FATAL, Franciscan University’s ultimate Frisbee club team competed in the D-III Midwestern Invite in Marion, Indiana, and took fourth place the weekend of Feb. 20-21.
Franciscan University’s team won all four of its matches on Saturday, despite very strong wind.
FATAL was able to take away the win for the first two matches against Wooster College and Missouri University of Science and Technology with scores of 13-6 and 13-2, respectively.
The next two matches proved to be much tougher. Franciscan struggled to score against the zone defense put up by Valparaiso University but managed to win 11-8. Because there was strong wind at the tournament, zone defense, which forced the opposing team to throw a risky hucks into the wind, proved very effective.
For the last game of the day, Franciscan defeated Johnson College, 13-11.
On Sunday, Franciscan defeated Drake University to enter the semifinal where FATAL faced Wheaton College.
In a nail-bitingly close match, Wheaton was able to make a 16-14 comeback win. A few of the factors that contributed to Franciscan’s loss were JP Bort’s injury the previous day and over reliance on Dominic Schuster and Tommy Koch to make plays.
Franciscan University faced Valparaiso again in the consolation game but lost 12-15 to take fourth place in the tournament.
After a record breaking season last year in which FATAL was undefeated and was crowned D-III national champion, Franciscan’s Frisbee team had some substantial changes to the roster that might bring a big challenge to this spring season.
Starting in the 2016 spring season, FATAL is missing many of its top players on the team. Four seniors who were among the founding members of the team graduated last year after playing remarkable games in nationals.
Steven Babcock, who was recruited into the team along with Dominic Schuster for his impressive read on the game and disc handling skill, is away in Austria this spring. FATAL is also missing Jay Ratajczak, one of most experienced players on the team.
Perhaps the most devastating loss for the team is Tony Bort, one of the captains whose leadership was invaluable in taking FATAL to the championship. He is no longer able to play for the team.
In spite of these setbacks, Franciscan has nine new players and an official coach, Alex Renn.
“I think this year can be a season of great success and huge growth,” said Renn. “I want to leverage the experience and skill of the returners to push our new players even further, developing the depth of the team to position us for years to come.”
Regarding the loss at the Midwestern Invite, Renn said, “I’m glad it happened when it did. … This tournament showed me two things: We have great players who can compete at the highest level, and we need to work harder if we want to be the best.”
Team captain Tommy Koch said, “Losses don’t matter this early (in the season).”
He said, “I see a lot of potential in our new players and have positive feelings moving forward.”
Among the new players are Peter Grossmayer and Matt Mirabello, who have shown excellent athleticism and raw talent.
There are a lot of expectations placed on the Franciscan Frisbee team after an incredible accomplishment last year. With a new coach and players, FATAL is getting ready to kick into full gear this season.