[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Ohio State University
Team Name: Fever
Captains: Cassie Swafford (So.) and Janine Walker (Sr.)
Coach: DeAnna Ball, Brent Reeb, and Rodger Oakes
Year Founded: 2004
Jersey Colors: Black and white
How did you get involved with Ultimate at your school?
Cassie: My high school formed an open team my junior year, and I got involved when all of my best friends convinced me to play. Basketball and soccer had always been my favorite sports, but I slowly began to spend less and less time playing those sports and more and more time playing Ultimate. After playing a season of club before my freshman year at Ohio State, I knew I wanted to get involved with Fever.
Janine: In high school I played volleyball and ran track. I loved volleyball and always thought that I would play for as long as possible, and that I would never find a sport that I enjoyed quite as much. But I got involved with Ultimate my sophomore year in college. I came out to the first practice and never looked back.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Fever Captains: Fever finished 4th at the two-weekend long Regionals after coming in seeded 7th. The best game we played in the tournament was against host team Notre Dame, who was seeded higher than us and was expected to beat us decisively. We took half 8-3, and our previous captain, Andrea Traina, pumped us up at halftime by saying, “This is Fever playing well, but this isn’t even Fever playing at its best.” We went on to win the game and placed fourth at Regionals.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Fever Captains: One of my favorite teams to play against is Case Western. We see them a lot throughout the year, and last year we repeatedly came up just short of beating them. A particular game that stands out is the 2010 sectionals final, which we ended up losing 13-10. It was a chippy, close game from beginning to end, but we just couldn’t figure out how to break their zone. We’ll be ready for a rematch against them this year at sectionals.
Fever Captains: We have two new coaches this year, Brent Reeb and Rodger Oakes, who will work as assistant coaches under our returning head coach, DeAnna Ball. All three have an unbelievable amount of experience and have all been to the club championships multiple times.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Fever Captains: Lauren Doyle (Sr.) and Janine Walker both will be looking to huck it to streaking cutters, and receivers Cassie Swafford, Kristen Smiach (Sr.), Karen Hines (Grad), and Amanda Tripepi (Jr.) should be big downfield. Expect Paige “Diddy” Soper (So.) and Corin Newman (So.), both new players this year, to be big on defense.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck or gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable she is to your team?
Fever Captains: Taylor Ey (Sr.) is a solid handler, cutter, and defender. She’s quick on offense, stays with her man on defense, and almost never drops the disc. Taylor is a player you always want on (and off) the field – she is the glue that holds our team together.
How do we bring new players up to speed?
Fever Captains: We have integrated skills drills and strategy drills into practices to help bring the new players up to speed. Team leaders — even beyond the captains — are giving constant feedback to the new players as things happen during a scrimmage. This gives the new players real-time examples what what works and what doesn’t work.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and defense?
Fever Captains: In any offense that we will run this year, it is our goal to move the disc quickly and to always hit the first open player. Defensively, we are looking to run a hard man defense. In the past, Fever has relied heavily on zone, but this year we also want an aggressive man defense that limits the options down field.
Has your team set any goals for the season? What are they?
Fever Captains: Of course we have set goals! One of our core goals this year is to drastically improve our fundamentals. We want every player on our roster to increase her range of throws and be able to catch under pressure. We hope that improving this will help us achieve two of our other goals, which are to win a tournament and to make it to College Nationals.
Fever Captains: We had a training and conditioning camp prior to the start of classes to get all of the returners on the same page, and now we are integrating the new players as much as possible. Off the field we are doing a lot of team building so that we can become a more cohesive team.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring?
Fever Captains: We are hoping to attend Queen City Tune-Up, which we went to last year and loved (despite the snow), Midwest Throwdown, Centex, and Philly Classic. I’m really looking forward to Philly Classic because we really haven’t seen that many teams from Pennsylvania, but with the region changes we are going to need to know how they play!
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Fever Captains: We sing, we dance, we warm up hard, and then we do one of our favorite cheers, such as “John Wilkes Booth” (“Shoot ’em in the head/ Jump off a balcony/ Break a leg/ Burn in a barn”).
How do you feel about the USAU college restructuring?
- Will allow for more high-level play
- More opportunities for smaller schools to improve
- Interesting challenges to learn new teams in the region
Who do you think has the best shot at winning the 2011 College Championships?
Fever Captains: My money’s on Oregon.