The Ultimate warriors

In the PLU BBQ 2015 Tournament, the Portland State University Men and Women’s Ultimate club teams looked to pick up titles in this two-day tournament that consisted of over 30 total teams that was hosted by Pacific Lutheran University hosted in Tacoma, Washington. On March 14 and 15, PSU Ultimate showed the Pacific Northwest who reigned supreme.

The teams at the men’s PLU BBQ field included Victoria, Seattle, Montana State, Humboldt State, Lewis & Clark, Idaho, Central Washington (the host school), Montana, Portland, Western Washington, Washington State, Whitworth, Simon Fraser and Washington. This tournament had schools from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California and Canada in a field of 19 total teams. There were four pools (A, B, C, D) of round robin play, with the PSU Men’s Ultimate placed in Pool B where they were scheduled to play against Lewis & Clark, GCU, Idaho, and Central Washington. In order to make it out of round robin play, the PSU Vitruvious Ultimate team would need to place in the top 12.

The teams in the women’s PLU BBQ field included Puget Sound, Montana, Idaho, Seattle, Western Washington, Portland, Lewis & Clark and Montana State. This tournament had schools from Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho in a field of 11 total teams. There were two pools of round robin play (A & B), with the PSU Women’s Ultimate team placed in Pool B, where they would face off against the host school Pacific Lutheran, their in-state rival Portland, Lewis & Clark and Montana State. In order to make it out of round robin play with a first round bye, the PSU Howlers would have to finish top two in their pool. All teams would qualify for bracket play, but would have to win a play-in game to have a chance to play at a seed in the quarterfinals.

The tournament begins

Vitruvious started their morning against Central Washington, taking a shutout into the half. They pulled ahead and a 13-5 win put them at 1-0 in round robin play into their next match against Lewis & Clark. In a matchup that saw two of the top teams in the tournament face off, Lewis & Clark had a roster advantage by as much as 20 players. The nine PSU players squared off against nearly thirty opponents, and started well by taking the first four points before Lewis & Clark closed the gap to be down 6-7 at the half. In a heartbreaker, they would also take the game 13-12.

To make the playoffs, PSU needed to get wins over Idaho and GCU. They rebounded against Idaho taking the half with a shutout. The result was a 13-4 to advance to one win away from bracket play. Their first day of play concluded with a 13-6 win over GCU to put them second in their pool with a play-in game.

The Howlers started their morning off strong by winning 13-3 over Lewis & Clark to start at 1-0 in pool play. They squared off against the host school, Pacific Lutheran, continuing their strong start to the tournament with the exact same result, 13-3. They faced Portland next to try to improve to 3-0. In this match-up, PSU got the best of their opponents by taking it 15-5. To close out day one of play, the Howlers won their fourth straight over Montana State 15-5 to win Pool B, and a first round bye.

Day two: Vitruvious spares their foes

PSU Men’s would have to win four games to take the championship, which included the number-one seed Victoria and a possible rematch of the day-one encounter against Lewis & Clark in the finals. They made that happen with a 15-12 win to set up a quarterfinal clash against Victoria.

“Come day two and we win our first game,” said President Austin Kelly. “We were pretty excited, as we got to stay on the turf and not go to the mud. Game two was against the number-one seed of the tournament, who we assumed were just going to destroy us and then we would just go home. Halfway into the game we realized we have a fighting chance and should bring it to them. We did, and we won. After that accomplishment, our sense of confidence rose and we had faith that we would make it to the finals to be against Lewis & Clark again—the only team that beat us on day one in pool play.”

The upset over Victoria 13-11 put Virtruvious into the semi-finals against Washington State, the Pool D winners who just won their quarterfinal game against Montana 15-10. The confidence from the win over Victoria took over as PSU took out another top four seed 15-8 to go into the finals against the team that gave them their only loss of the tournament, Lewis & Clark. After playing the first seven games in awful conditions, the team decided to go home and forfeit the championship match with the promise of playing them for it another time.

Day two: The Howling commandos take no prisoners

The PSU Women’s team entered as one of the only two undefeated teams in bracket play. They played Seattle in the quarterfinals, who had just won their play-in match against Lewis & Clark 11–8. The Howlers won a nail-biter with a 13-12 win in this border clash. In the semi-finals they would have to go through Puget Sound, the number one team in the tournament.

President Becky Hamilton described the encounter, “It was not a pretty game. It was cold, rainy and windy, and we were playing on mushy grass. We lost to them last year at PLU on universe point. Every time we play them it gets really competitive and chippy. They were up most of the game, and I was beginning to lose hope that we’d win, but out of nowhere we scored three breaks in a row, tying the game at 8. We scored again, 9-8. The game was to 10 so it was our game point.”

Hamilton’s coach asked her if she wanted to enter back into the game, but she believed in her team. “We’re on offense and a swirly dump throw goes up, and freshman handler Shea Brennan saves the point by making a sick grab and then hucks it deep to Louise Ryan, who scores the game-winning point,” Hamilton said. The entire team rushes the field, screaming and hugging each other. I embraced my co-captain, Natalie Georgitsa, and we both start tearing up.”

The final was forfeited by the PLU Alum team to give the PSU Women’s Ultimate team the championship. Hamilton explained the club goal heading into this tournament “When we beat Puget Sound and PLU at OFUDG (Oregon Fall Ultimate Disc Games) in the fall, we made it our goal to win PLU BBQ because beating those teams is what it takes. I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”

The Ultimate clubs have both gone a long way since their inception.

“It leaves me rather speechless,” Kelly said. “It is really hard to articulate how proud I am of my players and both of our teams. Leadership puts in so much work with little to no results, have been for years, and to finally see it pay off and for us to get results simply leaves us ecstatic.”

The PSU Men’s and Women’s Ultimate club teams have practices this term Mondays and Fridays from 5–6:30 p.m. They are both looking forward to sectionals with a possible qualification for regionals this upcoming term.