[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Notre Dame
Captains: Megan Franke, Molly Thompson, and Amy Bilek
Year Founded: 1991
Jersey Colors: Black, Green and Gold
2010 Record: 36-8
How did you get involved with Ultimate at Notre Dame?
Amy Bilek: I had never played Ultimate before college. I started playing because my older sister was on the Notre Dame team. Then I stayed around because I loved the sport and the people.
Megan Franke: I had never played Ultimate before college either, except for relaxed non-competitive pick-up games. I started playing at ND because I was looking to learn a new sport, and the program at ND is very inviting to novice players. I stayed around because the ND Ultimate program does a fantastic job of balancing a competitive sport in a fun, laid-back atmosphere.
Molly Thompson: I had never played organized Ultimate before college. I knew I needed some type of sport to keep me busy, because I’d spent my whole life playing soccer competitively. Ultimate seemed like a new and exciting option. Once I went to a few practices and met the people, I was hooked.
What is Ultimate at Notre Dame all about?
Megan: Ultimate at Notre Dame is all about combining hard working, smart athletes that are passionate about the game and each other as a team. While the major emphasis is on learning and competing, as leaders we make sure that every aspect of our sport, competitive and social, is fun for all of our players.
Molly: Ultimate at Notre Dame is about community. All of our Ultimate teams enjoy spending time together on and off the field, and this is what allows our teams to be successful. We know how to be competitive while still having fun. We work well together as a team to continually improve our level of play and be competitive.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Molly: Last year was the first year we ever had a B team. It was great, and really showed how much our program has grown since my freshman year. The B team also made a great showing at Sectionals and was one spot away from qualifying for Regionals. As far as the A team, we had a really competitive season and finished 5th at Regionals. One of my favorite memories of a game is when we played Case Western at Philly Classic. We were down six to two when we decided to turn things around. We only gave up one more point and came back to win 10-7.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Amy: Rachel Newkirk has really been stepping up as a handler. We will likely see some big throws out of her. Kelly Taylor and Kim Schlesinger are great cutters and can catch anything. On defense, we’ve seen some great plays out of Allie Hawkins, Kelsey Taylor, and Kelly Gilmour.
Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable she is to your team?
Amy: Kim Ford is a great leader on and off the field. She is quiet and may go unnoticed by some, but her knowledge of the game and strong throws make her super valuable to our program.
How does your team bring new players to ultimate up to speed?
Amy: Last year, we expanded our women’s program to two teams. This was an exciting move for us and meant teaching a lot of new girls ultimate. The majority of our new players have never played ultimate before and so initially we focus on gaining familiarity with the rules and learning to throw. Then, we move on to learning different offenses and defenses. Our returners are great at helping the new kids and our newbies have been catching onto everything really well!
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Molly: Our goal is to make sure both our A and B teams keep developing their skills, while staying connected as one unit, working together to make each of our teams better. We hope the B team has a strong showing at Sectionals. As an A team, we hope to finish higher at Regionals than we did last year…and maybe even in one of the top two spots!
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Molly: Listen to Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Megan: White Houses by Vanessa Carlton
Bear, ninja or cowboy?