RPI Ultimate takes on competition in California

GRADUATE STUDENT CHRIS PERSICHILLI LEAPS to make an athletic catch against a physical Chico State defender. To his left is senior Daniel Donovan.

RPI men’s Ultimate competed in its season opener this past weekend at the 2012 Stanford Open in Stevinson, Calif. Ultimate teams from 25 Division-I and Division-III schools traveled to California to compete in the two day tournament, including teams from Stanford University, California Polytechnic State Unviersity, Oregon State University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. RPI entered the competition as the overall 14th seed, and the fourth seed in its pool.

After spending the winter months having only indoor conditioning practices, RPI took the tournament as its first opportunity to compete outdoors since mid-November. The first day of the competition featured pool play in windy conditions, making play difficult even for those teams that had been able to practice outdoors during the winter months. RPI’s lack of recent practice playing in such weather showed in its results—the team suffered a 13-7 loss during its first game of the day to UCLA, who would ultimately advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. This would be followed by two more losses: a 9-4 defeat at the hands of the pool’s No. 1 seed Western Washington University, and a close 10-8 game against a Chico State team that would also advance to the quarterfinals.

Day two of the tournament featured bracket play with both improved conditions and improved play by RPI. After its losses on the first day, the team was placed in the 13th–25th place bracket to compete against other teams who had also been outperformed on Saturday. RPI came out much stronger and handily defeated Stanford-B its first matchup, 11-5, and advanced in the bracket. During the second game, RPI was pitted against Westmont College. Both teams would trade points for most of the game; however, several key break points by RPI’s defensive line led to a 13-11 victory. The team’s final game of the weekend against Azusa Pacific University was a similar story, but ultimately ended in a 13-12 double-game-point loss during the final minutes of the round. RPI would finish the tournament tied for 14th place, holding its initial seeding. The overall winners of the tournament, California Polytechnic, went undefeated on the weekend and advance to the Stanford Invitational on March 3 and 4, where they will compete against some of college Ultimate’s elite teams.

The remainder of RPI’s season leading up to the college series will include the Washington D.C. Roll Call Tournament, as well as RPI’s own Division-III exclusive tournament at the Saratoga Polo Fields on March 24 and 25. The team’s play at these tournaments will help decide its seeding at the Hudson Valley Conference Tournament in April.

Those interested in learning more about RPI’s competitive Ultimate teams should visit http://frisbee.union.rpi.edu for more information.