Ultimate Frisbee seeks major improvements

Matt GadSports Writer

Led by great recruiting efforts and, admittedly, a bit of luck, co-captains Harrison Stoffel, a sophomore, and Carter Antaya, a junior, have tried to get the club  to new heights.

To create a competitive balance in getting the team to sectionals, Stoffel said he made sure to create a busy schedule for the team to compete during most weekends during the spring.

“When I made the schedule, I wanted to play as many games as possible in order to get our newer players the experience they need,” he said. “We are a young team and along with that comes inexperience. We have four tournaments happening before sectionals, along with some other games, which will help our newer players tremendously.”

Stoffel hopes all the competition will allow the team to continue to work on its chemistry and keep enjoying the season while also improving.

“I think we have struck a great balance in practice where we are having fun but also are working hard in our drills and improving as players. Carter, [head coach] Greg [Jositas] and I have made it very clear that we have very high expectations for the team and the players on it,” he said.

The team won its first scrimmage tournament at University of New Haven two weeks ago to jumpstart the season and push momentum in the right direction.

Jositas is in his first official year coaching the club, which refers to themselves as the Mighty Hucks, and he was a former player himself during his time on campus.

“We are very big on inclusion and getting everybody involved,” he said. “We have a great core but we also have great freshmen who stuck around through last semester and have formed really good team chemistry with one another.”

While Jositas is the head coach, he said he also recognizes all the work that Stoffel and Antaya bring to the table to help make his job easier.

“In ultimate frisbee, it is very much a similar coaching environment whether you are the head coach or a player on the team,” he said. “There is a lot of hands-on teaching with all the new players to help them get up to speed from the guys who have been on the team for three or four years.”

And that help at practice is something Stoffel said he takes very seriously.

“Everyone goes to practice to get better and we have fun doing it,” he said. “We are really looking forward to picking up where we left off last season and trying to improve as players. Carter and I are very excited about this team and we think we have a ton of potential.”

Despite the team having had a poor win-loss record in recent seasons, the mindset to get past that is strong because, as Stoffel put it, they have adopted a “dark horse” persona.

He said he believes the team has a chance to carry the underdog role with them and be in a position at the end of the year where they are competing in big spots.

“I have high hopes that we will get into sectionals and maybe even regionals,” Jositas said. “It will be a tough road; we have to get through schools like UConn and SUNY-Albany but I have high hopes that we can do well and make a run to regionals.”

This year, the sectional tournament will be held at Yale, which, based on distance, may feel like a home event for the Mighty Hucks.

Stoffel has also had conversations with Andrew Marullo, the Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Development for Campus Recreation, about the possibility of arranging a home tournament on Southern’s own Jess Dow Field.

“The best way to get better is by playing a lot of games,” Stoffel said. “So we are going to play a lot of games.”

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