2011 Preview – Kalamazoo College Ultimate Buzz

by | December 17, 2010, 5:00pm 0

[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: Kalamazoo College
Team Name:
The Ultimate Buzz
Captains: Ben Ayres, Samuel Brennan, Ezra Shaffer
Founded: 1972
Website: http://www.kzoo.edu/ultimate/home.htm
2010 Record:
Score Reporter

What is Ultimate at Kalamazoo all about?

Captains: We have a stated intention about spreading the word about Ultimate and Kalamazoo College nationwide.  In reality we go to tournaments, have a great time, play as hard as we party, and win some games along the way.

Buzz Captain Ben Ayres (#21) earns his triscuits

How did your team do last year?  What was the highlight of your season?

At Division I Regionals last year, we held seed at 15th.  At Division III Nationals, the Buzz tied for 7th place, equaling the best finish the team has ever had.  The highlight of the season was our performance at Sectionals, particularly in our game against eventual Nationals contender MagnUM, a game we lost 12-11.

What was your experience like playing at D3 Nationals last year? Do you intend to go again?

D3 Nationals was a great time and an awesome tournament.  The chance to play against teams from the same background as us nationally was a new experience for us.  We will continue going as long as we qualify.

Who is your favorite team to play against?

Our favorite team to play is definitely Dark Horse of Western Michigan University.  We both are in Kalamazoo, we get the chance to play them all the time, and we have a rivalry trophy that gets passed back and forth between the teams.  Our most recent and memorable game with them was an exhibition game only a few weeks ago that we played in front of students from both schools.  We played until well after sunset, and the Ultimate Buzz capped off a dramatic 15-14 comeback victory with a defensive block from captain Ben Ayres that led to a short, but contested completion from captain Ezra Shaffer to captain Sam Brennan.

Tell us about your captains.  What do they bring to your team?

All three of our captains are highly competitive, and even though our team is very socially oriented, we are able to keep the focus on Ultimate.  We also bring dashing good looks and rapier-like wit to the table.

Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?

Currently, our team is not at the level of competition necessary to determine Callahan consideration.  However, for All-Region, I personally believe that both Ben Ayres and Sam Brennan deserve a long hard look. They are extremely athletic cutters that have an arsenal of throws, can sky for the deep put, yet also be the one throwing the full-field breakmark huck.

What player is most likely to make a huge play?

Junior Patty Hlavacek has some of the prettiest throws in the game, whether it is a filthy IO flick to break the mark, or a big huck to the endzone for a score. Sophomore Darren Clark has the biggest ups on the team, and is not afraid to throw himself at discs that mere mortals would have no hope of catching. Senior Alex Lloyd-Evans is one of our most tenacious defenders, always willing to sacrifice his body for the big D, as evidenced by his numerous cuts and bruises after each tournament.

Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable he is to your team?

Senior Harrison Vogel is a player that is always willing to do whatever is necessary for the success of the team, and he always plays within his own abilities.  He never drops the disc, is always open for downfield cuts, and never attempts a throw that will not definitely be caught.  He brings a much-needed stability to any line he is on.

Junior Patrick Hlavacek (#99) readies a precision backhand (Photo by Jay McMillan)

How does your team bring new players to ultimate up to speed?

We aim to be a very open and accepting group to all players, regardless of grade or experience level.  For the fall season, our team places a strong emphasis on playing time and the importance of in-game experience for newer players over tournament success.  Fortunately for us, success and experience often go hand in hand, and it pays dividends at tournaments later in the spring and in future years.

Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?

On offense, we love working it down the field with continuation cuts, but we are also well aware that chicks dig the long ball and we play accordingly.  On defense, in theory, we rely on tight handler defense and physical downfield defense.  In practice, we poach a lot.

Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?

We  have a lot of seniors who have been playing together for four years, and our team believes that this can be the year that we make a major impact on the regional and national levels for Division I.  Top to bottom, we believe that we can compete with any team in the country.

What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?

We’ve been working on getting our newer players as much in-game experience as possible, while also allowing our more experienced players to get reacquainted with each other.

What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?

We watch the documentary I Bleed Black.  Twice.

What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?

Our soundtrack would be the Biggie Smalls Party in the USA remix by Andrew Hathaway, but we don’t know why.

Bear, ninja or cowboy?

We throw fire. (Editors note: Always a good decision.)

Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?

Carleton College

Who’s going to win the 2011 USA Ultimate D3 College Championships?

Kalamazoo College.

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