Lady Flames showcase new talent in Tar Heel Tune-Up
February 2, 2014 | Raleigh, N.C.
After picking up three new players at tryouts in January, Liberty University's women's Ultimate Frisbee team traveled to the Feb. 1-2 Tar Heel Tuneup, hosted by the University of North Carolina, and had one of its better tournaments to date.
"It was a good weekend and a learning experience for a lot of the girls," Lady Flames Assistant Coach Jonathan Mast said after the team finished 2-4. "For the new people, it was like sink or swim and they swam quite well. All three were new to the game but are adapting quickly from other sports."
One of the new players, Allison Coffey, had only practiced with the team four times, but scored six points on the first day of competition.
"She was doing phenomenally," Mast said. "She caught everything thrown at her so we tried to isolate her on one of the (opposing team's) shorter girls and get her in a one-on-one matchup."
Liberty's lost its first match to Virginia Tech, 13-4, before falling to UNC's A team, the eventual tournament champion ranked No. 3 in the nation last season, 11-0.
In a rematch with UNC's B team, which had edged Liberty 10-9 in overtime at its previous tournament at UNC Asheville, the Lady Flames traded point-for-point in the first half before emerging with their first win, 13-11.
"I was super proud of the girls," Mast said. "UNCA runs a good defense and its handlers really distribute the disc well between each other. We tried to isolate the one-on-one matchups to Allison and we continually hit those."
In Saturday's last game, Liberty fell to North Carolina State, 12-4, before opening Sunday's action with a 9-7 loss to Saga, a Chapel Hill, N.C., high school team that travels nationally.
Coffey and junior Lindsey Matson were Liberty's two primary scorers for the weekend.
"They're our two tallest players and some of our best deep cutters," Mast said. "They would alternate between each other as to who was cutting deep and Lindsey scored a ton of points."
"They're the lifeblood of the team, our two main handlers with the most experience," Mast said. "They're really hard-core. They only subbed once or twice the whole weekend and both kept the flow of the offense and played defense."
Fellow senior Kaitlyn Kane was the Lady Flames' third handler in their 5-2 stack offense with five cutters and two handlers. Danielle Smith, another newcomer, recorded an assist Saturday and scored two points on Sunday.
"Everyone stepped up and played a role," Mast said. "Defensively, (senior) Ashley Condon was the best at shutting down people. We put her on opponents' best handlers."
Sunday's 13-7 tournament-ending victory over UNC Greensboro was highlighted by Condon's swarming denial defense.
"Their main handler was a real tall girl, and Ashley's only 5-foot-4, but she's really fast and prevented her from getting the disc in her hands," Mast said.
That game also featured some stellar offensive plays by Liberty right from the start.
"The first point was amazing," Mast said. "We were emphasizing handler movement and on the first point, Sydney threw to Krista, who threw up the line to (sophomore) Keziah (Lewellyn), who threw to Liz Skeele and Liz threw a 25-yard forehand to Lindsey for a point. It was beautiful."
By the end of the tournament, Mast said the Lady Flames felt more comfortable with the disc in their hands and were more aggressive in moving it upfield. That was evident on the second-to-last point, capped by one of the most spectacular catches Mast has seen.
"Krista Johnson had a bomb of a pass to Lindsey Matson," Mast said. "It looked liked she overthrew her and Lindsay had to run it down and she didn't quit. She decided to sacrifice her body and she made the best full-layout catch I've ever seen at Liberty, diving like Superman and catching it about two feet off the ground for a score."
Then, on the last point of the game, Comer connected on a 35-yard scoring pass to Coffey, who beat her defender and barely stayed inbounds in the right corner.