[stextbox id=”alert” color=”050505″ bcolor=”6cc3f8″ bgcolor=”ffffff” big=”true” image=”null”]School Name: SUNY-Buffalo
Team Name: Green Eggs and Ham
Captains: Zack Smith, Jonathan Bain, David Ferraro
Coaches: Bryan Jones, Timothy Burns
Year Founded: 1975
Jersey Colors: Black, Green and White
2010 Record: 16-10
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved with Ultimate at SUNY Buffalo?
Zack Smith: Before college, a friend of mine who went to Towson taught me a few things about ultimate and from that point on, I knew I was going to play at school.
Jon Bain: After realizing soccer wasn’t for me, I followed some friends to an Ultimate Frisbee tryout and I never looked back.
How did your team do last year? What was the highlight of your season?
Zack: In terms of overall performance, our team fell short of our goals by failing to make Regionals. However, we did have some great games including a universe point win over Penn State, who finished fourth in the Metro East. The best thing about last season was definitely the establishment of our B team and our largest recruiting class ever.
Jon: I think that we made great strides in the way that we ran the team. We established good ideals like hard conditioning and other workouts outside of practice. Also, after our season finished, we had our first annual rookie game to test their development. We were all surprised at how well they meshed with one another and it was clear how hard they had worked for the entire year. The seniors had a fun time observing the game as well.
Who is your favorite team to play against? Tell us about a memorable game.
Zack: I think after this fall, my favorite team to play against is Connecticut. We played them twice at the UOA Big East tournament and lost two really close games. Apparently, if we had beat them the second time, we may have been invited to UOA Nationals. Either way, both games were super close (15-17 & 11-13) and were filled with lots of spirit. Their Five Ultimate scholarship video had footage of them beating us. That coupled with the fact that they are in our region leaves me itching for another shot.
Jon: Last year we had two tournaments that were plagued by poor weather. Right before the series, we played in the Attendance Check tournament where we were finally blessed with some good weather. This tournament was our best of the season, where we would go 5-1, beating Penn State on Universe. One of my favorite games was the last game of that weekend, where we played Messiah College. We battled Messiah point for point and it seemed neither team would budge. We would eventually win the game by one break, clinching a single loss weekend for us. The reason why this game is so memorable to me is the fact that we found that our team and Messiah had similar playing styles. Experiencing this game allowed for our team to adjust and prepare better for the series.
Tell us about your coaches and captains. What do they bring to your team?
The five of us are a really close knit group of guys. Four of us have been a part of Green Eggs and Ham for the past 5-6 years, so we are really vested in this team’s future. Together we have brought a strong work ethic and a great atmosphere to this team.
Are there players on your team who deserve consideration for Callahan, All-Region, or Freshman of the Year?
Zack: I think my Co-Captain David Ferraro is definitely a guy that could be up for All-Region talk this year. Given the absence of Pittsburgh and the other Pennsylvania teams, our region is wide open for contention and I think he can really help us make a splash. He is one of the hardest cutters to guard and he also had a damned good club season with the Albany Destructors. We are lucky to have three really good freshman this year in Matt Hawbaker, Ian Dipace and Robby Cola. Each of them brings a lot of intensity and a strong willingness to learn.
Jon: I think that Dave is a powerhouse on this team. There isn’t really anyone in our section who can match him in his cutting ability. Outside of him, I think there are a few up and coming Buffalo players who will be big really soon. To name one, CJ Colicchio has shown major improvement from his freshman year exhibiting what a 6’5” kid can do in the air. Besides his jumping ability, no one seems to be able to match his acceleration. Also, he has been developing his throws throughout the fall and has become a large hucking threat to our opponents.
What player is most likely to make a huge play as a thrower? As a receiver? On D?
Zack: Without any hesitation I can say that our best gunslinger is Mitch Wheeler. He has been one of our better handlers since early in his sophomore year and is now our number one. As a receiver, I think that CJ Colicchio and Mitch “Blitzkrieg” Steiner. These guys are the height on our team and bring down virtually anything that we put up in the air. Our best defensive player for the past two and a half years has been my other Co-Captain Jon Bain. It’s pretty rare for him to get scored on and he seems to always elevate and make massive plays whenever we need him to.
Jon: As a thrower I think Andy “Tenders” Incaudo is one of our developing huckers. This fall he really stepped up his game, proving to be an important part of our O line at the Big East tournament. As a receiver, Ian Dipace is one of our freshman sensations. His athletic build has allowed him to get open on every player and his previous experience has given him intelligence beyond his years. For defense, my Co-Captain, Zack “Train-Wreck” Smith, puts his heart on the defensive line. He doesn’t always make the big play but he is the most consistent defensive player we have.
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 they are to your team?
Zack: I think an unsung hero on defense is Jason Stiffler. Jason is not the kind of guy who has monster layout D’s but his intelligence puts him in the right place at the right time on defense. A lot bad mistakes or throw aways from the opposition come from the efforts of Jason.
Jon: I like what I see from Colton Steiner. He is a guy with a lot of commitments, being a double major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, yet he still shows up for everything. He is a work horse and his efforts are showing on the field. He is on the brink of being a really good player and I expect him to be a massive force in the spring.
How does your team bring new players up to speed on Ultimate?
Zack: We have a pretty lengthy tryout process in which we spend a lot of time teaching the fundamentals of throwing, cutting and defense. We typically try to spend as much time with new players as possible such as inviting them to dinner in the Student Union after practice. Basically, we focus on making them as comfortable as possible with us and then try to teach them as much as we can within the first few tournaments we go to.
Jon: Beyond making them feel comfortable at practices, I think spending one on one time throwing with the new recruits really makes them feel important and motivates them not only to get better for themselves but for the team as a whole. Each player learns quickly that our goals are not individually met, but are strived for as a team.
Has your team set any goals for this season? What are they?
Zack: I would really like to finish our regular season with strong results. I think making it deep into the championship brackets of all the tournaments that we attend is a great goal.
Jon: I would like for our team to have a strong record before the series. By the end of the season, I would like for everyone to reach their peak for this season. I really don’t want anyone to believe that there was anything more that they could have done.
What has your team been doing this fall to prepare for the spring season?
Zack: We have just recently finished our tryout process with our fall season culminating at the UOA Big East tournament. Now that the snow has come and outdoor practice is no longer an option, we have turned to developing and teaching our more complex strategies as well as hitting the gym and track hard.
Jon: This fall season we really adjusted our attitude to make sure that people were fighting for their positions on the team. We didn’t want our veterans coming into the season stagnant and under the impression that they automatically were on our A squad. This competitive attitude will continue in the spring and will make our team that much better at tournaments.
What tournaments do you plan to attend in the spring? Which one are you most looking forward to?
Zack: Right now we are looking at 3-4 USAU sanctioned tournaments before the series. We are looking at Spring Ultimax, the Woodside Invite, IUP Nutbuster and then a sanctioned tournament on the first weekend of April. We are also planning on hitting up the UOA Wilmington 8s on the way down to Myrtle Beach for spring break. I am really pumped to play during the series. The do or die atmosphere is why I play ultimate.
Jon: Personally, I am really excited for whichever tournament we go to on spring break. Competitive ultimate in nice weather would be an awesome time for our team to really test ourselves and get our name out there.
What does your team do to get pumped up for a big game?
Zack: We have a few cheers that really get our energy going. What really gets us pumped is to point out how much more attractive we are than our competition.
What song would you pick for the soundtrack to your team’s 2011 highlight video?
Zack: Reggie Watts: F_ck Sh_t Stack (Editor’s Note: Fuck yes!)
What do you think about the USA Ultimate College restructuring?
Zack: I like the ideas behind it, which is separating out opportunities for large and small schools while still giving D3 schools an opportunity to compete in D1. However, the number of regional events more than doubled so the talent is going to be really diluted, especially in what is left of the Metro East. I would also hope that having more conference and regional events to host doesn’t bring down the amount of effort put into running these tournaments. The series events should really stand out in quality, which was already hit or miss at the lower levels of competition. Hopefully adding more series tournaments doesn’t amplify this problem.
Which team has the best shot at winning the 2011 USA Ultimate College Championships?
Zack: I think that California, Colorado and Pitt all have really good shots at winning it this year. Pitt retained a lot of its really good players including Eddie Peters and Chris Brenenborg. Also I heard that Colorado didn’t really graduate anyone and their Nationals roster had something like 8 rookies on it. Cal gained CUT’s Sam Kanner, which would make any team significantly better and Cal was already good.
Check out Green Eggs and Ham at Attendance Check!