at the ready… In particular, watch out for Kieran Patel’s disc movement, Louis Tyler’s defensive blocks and Susan Powell’s grabs – be there on Sunday at 9am to see for yourself!

Prediction for the final score?

I’m envisaging 10-6 to Portsmouth, but hope to prove that prediction wrong!

More articles in Varsity 2016
  1. Varsity 2016: Rugby
  2. Varsity 2016: Basketball
  3. Varisty 2016: Ultimate Frisbee
  4. Varsity 2016: Quidditch
  5. Varsity 2016: Hockey
  6. Varsity 2016: VP Sport Jamie Wilson
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