The Notre Dame Men’s Ultimate A Team traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, for the first weekend of Spring Break and their first tournament of the spring season. The tournament, hosted by Florida State University, featured 20 men’s teams split into four pools of five teams each. Teams from across the country traveled to Tally Classic to enjoy the warm, sunny weather in early March.
The men’s team started off Saturday morning (3/8) at 9:40am with a confident victory over Mississippi State 13-10. Next came their toughest match of the day against the host team, Florida State, who is ranked fourth in the country. Despite breakout performances from freshman Joe Nolan and senior Jack Hefferon, both first-year players on the team, Notre Dame fell 13-6. Following the hard fought loss, Notre Dame faced the fifth seed in the pool, Georgia State. Thanks in part to consistency from freshmen Jacob Scobey and Dan Verzuh, Notre Dame won handily, 13-6. The final game of the day came against Ohio State, the third seed in the pool. Notre Dame was coming off of a bye, but instead of looking flat, the team was firing on all cylinders. In the most intense matchup of the day, sophomore Jeremy Doyle and junior Peter Hall maintained the intensity and helped the team to a 13-11 victory. The 3-1 record in pool play put Notre Dame into the pre-quarters for a matchup against Kennesaw State on Sunday.
Notre Dame kept up the intensity from Saturday afternoon and delivered a swift defeat to Kennesaw State, 15-9, sending Notre Dame into a quarterfinals game against the tournament’s second overall seed, UNC-Wilmington. UNCW is ranked in the nation’s top 20, and they had a first round bye Saturday morning, so Notre Dame fought an uphill battle, ultimately losing 15-5, and entering the fifth place consolation bracket, where they would meet Ohio State on the field again. Suffering from deflation from the big loss against UNCW, Notre Dame came out a little flat, giving Ohio State a chance to stay in the game. Freshman Pat McMahon and sophomore Matt Farrell displayed massive acts of athleticism, but Notre Dame ultimately fell 13-12 in a next-point-wins scenario (double game point). The final matchup of the weekend in the seventh place game was against Tulane. Another grueling matchup led to another double game point, but Notre Dame was unable to capitalize and fell 11-10.
Notre Dame finished eighth in the tournament, consistent with their eighth seed going in. It was a strong start to the season and a nice chance to play outdoors after spending all winter inside. The team had a five day rest before traveling to Atlanta to participate in College Terminus.
After a five day recovery period following Tally Classic, the Notre Dame Men’s Ultimate A Team arrived in Atlanta to face some of the East Coast’s most talented ultimate teams at College Terminus. Notre Dame was again seeded eighth out of 18 teams. With heavy rain in the forecast for Sunday, all of Saturday’s games were moved up and an additional bracket play game (usually reserved for Sunday) was added on at the end of the day.
Notre Dame kicked off Saturday morning with a classic matchup against conference rival Indiana. In past years, Indiana has given Notre Dame a tough time, but this time, Notre Dame was clearly a stronger team, harnessing the intensity from Tally Classic and defeating Indiana 13-5. Notre Dame then had a bye due to Edinboro not showing up to the tournament, which counted as a victory by forfeit. A 2-0 start had the team fired up for their third round of pool play against Massachusetts, the third ranked team in the country. Unfortunately, the team looked shaken up by the mechanical efficiency of their opponents, and fell 13-3. The final game of pool play came against Auburn. Senior Conor Hanney and junior twins Erich and Danny Kerekes led Notre Dame to several huge scores, but the team fell to the three seed in their pool 12-9 in a game that was closer than the score indicates. Finishing 2-2 on the day put Notre Dame in the ninth place bracket.
Bracket play began at 5pm on Saturday evening, with Notre Dame taking on Elon in the quarterfinals round of the ninth place consolation bracket. Notre Dame combined intense fervor on defense points with collected coolness on offensive points to defeat Elon 12-9 and advance to the semifinals of the consolation bracket. Notable plays came from sophomore Jeremy Doyle and freshman Dan Verzuh, who came up with huge layout blocks on the same point, indicative of the defensive intensity with which Notre Dame played all of Saturday.
Notre Dame was set to play Kennesaw State Sunday morning in the semifinals, but the forecasted heavy rain rolled in early and washed out all of Sunday’s games, leaving the tournament unfinished. The games will not be made up, so Notre Dame finished the weekend 3-2. The team will travel to Chicago Invite on March 29-30 to participate in a 64-team tournament featuring many of the Midwest’s top ultimate teams.