Women’s ultimate team will hit the ground running this fall
Entering his ninth season as Head Coach of Liberty University women’s ultimate team, Jonathan Mast — who also serves alongside men’s ultimate Head Coach Kevin Habermas as an event coordinator for LU Stages — is anticipating an action-packed year for students in general and his players in particular.
With USA Ultimate postponing the Spring 2021 tournament schedule to this fall due to COVID-19, the Lady Flames will have the opportunity to compete this semester in preparation for their regular Spring 2022 slate.
“The spring is normally our season, but USA Ultimate, the governing body of the sport, has extended or postponed the season to the fall,” Mast said. “It’s going to be a very compressed semester. We normally have tryouts and then have a whole semester to teach the new recruits, figure out who is going to fill the roles of graduating seniors, and things like that.”
Following tryouts on Aug. 28 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Liberty Mountain Intramural Complex, Liberty will compete in a tournament to tune up for its Virginia Sectional Championships in September, which will serve as a qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Regionals in October.
“The girls are excited for it,” Mast said. “They all have good spirits and are excited to compete again. They had summer workouts and are happy to get some reward for all the work they’ve been putting in. It is going to be quite a busy semester (but) I have pretty high expectations and am hopeful we will have a really good season.”
He said the Lady Flames made the best of the situation without tournament competition the past two seasons.
“The (Spring) semester had its challenges, but also had a lot of successes as well as the team grew closer together,” Mast said. “We’ve had basically two seasons we’ve given up as far as our normal conference championships. It was a little bit of a challenge to keep everybody bought in, but for the most part, we were pretty pleased to see them investing in the team as a community.”
He noted that he was able to get eligibility extensions for a handful of graduating seniors, who will be permitted to compete this fall, but not for the Lady Flames’ second season in the spring.
Mast wants to see his players be intentional about seizing the time and making the most of it, down to the smallest details. The theme of the team derives from Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in what is least is also faithful in much,” which Mast has shortened to “Faithful in the little things.”
“We’ve always had the idea and the philosophy of learning character through sport,” he said. “We have asked the girls to be faithful in the little things that they were doing to make themselves the best they can be and try to invest in each other. It is amazing to me, the longer I’ve coached, the longer I’ve lived, how much life is just being faithful to do the little things and then the bigger things take care of themselves.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer; Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media