April 18, 2013
Some sports just don’t get the recognition they deserve. Hamilton’s Ultimate Frisbee team is one of those sports. Founded in 1976 as the “Hamilton Tasmanian Devils,” ultimate is still going strong here on the hill. The first incarnation of Hamilton ultimate was very successful, winning the New York State Championship in 1981. The current team, Hamilton Hot Saucers, is once again an ultimate powerhouse on the rise. They spent this past weekend competing in Metro East Division III sectional championships at Saratoga Springs.
Since 2010, the Hamilton women’s team travelled to Saratoga Springs to compete in the Division III Metro East sectional championship. Entering the tournament as the number three seed in a field of 16, the Hot Saucers were looking to advance to the Division I regional tournament. The Metro East region is allotted just three slots to advance to this tournament, meaning the Saucers needed a strong weekend to meet their goal.
Although they went into the tournament undefeated, the Hamilton women were looking to have a better time at this tournament than their first tournament of the year. In that tournament, they were forced to play three games in the snow and cold of an upstate New York winter. On April 13 and 14, they were luck to play in considerably better weather.
The tournament was conducted in a pool set, in which the 16 teams were divided into four pools of four teams each. Hamilton was the top seed in a pool featuring Vassar, Ithaca and Wesleyan’s B squad. On the first day, they played each of the teams in three back-to-back-to-back games. Although they emerged undefeated from the first day, it was not without tests.
The Saucers cruised to easy victories in their first and third games, with a 13-4 victory over Ithaca College in the first and a 13-2 win over Vassar in their third. The second game of the day presented a challenge in Wesleyan’s B squad, but they came out with a solid 9-5 win to advance to the championship bracket.
After pool play, Hamilton moved on to face “Team Rocket” of SUNY-Cortland in a difficult semi-final game. Already having played three games, both sides were tired but both were hungry for a spot in the championship final. The game was a tale of two halves though, as Team Rocket took control of the first half. Going into halftime down 8-6, Hamilton came out of the half with a new-found intensity and focus. “Somehow we come out of half and scored five straight. From that point on we just owned,” noted sophomore Deanna Nappi. Finishing a long and difficult day with a semi-final victory was a well need moral boost. “Winning that game after being behind at half was just wonderful,” added Nappi.
The Saucers took their momentum into Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the College of New Jersey Anarchy. After a dominant performance in Pool D, Anarchy laid waste to SUNY-Oneonta’s Love Seat 15-7 in their semi-final. In the end, Anarchy proved too much for the Hot Saucers and the College of New Jersey took the Metro East Sectional crown. This put Hamilton into the second place game against Love Seat.
Both teams had already played several games in the tournament, and a late Sunday afternoon game was neither team’s dream. The rules of the tournament forced them to play, although Hamilton had already locked up their bid to Division I regional’s, and Oneonta is headed to Division III nationals. In a close and abbreviated game, Hamilton fell to Love Seat 3-5, but was not the least bit upset with their performance. “Our goal was to get to D-I regionals, which we did, which is awesome!” said Nappi.
The Saucers great performance on the field may be sending them to Division I regionals to compete against the best of East Coast ultimate, but for them the joy is just in playing. “We just want to go out and have fun,” says Nappi, “Being with them is just so inspiring.”
The impressive Hot Saucers will once again travel to Saratoga Springs April 27 for the Division I Metro East Regional Championship, where they will face a wide-open field without returning champion Ottawa.