University of California – Berkeley UGMO

by | January 18, 2011, 1:12am 0

Pre Season Record: 26-9 Series Record: 14-4
End of Season Standing:
5T College Championships eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Pittsburgh (10-15)
Skyd Preview

Coaches: Alex Ghesquiere (2009-Present), Choongil Fleischman (2010 – Present)

Recent History:

2010 saw Cal UGMO finish better than the previous year for the 3rd consecutive season. In 2008 Cal finished 4th in the Northwest Region, missing Nationals for the 4th year in a row. They were able to end that drought in 2009 by taking second in the Northwest over a strong University of Washington team but, lacking nationals experience, Cal was overwhelmed in Columbus.

Building on the experience gained in each of the two previous seasons, Cal had a very strong pre-nationals season in 2010. Their only loss to a non-Nationals qualifier came in the finals of Sectionals to UCSC. UGMO regrouped to beat UCSC in the Regional Semifinals en route to taking the 2nd bid out of the NW.  They then broke seed at the College Championships, making the quarterfinals for the first time since they reached the finals in 2004.

Given such high levels of success, it is shocking that Cal had only one player (5th year captain Kris ‘Mateo’ Thomson, 2nd team All-Region 2010) make either first or second team All-Region. This fact is, to quote assistant coach Choongil Fleischman, “more of an indication of [Cal’s] balanced roster rather than the level of talent.  There isn’t one player who stands out because contributions come from everyone.” The team mentality embodied by UGMO calls up memories of a great San Francisco Bay Area team from last decade, the faceless army that was 2002 Stanford Bloodthirsty.

Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:

Cal lost 6 of their 14 starters from 2010, all of whom could be counted among Cal’s top 8 players at Nationals. On offense UGMO lost home grown talent Thomson, Eric Hillis, and Dylan Kluck. Thomson was the anchor of Cal’s O handling core while Hillis and Kluck churned in the lanes gaining lots of yards on the under and attacking the endzone with their throws. On defense Cal lost two grad student pickups from last year, Will DeLoache (Davidson ’09) and Zach Travis (Harvard ’09) as well as senior Brandon Kwock.

While these losses are significant, they will be overshadowed by Cal’s development of their young players and another strong grad student pickup in Sam Kanner (Carleton ’10). Over half of UGMO’s returning players, along with some incoming players, played club ultimate in the competitive Northwest Region.  Two of the team’s captains, Gary Dixon and Andrew Hagen, played club ultimate with Wolf, while the third captain, James Pollard, captained the Berkeley based PHTB.


Last year Cal bucked the trend in college ultimate and used a disciplined vertical stack offense. Instead of relying on pure athleticism to keep the opponents on their back foot, Cal used intelligent spacing, handler movement, and well-timed break cuts. Defensively, Cal played a lot of zone both in 2008 and in 2009, but relied more on their athletes to produce blocks with man D in 2010. Given the intelligence of their players, and the experience of the coaching staff, one should expect Cal to be unpredictable with their defensive looks.

Scheduled tournaments:

Santa Barbara Invite, Presidents Day Invite, Stanford Invite, Easterns

2011 Outlook:

The new Southwest Region is going to be very deep, but none of the teams can match Cal in terms of experience on the national stage. After making the Quarterfinals at Nationals last year, Cal is looking to replicate that success with much of the same approach. Given UGMO’s depth of experience, athletic capability, and coaching staff, there should be no surprise if Cal improves their end of season standing for a 4th consecutive season.

Comments Policy: At Skyd, we value all legitimate contributions to the discussion of ultimate. However, please ensure your input is respectful. Hateful, slanderous, or disrespectful comments will be deleted. For grammatical, factual, and typographic errors, instead of leaving a comment, please e-mail our editors directly at editors [at]