Liberty men fourth, women eighth in River City tourney
March 23, 2013 | Richmond, Va.
Ultimate frisbee can be as dangerous a game as football, hockey, or rugby, which it might be best compared to since athletes don't wear helmets or pads in either sport.
Take this past weekend's River City Lights tournament in Richmond, for example.
Liberty University's men's head coach Jason Jarrett brought 16 players to the two-day event and after seven games, he only had eight still available due to injuries.
"It's supposed to be non-contact, but you're running so hard for so long, as you get tired, you're more susceptible to injury," Jarrett said. "Our guys play really hard and because of that, that leads to a lot of the injuries."
In Saturday's losses to Duke and Virginia Commonwealth University, Jarrett lost two of his best handlers, Sandon Fisher and Hadyn Bibby, to hand and knee injuries, respectively.
"Josh Duffy wasn't able to attend this weekend because of an injury, so we were hurting as far as handling goes," Jarrett said.
The Flames played five games from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, with each lasting an hour and 40 minutes followed by a 10-minute break.
"There were supposed to be 10 teams, but three didn't make it, so we were stuck with five games in a row," Jarrett said. "That was brutal because a couple of our starters got injured against Duke. By the time we played VCU and George Mason, both of which are in our conference, we were injured and exhausted. That's what hurt our chances when we got to bracket play."
The Flames finished fourth out of seven teams and lost to all three of the teams that placed above them, twice to overall champion George Mason.
Liberty forfeited a second match against VCU in Sunday's third-place game.
"We played through some sleet and hail on Sunday and I had so many injuries and the weather was getting so bad, we decided to leave early," Jarrett said, noting it was treacherous driving back to Lynchburg and one of the team members who drove separately slid his car into a ditch.
The Flames opened the tournament with a 15-0 victory over VCU's B team before losing to Duke, the eventual runner-up, 13-11.
"It came down to the final point," Jarrett said. "We were trailing 12-11 and turned it over on the goal line and they turned around and scored."
In its third game, Liberty defeated Salisbury 15-12 before beating the B team from Williams, 11-7, and losing a see-saw contest against VCU, 17-16, in ultimate scoring. Games are played to 15 and teams must win by two until it gets to 17.
"They were up 15-14, then we went up 16-15 and they scored to tie it at 16," Jarrett said. "It got down to the last point and whoever scored won the game."
On Sunday, playing with just two regular starters and plenty of freshmen and sophomores in the lineup, Liberty lost to George Mason, 9-2. Then in the semifinals of bracket play, the Flames faced the Patriots again and fell by a 14-3 count.
"We only had 10 players whereas they had 27," Jarrett said. "We still played very well and I'm excited about our chances in the conference championships in three weeks if we can get healed up by then."
Liberty's top receiver for the tournament was Austin Smith, who scored 11 points, followed by Matt Henry, Josh Rich, and Teddy Seago, who each had nine. Fisher paced the Flames with 18 assists followed by Bibby's 15 (in limited playing time). Both had perfect catch percentages.
Liberty will host the April 13 men's conference championships featuring George Mason, VCU, Virginia Tech, William & Mary, James Madison, Old Dominion, and Radford, while the Lady Flames' travel to JMU for their conference tournament.
Liberty's women went 0-4 in Saturday's pool play before finishing eighth out of 10 teams.
The Lady Flames lost a 15-12 decision to Edinboro in their opener before falling to Virginia's B team, 14-6, pool champion VCU, 15-4, and UNC Greensboro 15-7. On Sunday morning, Liberty beat Richmond 15-7 before losing to Edinboro in the seventh-place game, 15-4.
"They're definitely have a rebuilding year after they lost their three best players from last year," Jarrett said. "They've just got to keep playing and improving."