[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Northeastern University
Team Name: Valkyries
Captains: Chelsey Burrows, Michelle Chiang, Carla Fergusson
Coaches: Courtney Moores, Kayla Burnim
Year Founded: 2001
Jersey Colors: Red, black, white
2010 Record: 19-15
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Northeastern?
Courtney Moores: I am one of the coaches at Northeastern, but am also an alum of the team. I started playing back in my freshmen year (2004). I had played a bit of pickup in high school, but never anything organized. I saw a sign-up for the team at orientation and I haven’t looked back since. I took one year off away from the team after I graduated (2009), and am back at it coaching the team this year.
What was the highlight of your previous season?
Courtney:The team had come off of 2 years of making Nationals and graduated some top players from the program. So, last year was a bit of a rebuilding year, where the team took a lot of young players and tried to make them into solid players. Despite taking a lot of new players and having a younger team than in years past, the team still played well and made it into Sunday of Regionals.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Courtney: I think the team we like to play the most is Dartmouth College. When the Valkyries first started, Dartmouth was the clear top team in our Region and a team that we aspired to be like. As the years went on, we started to be able to compete with them, and for our program that was a huge achievement. The most memorable game is absolutely the Regional championship in 2009. The score was 8-2 at half, Darmouth leading, and they then scored the first point out of half, going up 9-2. We then came back on two different streaks in the game, and won on double game point to win the Northeast Region for the second year in a row.
Tell us about your coaches and captains. What do they bring to your team?
Courtney: We have two coaches and three captains this year. The coaches are myself, Courtney Moores, and Kayla Burnim. I am an alum of the Northeastern Valkyries, and played with the team for 5 years. I also play for the club team, Quiet Coyote. I know how this program works, and feel that I have had a lot of big game experience that I can extend to the team. Kayla Burnim is a Delaware alum from a Delaware team that she led to nationals. She is also from Amherst and has played at Junior Worlds and has an immense knowledge of the game. Kayla is a handler, and I am a cutter, so we can cover different areas of the game.
We have three captains – Chelsey Burrows, Michelle Chiang and Carla Fergusson. Chelsey plays with Boston’s top women’s team, Brute Squad, and brings a ton of big game experience from them. Michelle has played and coached Boston’s women’s team, Hatch where she has gained an extensive knowledge of the game. And Carla is our newer captain that is still coming into her own, and leads in a very necessary, laid-back way that is very approachable for our players.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Courtney: Chelsey Burrows should be in consideration for Callahan and All-Region. She is a cutter that can truly take control of the game, and is easily one of the top players in the region. She is going to be open on almost any defender when on offense, and can make D’s on the best cutters and handlers in the region. She is an easy choice for All-Region in my opinion (and was also on the Northeast All-Region team last year).
Michelle Chiang, if healthy, can also be an All-Region player. She is a dominant handler that can make big plays and big throws. She has been plagued with knee and back issues, but if she can get healthy, she is going to be a key piece to our offense.
Becca Ginsburg will also be in consideration for All-Region. An Andover High School graduate, Becca is a key piece to both our offense and defense. She is a dominant handler that can make big plays, and is also always going to be in the mix on defense – she is a very strong man defender and also dominant in the front wall and cup in our zone defenses.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Courtney: As a thrower – Michelle Chiang is most likely to make big plays as a thrower. She has solid break throws and deep throws and is going to find the right cutter every time the disc is in her hands. And, every time the disc isn’t in her hands, she wants it in her hands, which I think shows a true handler.
As a receiver – Chelsey Burrows is going to be our playmaker as a receiver. She can get open in, deep, pretty much wherever she wants. She’s also willing to lay out for any disc, and is one of the more aggressive players I’ve seen in the game. She is going to make plays whenever the disc is anywhere near her.
On D – Chelsey Burrows is again going to be our biggest playmaker on D. She has a great field sense, and like I said before, is a very aggressive player. She’s always going to be putting pressure on anyone she is defending and often making the block. She is also going to make it incredibly difficult for anyone to score deep against our zone 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?
Courtney: Our third captain, Carla Fergusson, is the exact description of this question. Carla is a fantastic athlete, but isn’t always the one making big plays. She doesn’t make incredible cuts that would make a highlight reel, but she somehow always has the disc. Carla has a great sense of always getting open when we need to keep possession. She’s also extremely valuable on defense but it often goes unnoticed. She can defend the best players in the game to a point that they can’t touch the disc. So, she usually isn’t making big blocks, but she’s doing exactly what we need her to do. Her attitude is also an incredible asset to this team. The way she leads the team is a great balance of all types of players – she can relate to pretty much anyone which makes her a very approachable leader.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Courtney: We have not set any team goals at this time. However, I think a good start would be to improve on the team’s finish from last year (tied for 5th in the region).
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Courtney: We would like to attend one tournament that we would fly to (Centex, Terminus or something else), Philly Classic, Yale Cup and maybe a few others. We would most look forward to the tournament that we fly to. This will almost definitely be the first tournament we attend, as we live in the Northeast, and it is very difficult to play outside until April. Tournaments that we fly to are also exciting because it’s a new set of teams than the ones that we see at all of the same tournaments, so we can see where we fit in on a more national scale than just regional.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Courtney: For the past few years the team has attended a workshop by Max Woolf (http://www.maxwoolf.com – a teammate of mine on Quiet Coyote). He has instilled a way of playing that we like to call “this point” and it really has a way of sparking the team up before or even during a game. Whether things are going good or bad, it is important to focus on this point, and that has had a really positive effect on this program.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Courtney: It’s hard to predict what songs will be big in 2011, so I’m going to go with an old favorite. It has been used for highlight videos of ours in the past but is appropriate for a big season – Stronger by Kanye.