Lady Flames’ veterans look to bond quickly with newcomers at Fusion tournament in Axton
Liberty University’s women’s ultimate team will open its fall season by traveling to the Smith River Sports Complex in Axton, Va., site of the spring Atlantic Coast Regional Championships, to compete in Saturday’s and Sunday’s Fusion Tournament.
The event will feature teams from as far away as Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee, and Temple as well as regional schools such as George Washington, JMU, Mary Washington, Virginia, William & Mary, Duke, Elon, North Carolina, NC State, and UNC Wilmington.
“I am super excited to be back on the field,” Lady Flames graduate cutter Lydia Vernon said. “The end of last season was super exciting because we got first place at the (Virginia) Conference Championships, then we got to go into (Atlantic Coast) Regionals going very strong.”
After defeating the University of Virginia for the first time in program history in the conference championship final, Liberty defeated South Carolina in the first round at regionals before being knocked out of USA Ultimate Collegiate Nationals contention with first-day losses to UVA and Delaware.
“It was kind of disappointing at the end, kind of a letdown, so I’m excited to get back on the field with a little bit of that motivation to not have the same experience at regionals this year,” Vernon said.
Head Coach Jonathan Mast is trying to develop the most athletically balanced and versatile team he has ever coached through extra conditioning and positional work in practice.
“It is nice to be back,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of new recruits, several of them have played ultimate previously. We graduated some longtime (players) that were really the core to our team, but I feel like we are in a really good place. We’ve been trying to develop depth for the past two years and we have started seeing the fruits of that, so we are excited to see how the semester’s going to play out with that strategy … and getting to test that depth.”
“It’s really good to be back together as a team,” senior handler Asha Gillette added. “We have eight or nine new girls this year, so that is really good and exciting see them develop and to build chemistry.”
Video edited by Kylee Lilge/Club Sports Video & Media Coordinator