Super Bowl Sunday was a super day for Wreck, the Tech women’s ultimate team. Wreck competed in the 2015 Tar Heel Tune-Up this past weekend. It was their first tournament of the spring and they finished with a bang beating hosts UNC 8-5 in the championship game.
Wreck also finished the tournament undefeated and the current team experienced their first career win against a ranked opponent. It was a huge program win for this year’s team and for the future of their program.
“It definitely is a big program win. This is the most competitive tournament we’ve won. Beating a national’s caliber team in the final just speaks wonders to the amount of time people on this team have put in,” said fourth year captain Cate Woodhurst. “I just think that is going to continue to push us to be better and be even more competitive in our future tournaments.”
The captains and the rest of the team were overcome with joy after the win and it helped ease a six hour drive back to Atlanta.
“Honestly, I was so happy I could cry. It wasn’t just the fact that we beat UNC, that was huge, but it was how we did it. We did it by playing our full roster on Saturday and did it by fulfilling our goals. VCU came up and told us we were so spirited and that was one of our goals for the tournament,” said third year captain Julia Ting.
The team travelled with 19 people to participate which is the largest number the team has had at an ultimate tournament. Going into the tournament Wreck was seeded second, but the team came in with no expectations and emphasized how the main purpose of the tournament was to have fun, get better and learn. However, they really wanted to get their chance to play against UNC since they were the hosts and coming off a nationals berth.
On Saturday, Wreck faced off vs the other teams in their pool: Wake Forest, Duke and Appalachian State. They won all 3 games to win their pool and would play against UNC-Asheville in the quarterfinals on Sunday, winning 11-3. Wreck followed that performance up with a 7-6 win against VCU in the semifinals.
They would play in the championship game against UNC, the only other undefeated team in tournament to that point. It was the first time they played UNC in over two years.
The last time the two teams met, Wreck struggled to defend their hucks down field and the game was not that competitive. This game would be different as the young players who played in that game were now veterans and were able to take a big lead on UNC due to excellent team defense led by captains Donnya Ajdari and Ting. Wreck built a 6-1 lead early on, and were able to hold off a UNC run, to win 8-5.
“Our zone defense we were playing worked really well. They weren’t able to get any throws down field and there would be turns,” Ajdari said. “In our zone we made sure everyone understood the role they were playing. That’s the key to the zone defense we were playing, is that everyone does their role properly.”
After the victory Ting reflected on how far they have come in the past two years since their last matchup vs UNC.
“It’s super exciting. It just shows how Wreck has grown leaps and bounds. I think a lot of it has to do with our mentality and focusing a lot more on conditioning. This is something you can see not just against North Carolina, but we also beat Florida in a fall tournament for the first time in Wreck history,” Ting said. “The returners coming back and showing that dedication has put a lot into this team and also our coach Maddy.”
All of the captains singled out second year Bridget Nabb’s performance and said Nabb played amazing defense and had key catches and scores during the championship round.
Despite winning a big tournament and receiving recognition from the ultimate community for their play, the team is still focused more on having fun and team spirit than winning.
“Our goal is to be the most spirited team in the Southeast and that’s what we care more about than outcomes,” Woodhurst said.
Wreck’s next tournament is the Moonlight Invite hosted by Emory on February 22 and 23, and Wreck is very excited for what the rest of the season entails.
“I think that Wreck is going to be growing a lot for the rest of the season. This is a great start and I’m really excited to see how our players are going to develop even more and being able to see how Wreck can compete with national caliber teams,” Ajdari said.