Flames torch competition at St. Mary's College tournament
February 24, 2013 | St. Mary's City, Md.
Despite playing without three of its regular starters, Liberty University's men's ultimate frisbee team pulled off its first tournament championship in club history, Saturday and Sunday at St. Mary's College (Md.), winning the eight-team Cupid's Revenge.
"We were a little shorthanded," Flames head coach Jason Jarrett said Sunday afternoon, 15 minutes after the team's championship victory over the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "We had five guys on our roster who were either sick or had to work, so we only had 13 guys in the tournament, but all 13 contributed and were part of the win. We still played phenomenal. The guys played very good offense together. We were definitely the best defensive team and most well-conditioned team. The guys could probably play another game (now) if they wanted to."
The Flames went 3-0 in Saturday's pool play, beating Salisbury University (Md.), 13-8, Eastern Mennonite, 13-5, and St. Mary's B team, 13-0, to earn the top seed for Sunday's playoffs.
After getting easier throughout the day on Saturday, the competition increased with each opponent on Sunday. Liberty dominated St. Mary's alumni team, 15-2, in the quarterfinals before defeating St. Mary's A team, 15-5, in the semifinals and UMBC, 15-12, in the championship.
"The semifinal (match) was a tough game, but we kept making better decisions and kept pulling away little by little," Jarrett said.
"He played safety and he was able to get up and get a lot of turnovers," Jarrett said.
In the championship contest against the Retrievers, the Flames clung to a 13-12 advantage before sophomore Larry Spradley helped seal the title.
"He dove in there and got the defense that set up a score and then, after a couple passes, he ended up getting the score as well that made it 14-12," Jarrett said. "Then, on the next point, we got another defense and Larry caught the last score, too."
Though the tournament competition wasn't quite as tough as that at last weekend's Chucktown Throwdown in Charleston, S.C., where the Flames finished fifth, losing only to alumni squads, Jarrett said it was a little bit closer to that they can expect to face for the rest of the regular season.
Next weekend, Liberty travels to Lorton, Va., to play in the 16-team "Callahans in the Capital" tournament, featuring UMBC, Catholic, the only team in the field that the Flames didn't face at St. Mary's, and American, which Liberty defeated in last year's club sectionals.
The Flames will host the men's and women's Mid-Atlantic Conference championships, April 13-14 on Liberty's new intramural fields, which will determine if they advance to regionals.