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School Name: Stanford University
Team Name: Bloodthirsty
Captains: Jordan Jeffery, Ben Philips, Nick Greenfield
Coaches: Neale Mahoney, Krishna Rao, Dan Silverstein
Year founded: 1978
Jersey Colors: White, Red, Black
2010 Record: 15-20
How did Bloodthirsty do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Ben Phillips: Our team went through a rebuilding year last year, after losing half the team from the previous season. We ended our season at Regionals, which left everyone even more determined to make Nationals. The highlight of our season came at Centex when we exacted revenge against our semifinal loss to Carleton, beating them 15-3.
Tell us about your coaches/captains. What do they bring to your team?
Nick Greenfield: Neale Mahoney played four years at Brown, before joining Bloodthirsty for his 5th year in 2006. He is finishing up his Economics PhD at Stanford this year. Mahoney won Nationals with Brownian Motion and reached semis with both Stanford and Brown. Mahoney’s coaching style emulates former Brownian Motion and current Boston Ironside coach Nathan Wicks. This will be Mahoney’s first year coaching Bloodthirsty. Krishna Rao played four years at Columbia and played his club ultimate with PONY. Rao is in his third year of a PhD program in economics at Stanford. His quiet demeanor on the sideline should not be misunderstood for silence in the huddle. Rao’s defensive mentality has rubbed off on Stanford already this Fall. This will be Rao’s first year coaching Bloodthirsty. Dan “Chimo” Silverstein is a veteran of Chicago Ultimate. He played his fifth year at Stanford and returns to coach Bloodthirsty in his fourth year on campus as a Physics PhD. You will be hard pressed to find a smarter and more observant coach than Silverstein. His speciality in small, in-game adjustments will be key to Stanford’s success in 2011. This will be Silverstein’s first year coaching Bloodthirsty.
Jordan Jeffery: Nick Greenfield is a strong player with a ruthless mark and big throws. Greenfield brings a swagger to the field that can’t be fazed by the opposition or inclement weather. Greenfield will anchor Stanford’s offensive handler line this year, and continue to push his teammates to improve both their mental and physical toughness outside of practice. Ben Phillips is a co-terminal Masters student playing his final year of eligibility in 2011. Ben will anchor Stanford’s offensive cutting line, and is an enforcer both on and off the field. His towering presence and tireless cutting will set the tone for Stanford’s rookie cutters in 2011, who stand to learn much from Phillips’s timing, quick direction changes and deep game.
Nick: Jordan Jeffery is perhaps Stanford’s most dangerous player. A 6’4 agile cutter with pin-point 80 yard throws from both sides of the disc and a 6’8″ wingspan, he’s a nightmare for any mark. A player who leads by example, Jeffery is epitomized by fiery D, explosive offense and a knack for never giving up on a play. In addition, Stanford returns three former captains as 5th year seniors: 2010 captains Angus Pacala and Colin Van Lang and 2009 captain Ryan Thompson.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on Ultimate?
Nick: In any given year, if we take three guys from the b-team, a grad student and six freshman, we’ve really got to approach each player differently. Generally, we focus on footwork, dumping the disc and clearing to get the new players feeling comfortable. Then we tell them to run as fast as they can deep and show off their athleticism. Ultimate is an easy game to teach because there are so many similarities between ultimate and other sports. It’s the subtle nuances that can only be learned in game situations that are so hard to teach.
Without giving too much away, what does Bloodthirsty like to do on offense and on defense?
Jordan: On defense, we focus on having the best marks in the nation while playing ferocious, never give-up-on-a-play, physical defense. On offense, we focus on the fundamentals: pivoting, breaking the mark, and hitting one of our wide open cutters.
What has Bloodthirsty been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Jordan: Our preparation for this year started as soon as last season ended. For the first time in six years Stanford didn’t qualify for Nationals, and we hit the off-season with renewed focus and drive. Many of our team members stayed in the area and played for Boost Mobile, a club team we started made up of current and ex-Stanford players. We played competitive games with some of the top club teams in the country and took 5th in the tough Northwest Region.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Nick: Before big games we always bring together our mental focus and increase the level of intensity during our warmups. We have our cheers that we reserve for big games, but that’s about it. We don’t change what we do from one game to the next. Each game is just as important as the rest. Unless we’re playing Cal, then we call in the Stanford Band.
Which team has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Nick: Too early to predict. It’s about the team that puts in the most work in the next seven months.
What do you think about the USA Ultimate college restructuring?
Nick: Not getting to play Oregon and UBC at Regionals is a bummer. Those teams have been some of our biggest rivals. Our Conference hasn’t changed much though. The new region helps the program save money. It also increases our rivalries with in-state teams down south. We’re looking forward to the re-alignment and earning as many strength bids as possible due to the new region’s outstanding depth.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Nick: Playing Cal is always a treat. Both teams come out fired up, and we’ve split the series over the past four years pretty evenly. Most memorable game would have to be drubbing Cal under the lights in Stanford Stadium (2008) in front of the Stanford Band and a crowd of about 1000 people. Tom James’s Greatest was by far the most memorable play of that season.