Club Sports News

Flames eighth in conference championship, miss regional bid

April 14, 2013  |  Lynchburg, Va. 

Liberty's Taylor Nelson (12), covered by a Virginia defender, receives a pass from Flames teammate Sandon Fisher (16) during Saturday's first round of pool play.

The brand new turf fields below the LU monogram and Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre enabled Liberty University's men's ultimate frisbee team to host Saturday's and Sunday's USA Ultimate Virginia Conference Championships.

But home-field advantage couldn't help the Flames overcome some top-flight competition in Saturday's pool play. Liberty suffered 13-4, 13-7, and 11-6 losses, respectively, to Virginia, Virginia Tech, and VCU, a team it lost to by a 17-16 score in overtime the last time they played in the March 24 River City Lights tournament in Richmond.

Freshman Haydn Bibby, one of Liberty's top handlers, and Sandon Fisher, a left-handed senior, had recovered from injuries but were not quite at full strength for the weekend tournament.

"The last two weeks, because of injuries, we haven't had everybody at practice and it's showing with our chemistry today," Flames head coach Jason Jarrett said after Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech. "We had a couple of our starters back, but they were hampered because of injury and I had to sub them a lot. We just weren't clicking."

Needing to finish in the top five out of nine teams to advance to the 16-team regional tournament later this month, Liberty wound up as the fourth seed out of Pool B, with five teams in Pool A, and in eighth place at 1-5 after Sunday's championship round.

"Everybody in our conference has gotten better, which is why last year we had nine teams and four went to regionals and this year we get five bids," Jarrett said.

"Everybody's good," added Josh Duffy, a graduate student playing in his last tournament. "It's been some really good, athletic teams, but that's sectionals. The level of competition's a little higher."

UVa wound up winning the whole tournament with Virginia Tech taking third and VCU ending up sixth, one spot out of qualifying for regionals. James Madison University finished runner-up while two teams Liberty lost to on Sunday, William & Mary (13-9) and George Mason (13-11), captured the fourth and fifth regional bids.

"If we had beaten George Mason, there would have been a three-way tie (for fifth)," Jarrett said. "But George Mason ended up winning and they had the tie breaker against ODU."

He said the Flames definitely played better in Sunday's championship bracket, defeating Radford in their first game, 13-8.

But a tendency to fall behind early hurt Liberty the rest of the day as its comeback bids came up short against William & Mary and GMU before falling to ODU 13-4 in the seventh-place game, using mostly reserve players.

"We always seem to give up big leads at the beginning and come back," Jarrett said. "George Mason was up 7-4 at half and we were back and forth in the second half until we brought it back within one point at 12-11. We scored and had to get a stop on defense and had a couple players make diving efforts to get a turnover but just couldn't get them."

Statistically, Liberty's assist leaders were Fisher (17), Duffy (13), and Bibby (eight), while Travis Felker paced the Flames with 15 catches for scores, followed by Taylor Nelson  and Teddy Seago (seven each). As he was pretty much all season, Luke Laubscher was the Flames' top defender with nine forced turnovers while Matt Henry and Duffy added six each.


By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

Images by James Hancock/Liberty University

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at New England Open
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