[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Case Western Reserve University
Team Name: Fighting Gobies
Captains: Noel Hanzel, Libby Lehman
Year Founded: 1994
Jersey Colors: Blue/White
2010 Record: 26-4
Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you get involved with Ultimate at Case Western?
Noel Hanzel: I’m a computer science and cognitive science 3rd year and I’ve been playing ultimate for 3 years. I came to Cleveland from Chicago thinking about playing ultimate with the Gobies. I went out to the first couple of practices and stuck with it.
Libby Lehman: I’m a junior Chemical Engineering major from northeastern Ohio. This is my 3rd year playing. I had originally come to college with the hope of playing some club sport, as I had been involved in athletics throughout my high school career. I began attending practices with Noel, who I met during orientation – and immediately loved playing, the team, and the whole Ultimate culture.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Noel and Libby: We finished 1st in our section and 3rd in our region. The best game of the year was the Sectional finals – we played a close game against OSU, where we eventually pulled ahead, winning 13-10 to take the section for the 2nd year in a row. It was an awesome game and accomplishment for the team.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Noel and Libby: Notre Dame – we’re consistently evenly matched with this team, both in skill and in spirit. We played a great game against them at Regionals where we come back from a deficit to win on universe, advancing us to the championship game.
What do you bring to the team as captains?
Noel: As captains we are looking to get some numbers back and make sure everyone has a great time. Graduating 9 awesome seniors, we thought this year might be a struggle, but for the first time in the history of Case women’s ultimate we had to call lines at a tournament this fall. Having numbers of 17+ at tournaments and at practice is amazing. We also want to make sure everyone knows the essential non-ultimate Ultimate related games: box, in-out box, team flutter, bat game, mingle, cribbage.
Libby: As a younger team, we’ve really tried to highlight all of the things that make Ultimate great – the play, the spirit, the community. We try to create a balance between competitiveness and laid-back fun because Ultimate really is about both. There are few things better than College Ultimate, and we try to show that to everyone on the team.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Libby: All-Region – Noel Hanzel, Kumiko Sano. I think that these players deserve all-region consideration because they are two players that I would hate to play against during a game. Noel has the ability to get open at will, and can catch anything that is thrown her way, and Kumi can frustrate and pressure even the best offenses. I am always extremely glad to be playing with them and not against them, and I think that that is a strong indicator of a very good player.
Universe point, you need a D and a score. How does it happen?
Noel: Kumi “tron” Sano will get a layout d on the handler or our rookie Kristin “bolt-e” Bolte will destroy her offender. Libby will pick up the turn and put up a sick huck. Sasha “stallin’ ” Klyachkina will streak deep and if she doesn’t make the catch, Gabby Markoff will pick up the trash.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on Ultimate?
Noel: Lots of practice, lots of throwing and lots of scrimmaging.
Libby: We do a lot of teaching in the fall. It isn’t until winter and spring that we really pick up the intensity of practices and conditioning, until then we do a lot of walking through our offenses and defenses, a lot of drawing on our white board. We really try to point out good ultimate in other teams during tournaments – urging everyone to take note of what does and doesn’t work for our opponents and try to incorporate that into our own play.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Libby: On offense – we like to score. On defense – we like to get the d, and then score. (Editor’s note: Fair enough; give nothing at all away. The enemy has spies everywhere.)
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Libby: We’ve really been emphasizing personal goals – each player setting goals based on their own thoughts and our captains’ suggestions, and then really working on those at practice and in their own time. As far as team goals, at this point I would say that our primary goal is just getting everyone to the point where they understand the flow of the game. During winter, we plan on setting more concrete goals for the spring season.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Noel: Learning to play together in the fall and helping to rookies get a sense of the game. Over the winter will condition and bring our fundamentals to the next level so we’re ready to bust out in the spring.
Libby: We’ve also been doing a lot of team bonding that will be really valuable for our chemistry on the field come spring.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Noel and Libby: Dat New “New” by Kid Cudi
What do you think about the USA Ultimate College restructuring?
Noel: The restructuring will lead to more competitive conference and region play. However the division of DI and DIII doesn’t make sense in all cases. For example, every other athletic team at Case is DIII. Our undergraduate population is only 4,000. With graduate studies the population is around 10,000. The women’s team has never had a graduate student compete in the college series. That being said, the Gobies remain competitive in DI despite our smaller pool to recruit from. What is more concerning is the number of required games to be ranked with your RRI. Last spring we went to two sanctioned tournaments which should had been sufficient to get the 10 sanctioned games in. Well, the Midwest weather said no. For Philly Classic it poured both days and the TDs had to switch fields so we didn’t get many games in. At Chicago Invite it snowed and Sunday’s games had to be called so the fields wouldn’t get any more trashed. The number of sanctioned games puts regions in the north, with generally worse weather, at a disadvantage.