[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: University of Central Florida
Team Name: Sirens
Captains: Tina Hierholzer, Leisha Cavallaro
Coach: Joseph Tilley
Year Founded: 2009
Jersey Colors: Black and Gold
2010 Record: 23-17
How did you get involved with Ultimate at UCF?
Tina Hierholzer: I found out about Ultimate from the freshman orientation I attended before my freshman year. However, they didn’t have a women’s team. They told me they have been trying to start one for a few years, but it hadn’t succeeded. I told them I would do it, and I don’t say I’m going to do something without actually doing it. I went out thinking it would be cool and I didn’t really know much about starting any teams or clubs so I left, but the following year I came back and facebooked so many girls interested in Ultimate and started a women’s team. That’s my efforts in a nutshell…obviously it was more complicated than that. I mean…I didn’t even know how to play and neither did any other girl. Let’s say we had an interesting first year.
Leisha Cavallaro: Since I’ve been five I’ve been involved in some sort of sport from cheerleading to high school hockey. When I came to college I became extremely involved in participating and working for intramural sports. By the end of my sophomore year (2009) I started to miss being involved in a “team” atmosphere. Sure intramural sports is a team, but you don’t usually practice, you show up once a week, play your game, and go home; I wanted to be a part of a real “team” again. Some of my friends played Ultimate Frisbee for the school, and at the time I didn’t even know what it was, but I figured I’d go out and try; how hard could Frisbee be? Hah. After about a month I fell in love with the sport and became immensely involved in our program. I loved the challenge and strategy behind the game and have been playing with our school and some club teams since summer 2009.
What is Ultimate at UCF all about?
Tina: Friendships. We have a large group of Ultimate players. The women’s team has about 30 active members and men’s team has about 90 members. We obviously love the competition and Ultimate, but we also are making lifetime friends and allow students to really feel a part of something. The school also puts a lot of responsibility on our sport clubs which allows the students in Ultimate to gain a lot of leadership skills they can take with them after school.
Leisha: At our school, Ultimate is about “stepping on their throats” – [Coach] Tilley. Our coach is pretty serious about the game and really has a great understanding of it. We have a very close knit team between the men’s and women’s clubs.
How did the SIRENS do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Tina: Our team ended up finishing 61st in the nation, 4th in our section, 9th at Regional’s. For being in our first official year, we did pretty well. It’s hard to really pinpoint one moment that highlighted my season. Our 30 min universe point was awesome at our first tournament to with the tournament . Just being at Regional’s and playing as well as we did was awesome for me.
Leisha: The single highlight I would choose would be our team winning our first tournament together in 2010 at Janus. The year before the team had never won a game, and struggled even scoring points so to WIN our first tournament together set the tone for the rest of the year.
Who is your favorite team to play against?
Tina: I don’t really know who my favorite team to play against is. I like winning, but I also like to be challenged. I can tell you about a memorable game…We were in our first game at Regional’s and playing a team that we’ve played a few times throughout the season. They were good…so good that most of our games against them ended 13-1 and we weren’t on the double digit side. We were playing them at Regionals and what was great was we were switching points back in forth with them all the way up to 8’s and then we got a break on them. Making the score 9-8. For the first time we were ahead and it felt so good! However, the game had a dramatic turn when they scored to tie it and the girl who probably wasn’t taller than 5 feet decided to hit the tallest girl on our team with the Frisbee…not like a spike but actually pick up the disc and hit her with it. As much as I knew the girl on my team was going to keep her cool (well I had hoped at the time) the best moment of that whole mess was hearing a girl on my team turn to the girl she was guarding on the opposing team to tell her, “If she hits her back, I’m going to have to hit the closest person next to me.” Even though this moment in our Ultimate history is absolutely ridiculous, I saw something in this simple humorous gesture that was a goal I didn’t plan on reaching for a couple years. That goal was to create a family. We didn’t only play Ultimate together and work together on the field, but we really did have each other’s backs. It was nice to see how far a bunch of strangers had come at their last tournament of the season.
Leisha: My favorite team to play against is Georgia. We tend to have some scuffles throughout the game but the intensity is what drives me personally. The first two times we played them this past year they destroyed us 13-0 (our first goose egg that year) and 13-4. However, when we met in Regionals it was a much closer game 13-9, and that was our most glorious game of the year. Everything was clicking and the game was intense. At some points throughout the game we were even ahead!
Tell us about your coach, Joe Tilley. What does he bring to your team?
Tina: We’ve had two coaches. Our first year (not last year when we made it to regionals but the year even before that) when I was just trying to get girls together we had a nice lady, Nicole Hawkins volunteer to teach us Ultimate. She had it rough because we didn’t know anything about Ultimate, but if she did not sacrifice her time during the week to teach us how to play and travel with us to tournaments, we would not exist like we do today. Now we have a coach, Joseph Tilley who dedicates a majority of his time to our team. He is literally on campus 4 times a week either running practices, workouts, or just throwing with us. He doesn’t only provide knowledge about the sport, but he cares about us as individuals and constantly finds time to help us improve. There is no way we would have done what we did last year or what we plan on doing this year without him.
Leisha: Our coach, Joe Tilley, brings so much to our team. He pushes us to strive for more and expect the best. He has a great deal of knowledge of the game and really tried to pass that on to us. Tilley commits at least 4 days of his week to training us with no real incentive other than to watch us grow. His belief in us really benefits the team as a whole. On the other hand, Tilley is one of the coolest/funniest guys you’ll ever meet. If you ever meet him you should ask him if you can take the “Tilley Challenge”. Pretty much you have to stand there as he punches you in the gut and if you don’t fall you get a cash prize. No one has ever accepted.
Tell us about more about you as captains:
Tina: This year is the first year we’ve had captains, but so far it’s going well. Both of our captains are very smart players. Leisha picked up on the game fast, starting about a year after me. It’s nice to have someone managing the field with me that have different strengths then I do, but still thinks like I do when it comes to Ultimate. I’m a quieter analytic player and tend to forget to motivate…that’s another plus about Leisha…she can get our team pumped.
Leisha: Tina brings knowledge of the game to our team. Also she’s our token Asian (yes she handles). She is one of, if not the smartest player on the team. She is also the President of the club and co-founder, without her our team wouldn’t exist or persist. Tina definitely knows what she wants, especially when it comes to offense, and is the most influential person on our offensive line.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Tina: We’re a little too young for me to pick one of my girls for the Callahan and all-region against all these other girls. As for freshman of the year. Last year we had some awesome freshman. I would have to vote Mariel Hammond for freshman of the year last year. Rachel Acuna is in the running for freshman of the year this year.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Leisha and Tina: Thrower – Tina/ Ashely. Receiver – Mariel/Sam. D – Leisha.
It’s easy to see when someone throws a huge huck on gets a layout D. Who’s a player you have to watch more carefully to see how valuable that person is to your team?
Leisha and Tina: Tina, Erin Goding, Kayla, Molly
How does your team bring new players to Ultimate up to speed?
Tina: Every fall we start from the beginning and spend all of fall teaching Ultimate. This year has gone a lot faster than last year…it’s nice to have new girls who have played Ultimate before. I’m glad we’re getting to that era.
Without giving too much away, what does your team like to do on offense and on defense?
Tina: On offense we like to score points and on defense we like to become offense so we can score points (am I giving too much away?)
Leisha: Offense, work it baby. Defense, play smart, match up right, work hard, and don’t let the bitch get the disc.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Tina and Leisha: Yes. Our ultimate goal is to make it to the semi-finals at Regionals. In other words make it to the game to go to Nationals.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Tina and Leisha: We have some form of practice/workout 6 days a week, 4 are required compared to 2 last year. Also having veterans who know what they’re doing has really impacted the progression of our team.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which are you most looking forward to?
Tina and Leisha: Janus, FWC, Stanford/Ultimax/Mardi Gras, Call of the Sirens (we are trying to host a tournament), Tally Classic, College Southerns, Sectionals and Regionals.
Leisha: I am most looking forward to Regionals because that’s when it matters. However, for just tournament play I am looking forward to College Southerns because we get to play teams that we typically don’t meet throughout the season.
Tina: Probably, any tournament where we play teams those aren’t in our section(conference) or region…and Regionals!
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Leisha: We do some obnoxious cheers before and during the game. Usually there is one person (usually myself) who gives some form of speech to the team of how far we’ve come and that they don’t respect us, show em what we’ve got, the usual.
Bear, ninja or cowboy?
Leisha: NINJA for sure
Tina: Can I be a ninja bear? They exist…Kung Fu Panda, watch it!